Next week, the Southern Baptists will hold their annual convention in Nashville where it will elect a new president to lead the denomination through some very important and difficult times that involve their take on issues like the interpretation and application of scriptural truth, race, sexual integrity and holiness and involvement in national politics. Currently, there are four announced candidates interested in becoming the Convention’s next President. They are:
Randy Adams who has served as Executive Director and Treasurer of the Northwest Baptist Convention since 2013.
Ed Litton is the long-time pastor of Redemption Church in Mobile, Alabama.
Mike Stone is pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia.
Albert Mohler Jr. has served as the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for decades as well as the current President of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Mohler released a video this week by Twitter where he promised what he would bring to the task as President of the large and influential denomination if elected.
A Word from the Heart About the Southern Baptist Convention — I wanted to share this video message with you. pic.twitter.com/LcYTt8Td50
— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) June 8, 2021
Mohler begins by explaining the main question that will be looming over next week’s convention is “How do we move forward together?” as various unnamed contentious issues have been building for within the denominations recently and over the last few years. He states that many members left their 2019 convention in Birmingham “with real concerns about the future.” There was no convention meeting in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Mohler stated he intends to “offer statesmanship, a steady hand, denominational experience, theological conviction, and a calm spirit to all Southern Baptists.” He then offered 10 specific steps he will take to “help Southern Baptists move forward together.”
First, will be his call to Southern Baptists to “back our bedrock convictions, not just in a general affirmation but in way that will highlight the beliefs that we share and that we must not compromise.” He contends Southern Baptists have “neglected giving adequate attention to doctrine” since 2000.
Second, Mohler explained he will use his influence to call Southern Baptists to “talk to each other about the issues of strain and stress” within their denomination. He adds, “For some reason, it seems that Southern Baptists have developed an allergy to talking to each other openly and honestly about difficult issues.” He added how such a habit would not work well for any family and it won’t work well for the church. “I intend to put Southern Baptists …who may disagree on some issues ….in rooms with each other, taking to each other about how to move forward.” Mohler said this process would not be easy, but “we are much better when we are working together in a room than when we are shouting at each other from afar.”
Third, Mohler will encourage Southern Baptists “to avoid gathering in separate corners as if we are waiting for a fight in the ring.” He explained that if Southern Baptist only connect with and engage those with whom they agree on disputed issues, “there is no way to move forward.” He continued, “We cannot become the United States Congress, divided into caucuses. I will make sure every Southern Baptist is represented at the table.”
Fourth, he promised he would represent Southern Baptists “before the watching world with fidelity and respect.” He explained, “I want Southern Baptists to be proud and confident when they know the SBC President is speaking. I will tell the world what Southern Baptist believe, proudly.”
Fifth, he said he will work to make SBC leaders more accessible to all members in unofficial settings because this will build more trust.
Sixth, Mohler stated he will seek to draw SBC leaders at all levels into closer, intentional cooperation with each other on a regular basis. “We have to invest time together if we are going to work together” he explained.
Seventh, he said he will lead the denomination in a way that will avoid embarrassment. He charged that too much leadership in the recent past has brought shame on the church.
Eight, “I will encourage Southern Baptists to talk to each other, rather than to tweet at each other.” He explained that social media platforms too often poison people’s ability to work together.
Next, he promised “I will tell Southern Baptists the truth. Always.”
Finally, Mohler explained he will “lead with joy” because joy comes from Christ. He closed by encouraging Southern Baptists next week, “to leave Nashville together.”
The Daily Citizen will be following the developments at next week’s convention in Nashville.
Photo from Facebook