Texas pastor Bart Barber re-elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention


NEW ORLEANS — Texas pastor Bart Barber has won election to a second term as president of the Southern Baptist Convention, fending off a challenge by Georgia pastor Mike Stone.

With 11,014 ballots cast, Barber received 7,531 votes to Stone’s 3,458 votes.

The election coincided with other significant issues that pushed up attendance at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans. Chief among those was whether to back the ouster of churches that have women serving as pastors.

Both Barber and Stone ran on conservative bona fides, including opposition to women serving as pastors, saying scripture allows only men to be in the position.

Houston pastor Jarrett Stephens nominated Barber for a second term, saying the Southern Baptist Convention has flourished under his leadership with more churches being planted and more financial support being contributed for state, national and international ministries and missions.

Stephens told messengers Barber has also led well in the push for sexual abuse reforms in the SBC.

“I am grateful for how Bart has led us,” he said. “He is not owed a second term, but he has more than earned it.”
Florida pastor Willy Rice nominated Stone, painting a less rosy picture of conditions within the SBC and telling messengers Stone would lead well in turbulent times.

“He is a man of conviction, and conviction molded by courage is what an hour marked by apostasy and idolatry demands,” Rice said. “You can attack him. You can revile him. You can belittle him on Twitter with all the decorum of a middle school food fight, but this man will not bend, and this man will not fold. He has a spine of conviction as strong as his name. You won’t have to wonder if he will stand, and you won’t have to guess where he will stand.”

Stone, a former SBC Executive Committee chairman, said he had reluctantly opted to run after being encouraged by church leaders who voiced concern about the trajectory of the denomination.

“I respect the general precedent of allowing a president two terms,” he said in a Q&A with the Index. “But these are not status quo days, and they do not call for nuanced leadership. We are on an unsustainable trajectory.”

Stone said auditors doing a financial review of the SBC Executive Committee found spending to be on an unsustainable course.

“This crisis is largely because of presidentially appointed groups that have led us in an unhealthy direction in the discussion of sexual abuse reform,” he said.

Stone also was critical of SBC leaders for continuing a contract with Guidepost Solutions, a New York firm that investigated the SBC’s handling of sexual abuse complaints, after it sent out a tweet in support of the LGBTQ+ community. On Monday, the Executive Committee said it would look to other companies to complete the SBC’s work on sexual abuse reforms.

“I think we should choose to support Christian companies that exemplify our values wherever we can,” Barber had told the Index. “Living in this ever-degrading culture, we already face difficult decisions when no suitable Christian company exists to provide services that we need. Those sorts of difficult choices are only going to become more common until the Lord sends spiritual awakening to our land.”