Baptist Press is interviewing the three candidates being nominated for SBC President. You can find Ronnie Floyd’s interview here. My interview is posted below. Dennis Kim’s interview is forthcoming (check Baptist Press over the next couple of days).
What influence on the Southern Baptist Convention do you pray to have during the two consecutive one-year terms that an SBC president typically serves?
I hope to encourage all Southern Baptists to continue laboring for God’s glory, especially those who serve in difficult areas for ministry. I hope to encourage young leaders and leaders of small churches to be more involved in the ministries of the Cooperative Program and in the annual convention. If I am elected, I plan to invite many small church leaders to serve on the committees I appoint. Large church leaders will be invited as well, but there will be many new faces. Not only must the SBC President encourage all Southern Baptists, he must seek to involve all Southern Baptists in the decision-making process. There is much untapped potential in Southern Baptist Churches. I hope to tap into that potential by inviting faithful Southern Baptists to serve who have not served before. The appointments will represent the diversity of the SBC by being multi-generational and multi-ethnic, while also pulling from small and large churches in rural and urban areas.
If elected as SBC president, in what ways do you envision calling Southern Baptists forward in seeking to fulfill the Great Commission?
My goal is to call all Southern Baptists to faithfulness to God as revealed in His word. We must be satisfied in God while having a healthy dissatisfaction with our tangible results. To the preacher, to the Sunday school teacher, to the missionary, if you preach or teach and no one repents, don’t you give up. You remain faithful, you continue preaching and teaching and you pray until God raises the dead. Of course, we must examine our ministry, and look for other avenues to share the gospel, and seek to be more affective in our gospel presentation, but always remember that we cannot raise the dead. Another voice must be heard along with our voices. Pray, preach and teach until our hearers hear His voice. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “Look, Sir, you may study your sermon. You may examine the original of your text. You may critically follow it out in all its bearings. You may go and preach it with great correctness of expression, but you cannot quicken a soul by that sermon! You may go up into your pulpit. You may illustrate, explain and enforce the Truth of God with mighty rhetoric. You may charm your hearers—you may hold them spellbound—but no eloquence of yours can raise the dead . . . Another voice than ours must be heard! Another power than that of thought or persuasion must be brought into the work or it will not be done (“Come from the Four Winds, O Breath!”)!”
Describe ways you have led your church to be involved in Great Commission outreach through Southern Baptist cooperative missions and the Cooperative Program.
New Salem Baptist Church (NSBC) participated in Find it Here two years in a row through the Lincoln County Baptist Association (LCBA) and the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC). We went door to door in our community handing out copies of the Gospel of John, sharing the gospel, and inviting people to Easter Sunday worship.
In 2011, NSBC hosted a Disaster Relief training day for those interested in serving on the chainsaw teams.
When the tornado hit in West Liberty, KY in 2013, we contacted the KBC to see how we could help. They connected us to a Southern Baptist church in West Liberty. We took a group up for a weekend mission trip and helped with construction on homes for families who had lost their homes. We worked with one of the family members on his house, and were able to share Christ with him.
For the second year in a row, NSBC is heading to Pawnee, OK in July to serve with other Southern Baptist Churches. We will host a day camp for local children at Camp Crossway. The children who repent and believe will be left in the care of local Southern Baptist Churches for continued discipleship.
A few months ago, NSBC hosted the semi-annual association meeting of the LCBA. Southern Baptist churches of Lincoln County, KY came together to eat, fellowship, and encourage one another in our efforts to continue making disciples in Lincoln County. Also, a few weeks ago, NSBC participated in the “Great Awakening Revival” hosted by the LCBA. It was a joint effort of Southern Baptist churches in Lincoln County. We long for revival!
In what ways do you see the SBC president coming alongside leaders of the International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, GuideStone Financial Resources and the convention’s six seminaries to undergird and encourage their respective ministries?
The leaders of our entities have an enormous responsibility. My hope is to encourage their endeavors to be good stewards of Southern Baptist resources for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission. The reality, however, is that most of these entities cannot fulfill their responsibilities to Southern Baptists if Southern Baptists do not give through the Cooperative Program. New Salem Baptist Church believes in the Cooperative Program. We give 16% of our undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program. I hope to encourage Southern Baptist Churches to continue giving and to increase their giving. Giving through the Cooperative Program is still the best way to fulfill the world-wide Great Commission. Southern Baptists should come alongside our entities and their leaders for the sake of making disciples world-wide. Let’s unite to make our entities all that they can be!
If elected as SBC president, how to do foresee speaking to the next generation of Southern Baptist leaders to be involved in expanding the convention’s Great Commission work?
We can do far more together than we can if we are divided. All generations of Southern Baptists should support the Cooperative Program for at least these 4 reasons: 1) The “All nations” Great Commission (IMB). 2) The Church Planting Disciple-making Biblical Model (NAMB). 3) The confessionally Southern Baptist (BF&M2K) biblical-training by top Christian scholars and seasoned pastors (SBTS, NOBTS, SWBTS, SEBTS, MBTS, and GGBTS). 4) The confessionally Southern Baptist representation in the market place of ideas (ERLC). The ministries funded through the Cooperative Program are not perfect, but they are still the best way to support world-wide disciple-making. And with your help, they can be even better! If you see issues with the Cooperative Program or her ministries, get involved and help make them better. In other words Southern Baptist church member, if you are unsatisfied with the CP and her ministries, instead of starting something new, get involved in the local, state, and national associations and convention(s) to help make our ministries and entities all that they can be! Help us constantly ask and answer the question, “Are we using God’s resources in the best possible way to fulfill His Great Commission for His glory”? Let us sweat and bleed together until all nations praise His name!
What do you see as the key moral issues of our day and how the SBC president can represent Southern Baptists as America increasingly moves away from Judeo-Christian values?
Abortion is the greatest moral issue facing not only our country but all of humanity today. The most innocent human beings among us are being slaughtered every year in America. The reality that murder is legal in this country based on the age and location of God’s image-bearers is arguably the greatest evil our country has ever participated in. Over 50,000,000 have been murdered since 1973. As Christians, Southern Baptists must love our unborn neighbors. We must also help parents see that they have other options available to them besides taking the lives of the innocent.
Currently, Biblical marriage is being attacked on all sides. Christians should continue to unashamedly say what the Bible says and vote in accordance with their consciences as informed by God through Scripture. There is only one form of moral marriage: one man and one woman in a loving relationship covenanted together for life (Mark 10:6-9). This is the only definition of marriage recognized by Jesus Christ, and should be the only definition recognized by Southern Baptists.
I believe the SBC President should represent Southern Baptists by saying what the BF&M2K and Scripture clearly say. Some moral issues are clearer than others. The Scriptures, however, are our ultimate authority. They are timeless truths that are inerrant and always relevant regardless how much times passes or how far a culture gets away from the word of God. Scripture is sufficient for the faith and practice of the church and it is sufficient for all human flourishing in all societies in God’s creation.
Southern Baptists, however, must realize that our neighbors will not be transformed by government or civil laws. Our neighbors need the gospel! The moral issues in this country are a direct result of a denial of the supremacy of Christ. Our primary responsibility as Christians is to make disciples through faithfully proclaiming the gospel message and teaching new Christians all that Christ has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20). Only through proclaiming the gospel will sinners repent and believe, and be raised from death into life. Only then will hearts be changed; and only then will America change.