Roger Spradlin, a California pastor who was one of the architects of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (BFM), has died at the age of 68 after a battle with cancer.
Spradlin was the co-pastor of Valley Baptist Church of Bakersfield, which he helped found in 1985. He retired in February. Spradlin was also a member of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) 1999-2000 Baptist Faith & Message Study Committee, the group that produced the SBC’s current statement of faith.
Spradlin’s church confirmed his passing via a statement on Sunday.
“On behalf of our family, it is with a heavy heart that I share with you that Pastor Roger passed from this world and entered the presence of Jesus on Sunday morning, November 5, 2023, while our church was singing ‘Goodness of God,’” the church said. “While we had some really great moments this past year, it was also filled with a lot of suffering. But God was merciful and answered our prayers as Pastor Roger has been at such peace and in such comfort over the last several weeks.”
The statement added that Spradlin “passed very peaceably and comfortably,” surrounded by family.
“We deeply mourn our loss, but also rejoice knowing that he is now in heaven with our wonderful Savior and many loved ones who have gone on before,” the church said. “Our entire family is so thankful for all of your love and prayers! We will be sending out the details of the funeral arrangements very soon.”
Spradlin is survived by his wife of 46 years, three children, and 10 grandchildren.
In addition to his long tenure as a local church pastor, Spradlin was an influential figure in the SBC. According to Baptist Press, he served as chairman of the SBC Executive Committee from 2010-2012, chairman of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary board of trustees from 1999-2001, and president of the California Southern Baptist Convention from 1997-1999.
He was also one of 15 Southern Baptists who worked together to amend and expand the SBC’s statement of faith. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 was adopted by Southern Baptist delegates, called messengers, at the 2000 annual meeting of the convention in Orlando, Florida.
This was the first time the BFM had been updated since 1963 and is seen by many as one of the capstone achievements of the so-called “conservative resurgence,” a decades-long movement to oust liberal Baptists from the SBC.