EDITOR’S NOTE — The Baptist Paper reached out to each of the three individuals who have announced intentions to be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim, June 14–15. To read the responses of the other two candidates that will be posted, click here and here.
Current position and title
Pastor, Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, Florida
Years of ministry service overall
How do you define the role of the SBC president?
The president of the SBC is the officer elected by the convention to serve as moderator of its next annual meeting and to appoint the members of three committees: Committee on Committees, Resolutions Committee and Tellers Committee. The president also serves as an ex-officio member of the various boards of trustees of our SBC entities and agencies.
Unofficially, the president speaks from within the context of our convention of churches and is able to call attention to matters of concern and help encourage conversations about vital biblical emphases.
Given those responsibilities, the president has an opportunity to help the convention think about matters that are vital to our cooperative efforts of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
What do you hope to bring to Southern Baptists if you are elected president?
I would hope to carry out my responsibilities with integrity and honesty — moderating fairly and appointing to committees men and women who will serve Southern Baptists well.
In addition, I would hope to promote convention-wide conversations about the fear of God and our need to humble ourselves before Him as we think seriously about His law (the 10 Commandments) and His gospel.
I would also hope to encourage new training processes for our boards of trustees, to provide them careful instruction about their fiduciary responsibilities to hold our entities and agencies accountable to the churches of the SBC.
The convention will no doubt need to respond wisely and lovingly to the Sex Abuse Task Force report, which will provide us with the opportunity to think carefully from Scripture and our Baptist polity about [processes] and systems we can implement to help churches deal not only with sex abuse but also other problems that may from time to time arise within their memberships.
Second Timothy 3:16–17 assures us all Scripture has not only been “breathed out by God” but is also “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness so the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So, I am confident the Lord will guide us by His word and Spirit in ways that will honor Him and enable us to do what we ought to do.
Fortunately, our Baptist history also provides us some helpful examples of ways those who have gone before us have handled difficult, important issues under the authority of Scripture.
I would hope to rally godly, wise, faithful Southern Baptists to help chart a course forward that will strengthen our witness to the lordship of Jesus Christ and His great love for people.
What was the determining factor in your decision to allow your name to be nominated for president?
Many people whom I deeply respect prevailed on me to do so. I have had conversations about this prospect for years with well-intentioned people, but over the last six months those conversations became more frequent and more serious, involving more people.
Once my wife and the leaders of Grace Baptist Church became convinced I should allow my name to be put forward, after much prayer, thinking and counsel, I agreed I could honor the Lord by doing so.
Obviously, I do not know if He would have Southern Baptist messengers elect me to that role, but regardless of what happens in Anaheim, my goal will be to continue to seek His honor in the aftermath.
What is the biggest challenge facing Southern Baptists, and how would you respond to that challenge as SBC president?
Southern Baptists, along with all evangelicals in America, are facing many challenges so it is hard to say what is the biggest.
Certainly, near the top of the list is the onslaught of acidic ideologies that are rapidly spreading throughout our culture.
Over the last few years it has become undeniable that neo-Marxist and postmodern ways of thinking about relationships, ethics and institutions have gained ascendency throughout society such that it is no longer shocking to hear someone say things like, “I am a woman trapped in a man’s body.” This is an assault not only on creation and nature, but on God Himself.
Southern Baptists must come to terms with the realities of this brave new world and recommit ourselves to the mission our Lord Jesus has given us.
Our marching orders have not changed, but if we are going to make disciples today we must return to a humble fear of the true and living God and recommit ourselves to live confidently under the complete authority of His written Word. We must commit ourselves to its inerrancy, infallibility and sufficiency for carrying out our mission.
We must be willing to believe that Word, obey that Word and follow that Word wherever it leads us regardless of cost or consequence.