Candidates bring unique testimonies, positions, and experiences as messengers consider future SBC president


SUWANEE, Ga. – Six prospects currently stand as candidates to fill the role of SBC President soon to be vacated by Bill Barber as he completes his second term.

The six candidates are:

Dan Spencer, senior pastor, First Baptist Church, Sevierville, TN
Bruce Frank, lead pastor, Biltmore Baptist Church, Asheville, NC
Clint Pressley, senior pastor, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC
Mike Keahbone, lead pastor, First Baptist Church, Lawton, OK
David Allen, professor and dean, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, Cordova, TN
Jared Moore, senior pastor, Homesteads Baptist Church, Crossville, TN

Messengers will consider the candidates and elect a new president at the SBC annual meeting scheduled for June 11-12 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

CI presented seven questions to the candidates for response. Answers provided by each candidate are shared without edits of any kind. Due to the number of candidates and length of some responses, this is an exceptionally long story.

Index: We’re certain our readers would like to hear your Christian testimony and about your call to ministry. Let’s begin with that.

Spencer: As a PK/EK (preacher’s kid/evangelist’s kid), I was raised in a godly Christian home. The preaching and teaching of the gospel was both a priority and a family calling. When I was 16 years old, under deep conviction of my sin, I was saved at my parents’ beside late one night. The summer I graduated from high school (1986), I was part of a youth choir tour mission trip to Toronto, Canada from my home church, Brownsville Baptist Church in Brownsville, Tennessee. On that trip I sensed God’s call to ministry, and I accepted that call. Since then, I have served as a US-2 missionary with the Home Mission Board (now NAMB), a minister of music & youth, an associate pastor under my Dad, and a senior pastor for the last 24 years.

Frank: I grew up in a good home but not a strong Christian home. The Lord saved my three brothers, and they shared the gospel with me. A basketball coach ended up leading me to faith in Christ at age 17. I was a financial major in college but was discipled very intentionally. The Lord called me to ministry my senior year of college at Texas Tech.

Pressley: I was lead to Christ as an 11 year old at a summer camp and pretty soon there aftersensed a call to ministry. My family wasn’t southern baptist at the time. When I was 16 I visited a Baptist church (the one I pastor now) and heard clear doctrinal preaching for the first time. Me and my family joined the church and I’ve been a southern baptist since. I have a deep sense of indebtedness to the SBC and Hickory Grove. 

Keahbone: I am Native American, and I am a member the Comanche tribe. I grew up in the small town of Elgin, Oklahoma in a very lost and broken family that was riddled with alcohol and drug addiction. One summer, during my early elementary school years, an old multi-colored church bus pulled up to my house. I recognized that it was a “church bus” because it had “First Baptist Church” written on it. I immediately did what I had been taught to do, by my family, when religious people came by the house; I hid in the living room closet! A little old lady made her way to our front door and knocked relentlessly for what seemed like forever. We were too poor for air conditioning, so I eventually gave in and answered the door. I was quickly invited to Vacation Bible School, and I just as quickly turned down the offer. I did not want anything to do with any kind of school during the summer! She knew that she was losing me and immediately began to share about the cookies and kool-aid that would be at VBS every day. She got me. I signed up and started VBS the very next week. That was my introduction to FBC Elgin, and they would quickly introduce me to the Jesus that they loved. They showed this poor broken little boy who Jesus was through their unconditional love and their practical ministry to me and to my family. I was not saved during those years at FBC Elgin, but they were my village and they planted and continually watered the seed of the Gospel in my life. On November 1, 1990, as a freshman in college, I attended a Baptist Student Union campus revival and was miraculously and gloriously saved as I surrendered my heart and life to Jesus. I was immediately discipled and mentored by the leaders of the BSU and it was not long before I began praying about a call to ministry. In the Spring of 1991 on a BSU mission trip to a small church in Kiowa, Kansas I was called to ministry. I have been serving in SBC churches ever since.

Allen: ​I came to know the Lord at the age of 9 at West Rome Baptist Church in Rome, GA. God called me to preach in 1973 when I was 16 years old under the preaching ministry of Dr. Jerry Vines who was pastor of my home church during my teenage years. I have been preaching the word now for over 50 years.  

