I am heartbroken! I was caught totally off-guard by a Facebook post linking to a news story about Dr. Frank Page stepping down as the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Convention due to a “morally inappropriate relationship.” I was certain that it was “fake news,” so I went to Google to verify my belief. Sadly, the story is true, and I am certain that Dr. Page will be vilified by Southern Baptists and non-Southern Baptists alike. I cannot imagine what non-believers will say because I know what believers will say. All I can do is to pray for Dr. Page, his family, and our beloved Convention.
Let me be clear: I am appalled that Dr. Page had a “morally inappropriate relationship,” but every one of us needs to declare that “but by the grace of God” we would be the guilty ones. In no way do I excuse his behavior, but it must be incredibly difficult for a man to stay grounded and focused on His walk with the Lord while receiving the accolades and praise of millions of people around the world. Billy Graham did it, but it was because he followed a strict set of guidelines that kept him guarded and accountable at all times. I’m sure that was not the case with Dr. Page as he traveled, and this should serve as a warning to the rest of us.
Dr. Page doesn’t need my advice, and he doesn’t need the condemnation that will no doubt be heaped upon him. While he doesn’t deserve any praise, and I certainly don’t mean to give him any, I am impressed by his transparency. He could have continued to work all the while hiding his sin, hoping that no one would ever know. He could have simply retired without saying a word (as he did at first) and take a chance that we would be none the wiser. Instead, he realized that his sinful behavior would most likely become public and that required public acknowledgement. I may be giving him too much credit, but I believe that Dr. Page “fell on his sword” to protect the reputation of the Southern Baptist Convention that he loves.
There is a lesson that all of us can learn from this because too often we miss out on this important step (public confession) for spiritual healing. Yes, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us….” Forgiveness comes through the grace of God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ His Son, and confession is what it takes to access that forgiveness. I could be wrong, but I feel certain that Dr. Page has taken care of this and has stopped his “morally inappropriate relationship.” So why did he go public other than the reason I stated above? Because according to James 5:16, in order for healing to take place, sometimes we have to “confess our trespasses one to another.” King David tried to hold it all in believing his sin with Bathsheba could be hidden, but he says that it was as if his bones were being crushed and he was wasting away (Psalm 32). Some would immediately reply that David felt he had only sinned against God and was confessing to God, but the proof is in the fact that we have at least 2 psalms (Psalm 51 is the other) publicly acknowledging his sin.
I am not a psychologist, but I know that guilt is a destroyer. It eats away at you from the inside. It causes physical, emotional, and spiritual problems that can all be resolved through forgiveness, and sometimes, it doesn’t even require forgiveness – just confession. While God is faithful to forgive a truly repentant person, sometimes people aren’t as gracious. Sometimes they want to hold on to their anger and bitterness, so they refuse to forgive. That is their problem – one we cannot do anything about. However, we can do what Scripture requires: confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness. And that, my friends, will go a long way to restoring joy into your life. But let me offer you some guidance about confession: confess your sins and nobody else’s.
So, even though Dr. Page will probably never see this, I want him to know two things. First, I want him to know that I am disappointed in him. I have looked up to him for years as the epitome of servant leadership as he guided our convention through difficult times, and he knew better than to behave this way. By the way, we all know better, so I do not say this with condemnation in my heart. But I also want him to know that I admire him for his repentant, transparent heart. Once again he has shown us that being a Christian doesn’t mean that we are perfect; just forgiven.
Thank you, sir, for your years of faithful service, and know this Southern Baptist pastor will be praying for you and your family.