President Frank Page, self-styled “chief encouraging officer” of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, stepped down March 27 over what an official known as “a morally inappropriate relationship.”
Page, 65, introduced Tuesday morning on social media that he was retiring from his place as president and CEO of the Executive Committee, which he assumed in 2010.
“Many months ago, my daughters shared their deep desire for Dayle and me to retire and move closer to them in South Carolina so that we might spend more time with them and their families — especially our grandchildren,” Page, former pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., stated in feedback reported by Baptist Press. “After much prayer and conversation, we have chosen to make this decision.”
Later within the day, the official denominational information service overseen by the Executive Committee revealed extra to the story.
Executive Committee Chairman Stephen Rummage stated after talking with Page, he “learned that his retirement announcement was precipitated by a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”
“My heart is broken for Dr. Page, his family and everyone affected,” stated Rummage, senior pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla. “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.”
Page, a previous president of the nation’s second-largest religion group after Roman Catholics, stated he initially introduced his retirement with out clarification “out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt.”
“However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner,” he stated. “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.”
Rummage stated the Executive Committee officers “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.”
Details of the connection have been undisclosed. Page known as it “a personal failing” that “embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom.”
As on-line reactions shifted from reward and congratulations after the primary announcement after the second to shock, some stated it’s unimportant.
“I do not know the details, perhaps never will, and it doesn’t matter,” Iowa pastor Dave Miller stated on the group weblog SBC Voices.
“I cannot imagine what Dr. Page is going through right now — the pain, the humiliation, the sorrow, the regret,” Miller stated. “Would you join me right now in praying for him? For his wife and family? For our convention and the effects this may have on us?”
“As awful and inexcusable as this sin is,” Miller stated, “I am glad to see that he is dealing with it the right way.”
Ed Stetzer, former head of LifeWay Christian Research and now govt director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, stated in an announcement to Christianity Today journal that the preliminary accolades “really expressed how Southern Baptists felt about Frank.”
“He is widely loved and appreciated, and seen as a person of great character,” Stetzer stated. “So this is a shock to many of us.”
Others volunteering feedback included Spiritual Sounding Board, a share-and-support weblog for individuals affected by “spiritual abuse,” cautioning that in generic calls to prayer for “everyone involved” after the autumn of a moral leader on account of adultery, the one who typically will get misplaced is the opposite lady.
“As I have covered several stories and dealt behind the scenes with many women who have been spiritually and sexually harmed by Christian leaders, I am struck by what women might feel as they read the words that apply to them: ‘those I have hurt’ and ‘everyone involved,’” stated blogger Julie Anne Smith.
“Do they realize that she, too, has a family?” she continued. “Do they realize that most likely the leader has used his position of power and influence to gain his own sexual pleasure? Do they realize that it’s very likely that the woman involved was in a position of vulnerability, perhaps originally reaching out for help? This is the story that I typically hear when speaking with women who have been harmed by the sexual misconduct of pastors or Christian leaders.”
“I don’t want the woman involved in Frank Page’s immorality crisis to be lost in the shuffle,” the blogger wrote. “I would like to ask that we collectively pray for this woman and her family — that she will have good support around her, safe people to talk to, and that she can begin her journey of healing.”
Pulpit & Pen, a self-described theology, polemics and discernment weblog, noticed, “It seems that pressure was put on Page throughout the day to be forthright and to make a public statement, which doesn’t speak well of his supposed repentance.”
“We hope and pray that Dr. Page is brought to repentance, and that his marriage can overcome this hardship,” stated a weblog put up March 27. “We pray for his wife and children. We also pray for the other person involved, and we hope that they receive the help they need as well.”
Page, a graduate of Gardner-Webb University with each the grasp of divinity and Ph.D. levels from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was comparatively unknown on the nationwide degree of Southern Baptist politics when he gained a three-way race for SBC president in 2006.
He attributed his win, partly, to the rise of Southern Baptist blogs, on the time a brand new means of reaching a mass viewers, saying bloggers “played a role beyond their number, perhaps an inordinate amount of influence given their number,” in constructing assist for his marketing campaign.
