Former SBC President Frank Page Retires After 'Morally Inappropriate Relationship'

The Rev. Frank Page, right, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, leads a panel discussion at the Southern Baptists' annual meeting in Houston, on June 10, 2013.
The Rev. Frank Page, right, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, leads a panel discussion at the Southern Baptists' annual meeting in Houston, on June 10, 2013. (Photo by Adam Covington/Baptist Press)

Former Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page announced his retirement this week, which was reportedly followed by the announcement of a sudden moral failing.

"Last evening, the officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee met via phone conference with Dr. Frank Page during which he announced his plans for retirement. Today, I spoke with Dr. Page and learned that his retirement announcement was precipitated by a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past," Florida pastor Stephen Rummage, chairman of the Executive Committee, says.

His statement continues:

This news will, we understand, bring great sorrow. I have shared with the Executive Committee officers what Dr. Page shared with me, including Dr. Page's repentance and deep regret that his actions have caused pain for others.

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My heart is broken for Dr. Page, his family and everyone affected," Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., stated. "I believe I speak for the entire Executive Committee in saying that we are committed to provide them the spiritual and emotional support they need in the coming days. We also recognize the stewardship we owe Southern Baptists and the watching world to communicate with truth and candor and to honor the Lord in our actions and decisions.

I call upon all Southern Baptists to pray for everyone involved in a situation like this, and especially for Dr. and Mrs. Page. Please pray for the Southern Baptist Convention and all that is entrusted to the Executive Committee.

As officers, we are committed to provide leadership that the Southern Baptist Convention will recognize and trust. To those ends, in keeping with our Executive Committee bylaws, we will be working on a plan to provide for interim transition in the wake of Dr. Page's immediate departure and also to conduct a search for the next president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee. I am personally counting on the prayers of Southern Baptists, as I know are all who serve on our SBC Executive Committee.

In 2013, Page helped bring together Calvinists and non-Calvinists during a squabble within the denomination about the theology of salvation, according to Religion News Service. Last year, when some churches threatened to cut off support for the SBC after chief ethicist Russell Moore criticized Donald Trump, Page met with Moore, and the two issued a statement of unity.

Page, 65, was a successful church pastor for many years before assuming his position in the denomination, most recently at First Baptist Church, Taylors, South Carolina. He then served for two terms as president of the denomination, the nation's largest, from 2006-2008.

"It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation from the SBC Executive Committee and announce my retirement from active ministry, effective immediately," Page told Baptist Press. As a result of a personal failing, I have embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the kingdom. Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation. However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner. It is my most earnest desire in the days to come to rebuild the fabric of trust with my wife and daughters, those who know me best and love me most."

The announcement comes a few days after megachurch Bill Hybels was accused of sexual misconduct. Another megachurch pastor, Andy Savage, also recently resigned due to assault allegations.

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