Frank Page has announced his retirement from active ministry and his resignation from his role as president and chief executive officer of the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) Executive Committee over what he described as a "morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past."
In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, Page noted that he had initially announced his retirement without providing an explanation for his sudden departure.
"Out of a desire to protect my family and those I have hurt, I initially announced my retirement earlier today without a complete explanation," he said, as reported by Baptist Press.
"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," he added.
Page, 65, had been serving as the president of the executive committee since 2010 and has been instrumental in coordinating the work of the SBC'S national ministries, including two mission boards, six seminaries and other entities.
He had been overseeing a Cooperative Program budget of nearly $200 million yearly and he had been building relationships with 42 state and regional Baptist conventions and more than 47,000 Southern Baptist churches across the U.S.
Florida pastor Stephen Rummage, chairman of the Executive Committee, noted that he had learned about Page's reason for his resignation on Tuesday when the committee officers met with him via phone conference the previous night.
"This news will, we understand, bring great sorrow. I have shared with the Executive Committee officers what Dr. Page shared with me, including Dr. Page's repentance and deep regret that his actions have caused pain for others," Rummage wrote in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.
Rummage said that the EC is now working on a transition plan, in accordance with the organization's bylaws, and will also begin a formal search for a new executive committee president.
Page, who had served as president of the SBC from 2006 to 2008, has been credited with mending several disputes within the denomination, including when he helped bring Calvinists and non-Calvinists together in 2013 during a controversy about the theology of salvation.
Before serving as EC' president in 2010, he was the vice president of evangelization for the North American Mission Board, from 2009-2010.
His term as president of the EC has been marked by his strong calls for personal evangelism, strong support for the Cooperative Program channel of Southern Baptist missions and ministry support, as well as the inclusion of numerous ethnic groups, women, young leaders and small-church pastors in the life of the SBC.