Southern Baptist messengers, gathering this week in Nashville, have elected Alabama pastor Ed Litton to lead the denomination for the next two years.
The nominees vying for the two-year stint were Litton, Georgia pastor Mike Stone, and seminary leader Albert Mohler.
Results from the first ballot were as follows:
- Mohler: 23.62% (3,764 votes)
- Stone: 36.48% (5,216 votes)
- Litton: 32.38% (4,630 votes)
Results from a second-ballot runoff between Stone and Litton were as follows:
- Litton: 52.04% (6,834 votes)
- Stone: 47.82% (6,278 votes)
Stone was the preferred candidate of the Conservative Baptist Network, a newly formed group within the SBC that has vocally warned about the leftward drift of the conservative denomination. The group has denounced now-departed Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission leader Russell Moore for attacking Southern Baptists who voted for Donald Trump.
The SBC messengers also poured into Nashville after Moore attacked Stone, too.
Litton was viewed by some as the preferred candidate among liberals within the SBC.
Mohler was viewed by some as a middle-of-the road candidate who angered some in the denomination after endorsing Donald Trump last year.
The three leaders are each vying to lead a denomination that is shrinking in membership. In recent years, the denomination has witnessed internal debates over how to address racism, especially in the current climate of far-left wokeness, and how to deal with church leaders accused of sexual assault by victims who are demanding action.
The meeting was expected to be the largest in 25 years after more than 17,000 voting delegates had pre-registered to attend.