Why Johnny Hunt’s “restoration” convinces me we don’t have ears to hear.
I have seen this before.
As I watched four pastors (two of them belonging to the Southern Baptist Convention) declare former convention president Johnny Hunt restored to ministry—six months after he was put on leave when a third-party investigation found he was “credibly accused” of sexual assault—I realized I knew what I was seeing. I hadn’t watched this exact 14-minute video, of course, with four men offering assurances of repentance, but I had seen it.
I’d seen it at the church where leaders gave their assurances that a young man would not abuse any more girls. “We gave him a stern talking to,” they said. “This won’t happen again.”
I’d seen it when a pastor told a woman whose husband had created a psychologically and spiritually abusive home that she shouldn’t leave. “Let the pastors work with him,” he said. “We’ll be like watchdogs.”
And here it was again.
The most terrifying thing about these scenes is that these leaders are not bad men. I don’t know Johnny Hunt’s quartet of supporters, but I know the leaders of the church where abuse took place. And I know the pastor who gave that bad marital counsel: It was me.
So as eager as I was to go online and denounce all that was appalling about this video—the misuse of Scripture, treating the abuser as the victim, and failing to even mention the real victim—I realized I couldn’t train my sights on this group of men. No, for a Southern Baptist pastor like me, the video is not a target but a mirror.
It is a mirror that shows us what happens when our convictions about complementarity rot into misogyny. It is a mirror that shows us how the can-do, …