'More evil than I imagined': Evangelical leader stunned by massive abuse scandal at Southern Baptist Convention
Russell Moore (Official photo)

Reacting to an explosive report that accuses leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of grossly mishandling claims of sexual abuse, and intimidated victims while resisting any suggestions for reform measures for over 20 years, a columnist for Christianity Today labeled it the beginning of the "Southern Baptist Apocalypse" and admitted he was taken aback by the depth of treachery within the church.

According to the devastating report from Guidepost Solutions, "Survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action, even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church or congregation."

Those accusations led Russell Moore who heads the Public Theology Project at Christianity Today to conclude, "It’s even more than just a crime. It’s blasphemy. And anyone who cares about heaven ought to be mad as hell."

According to Moore, "... as dark a view as I had of the SBC Executive Committee, the investigation uncovers a reality far more evil and systemic than I imagined it could be."

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Writing that what the report revealed was "more evil than I imagined, " he lashed out at critics who previously admonished him for saying the SBC was in the midst of a "crisis."

"Indeed, the very ones who rebuked me and others for using the word crisis in reference to Southern Baptist sexual abuse not only knew that there was such a crisis but were quietly documenting it, even as they told those fighting for reform that such crimes rarely happened among 'people like us,'" he wrote before suggesting a case could be made for criminal conspiracy.

"Who cannot now see the rot in a culture that mobilizes to exile churches that call a woman on staff a 'pastor' or that invite a woman to speak from the pulpit on Mother’s Day, but dismisses rape and molestation as 'distractions' and efforts to address them as violations of cherished church autonomy?" he accused. "In sectors of today’s SBC, women wearing leggings is a social media crisis; dealing with rape in the church is a distraction."

"I can’t imagine the rage being experienced right now by those who have survived church sexual abuse. I only know firsthand the rage of one who never expected to say anything but 'we' when referring to the Southern Baptist Convention, and can never do so again," he confessed before adding, "I only know firsthand the rage of one who wonders while reading what happened on the seventh floor of that Southern Baptist building, how many children were raped, how many people were assaulted, how many screams were silenced, while we boasted that no one could reach the world for Jesus like we could."

You can read his whole piece here.

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