Bart Barber, who serves as pastor for First Baptist Church in Farmsville, Texas, is expected to accept a nomination for SBC president from SBC Pastors’ Conference president Matt Henslee at the annual meeting of the denomination in June.
Since his candidacy was announced on April 7, Barber has emphasized civility among Southern Baptists and has even begun using a Twitter hashtag to reflect that vision. On April 18, he tweeted, “Apparently, you’re supposed to have a hashtag. I think I’ll go with #ArmyOfPeacemakers.”
Fellow SBC presidential candidate Tom Ascol has been employing the hashtag #changethedirection, emphasizing his belief that the SBC has been drifting toward progressive ideologies and must alter course.
For the last couple of weeks, Barber has been fielding questions on Twitter about his vision for his SBC presidential bid, as well as a range of other topics. However, on Tuesday (April 19), he expressed frustration that, due to the nature of the platform, questions often splinter out into a complex network of threads.
“For that reason, later today I will be revealing a web page that will be a public repository of all of my answers to the questions most frequently asked of me,” Barber tweeted. “I’m not afraid of questions. I believe in transparency and accountability for people who serve our family of churches. I’m just trying to find the most efficient way to answer whatever good-faith questions people may have.”
On that webpage, which is housed on FBC Farmville’s website, Barber explains his understanding of how the role of the SBC president should function, why he is building his platform on the idea of peace, and the particulars of his theological convictions. He also shares his thoughts on Critical Race Theory and sermon plagiarism, and he responds to what he calls the “rogue’s gallery of wild accusations” against him.
Barber on His Vision for SBC Presidency
Barber, who says that he only chose to accept a nomination when he “came to the end” of his stubbornness, says that “the Southern Baptist Convention is healthier when we follow the consistent, long-term vision set by the messenger body than when a new vision arises every year or two as we elect new officers.”
“My vision, then, is to fix our focus not on ‘my vision’ but on our vision,” Barber says. “The president protects the rights of the messenger body by conducting the meeting fairly and according to our rules of order. The person holding that gavel on the platform is there not to advance an agenda but to receive one.”
Further discussing his hashtag #ArmyOfPeacemakers, Barber explains where the idea came from.
“I stared in disbelief and laughed out loud when, while performing research for my dissertation, I discovered that way back in 1902, when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention faced a looming split, they appointed a ‘Peace Committee,’” Barber says. “It was such a startling discovery for me because I had lived through the time when in 1987 the Southern Baptist Convention had convened a ‘Peace Committee’ during the Conservative Resurgence. Neither effort achieved its goals.”