Op-Ed: The Might of the SBC is Raging Against Megan Basham

As the Southern Baptist Convention downgrade proceeds at a roaring pace, institutionalist SBC elites continue to play defense, in response to allegations that certain prominently featured sex abuse accounts in the commissioned guidepost sex abuse report were never properly corroborated. Protestia previously reported on the story of Jennifer Lyell, who allegedly received $1.5 million for incidents surrounding her alleged sexual abuse. Baptist Press originally characterized the incident as a 12-year-long morally inappropriate relationship with a seminary professor that began when Lyell was 26, during which Lyell moved multiple times. After leftist advocates pressured the convention with the threat of bad press, Baptist Press issued a retraction and apologized for characterizing the incident as an adulterous affair. The incident revealed a shift in the SBC from a scriptural view of sexual abuse to what could best be described as Critical Sex Abuse Theory. Consensual adultery plus power plus the regret of a subordinate party in the affair now equals sex abuse, even in cases where the regret is 12 years after the fact, and all parties are consenting adults.

In the wake of the 2022 SBC Convention, the Daily Wire’s Megan Basham released an investigative report that shed light on the questionable actions of SBC leadership in its treatment of the Jennifer Lyell incident. The report has been met with much ire from the institutionalists within the SBC, as it revealed that Lyell’s account of abuse was never corroborated by any real first-hand accounts, but rather “believed” by those to whom it was confessed in a manner reminiscent of the way that leftists demanded that the public “believe all women” during height of the #metoo movement. While Lyell was believed by SBC denominational leaders and characterized as a victim in part due to her status as a student at Southern Seminary, Basham noted that Lyell at times held power over Sills, as her position at Lifeway gave her power over negotiating Sill’s book deals.

That incident, she says, began a pattern of abuse that lasted 12 years until she was 38, continuing even as she moved to Chicago in 2006 and, later, Nashville, to further her career in publishing. During the time that Lyell was a publishing executive, she often worked with Sills, contracting with him for books, and, arguably, holding more power over his career than he did over hers.

Megan examined Guidepost’s account of the Lyell incident critically, attempting to corroborate Jennifer Lyell’s story by contacting those who claim to be SBC first-responders to the incident. Al Mohler, who as President of Southern Seminary received Lyell’s account of the incident in 2018, claims that the contact information she used to reach him is no something he frequently checks.

The specific questions that Basham, a former World Magazine film and television editor asked Mohler, the current World Magazine Opinions Editor, reflect a desire to accurately report on a story that has been purposely distorted and misreported by Baptist Press in a pravdaesque manner. The fact that Jennifer Lyell claimed in a recorded interview that David Sills threatened Al Mohler with a gun is an issue that should be investigated. Either the statement is false, which puts Lyell’s character into question, or a serious crime that involved a weapon should have been reported to the police, in consideration of the safety of the students and faculty of Southern Seminary.

Mohler’s refusal to field questions from Basham is reminiscent of the way that SBC elites like Russell Moore respond to difficult questions, that if answered truthfully, yield inconvenient answers. Mohler doesn’t like to be called on the carpet for refusing to confront what is clearly unscriptural, as he revealed in his agitated response to Phil Johnson’s question about Social Justice in conservative reformed circles, at the 2019 Shepherds conference. Under pressure from Basham’s statement, Mohler issued a short carefully crafted statement that answered none of the questions posed by Basham. Mohler refused to clarify the exact nature of the abuse and whether he was threatened by David Sills as alleged by Jennifer Lyell.

Other more forthcoming parties to Basham’s investigation, like Dr. Bill Cook, reveal that the basis for belief in Lyell’s account was a second-hand judgement that “found her allegations credible”. 

The same unbiblical standard of proof for determining that Lyell was innocent of adultery and deserving of $1.5 million as an abuse victim is the same standard of proof that Guidepost and the institutionalist SBC elites want to establish for putting an individual on a ministry sex abuse black list, a mark that would last for life. Leftists and institutionalists who railed against conservative executive committee members for refusing to waive attorney-client privilege are now demanding strict privacy for alleged sex abuse victims and believe that common church members in the SBC don’t deserve to know the details of why $1.5 million of their cooperative fund giving is being handed out to someone in a settlement, instead of being allocated to missions.

In response to the kerfuffle, pastor Jared Cornutt stated that those who believe Megan’s investigative reporting over the vague answers of seminary Presidents who received Lyell’s accusation should leave the SBC.

Cornutt’s argument was quickly husked as a logical fallacy, as Twitter followers recognized that Cornutt and others who criticized Basham only criticized her because she questioned the institutionalist narrative. Cornutt points to former SBC presidents as if they are paragons of virtue and honesty, and yet the guidepost report calls out former SBC presidents Steve Gaines, Johnny Hunt, Jack Graham, and Paige Patterson as being abusers or complicit in abuse. Plus Ed Litton just resigned after a scandal, so their title alone doe snot have the shine he supposes it does.

The standard for credible witness amongst institutionalists has shifted from a Biblical position that questioned whether there were any firsthand witnesses with actual knowledge of the incident in question, to a highly politicized fallacy-driven process that says believe all women (except for conservatives that work for the Daily Wire) and believe all seminary presidents and seemingly credible power brokers in the denomination (except for those who hold inconvenient conservative viewpoints).

While the waters surrounding the Jennifer Lyell case have been substantially muddied, the Biblical principles in God’s law for establishing whether such a case is sex abuse or adultery are present in scripture. As .AD Robles explains, these principles can be seen in the general equity of Genesis 22:23-27. 

If the leadership of the Southern Baptist is so antinomian and worldly that they can no longer discern right from wrong and ignore the plumbline of scripture in a case such as this, how can they be expected to properly discern other matters of law or Gospel from scripture?

Sadly, the axe appears to be laid at the root of the Southern Baptist Convention. 

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7 thoughts on “Op-Ed: The Might of the SBC is Raging Against Megan Basham

  1. Excellent. The demarcation line is being clearly drawn between those who truly believe God’s Word and those that give multitudinous lip service from their Statements of Faith.

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  2. I think Guideposts is wrong to include Paige Patterson as an abuser or someone complicit. Paige did not bow to the church feminists and he got thrown under the bus for it.

  3. The reaction of the SBC leaders shows the to be in darkness. They fear the light like the demonic Dracula

  4. I am not a SBC member nor will I ever be based upon all that I am seeing coming out from that association. Two pieces of advice if I may:

    1. It’s time to fully judged the household of God.

    2. Come out from among them and be separate.

    The King is coming soon,


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