Moore: I grew up in Sparta, TN. My parents raised my three sisters and I in Shiloh Church of God of Prophecy. When I was 15 years of age, I started attending Gum Springs Baptist Church in Walling, TN with a friend. I was saved at 17 years of age there. I had always assumed that if I was good enough, God would save me. But my parents and Southern Baptists taught me that salvation was by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

The two Southern Baptists that made the biggest difference in my life were Aaron and Beverly Barlow. Aaron was a former marine who fought in Vietnam. He was a rough fella, but loved the Lord, and he loved me and my friends. He taught us to love and believe God’s Word, to love His church, and to love others. Each summer, Aaron and Beverly would use their vacation time to take our youth group to Laguna Beach Christian retreat in Panama City. They would cook three meals a day for the entire group. I also went on my first mission trips with them. I’m a Christian today and a pastor in large part due to their love for me.

When I was 18 years of age, I believed the Lord may be calling me into pastoral ministry. I came forward to let my church know. They voted for me and two other young men to be youth ministry interns at the church. We all are still SBC pastors today, and each of us was ordained to the gospel ministry at Gum Springs. I’ve been in ministry now for 24 years. And since I began, I’ve met hundreds of Southern Baptists like Aaron and Beverly Barlow. They represent what Southern Baptists are, a people who love Jesus, believe the Bible, and love others.

I love Southern Baptists and want my children and grandchildren to grow up to be Southern Baptists and to be loved by Southern Baptists.

Index: What is happening within the SBC, or not happening, that caused you to be willing to accept a nomination this year? Why now, at this specific time in history? 

Spencer: What Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10 could be said of the SBC at this time: “You are worried and troubled about many things, but one thing is needed…” As we struggle with issue after issue, as urgent and needful as they may seem, our attention and resources are being diverted away from our “one thing”: making disciples who will be mobilized to evangelize our neighbors, our nation, and the nations of the world. What M. E. Dodd called our “unity of purpose” is in danger of being divided up into many issue-focused camps. As a pastor without a camp, I think I can help us to regain that unity of purpose that has always been our greatest strength. As a Southern Baptist who is not mad at anybody and who doesn’t have an ax to grind, I think I am in a position to build consensus among our churches. We have an opportunity next year in Dallas to celebrate 100 years of Cooperative Program giving and to refocus on our mission. Being president of the SBC is nothing I have ever aspired to, but the possibility of being part of that is exciting to me.

Frank: After about 6 months of praying and getting godly counsel, I decided to be willing to be nominated. The four main areas of emphasis can be seen in detail at

Pressley: I agreed to run this year because I love the SBC and want to see it strong, healthy and conservative. I want to lead with joyful conviction and do what I can to help us put our attention back on what we do best. I don’t deny that we have problems, I just don’t think they are insurmountable problems. We need to get our house in order but it is a great house. I want to be a part of making sure we are doctrinally strong and committed to the Great Commission.  

Keahbone: Honestly, I was not called to run because of anything other than the Lord. I was asked by a good friend and leader in our convention about my thoughts of ever running for SBC president. I was caught off guard and had to confess that it had never crossed my mind. From that point forward, I could not shake it from my heart or my mind. I began a season of prayer, personally, and then shared my heart with my wife. After praying as a family, then with our church staff and lay leadership, I felt a complete peace in surrendering to the call. I asked the Lord to raise up a nominator, and the Lord was gracious in sending Victor Chayasirisobhon to be the one. This is a matter of obedience to me, not a mission to fix something.

Allen: I was at first reluctant to accept a nomination as president of the convention. Last fall, people began to contact me and ask me if I would be open to running. I said, “absolutely not.” But over time, others began to ask me the same question. Some told me that had prayed about it and felt led to contact me. Some of these were people whom I did not even know personally.

