Resolution on Child Protection
The following Resolution was passed at General Conference 2015. Because of the importance of this Resolution and the issues surrounding it, we are printing it in its entirety here. Please be on the lookout for more information about this in the coming months.
Resolution on Child Protection
Whereas our Lord Jesus demonstrated his righteous anger at his own disciples, rebuking those who would do anything to prevent children from coming unto him, saying “to such belongs the Kingdom of God,” (Mark 10:14) and condemning those who would harm children, saying “it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6); and whereas an epidemic of child abuse exists in our culture, with the vast majority of such children being harmed by someone they know and trust, wounding children physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, and spiritually with lifelong ripple effects; and whereas the silence of the church — when we fail to appropriately address sin by not reporting disclosures of child abuse, or not caring for those who disclose child abuse, or not proactively taking steps to prevent child abuse — is a fundamental failure of servant leadership, rendering the church complicit and culpable before the Lord, driving people away from the safety, healing and hope of Jesus Christ; and whereas Scripture warns leaders against the careless exposure of believers to temptation and danger, and every jurisdiction acknowledges that child abuse is a serious felony and has its own mandated reporting laws; Therefore, be it resolved that we exhort all member churches to become informed and to take an active stance toward preventing child abuse in the church by screening staff and volunteers, training them in child protection, and actively maintaining child protection policies pertaining to our obligations to love our children and protect their rightful interests as God’s image-bearers from the devastating actions of abusers (Matthew 18:5-6); and Be it further resolved that we remind all member churches that the heinous crime of child abuse must be reported to duly appointed proper representatives of the God-ordained civil authorities, in accordance with local laws, and that we must cooperate with those authorities as they “bear the sword” to punish those who do evil. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14); and be it further resolved that we urge all member church leaders to use their influence for the protection of children, by any and all godly means, including preaching and teaching against the heinous sin of child abuse, warning anyone with knowledge of these sins to “take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11), and by supporting victims who often suffer in silence and shame without the vocal and compassionate support of the church; and by supporting the families of the victims; and be it further resolved that we urge all member churches to seek to bring reconciliation between all parties involved (2 Corinthians 5:18-21), and restoration of the perpetrator, based upon their repentance, that they would know that there is forgiveness and freedom from their bondage to such sin as given by God (1 John 1:9); and be it further resolved that we recommend that the General Council examine every possibility to protect children at our annual General Conference sessions and implement any measure that seems prudent and appropriate and to do so in consultation with legal and insurance professionals; and be it finally resolved that the SDB General Conference urge all Seventh Day Baptists to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus by loving our children as He loves our children, “for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14)