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SBC resumes search after president resigns over falsified resume

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) continues to interview new candidates after Willie McLaurin, acting president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, resigned after admitting that he had lied on his resume.

The search 2.0 comes as the nation’s largest protestant denomination grapples with other investigations.

“The Southern Baptist Executive Committee’s presidential search team discovered disqualifying information during their process of vetting and due diligence,” executive committee chairman Philip Robertson said, according to “Christianity Today.” “McLaurin’s education credentials that he presented in his résumé are false.”

In his resignation from the acting post, McLaurin admitted the lie.

“In a recent résumé that I submitted, it included schools that I did not attend or complete the course of study,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “To the Southern Baptists who have placed their confidence in me and have encouraged me to pursue the role of president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, including pastors, state partners, entity servants, colleagues and SBC African American friends, I offer my deepest apologies. Please forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused.”

According to “Baptist Press,” the official SBC publication, McLaurin claimed he had degrees from North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary. Presidential search committee members found that he did not have degrees from any of those schools.

Vice Chairman Nick Sandefur says the past few weeks have been difficult for the committee as they investigated McLaurin’s resume and other details about his background.

“I’m confident this difficulty has created a deeper bond of trust within our search team. That trust will enable us to move forward together as we seek God’s man to lead our cooperative missions effort,” Sandefur said in written comments to Baptist Press.

Hughes says the committee is taking tri-lateral approach to the process – interview, inspect and, if appropriate, introduce a candidate for the role, according to Baptist Press.

McLaurin was named interim president and CEO of the committee in February 2022 and has worked for the committee since 2020. He was in the running to be named permanently to the top position of the committee and would have been the first black person to lead a major Southern Baptist organization. McLaurin’s resignation is the third departure from the post in just a few years. In October 2021, previous president Ronnie Floyd resigned from the role after controversy over the SBC’s sex abuse crisis. Before that, Frank Page had resigned from the post because of misconduct.

The portal for receiving resumes will be open until Sept. 30.

Neal Hughes, search committee chairman. asked for prayers as the denomination is “on a journey.”

“We go through hills and valleys but the process is one where we have to be tempered with patience. We must have the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control,” he said.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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