Guidepost Solutions’ LGBT pride tweet sparks uproar in SBC

Nearly 9,000 Southern Baptist messengers at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting on June 11, 2019, vote to pass an amendment regarding churches and sexual abuse.
Nearly 9,000 Southern Baptist messengers at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting on June 11, 2019, vote to pass an amendment regarding churches and sexual abuse. | Van Payne

Guidepost Solutions, the investigative firm that recently produced a report on how the Southern Baptist Convention's leadership mishandled sexual abuse allegations, is coming under fire from high-profile leaders in the denomination over a tweet supporting LGBT pride.

"Guidepost is committed to strengthening diversity, equity and inclusion and strives to be an organization where our team can bring their authentic selves to work," the firm declared in a tweet Monday. "We celebrate our collective progress toward equality for all and are proud to be an ally to our LGBTQ+ community."

As the secular firm's tweet made the rounds on social media, Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, denounced the company's statement and urged SBC entities receiving funding from the denomination's Cooperative Program to "immediately break ties with Guidepost Solutions."

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The Cooperative Program is the SBC's unified plan of giving through which cooperating SBC churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention, SBC missions and ministries. The sexual abuse investigation, which cost more than $2 million, was funded by allocations from the Cooperative Program.

"Guidepost Solutions' recently tweeted value statement on human sexuality is in sharp contrast to the Bible's family and marriage values and our confessional statements summarized by the Baptist Faith and Message," Davis said in his statement cited by the Baptist Reflector.

"Amos 3:3 asks, 'Can two walk together unless they agree?' Given the disparity of conviction on the issue of human sexuality, I don't believe in this situation we can, or should, walk together," Davis said. "It undermines my confidence in any proposed future relationship between any SBC entity and Guidepost Solutions."

Tom Buck, the outspoken senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, publicly questioned whether the SBC should adopt the solutions offered by the firm to address sexual abuse.

"Hey, SBC! You might want to consider this as you contemplate adopting the solutions they offer our convention. Not sure their voice should be listened to by any Christian organization. They don't hold a biblical worldview and their recommendations reflect that," Buck tweeted Monday, pointing to Guidepost's gay pride tweet.

The SBC Executive Committee announced on June 11, 2021, that Guidepost Solutions, chosen by the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force, would review allegations made by the former SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore that SBC leaders intimidated whistleblowers and exonerated churches with credible claims they mishandled sexual abuse allegations.

Guidepost Solutions was commissioned to "review and enhance training [on sex abuse] provided to SBC Executive Committee staff and its board of trustees" and the organization's "communications to cooperating churches and congregants in cooperating churches."

The investigation's findings were released last month and allege that the denomination's leadership mishandled sexual abuse allegations, mistreated victims and advocates, engaged in an abusive pattern of intimidation and repeatedly resisted reforms aimed at making their churches safer largely to avoid liability.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention, which hired Guidepost to prepare a resource on sexual abuse prevention and care, announced Tuesday that its Sexual Abuse Task Force terminated its contract with Guidepost over the LGBT pride tweet. 

"In light of the recent post revealing the position held by Guidepost regarding LGBTQ+ causes we, as the KBC Sexual Abuse Task Force, unanimously agreed we would need to part ways with the company," task force chair Linda Cooper said, according to Kentucky Today

Vice Chair of the SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force Marshall Blalock, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston in South Carolina, defended the decision to work with Guidepost Solutions.

"If anyone was looking for an excuse not to deal with sexual abuse and mistreatment of survivors within the SBC, Guidepost Solutions provided the perfect cover yesterday with their 'pride' month tweet. I was both disappointed and stunned," Blalock began in a series of tweets Tuesday.

He added that no Christian firms were available to do the work the SBC was looking to cover and complete before the denomination's annual meeting set for June 12 through June 15 in Anaheim, California.

"Guidepost is a multinational secular company that specializes in corporate investigations. They are not a Christian company although they routinely work for Christian organizations. The SATF chose them for their expertise and capacity to complete the investigation in time," he said.

"Why not choose a Christian company? We would have preferred to choose a Christian company, but no other firm had the capacity to do this work. We published an RFP open to all, but other companies pulled their proposals when the scope and time constraints were presented," he explained.

Blalock said, "out of respect for the faith and values of the SBC," the firm "assigned Christian people to lead our investigation, more often than not, Baptist people."

"Their subcontractors were chosen for their competence but they specifically chose Christian people," Blalock stressed. 

"Guidepost did a professional investigation, they operated with integrity, they respected our faith and values, they even ate a significant amount of the cost because they wanted to help us discover the truth and assist us to be more Christlike in how we respond to sexual abuse."

Before the investigation's findings were published, Bruce Frank, pastor of Biltmore Church in Arden, North Carolina, who chairs the Sexual Abuse Task Force, said the cost of the investigation could have exceeded $2 million long before it eventually did had Guidepost Solutions not applied a $458,154 credit to the denomination's February invoice.

"Guidepost has completed their contract, and the SATF has published their report, unedited, as required. We were all grieved by what they found," Blalock said. "The next steps are in the hands of the messengers in Anaheim. The SATF (not Guidepost) will make recommendations."

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