Southern Baptist University President Resigns, Citing Issues With Church

October 23, 2020

Southwest Baptist University's president, Eric Turner, submitted his resignation this week.

The move follows conflicts between the university and the Missouri Baptist Convention, the university’s denominational church sponsor, the Springfield News-Leader reported. Turner will leave office Nov. 20.

In recent years, the university and the church have sparred over “doctrinal instability” and allegations of clergy sex abuse. Turner cited the university’s changing relationship with the Missouri Baptist Convention as a reason for his departure.

“As the university and Missouri Baptist Convention rearticulate their long-standing relationship, I think it is vital for the two entities to have a fresh start with a new leader at the helm,” Turner wrote in a statement released Wednesday.

Southwest Baptist, a small private university in Bolivar, Mo., enrolls just over 3,000 students. The university reopened to students for face-to-face instruction this fall.

Brad Johnson, vice president of institutional advancement at the university, will become acting president Nov. 21.

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