Southern Baptist Convention, Frank Page, Sexual Misconduct
Today, Frank S. Page, President of the SBC Executive Committee, announced his retirement on Twitter:
Many people thanked him for his good service to the Lord, along with ordinary sentiments, but he left out something that was kind of important – that he was retiring due to a “morally inappropriate relationship.”
Florida pastor Stephen Rummage, chairman of the Executive Committee released a statement which included the following:
“Last evening, the officers of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee met via phone conference with Dr. Frank Page during which he announced his plans for retirement. Today, I spoke with Dr. Page and learned that his retirement announcement was precipitated by a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.” Baptist Press
This afternoon (March 27, 2018), Dr. Page released his own statement, this time, adding the moral failure part that was left out earlier on Twitter:
“It is with deep regret that I tender my resignation from the SBC Executive Committee and announce my retirement from active ministry, effective immediately. As a result of a personal failing, I have embarrassed my family, my Lord, myself, and the Kingdom. Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation. However, after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion, it became apparent to me that this situation must be acknowledged in a more forthright manner. 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.”
As expected, the FrankPage.org website was taken down quickly, but upon searching the site via Google cache and Wayback Machine, I noticed his speaking schedule. In the summer months of 2018, he’s booked up nearly every weekend. That’s a lot of time away from home.
Moral failure by a prominent Christian is not good. It is a shameful witness to the world and causes harm to many. It is too bad that he could not heed the strong words he spoke on the day of his inauguration, February 21, 2011, in Nashville:
“I believe God demands a commitment from us. We are to serve him with passion,” Page said. “We are to give him first-rate loyalty for a first-rate cause. I believe God’s calling for Southern Baptists is to be closer than we’ve ever been before, to be purer than we’ve ever been before, to be more passionate than we ever have been before about sharing the good news with a lost and dying world.” Baptist Courier
In Stephen Rummage’s statement regarding Page’s retirement, he encouraged people to pray:
“I call upon all Southern Baptists to pray for everyone involved in a situation like this, and especially for Dr. and Mrs. Page. Please pray for the Southern Baptist Convention and all that is entrusted to the Executive Committee.
While it is important to pray for the Page family and the people in the Southern Baptist Convention, I notice that the person (I will assume it is a woman) with whom he had an immoral relationship seems to get lost in the shuffle. She is lost behind generic words like, “everyone involved” in the “pray for everyone involved” part of Rummage’s statement. In Frank Page’s statement, the woman is lost behind the generic words, ‘those I have hurt.” It’s almost as if she doesn’t exist. Isn’t that odd?
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.” Do they realize that she, too, has a family? 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. 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.
NEW INFO March 28, 2018:
SSB blog reader Dave AA found part of Frank Page’s original statement. I was able to find a cached version of it at Baptist Press, but the new version does not include it. Removing this part of Page’s original statement removes the fact that he intentionally misled people with his original statement:
“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. After much prayer and conversation, we have chosen to make this decision . . . “
“You have been dear friends to me these last eight years,” Page wrote to EC members. “You have served tirelessly beside me – advising, encouraging, challenging, and honoring my position as President and CEO of the Executive Committee. Most of all, you have been prayer supporters in every way. I will never take that for granted. I thank God for what we have been able to accomplish in this time together. Pray for Dayle, my family, and me as we make this important transition.” BRnow.org
In the second statement in which Page confessed to a vague sin of sexual nature, “after further wrestling with my personal indiscretion,” it makes one wonder if he was wrestling because someone was going to expose him, or was he personally convicted? Time will tell.
I have been unable to find Frank Page’s full initial statement anywhere. If anyone can find it, please let me know. ~ja