After two phrases as president, Page left the pastorate to grow to be vice chairman of evangelization for the SBC North American Mission Board. His 2010 election as president and CEO of the Executive Committee befell in govt session.
Behind closed doorways, Page reportedly answered questions on his involvement as a member of a Great Commission Task Force appointed by SBC President Johnny Hunt in 2009. Page’s predecessor, Morris Chapman, had criticized the examine.
In his position as head of the company that oversees day-to-day operations between SBC annual conferences, Page sought to construct bridges between Calvinists and non-Calvinists and to extend participation in SBC life amongst African Americans, different ethnic minorities and leaders of ladies’s ministries. He grew to become an advocate for suicide prevention after considered one of his daughters took her personal life in 2009.
In 2008 he was a part of a gaggle of outstanding Southern Baptists introducing a average assertion on environmental stewardship at a time when the denominational institution was skeptical of the impression of people on local weather change.
Page publicly supported a Baptist Faith and Message modification limiting the position of senior pastor to males, however in his 1980 doctoral dissertation argued that ladies ought to be eligible for any position within the church. He described the paper because the work of an “immature theologian” and in contrast his change of opinion to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president Albert Mohler, who as a pupil advocated for Baptist Women in Ministry however as president refused to rent college supportive of ladies’s ordination.
Page additionally defended a uncommon Executive Committee decision in 2013 urging the Boy Scouts of America to not open membership to boys who establish as homosexual, as a result of “sexuality is expressed most nobly and appropriately as a monogamous marital relationship between one man and one woman for life.”
Meeting privately with then Secretary of State nominee and former Boy Scout president Rex Tillerson, Page reportedly stated he couldn’t assist the change as a result of “God’s truth is abiding” and “principles should not be subject to the changing tide of human opinion.”
As SBC president Page appeared in a narrative on ABC’s “20/20” about loopholes in SBC coverage making it straightforward for sexual predators to maneuver from church to church with out detection. He later known as this system “yellow journalism” and a “slice-and-dice” piece to make it seem Southern Baptists weren’t doing sufficient to guard kids.
Page stated he didn’t consider abuse was a “large and systemic” downside within the SBC and warned that some teams claiming to advocate on behalf of victims have been “opportunists motivated by personal gain” and “nothing more than lawyer groups, looking to raise their caseload level.”
“Though many will speak of the good that Frank Page did, his legacy is also notable for how he disparaged and dismissed those who tried to bring to light clergy sex crimes against children,” stated Christa Brown, an abuse survivor and longtime victims’ advocate.
“For many clergy sex abuse survivors, that hateful slur is what we will most remember about Frank Page — that and the fact that, on his watch, no one in SBC leadership would help us in seeking to warn others about abusive ministers,” she stated.
In 2009, Page was named to an advisory council for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In 2015 he accused President Obama of each “ignorance” and “arrogance” for suggesting that evangelical Christians appear to care extra for the unborn than the poor.
In 2008 Page stated Southern Baptists have been sitting the New Baptist Covenant motion spearheaded by former President Jimmy Carter, calling the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant a “smokescreen leftwing liberal agenda that seeks to deny the greatest need in our world, that being that the lost be shown the way to eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.”
Following the election of President Donald Trump, Page commented, “Millions of Baptists went to the polls and voted out of principles and also out of pragmatism” for “a candidate that might support cherished principles among believers.”
“Ignoring the condescending verbiage from the moral elites, Baptists voted and voted in droves,” Page wrote. “You can listen to what the moral elites tell us, but Christians still make a difference! Southern Baptists have not gone by the wayside when it comes to exercising our civic responsibility and our belief that some things still matter.”
Page stated he had met Trump twice and would proceed to encourage the president, amongst different issues, to “protect marriage as being between a man and a woman.”
Page has been serving on weekends since Feb. four as interim lead pastor at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, Ga. On Tuesday church leaders introduced March 25 was Page’s final day.