By David Roach
NASHVILLE (BP) — The search committee seeking the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has “identified God’s candidate for such a time as this” and will announce the nominee “very soon,” search committee vice chairman Adron Robinson reported yesterday (Feb. 19).
The search committee also responded to criticism that has surfaced this month regarding its consideration of non-Anglo candidates.
Reporting to a meeting of the EC in Nashville, Robinson, pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Country Club Hills, Illinois, said the search committee cannot announce the candidate’s name yet because they have not officially notified the person of their intent to nominate him. When the search committee is ready to announce the nominee’s name, it will be released first to the full EC and then through Baptist Press.
EC chairman Mike Stone, an ex officio member of the search committee, referenced “unfortunate” criticism the search committee has received, noting a letter it received from four individuals even though media reports only noted three of them. The fourth sender, Stone said, asked to remain anonymous.
“Every” candidate submitted “has been seriously considered, for every submission is a sacred trust from Southern Baptists,” said Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist church in Blackshear. “Your committee has been both unanimous and unified at every single turn.”
From the time the committee was elected in April, “God was guiding us,” Stone said. A secret ballot election yielded “the most diverse group that you could get from a group of six Baptists,” exhibiting diversity in age, ethnicity, gender, and experience.
Stone became the seventh member of the committee when he was elected EC chairman in June and became an ex officio member of the search team.
A special called meeting of the EC is likely to take up the search committee’s nomination before the EC’s next scheduled meeting in June, Stone said.
David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.