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ARITF shares new information on proposed Ministry Check website

NASHVILLE (BP) – An update on how the “Ministry Check” website will function and the process to determine if someone is credibly accused of sexual abuse was issued Monday (Feb. 27) by the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force (ARITF).

The group announced last Monday, Feb. 20, that they have recommended the SBC Credentials Committee sign a contract with Faith-Based Solutions, a division of Guidepost Solutions, to oversee the creation and maintenance of the website. A contract has not yet been finalized.

According to the update,

“When the name of a Southern Baptist pastor, denominational worker, ministry employee, or volunteer has been submitted to the Ministry Check website, Faith-Based Solutions will take the following actions:

A)  For individuals in categories 1-3 above, the Ministry Check website administrator will verify the individual has (1) been convicted of a crime of sexual abuse, or (2) had a civil judgement entered against him or her for sexual abuse, or (3) confessed to sexual abuse in a non-privileged setting.

B) For individuals deemed credibly accused following a properly-conducted independent inquiry (category 4 above), Faith-Based Solutions will review the information presented by a qualified, independent third-party, commissioned by the appropriate local church or SBC entity, to ensure the allegation meets the standard of “credibly accused” according to civil court standards.”

The update did not include how the query will be funded, but that information is expected in future updates from the task force.

Also included in the update is the definition of sexual abuse by which pastors, denominational workers or ministry employees will be added to the Ministry Check website:

For purposes of the Ministry Check website, the term “sexual abuse” will be defined as any sexual act that could result in a criminal conviction or civil liability in the jurisdiction where it occurred.This means that the MinistryCheck website will be specifically referring to and utilizing actual, objective legal definitions and standards when evaluating allegations of sexual abuse.

In addition to these updates, it also includes answers to questions such as:

  • How is the “Ministry Check” website supposed to work?
  • Why can’t the SBC just use the National Sexual Offender Registry?
  • Will the independent inquiries meet the standard for biblical justice? What about due process and false allegations?
  • Why must Baptist bodies use an independent third party for allegations?

The update concludes with a biblical reference section for issues such as protection of the vulnerable, repentance, God’s anger at abuse, transparency, accountability and more.

The ARITF was appointed by SBC President Bart Barber following the actions of the messengers at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim.

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  • BP Staff