A Georgia pastor has thrown his hat into the ring to be considered for president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pastor Mike Stone is immediate past chairman of the SBC Executive Committee and senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia. He is also on the steering committee of the recently formed Conservative Baptist Network, an affiliation of churches concerned with a perceived leftward drift in the Southern Baptist denomination.
Biblical apologist Dr. Alex McFarland says it's appropriate for a pastor to head the SBC.
"I believe it is very important that the president of the Southern Baptist Convention be a pastor because, first and foremost, the SBC is all about ministry and the Great Commission," says McFarland.
Prior to Stone's nomination, Dr. Al Mohler – president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – was running for the position unopposed. McFarland says Stone will better represent the average Southern Baptist.
"While I appreciate Christian higher education, it's shepherds – not
theologians – that most of the parishioners can relate to," he explains.
The Conservative Baptist Network was formed in the wake of the SBC adopting a resolution saying it was acceptable to use Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality as cultural sounding boards when looking to a biblical position on racial and other social justice issues. The Network, in contrast, believes those philosophies are antithetical to scripture and should be rejected. McFarland agrees:
"You can call it liberalism or more recently it's called 'being woke' – but even the Southern Baptist seminaries have professors who are woke, [and] many of the SBC schools have presidents who are woke. [For them, it's] more about being in step with the times and progressive than [being] unflinchingly faithful to the Word of God."
The current SBC president is North Carolina pastor Dr. J.D. Greear, who has served in that role since June 2018. His successor will be chosen when SBC "messengers" (delegates) meet in Nashville June 13-14, 2021.