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Southern Baptist Convention leader Willie McLaurin has resigned from his post as interim executive president and CEO of the denomination’s executive committee after admitting that he forged his education credentials.
He had been in the running for the position but will no longer be considered, according to the Baptist Press, an official SBC news outlet.
CBS News reports on his résumé, McLaurin claimed to have earned degrees from North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary.
A committee investigation into the resume entries found that the degrees were fabricated, according to Presidential Search Committee chairman Neal Hughes.
“They spent four weeks investigating and applying for answers,” Hughes said in a letter to executive committee members, the Baptist Press reported.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest U.S. Protestant denomination.
“My deepest apologies”
The investigation concluded that McLaurin never obtained degrees from any of the three institutions.
“To the Southern Baptists who have placed their confidence in me and have encouraged me to pursue the role of President & CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, including pastors, state partners, entity servants, colleagues, and SBC African American friends, I offer my deepest apologies,” McLaurin said in his resignation letter obtained by the Baptist Press. “Please forgive me for the harm or hurt that this has caused.”
McLaurin was appointed to the interim role in February 2022, according to CBS News.
He has previously served as vice president for Great Commission relations and mobilization at the executive committee.
Earlier in his career, he served as a Tennessee Baptist Mission Board staff member for 15 years. He also held pastor roles at Greater Missionary Baptist Church in Clarksville, Tennessee, and at Greater Hope Baptist Church in Union City, Tennesee.