In a bombshell article published this morning at SBC Today, former church planting strategist and seminary professor, Dr. William McRaney accused NAMB President Kevin Ezell of taking “unbiblical and unethical” actions in his dealings with McRaney and McRaney’s state convention. In June of 2015, McRaney resigned as The Executive Missional Strategist of the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network. According to McRaney, his resignation was not voluntary. In an open letter to Southern Baptists posted at his personal website McRaney wrote the following:
On June 8, 2015 (wife) Sandy and I received the shock of our lives. I was blindsided with termination as the Executive Director of the MD/DE Baptist Convention, and sadly Dr. Kevin Ezell, as the President of the North American Mission Board, influenced this action against me. This was without cause and in the midst of Sandy and I developing many good relationships with pastors and wives, along with our staff and Convention making remarkable progress under my leadership. These web pages reflect an effort to communicate truth with friends and our Southern Baptist family on matters which need to come into the light Eph. 5:6-11, since more direct methods were met with denial and resistance.
Until recently, the terms of a severance agreement McRaney signed with his former employer prevented him from telling his story. No longer being held back by the restrictions of that agreement, McRaney is telling the greater Southern Baptist community his story. His story includes at least one bold and straightforward statement about Kevin Ezell and the operational tactics of NAMB:
Dr. Ezell has verifiably lied multiple times in writing, lied against me to my leadership in a libelous manner and then threated to withhold financial resources from the MD/DE Convention and its staff with SBC entrusted money as long as I remained as the Exec. Director when I and our Convention did not give into his earlier threats… Dr. Ezell delivered on those threats and it has helped silence other State Executive Directors with fear of similar treatment against them. Many State Conventions are once again under new agreements, but this time with GAG orders tied to money provided by Southern Baptists.”
McRaney has released a list of statements that he claims are from Baptist State Convention directors from around the country. To anyone concerned with transparency and accountability, these statements are troubling to say the least. To those familiar with denominational life, news of corruption in the convention is not surprising. What is surprising is that someone who has worked at a high level of denominational politics has finally decided to speak out. Quite frankly, this almost never happens and is often prevented by confidentiality agreements, fear, and high-dollar payoffs. Predictably, the reaction from top SBC brass is passive aggressive and nonspecific.
I encourage everyone to read the free e-book, The Cooperative Program at the Road to Serfdom, which presents a case that misdeeds are not appropriately identified and prevented in the Southern Baptist Convention. Instead, they are often obfuscated. Gag orders, bully tactics, and secrecy have no place among God’s covenant people. Hopefully, McRaney’s stand will encourage others to tell their own stories.
Just how many skeletons are there in NAMB’s cavernous closet? There is at least one for which there is no active confidentiality agreement to cover it up.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn, host of The Christian Commute]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
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