Willie McLaurin resigns as interim SBC Executive Committee president over false credentials

Willie McLaurin, former interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, speaks at Southeastern Seminary in November 2022.
Willie McLaurin, former interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, speaks at Southeastern Seminary in November 2022. | YouTube/Southeastern Seminary

Willie McLaurin, the interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, has stepped down from the position after it was revealed that he had false credentials on his resume. 

McLaurin, who had claimed on his resume that he held degrees from North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary confessed to SBC EC leaders on Thursday that this was untrue.

According to a statement shared with Baptist Press, the SBC's official news service, SBC EC Chairman Phillip Robertson and EC Presidential Search Committee Chairman Neal Hughes noted that the discovery came after weeks of investigations launched by search committee members. The aforementioned institutions confirmed that McLaurin never graduated from their respective schools. 

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In addition to resigning from his interim position, which he had been in since February 2022 year, McLaurin will also no longer be considered a candidate for the position of SBC EC president.

In a resignation letter, McLaurin apologized for his actions, imploring SBC members to "forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused."

"To the Southern Baptists who have placed their confidence in me and have encouraged me to pursue the role of President & CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, including pastors, state partners, entity servants, colleagues, and SBC African American friends, I offer my deepest apologies," wrote McLaurin, as quoted by BP.

"I am thankful for the trust that Southern Baptists placed in me to serve as Interim President & CEO. Now, I am trusting Southern Baptists to pray for me and my family as we navigate this part of the journey."

Jonathan Howe, vice president of communications for the SBC EC, tweeted on Thursday, "Today has been an incredibly hard day for our Southern Baptist family."

"The past few years have been extremely taxing on your [SBC EC] staff and trustees; however we continue to hold firmly to Psalm 103. Please keep us in your prayers."

In February 2022, McLaurin was selected to serve as interim SBC EC president following the resignation of former SBC President Ronnie Floyd, who had stepped down from his position amid the investigation into how the denomination was handling sexual abuse allegations.

Before becoming a member of the SBC EC in January 2020, McLaurin served on the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board for 15 years, as well as executive pastor at Greater Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, and senior pastor at Greater Hope Baptist Church in Union City.

"I want to express deep appreciation to Chairman Rolland Slade and the Executive Committee officers for entrusting me with the opportunity to serve," McLaurin had stated last year.

"It is an honor to partner with Southern Baptists in advancing the mission of winning the world to Jesus."

The Executive Committee is slated to meet again on Sept. 18-19 in Nashville.

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