The SBC was a train wreck 100 years ago and found a way through. Can it do so again?

by | Sep 19, 2023 | Religion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) — The fall meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee began with prayer, some hard news and calls for unity after years of turmoil and change.Those attending also got a history lesson about how the denomination overcame a crisis a century ago, with the hope that lessons from the past could inspire unity in the present. 
“When all the dozens of reasons to throw in the towel and abandon our one sacred effort were easy to find — we chose instead to search hard for reasons to lean in and cooperate harder,” SBC President Bart Barber told the Executive Committee trustees. 
Meeting in a hotel ballroom a few miles from the committee’s offices, about 80 trustees—the pastors, educators, lawyers and other professionals who oversee the day-to-day governance of the United States’ largest Protestant denomination—gathered for the first time in person since the committee’s leader resigned after admitting he had faked his resume.
Willie McLaurin, who was serving as the Executive Committee’s interim president and CEO, resigned Aug. 17 after a committee vetting him as a candidate for the permanent position discovered the fraud. McLaurin was the fourth person to lead the Executive Committee since 2018, and the third to step down amid controversy.
His departure was followed by news last week that five staffers …

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