Updated: Mar 24, 2022
The SBC Presidential race heats up…
It seems like the Southern Baptist Convention is gearing up for another fight for the Presidency. With Ed Litton’s announcement that he will not seek a second term, the nominations have already begun rolling out.
Several weeks ago, Florida megachurch pastor Willy Rice was nominated for the SBC Presidency. Rice represents the mainline SBC candidate. He comes from a big Church, has served on the right committees, held the prestigious positions, and has preached the appropriate prestigious sermons. You can read more here.
Just this week, another Florida pastor has been nominated: Tom Ascol. Ascol is a pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. He has served this church since 1986. Ascol is also the head of a ministry named Founders Ministries. Whereas Rice’s nomination comes from the pastor of Hickory-Grove Baptist in Charlotte (a fellow mega-church), Ascol’s nomination comes as a signed statement from 12 SBC leaders. You can read Ascol’s personal statement here.
Ascol is a somewhat controversial candidate due to his views on certain cultural issues and his ties with Voddie Baucham.
Who said Anything about Critical Race Theory?
The issues of critical race theory and intersectionality, which I’ve written about here, continue to lurk within the Convention. Ascol represents the main voice, at the SBC’s national level, against these ideologies. Some of his supporters view him kind of like a John the Baptist, or an Elijah…a voice crying out in the wilderness.
Ascol has made quite a stir at the last 2 annual meetings over the issues, and Founders has even released a full-length cine-doc which attempts to show the presence of both CRT and Intersectionality within the convention.
As Ascol’s own statement notes, this will be his platform.
What does this Mean?
I think the main thing this indicates to the average Southern Baptist is that factionalism is continuing to grow within the larger SBC.
In the lead up to last year’s annual meeting, I noted that a major issue seemed to be a growing factionalism within the convention. That trend seems to be continuing.
I fully expect to see another 1 or 2 nominations come forward before the Convention meets in June…but who knows.
Both Rice and Ascol seem to be faithful Pastors in their respective churches, although they come from two very different models. Rice leads a multi-site megachurch that numbers in the thousands. Ascol Pastors a normative sized SBC Church; somewhere in the 250-300 attendance range.
Personally, I would like to see Dr. Al Mohler run again. I continue to think he is the man for the hour. He possesses a strong Christian character, an unsurpassed intellect, a shrewd cultural understanding, proven institutional leadership, and a love for SBC Churches. But I do not expect that he will allow his name to be put forward again.
But, I’ve already advocated for a no-name shepherd with a lifetime of faithful pastoring? Why would I support someone like Mohler?
While I stand by my earlier point about a no-name shepherd, the reality is that the SBC is a national institution. Shepherds are going to concern themselves with their churches, and not with leading institutions. And that is right. Dr. Mohler knows what he's doing. We ought to let him.
We need to Pray
Whatever happens, we need to be praying over the life of the Southern Baptist Convention— praying for its leaders, its churches, and its reputation for Christ in the world.
We’ll stay tuned, and we’ll keep watching…