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Willie McLaurin Admits to Lying on Resume, Resigns as Interim CEO of SBC Executive Committee

willie mclaurin
Photo by Adam Covington, courtesy of Baptist Press

Willie McLaurin has resigned as interim president and CEO of the Executive Committee (EC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) following revelations that he lied on his resume about his credentials. In a resignation letter dated Thursday, Aug. 17, McLaurin apologized and asked for forgiveness. 

“In a recent resume that I submitted, it included schools that I did not attend or complete the course of study,” said McLaurin in the letter, which was sent to Executive Committee trustees and staff. “Recently this was confirmed.”

“Friends, I have submitted my resignation from serving on the SBC Executive Committee, effective immediately. I further yield to the authority, counsel, and direction of the Executive Committee Officers,” McLaurin continued. “I am submitting to those in Christ who desire to help me undergo a season of restoration and accountability, as led by my pastor and local Church (Galatians 6:1).”

McLaurin apologized to Southern Baptists “who have placed their confidence in me and have encouraged me to pursue the role of President & CEO of the SBC.” To them, McLaurin said, “I offer my deepest apologies. Please forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused.”

“This action has placed a stain on my calling as a ministry leader,” McLaurin continued, citing 1 John 2:9 and James 5:16, both of which reference confessing sin. “I covet your prayers as I navigate this part of the journey.”

McLaurin served the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board for 15 years before joining the SBC EC in 2020. After rejecting Jared C. Wellman as president of the EC in May of this year, the EC formed a new search committee. As this committee was vetting potential candidates, the discovery about the falseness of McLaurin’s credentials came to light.

On his resume, McLaurin had listed false degrees from North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary.

In a statement about the news, SBC EC Chairman Dr. Philip Robertson noted that McLaurin had been the interim president and CEO of the EC since Ronnie Floyd had resigned in October 2021. “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 Robertson. “McLaurin’s education credentials that he presented in his resume are false.”

Robertson said the EC is committed to transparency and that further updates would be forthcoming. He also requested that people “keep the EC staff and the McLaurin family in your prayers.”

SBC president Bart Barber has responded by extending his forgiveness.

ChurchLeaders has reached out to Willie McLaurin and Dr. Philip Robertson for further comment and will update this article in the event of a reply.

This article has been updated with comments from Bart Barber.