Finally, I conceded to allow my name in nomination because I sensed God’s prompting. I did so because after consulting my wife, Kate, and after much prayer, we both felt led of God to proceed. I did so because I owe so much to Southern Baptists. I did so because I believe our convention has been and can continue to be useful in service to God’s kingdom. I did so because the difficulties are many and the need of the hour is great. I can only confess that as best I know my heart, my motives are simply to follow what I perceive to be God’s will, and to serve my fellow Southern Baptists as best I know how.

Moore: Some Southern Baptist pastors approached me about being nominated for SBC President. Dusty Deevers, an SBC pastor in Oklahoma, is nominating me. I accepted the nomination so that I could emphasize the Law Amendment, and at least these four points:

1. Financial Transparency

First, SBC entities should be financially transparent, submitting at least a 990-level disclosure to Southern Baptists at the annual meeting every year. The main reason is because SBC entities are accountable to the churches that fund their operations with their tithes. But as it stands currently, Southern Baptists do not know how their money is spent, with much detail, at our various entities. For churches to know that they are being good stewards by giving to the Cooperative Program, our entities must show how they spend God’s money.

Each local church is transparent in their financial spending to their members. And SBC entities should be held to the same standard local churches are held to concerning financial transparency. Otherwise, there is no way local church pastors can answer whether their church’s gifts are being spent wisely by SBC entities. At the very least, how the money was spent at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary under Adam Greenway’s leadership was not an example of good stewardship of God’s money. And the trustees permitted it for years, but financial transparency would have prevented it; and it would have stopped lavish spending in the past at our entities as well.

2. Biblical Ethics

Second, Southern Baptists should be the leading prophetic voice for biblical ethics in America and beyond. The greatest moral issue in the United States is abortion, the murder of over one million babies every year. The only way to end abortion is to treat the unborn with the same dignity and worth as everyone else, like Scripture does. Image-bearers begin living at conception; they’re only small and young. Therefore, every person voluntarily involved in an abortion must be held morally and legally accountable for murder. Otherwise, abortion will never be abolished. Imagine if your mother was killed by a hitman, and the law-makers held everyone accountable except the person who hired the hitman. Do you think you’d ever abolish murder-by-hitman? No. And we’ll never abolish abortion either if we don’t hold everyone involved in murdering the unborn accountable, including the mothers who voluntarily murder their babies through taking pills or through having doctors murder them.

After abortion, the next greatest moral issue in the United States is the idol of LGBTQ+. Over the past several years, we’ve heard SBC Presidents, professors, and pastors claim that “the Bible whispers about homosexual sin,” and that, “when a ‘homosexual’ is saved, he’s called to be holy not heterosexual.” And a growing number have claimed that same-sex and trans attractions and desires are not sin, which means that attraction and desires for children are not sin either. Instead of compromising with the world, Southern Baptists must clearly preach God’s word, trusting His law to slay our hearers so that they will run to Christ to be healed eternally. Southern Baptists must preach that same-sex, trans, and pedo attractions and desires are sin, and that Christ can save and change any sinner!

3. Reaching Rural Communities

Third, one of the SBC’s strengths is her churches located in rural communities. For more than a decade, the SBC has had a special emphasis on church planting in America’s cities. Amen. We need to plant churches in our cities. That’s why I’m nominating Michael Clary, an SBC church planter in Cincinnati, for 1st VP of the SBC this year. Yet, in seeking to reach the cities, we must make sure we do not weaken the Southern Baptist presence in rural communities. The hardest-to-reach areas in America are the cities because they are the most pluralistic and the most antagonistic to Christianity. Rural communities often take longer to adopt the idols of the cities, which means they are often more receptive to the gospel. The rural communities in America are the “low-hanging fruit” when compared to the cities. Therefore, we need a renewed emphasis on reaching rural communities in America with the gospel. We should still pursue the cities but should pursue rural communities even more.

4. Biblically Faithful Leadership

Fourth, one of the most important responsibilities of the SBC President is to appoint the committee on committees. (He also appoints the resolutions committee, the registration committee, and the tellers, and he moderates the 2025 annual meeting). The committee on committees is extremely important because they nominate the committee on nominations. Then, the committee on nominations is voted on by the SBC. And this committee then nominates all the open trustee positions at all SBC entities. In other words, the SBC President chooses the committee that chooses the committee, with SBC vote, that chooses, with SBC vote, every trustee that controls every SBC entity.

