Ronnie Floyd, a former pastor and the president of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, has resigned his post with the denomination amid division over its handling of an investigation into 20 years of sexual abuse allegations.
He announced his departure in a letter sent to executive committee members Thursday.
Floyd, elected as head of the committee in 2019, cited potential damage to his reputation should he remain in SBC leadership. His exit comes on the heels of a vote to waive attorney-client privilege in an investigation into denominational leaders' handling of sexual abuse claims. Floyd opposed the decision.
"In the midst of multiple challenges facing the SBC, I was asked to come here because of my proven personal integrity, reputation, and leadership," he wrote. "What was desired to be leveraged for the advancement of the Gospel by those who called me here, I will not jeopardize any longer because of serving in this role."
"Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me," the letter continued, "I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC."
After several weeks of debate, the executive committee voted 44-31 on Oct. 5 to allow the third-party investigative group, Guidepost Solutions, to analyze privileged correspondence between committee members, staff and attorneys.
At the time—and throughout the deliberation—Floyd argued waiving privilege would expose protected assets of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
In his letter, the former pastor wrote: "There was a way it could have been done that fulfilled these desires without creating these potential risks relating to the convention's liability." Waiving privilege, he added, places "our missionary enterprise as Southern Baptists into uncertain, unknown, unprecedented, and uncharted waters."
Floyd called the decision "unacceptable" and warned more SBC laypeople would resign in coming days.
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