Ronnie Floyd quits Southern Baptist Executive Committee role, citing ‘deep disillusionment’
The Rev. Ronnie W. Floyd , President and CEO of Southern Baptist Convention resigned late Thursday in the midst of growing controversy regarding a sexual abuse investigation.
“Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, 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,” Mr. Floyd, 65, wrote in a letter released by an SBC spokesman.
“In spite of deep despair and discouragement we must make this decision ourselves and make it willingly.
Mr. Floyd‘s departure comes nine days after the group’s executive committee voted 44-31 to waive attorney-client privilege “within the scope of an independent third-party investigation” of the executive body’s handling of sexual abuse claims, according to a Baptist Press report.
Delegates at the June 2021 SBC annual meeting voted for the creation of a sexual abuse taskforce, which will be responsible for the internal investigation.
On Oct. 11, the law firm of Guenther, Jordan & Price, which had represented the SBC and its executive committee for 44 years, said it would drop both entities as clients, citing the withdrawal of the attorney-client privilege.
The task force and its investigators will have access to years of confidential files by waiving this privilege. Executive committee members warned this could “bankrupt the SBC by exposing it to lawsuits,” according to a Religion News Service report.
While acknowledging the SBC’s right to waive privilege, attorneys James P. Guenther and James D. Jordan told the executive committee in a letter that “this vote fundamentally changed the understanding that has always existed regarding communications between our firm and the Executive Committee or the [Southern Baptist] Convention.”
In his resignation letter Mr. Floyd expressed concern for the attorney.
“There were other ways it could have been done to fulfill these needs without creating potential risks related to the Convention’s liabilities. Unfortunately, some of our trustees who are lay people had to resign because they cannot continue to practice their profession due to the risks. he wrote.
Mr. Floyd said, “This is unacceptable. It should concern all Baptist laypersons.” To us .”
, the SBC entities require more laypersons than ever before.
Mr. Floyd was senior pastor of Cross Church in Springdale, Arkansas, from 1986 to 2019, and previously served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 2014 to 2016. He was elected president and CEO of the executive committee in 2019.