Who will I appoint to this very important committee? I will only appoint Southern Baptists to the committee on committees (and any other committee) who…

1) Affirm and practice the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in their churches,

2) Believe and practice that only men can be pastors,

3) Believe and teach that LGBTQ+ and pedo-attraction and/or desire is sin,

4) Believe and teach the abolition of abortion and equal protection for the unborn,

5) Believe SBC entities should be financially transparent.

6) Believe that the SBC should renew their emphasis on reaching rural communities with the gospel.

7) Reject all Critical Theory. There will be no woke folk on any committee that I appoint.

Index: State conventions are a crucial part of the SBC, providing the foot soldiers who support local pastors and their churches. If elected, how would you use the office of president to promote the work of state conventions and to encourage churches to give through the Cooperative Program?

Spencer: I submit that our state conventions are much more than a crucial part of the SBC. We tend to think that the SBC is entity heads, seminary presidents, and EC trustees. As much as we appreciate those people, the normative Southern Baptist church never sees them. It is the staff of their state convention, joined by local associational leaders, that does the work of the SBC – showing up in person with encouragement, resources, and real help. The burden of promoting SBC causes and CP giving falls on them. If elected, I would endeavor to platform state convention leaders in meaningful ways. I would highlight the many ways our state conventions utilize CP gifts to do amazing gospel work.

Frank: One of the first meetings I’d have would be with state leaders to see how we can see struggling churches flourish again. People give toward vision, so we have to tell the story of how the Cooperative Program is a great Kingdom investment. The stories of how God is using this unified cooperative generosity are many – but we have to communicate it better.

Pressley: The work of the state conventions is paramount to our connectivity as Southern Baptists. To promote and enhance that at HG we have mobilized our people in state supported missions, raised our cooperative program giving and hosted most of the State missions events. In addition we have partnered with the state church planting/revitalizing catalysts in an effort to reach more people with the Gospel. I would seek to lead by example and promotion of the vital ministries the state convention assists the church in.

Keahbone: First and foremost, I would want to meet and begin building relationships with our state conventions. Our convention is only as strong and healthy as our local churches. State conventions are at the forefront of encouraging and supporting the local church in their states. It makes sense for the president to build strong relationships, listen, and join state conventions in our united mission, the Great Commission. Through these relationships we can, together, pray through and strategize the Lord’s leading in how to encourage churches to give and support the Cooperative Program. Right now, about half of our SBC churches do not give to the Cooperative Program. We, together, need to figure out why and then do something about it. I look forward to getting into those weeds.

Allen: The role and importance of our state conventions cannot be overestimated. Each state convention serves as the organizational hub for all the ministries that local churches give toward through the Cooperative Program (CP). The information, strategy, and training provided to churches through each state convention is a tremendous catalyst for reaching the state with the gospel.

Our state conventions have shown great leadership and sacrifice in recent years by keeping less of the money given by their churches and sending more on to the SBC. In fact, over the last decade, total SBC CP giving dropped by $30 million, while the SBC allocation coming from the state conventions increased by $1.4 million. State Conventions absorbed a $30 million decline in CP giving while at the same time facing 24% inflation.

More churches are giving less to the CP. There are various reasons for that. One is we have an overall decline in SBC membership. Another cultural reason is an increasing lack of convention loyality. But a third reason is the concern of many of our pastors and people over the issue of trust and transparency. The onslaught of litigation expenses causes many pastors to be concerned and cautious with their church’s CP money.

As SBC president, I would seek to highlight the wonderful work of all our state conventions and seek to assist them to continue to cast a compelling vision for evangelism, missions, accountability, transparency, and Bible-centered cooperation.

Moore: The way I will promote the work of the state conventions is by exalting the local church. The highest position in the SBC is the local church pastor. The highest group of Southern Baptists is the local church. The responsibility of the local associations, state conventions, and national entities is to serve local Southern Baptist churches. The SBC is a bottom-up organization, the churches leading SBC entities, not a top-down organization where the entities lead the churches.

