Dr. Ronnie Floyd, the president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, announced last week that he is resigning and will be leaving his post at the end of October. In his resignation letter, Floyd said it was the decision of the Executive Committee to waive attorney-client privilege during an independent investigative of sexual abuse within the denomination that cemented his decision to leave as head of the Committee.
"Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me," he wrote, "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."
Dr. Alex McFarland, a Southern Baptist pastor and Christian apologist, explains that attorney-client privilege is one of the bedrock protections for the accused in a democracy.
"As I understand it, the Executive Committee was being pressured to take the position that attorney-client privilege should be waived regarding those accused of sexual assault or the investigation," he tells AFN. "And again, to the degree that I understand the situation, I would stand against that, as Dr. Floyd did."
He continues, clarifying that he's not minimizing the seriousness of the charges against the SBC.
"It would be wrong for a church or denomination to cover up anything," McFarland states. "It would be wrong for a church or denomination not to help a victim of such a crime. And it would be wrong for the church or the denomination to help a sexual predator get relocated in a job."
McFarland says he is very concerned for the health and future of the denomination, and is always concerned when he hears of disunity and good people like Dr. Floyd feeling that they have to step away from their assignments.
"And I pray that very soon stability and unity and strength and a powerful witness will characterize this denomination once again," he concludes.
Floyd's resignation was preceded last week by a similar move from the Executive Committee's longtime legal counsel, which stated that "going forward we can no longer assure Executive Committee and [SBC] personnel with whom we work that the privacy of their communications with their lawyers will be secure."