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SBC Leader Willie McLaurin Resigns After Admitting He Falsified Resumé

By Bob Smietana
willie mclaurin
Willie McLaurin was the interim president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. (File Photo: Robin Cornetet/Kentucky Today via AP)

Willie McLaurin, the acting president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, resigned suddenly today after admitting he had falsified his resumé.

“While considering McLaurin as a candidate for Floyd’s permanent replacement, the SBC Executive Committee’s Presidential Search Team discovered disqualifying information during their process of vetting and due diligence,” said Philip Robertson, chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, in a statement. “McLaurin’s education credentials that he presented in his resumé are false.” 

The statement quoted from McLaurin’s resignation letter, saying he admitted falsifying his resumé.

“In a recent resumé that I submitted, it included schools that I did not attend or complete the course of study,” McLaurin reportedly said in resigning. 

According to Baptist Press, an official SBC publication, McLaurin claimed that he had degrees from North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary on his resumé. When presidential search committee members attempted to confirm those degrees, they learned he did not hold those degrees.

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McLaurin had been interim president and CEO of the Executive Committee since February 2022 and had worked for the Executive Committee since 2020. The committee oversees the business of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination between the SBC’s annual meetings.  

McLaurin had been in the running for the permanent role as Executive Committee president after the committee rejected a different candidate. If he had been named to that post, McLaurin would have been the first Black leader to head a major Southern Baptist entity.

His departure marks another leadership challenge for the Executive Committee. McLaurin became interim president after Ronnie Floyd, the previous president, resigned in October 2021 after months of controversy over the SBC’s sex abuse crisis. Floyd’s predecessor, Frank Page, resigned in 2018 due to misconduct. 

The Southern Baptist Convention has seen a series of leaders resign in recent years, often in controversy. 

Among them: former SBC President Paige Patterson, who was fired for mishandling the investigation of a sexual assault at a seminary he led; David Platt, former president of the SBC’s International Mission Board, who resigned after a troubled tenure that included the loss of nearly 1,000 missionaries due to budget cuts; and Russell Moore, former president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a critic of former President Donald Trump who had forced unwelcome discussions in the SBC on sexual abuse; and Adam Greenway, who resigned last fall from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after concerns about the school’s finances. 

“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,” McLaurin said in his resignation letter, according to Baptist Press.  “Please forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused.”

Robertson asked for prayer in dealing with the fallout from McLaurin’s departure. 

“In a commitment to transparency we will be issuing further updates related to next steps to the presidential search team and SBC Executive Committee’s staff leadership in the near future,” Robertson said 

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.



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5 thoughts on “SBC Leader Willie McLaurin Resigns After Admitting He Falsified Resumé”

  1. 1 Timothy 4:2 from the Complete Jewish Bible: “the hypocrisy of liars whose own consciences have been burned, as if with a red-hot branding iron.”

  2. Do any of these supposedly “Christian leaders” have a shred of honesty? Falsifying a resume reveals so much about the integrity of a person, and falsifying something so easy to verify, like education, is just foolishness. At this point, I think the question is why would anyone consider a SBC leader as someone to emulate? How is this Christ honoring? Is the default in SBC leadership to be considered completely corrupt until proven otherwise?

  3. Why don’t they bring in Voddie Baucham to fill that position. He has all of the credentials, and his integrity is impeccable. I think he would be a fantastic fit for that position.

  4. Another example of “resume inflation”.
    (Remember Ergun Caner?)

    Never mind “Fake It til you Make It”,
    in Christianese it’s “Fake It enough and you don’t need to Make It”.

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