Seth Udinski, FISM News
On Thursday, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee member James Freeman, announced his resignation in a private meeting as part of the fallout from the sexual abuse case plaguing the denomination. According to the denomination, the meeting’s purpose was to discuss “personnel, legal counsel and committee leadership.”
Pastor Ronnie Slade, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee and pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, said in a public statement:
As the EC moves forward, we will be without another member, James Freeman, as he has submitted his resignation. We want to thank him and the other members who have resigned over the past month for their service to Southern Baptists.
FISM News previously reported that Ronnie Floyd, who had served as head of the SBC Executive Committee, announced his resignation in early October. Floyd’s final day in his position, along with that of former Executive Vice President Greg Addison, will be October 31.
Slade also praised Floyd for his ministry within the SBC:
Today the SBC Executive Committee held its final meeting with current EC President Ronnie Floyd. On behalf of the members of the committee, I would like to thank President Floyd for his work at the EC. He’s had a tremendous ministry to Southern Baptists for years. We know he loves the Southern Baptist Convention, and we wish him well in the future — wherever God may lead him to serve.
Following Floyd’s announcement, there have been a total of 15 resignations since Sept. 20, which has led to an SBC leadership turnover as the denomination has been forced to fill the gaps left by long tenured individuals stepping down.
These continuous resignations in leadership reveal two things about the denomination’s current plight. The first is that the SBC should be commended for navigating the difficult art of parting in ministry in a gracious way. There does not seem to be any public animosity from any of the parties involved, and that is deserving of praise.
However, this also affirms the apparent severity of the abuse allegations. If the allegations were not so serious, it seems there would not be nearly as many high level leaders in the denomination stepping away.
This fact should urge Christians to pray more fervently for the SBC, a denomination that has historically upheld biblical faithfulness but now faces a potentially devastating public failure. Believers should devote themselves to holding the victims of the abuse in prayer as well.