LOUISVILLE, KY — R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has announced he will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the 2021 annual meeting.
Mohler issued the proclamation in an article with the Southern Baptist TEXAN today. Southern’s president, who came to the Louisville campus after serving as editor of The Christian Index from 1989-1993, was to be a nominee at the 2020 annual meeting ultimately canceled due to COVID-19.
“Anything that has happened in the last several months has only amplified the reasons I was willing this year to be nominated and now next year since the convention was delayed,” he said in the TEXAN article. “I think Southern Baptists face some incredible challenges and some very real issues, and I think we need to have the kinds of conversations that will clarify issues and bring Southern Baptists together.
“And we’ve got to address some questions of urgency, as the SBC moves into the 21st century. I would hope to serve Southern Baptists by helping the right conversations to take place in the right way.”
The 2021 annual meeting set for June 15-16 in Nashville looks to be one of the more highly-attended and contentious in recent memory. In addition to voting for a new president, topics such as the ministerial and financial effects of COVID-19, critical race theory, and caring for sexual abuse victims will accompany SBC business centered around the most effective ways to share the gospel.
Recently, Southern Seminary responded to those calling for names associated with the school to be removed because of ties to slavery. One of those, Joseph Emerson Brown, was a former governor of Georgia who utilized the practice of Black convict labor – basically a form of slavery – long after the end of the Civil War.
Instead of removing the names, Southern trustees declared the Joseph Emerson Brown Chair of Christian Theology, held by Mohler, to be vacant as well as provide up to $5 million in scholarships for African American students over the coming years.
“We’ve got some very real theological and moral issues to deal with just in terms of our engagement with the culture and where we stand,” Mohler told The TEXAN in a January interview. “There are some ideologies set loose in the larger society that will be absolutely toxic to biblical Christianity. Southern Baptists need to be very clear that many of these ideologies, including critical theory, have no place in the Southern Baptist Convention and are antithetical to the confessional basis of our denomination. At the same time, we’ve got to show that we are a gospel denomination of biblical Christians who are committed to talk to one another about these things with respect and to seek agreement.”
Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, where Mohler is a member, contributed $66,000 through the Cooperative Program in 2019, a number reflecting 6.1 percent of the church’s $1,075,000 in undesignated receipts.