I will promote the work of State Conventions by speaking up for their freedom to minister in their own states apart from coercion from the North American Mission Board. If a state convention wants to plant a church in their state, they should not have to ask NAMB for permission. Why? Because they serve local Southern Baptist churches in their state, not in submission to NAMB. I’m grateful for NAMB but they need to partner with state conventions, not control them. State conventions should be submissive to the local churches in their state, not submissive to a national entity.

Concerning giving to the Cooperative Program, I will encourage Southern Baptist churches to partner together through their giving so that Southern Baptists can reach the entire world with the gospel. We can accomplish so much more in less time when we partner together. Just to name a few, disaster relief cannot be accomplished by a single church; training thousands of pastors and/or missionaries each year cannot be accomplished through a single church. If the world is to be reached with the gospel, churches must partner together.

Index: A high-profile role like that of the SBC president comes with certain pressures and headaches. Would you please share with us any experience or experiences from your ministry that you believe has especially prepared you for this role?

Spencer: While I was pastor of First Baptist Church of Thomasville for 11 years, I was honored to serve as president of the Georgia Baptist Convention for two years. Through innumerable phone calls and over 40 9-hour roundtrips from Thomasville to Duluth for meetings, my wife and my church were patient with me, and the Lord was gracious to me. If elected, I am confident that would be the case again, and I would enter the position with an awareness of what is required.

Frank: I’ve had the privilege of pastoring a normative-sized SBC church as well as one of the largest SBC churches. Pastoring these past 34 years has allowed me to experience many ups and downs, joys and sorrows. Additionally, being able to host the 2014 SBC Pastors Conference as well as chair the initial SBC Sexual Abuse Task Force gave me valuable experience.

Pressley: I have been the pastor at HG for almost 15 years and most of that 15 years have been transition. Theological, practical, methodological and even personel transitions each bring a high level of stress. At every turn the Lord has provided and in His kindness we have seen Him strengthen the church.

Keahbone: For the last three years I have served on the SBC Exectutive Committee, the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force, and The Resolutions Committee. Over the years I also served Oklahoma Baptists as 1st Vice President, as a trustee for our state convention, and on the search team that hired Hance Dilbeck as our Executive Director. The Lord has used all of those experiences to teach me and prepare me for a role like this. However; the most valuable experience is being the pastor of a local church. Why? Because the SBC president represents the collective body of SBC churches across the country. The President needs to be somebody who relates to our pastors and our people as he leads and represents Southern Baptists and the Lord.

Allen: In addition to serving as senior pastor of two churches, I have been a student pastor and interim pastor of 13 churches. In each of these churches, there were varying degrees of problems from issues of unity; enlisting, training, and motivating leadership; navigating financial pitfalls; handling difficult people; to mention only a few. I have 47 years of pastoral ministry experience. In addition, I have served Southern Baptists in roles within the local Association, State Convention, and the SBC for more than 40 years, including trustee service. This level of experience will serve me in good stead as president of the SBC.

Moore: The most stressful job in the world is a local church pastor. If I can faithfully pastor for 24 years in the SBC, I can be SBC President. Also, I’m the only Presidential candidate that is a small church pastor, even though over 90% of the SBC is made up of churches just like mine or smaller.

Index: In early May, Lifeway reported the latest Annual Church Profile information. Reports once again showed a decline in number of Southern Baptist churches. As president, how would you address and seek to reverse that decline?

Spencer: The candidate requested we refer the following question where he combined answers.

Frank: I think two of the main ways regarding number of churches would be:

1. Continue the church planting emphasis led by NAMB.
2. Equip and encourage church revitalization. North Carolina has seen some great stories already with their church revitalization efforts.

Pressley: We must continue to press for church planting and revitalization. We have a deficit of young men entering pastoral ministry and we should start there, calling out the called in the local church. In addition I think we should rely more on the strength of our associations to help identify churches in distress and formulate plans to help efforts at revitalization.

Keahbone: My first priority, in this area, would be to establish a team that would look into the “why” of this decline. It is important to understand why it is happening before developing a plan or strategy. I, personally, have a heart for church revitalization and church planting. I believe that at least some of our churches that have closed their doors would not have had to do so if sister churches could have partnered with them in a revitalization effort.

