Home Christian News Willy Rice To Nominate Mike Stone for SBC President To Combat ‘Left...

Willy Rice To Nominate Mike Stone for SBC President To Combat ‘Left Wing, Feminist Critical Theory, Cancel Culture, Politics’

Willy Rice Mike Stone
(L) Willy Rice (R) Mike Stone—Photos courtesy of Baptist Press.

In a somewhat surprising announcement yesterday (June 5), Willy Rice, senior pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Florida, said that he would nominate Mike Stone, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, for president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at the denomination’s annual meeting in New Orleans next week.

Stone is set to run against incumbent Bart Barber.

Rice was slated to run for SBC president himself in 2022 before withdrawing his name two months prior to the meeting after disclosing that a member of his deacon body had, many years ago, “committed a sexual sin that could also be described as abusive.” Days after Rice’s withdrawal, Barber was announced as a 2022 nominee, going on to beat Tom Ascol of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida.

In 2021, Rice backed Ed Litton, senior pastor of Redemption Church in Saraland, Alabama, who went on to beat Stone in a close run-off to become the SBC’s 63rd president.

RELATED: SBC Presidential Nominee Mike Stone Says the SBC Needs a ‘More Biblical’ Sex Abuse Reform Task Force

Stone previously served as the chairman of the SBC’s Executive Committee and has been on the SBC’s Resolutions Committee.

Rice said that while his announcement to nominate Stone “would have been unthinkable” even just a short time ago, he recently experienced a change of heart about Barber and “the status quo.”

Rice’s announcement means he will stand before the SBC voting delegates, called messengers, to give a speech on Stone’s behalf prior to the vote.

“Two years ago, when Mike ran for SBC president and lost a narrow election, I enthusiastically supported my friend Ed Litton,” Rice said. “I rejoiced when Ed won. I didn’t know Mike but disagreed with him on several issues and especially felt concern over the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN). I found some of their voices to be overly divisive and unnecessarily caustic.”

Rice shared that he “strongly supports” the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB), the SBC’s two mission boards. He also said he loves the leadership and believes that “the overwhelming consensus of Baptist leaders are rock solid in their biblical convictions.”

Rice clarified that he is not part of the CBN and does not endorse everything they “have said or written.” Nevertheless, he does not believe that the concerns raised by the CBN should be ignored or dismissed.

Rice argued that if elected, Stone, who is on the CBN’s steering council, would not be representing and acting on behalf of the CBN, but rather “serving us all” as the SBC president.