The messengers of the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, meeting together in regular conference June 27—July 1, 2011, in Denver, Colorado,

Believing that the Bible stresses the sanctity of human life (Gen 1:27) and the marriage bed, and that it condemns all forms of sexual promiscuity (Heb 13:4),

Affirming that the Bible also stresses the protection of and care for children, as evidenced by (1) commands to not provoke children to wrath, but to bring children up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1–4); (2) exhortations to love children (Titus 2:4); (3) the Old and New Testament regard for orphans (Deut. 24:17–21; 26:12, 13; James 1:27); (4) the condemnation of the ancient pagan practice of child sacrifice (Lev. 20:1–7; Ezek. 16:20, 21); (5) the teaching of Scripture that children are considered a heritage from the Lord and a reward (Ps. 127:3); (6) and the model of Jesus, Who welcomed and valued little children (Matt. 18:1–5; 19:14),

Respecting the laws of the land and governmental authorities, for government can act as God’s servant for good and can bring wrath upon the wrongdoer (Rom. 13:1–4),

Distressed by a seeming rise in physical and sexual crimes against children, reaching alarming levels in our nation, and disturbed that this abuse has occurred too often in churches and homes and at the hands of family, educators, ordained ministers, and ministry workers, we

Call upon the churches of the GARBC, pastors, and people to submit to God’s standards and to practice ministry with complete integrity; to encourage religious bodies to rid their ranks of predatory ministers; to encourage civil authorities to punish to the fullest extent of the law sexual abuse among clergy; to discipline those guilty of any sexual abuse and to cooperate with civil authorities in the prosecution of those cases; and to offer support, compassion, and Biblical counseling to victims and their families,

Express a deep level of moral outrage and concern at any instance of child victimization, deploring the cover-up, ignoring, or passive condoning of abuse by any individual, church, or religious body, and urge them to change the course of their actions,

Recommend that churches have in place an effective abuse prevention policy and respond to any suspicions or allegations of child abuse in a timely and forthright manner, never retaliating against the victim,

Appeal to churches and agencies to exercise moral stewardship in the their employment practices, exercising due diligence to check the backgrounds of ministers, employees, and volunteers,

Pray for righteousness to prevail in our churches and ministries, for the repentance of the victimizer, for the healing of victims of sexual abuse plagued by possible emotional, physical, or spiritual wounds, and for the church of Jesus Christ, that it would be found “blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15).