Allen: The Southern Baptist Convention saw its steepest single-year decline in membership in 2022, continuing a 16-year downward trajectory. Reversing this decline begins with recognizing the solutions are not so much more programs as commitment to God’s program as outlined in the book of Acts: spirit-filled people and churches making the main thing the main thing. We need revival. We need renewal. We are surrounded by lostness and now is the time for all Southern Baptists to be busy spreading the gospel.

I would seek to reverse this decline by turning the conversation back toward what local churches need to be doing to reach the unsaved in their communities. This can be done without diminishing our goals of church planting. I would also seek to support the resolution on church revitalization that was overwhelming approved at the SBC in New Orleans in 2023. Church revitalization is an important key to reversing the downward spiral of numerical decline.

But the most important thing we need as a convention is a lesson I learned in my first pastorate from the great evangelist, Vance Havner.  He said: “Some of you pastors are more concerned about the absence of the people than the presence of the Lord.” If we as Southern Baptists return to a focus on the presence of the Lord, in our personal lives, our church life, and our denominational life—the absence of the people will be solved.

Moore: The candidate requested we refer the following question where he combined answers.

Index: Despite the decline in the number of congregations, the latest ACP reports that baptisms, worship service attendance and small group participation all grew in 2024. How would you encourage churches to maintain this upward trend?

Spencer: I think I can answer this question and the previous one together. I believe the answer is as simple as making the main thing the main thing. Only Jesus has the authority to mandate what that is, and He has spoken clearly about it. We need to break the pattern of jumping from crisis to crisis, deal with our problems and put them behind us, trust the trustees of our entities, decide how much we have to agree with each other in order to pool our gifts for Great Commission work, and then, together, lift up our eyes again to look at the fields that are ready for harvest.

Frank: The recent numbers that were released had some encouraging trends (even though they were based on a comparison to Covid impact to some degree). The three upward trends noted (baptisms, attendance, small group participation) are a better health indicator than just total membership number.

Pressley: We must keep pressing the need our people have for strong biblical community. As the world becomes increasingly hostile to Christians, believers will more and more need the soul strengthening care of a vibrant congregation. When we meet, we must have the Word taught and received, relationships strengthened and the congregation encouraged in the Spirit. As this continues, the church will keep getting stronger.

Keahbone: I would encourage our churches and our convention to celebrate and share! Celebrate the salvation of souls and share it with our convention. As a convention we have many venues to accomplish this. I would work with our national convention, state convention, and associations in recognizing all that God is doing and telling the God stories! Right now, our headlines need to be all that God is doing, not the controversies we are managing. I also have a belief that healthy pastors are crucial to healthy churches that are reaching the lost. I would like to lead us, as a convention, in taking better care of our pastors and their families.

Allen: I would encourage our churches to maintain doctrinal fidelity, faithfulness to the mission of preaching the word, winning souls, sending missionaries, and planting churches.  In other words, keep the main thing the main thing. I would encourage our churches to make sure that all ministries and programs are designed to foster these key goals.

Moore: The SBC President cannot reverse the decline of numbers in the SBC. Only God can. 

God has determined to grow His church throughout history, according to Scripture, through the faithfulness of local churches. Christ's disciples went throughout the known world, preaching the gospel and starting churches. Under God's authority, only local Southern Baptist churches can reverse the declining numbers in the SBC. And churches largely go the direction that their pastor(s) lead them. My goal is not to care about the numbers in the SBC, a number I cannot change, but to encourage the pastors of local churches to remain faithful in a world that hates them. 

SBC pastors must preach the Word, love their people, and love their communities through sharing the gospel and seeking their well-being. They must do these things because they love God by the Holy Spirit through the Son to the Father. And most importantly, God loves us, from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit.

When the numbers are increasing and when they are decreasing, we remain faithful to God's Word. And when the fruit is not there, we remain faithful and pray until God brings the fruit. If I can encourage local church pastors and the Southern Baptists under their care to be faithful to love God, love His Word, love their churches, and love their communities, I will view my presidency as a success.

