An official in the 2,100-church South Carolina Baptist Convention has stepped down for unspecified reasons, adding to a number of men quietly leaving Southern Baptist jobs in recent weeks.
The Baptist Courier reported June 19 the resignation of Mark Aderholt, associate executive director and chief strategist for the statewide Southern Baptist Convention affiliate since 2016.
Gary Hollingsworth, executive director-treasurer of the 570,000-member body, said he accepted Aderholt’s resignation “based on the importance of staying focused on the convention’s vision statement of seeing every life saturated and transformed by the hope of the gospel.”
Aderholt, 46, is a former International Mission Board missionary who worked in central and eastern Europe. He is a 2000 master-of-divinity graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a doctor of ministry from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, Tennessee.
Other recent departures include the May 28 resignation of David Sills, professor of missions and cultural anthropology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
“Southern Seminary is committed to the highest standards of both principle and policy,” a spokesperson said. “Our policies and procedures are clear and are consistently applied. Because this a personnel matter, we cannot comment further.”
Christian George, curator of the Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, resigned May 3 “due to a personal moral failing,” according to the Biblical Recorder, news journal of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Alvin Reid, an evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for nearly a quarter century, resigned May 21 “to address personal and spiritual issues.”
Those departures came in the wake of the March resignation of SBC Executive Committee CEO Frank Page. Page, 65, initially announced he was retiring to spend more time with his grandchildren. He later added he was leaving due to “a personal failing,” described by his board chairman as “a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past.”
In May, trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary transitioned President Paige Patterson to the honorary title president emeritus with pay and lodging on the seminary campus. The move was in light of controversy over past statements about divorce and domestic violence resurrected in the #MeToo climate protesting abuse of women by powerful men.
A week later the trustee executive committee fired Patterson and revoked his retirement benefits amid allegations that he mishandled rape reports both at Southwestern Seminary and in his earlier tenure as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. Patterson, a longtime denominational leader, denies the charge.
The recent Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas passed resolutions affirming the “dignity and worth” of women “in their distinctive God-assigned roles” and condemning “all abusive behavior as unquestionably sinful and under the just condemnation of our Holy God.”
Addressing what a news release called “a months-long slew of firings and resignations within Southern Baptist entities, most for reasons of moral or ethical failure,” Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler said during a panel discussion at the SBC annual meeting that Southern Baptists should not “circle the wagons” in response to what he called the “humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
“The church of the Lord Jesus Christ should be the safest place for anyone vulnerable to come and seek help,” Mohler said, according to the release. “We ought to be the first refuge for anyone who is seeking help, in an abusive marriage, in a situation of sexual harassment or sexual abuse, any kind of abuse — whether children or women or anyone vulnerable. Our testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ is at stake in how we respond to every one of those cases.”