With Ed Litton’s announcement that he will not run for a second term as the Southern Baptist Convention’s president, the field has opened up with speculation about who might take his place after the SBC gathers in Anaheim this coming June.
One day after Litton made his announcement, Baptist Press reported that Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, FL, will be nominated by Clint Pressley, pastor of Hickory Grove Baptist, for the SBC presidency. In the following days, some speculated online whether a nomination was also coming for Voddie Baucham.
Baucham was the founding pastor of the SBC-affiliated Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas, and has served as Dean of Theology at African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia, since 2015. He serves on the board of Founders Ministries, a Reformed Baptist group within the SBC, and is on the steering council of the Conservative Baptist Network, an SBC group formed in 2020 to combat what it sees as a “liberal drift” in the SBC.
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Baucham is also the author of “Fault Lines: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe,” a 2021 book in which Baucham denounced critical race theory and social justice.
“Social justice is inherently incompatible with biblical justice,” Baucham has said.
Late last week, some began speculating about a Baucham candidacy, or at least expressing their desire for it, on social media. Some even went as far as to post images of a Bat-Signal with Baucham’s silhouette superimposed on the flood light.
On Friday, Baucham confirmed that he had been asked to accept a nomination for SBC president but did not indicate that he would.
“I have indeed been asked to accept a nomination for SBC President. While I am honored to have been asked, I am not sure I am eligible,” Baucham said in a statement to the Christian Post. “There are questions about the way church membership is considered for missionaries (SBC Article II and Article VIII).”
While Baucham planted an SBC church in Texas and serves in leadership for more than one SBC-affiliated entity, since he lives in Zambia, he is not connected to a local SBC church on a weekly basis. A requirement for eligibility to run for SBC president is that the nominee must be a member in good standing with a local SBC-affiliated church.
“As outlined in SBC Constitution Article VIII, officers of the convention must be members of a church in friendly cooperation with the Convention as stated in Article III. Employment status, whether as a missionary or any other vocation, is not germane to one’s eligibility for an elected office,” said SBC Executive Committee Vice President for Communications Jonathan Howe in a statement to ChurchLeaders.
Howe went on to clarify that local SBC churches have the final say in determining who their members are, saying, “As an autonomous body, a local church determines its own membership requirements as well as who it selects as its messengers to the SBC Annual Meeting.”
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