Index: There has been a lot written and said about the “Law Amendment” that will be voted on this year in Indianapolis. What is your opinion on the amendment? Is it necessary to maintain unity among Southern Baptists? Why or why not?

Spencer: I do not disagree with the theology of the amendment, but I question the necessity of it. I think the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 has given us sufficient clarity on the issue.

Frank: While I think providing some clarity on our complementarian theology would be helpful, we can do much better than the Law Amendment. The Law Amendment raises more questions than it answers and will lead to extrabiblical actions.

Pressley: I believe the Law Amendment is biblical, in line with our confession and will only serve to strengthen Southern Baptists in the days ahead. We cannot be unified for unity’s sake,we are unified by a clear mission that is born out of robust doctrine. We need both doctrine and devotion.

Keahbone: I do not believe that the “Law Amendment “is necessary. My opinion is that wealready have a confession of faith and a constitution and by-laws that are working just fine. Last year we separated from the largest and arguably the most influential church in our convention because of the clarity already provided by the BF&M 2000 and our governing documents. I also believe that it does not bring the clarity that is being advertised. Currently we have four presidential candidates who affirm the “Law Amendment”. All four have a vastly different interpretation of the amendment. This is not clarity. Finally, my most heartfelt concern is for the women of our convention who serve faithfully in our SBC churches and for our ethnic churches who are not heard or understood on this issue. Not enough work has been done to address any of the issues surrounding the possible passage of this amendment. With all of that said, I will not support the “Law Amendment”.

Allen: I support the Law Amendment. The proposed amendment would clarify that the SBC only cooperates with churches that do not affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor/elder as qualified by Scripture. If approved, the amendment would be added to the SBC Constitution under Article 3, Paragraph 1 concerning “Composition.”

The amendment delimits the scope to include only those women who serve in the office of pastor/elder, contrary to Scripture and the Baptist Faith & Message (BFM). This delimitation is signaled using the phrase “as qualified by Scripture.” Women serve in many crucial roles of leadership in our churches. But the title “pastor” defines and describes an office and function in the local church that is reserved only for men as Scripture clearly asserts.

This is a watershed issue for Southern Baptists. The Law Amendment is an important clarifying statement that explains what the BFM means with respect to who can fill the office and function of pastor.

Since some are making the argument that we do not have to agree with everything in the BFM to be considered a cooperating Southern Baptist, this amendment to the Constitution and Bylaws would carry a greater binding authority than the BFM.

I would hope the Law Amendment would foster greater unity among us by crystalizing our support of the BFM statement concerning who is qualified to fill the role of pastor in a local church.

Moore: The SBC should pass the Law Amendment, and if I am elected, I will encourage the credentials committee to enforce the constitution, with the Law Amendment added, in defining what is a cooperating Southern Baptist Church. For decades now, Southern Baptists have known what a pastor is. The Bible has not changed. Our confession has not changed. But some Southern Baptists have changed. And the change is so evident that the credentials committee requested clarity for defining what a pastor is at the 2022 annual meeting. The Law Amendment will add that the only type of cooperating church with the SBC is the one that “affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”

The United Methodist Church should serve as a cautionary tale for Southern Baptists. The same method for interpreting Scripture that the United Methodist Church used to justify ordaining female pastors in the 1950s is the same method their grandchildren used to justify ordaining homosexuals in 2024. They just applied their method for interpreting the qualifications of a pastor to interpreting the qualifications for marriage. When you disconnect the Bible from its context, words, genre, and God's design, and when you deny the inerrancy of Scripture, you end up following your feelings instead of submitting your feelings to the Word of God. The main question is, "What does the Bible say?" The Bible says that only men may be qualified to be pastors (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-16).

Therefore, the Law Amendment answers the committee’s request and answers Southern Baptists who have misunderstood the Bible’s and the Baptist Faith and Message’s definition of a pastor. There is no unity except for biblical unity, where we confess together and practice what the Bible says: only men may be pastors according to Scripture and the BF&M2K. Southern Baptists should vote “Yes” on the Law Amendment.