Robert “Bobby” Lopez, host of the Big Brown Gadfly, has endorsed Randy Adams in the race to determine the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Adams headed the Northwest Southern Baptist Convention, hailing from Washington state. While he is from outside the south, he has shown exceptional understanding of the underlying governance issues that matter to Lopez and many other Southern Baptists.
Four main candidates will be considered by the messengers at the annual meeting this week in Nashville, Tennessee.
Running against Adams are Albert Mohler, Ed Litton, and Mike Stone.
Albert Mohler has been the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Baptist Seminary in Lousiville since 1993. His proteges now run virtually every entity in the Southern Baptist Convention, leading Lopez to conclude he is a non-starter in the race. Not only would there be a disqualifying conflict of interest, insofar as Mohler serving as SBC president would appoint the trustees tasked to oversee him as Mohler, president of the seminary. Also, Mohler mentored some of the most insidious figures in Southern Baptist life today: former Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission president Russell Moore, current Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Adam Greenway, current Southeastern president Danny Akin, former Southern and Southwestern provost Randy Stinson, current missions director Kevin Ezell, Lifeway president Thom Rainer, and former international missions director David Platt.
As Lopez notes, Mohler bears responsibility for the entire direction of the Convention, having reared all these troubling figures. The Convention has seen baptisms, giving, attendance, and confidence plummet. The theological drift toward secularization of Baptist thought and compromise on key issues like feminism and sexuality is entirely the fruit of Mohler’s successors and their decisions. Last year the SBC lost almost half a million churchgoers and its finances, clouded in mystery by unethical accounting practices that lack transparency, are in freefall.
Lopez considers Mohler out of consideration, since a two-year term of president would allow him to appoint more cronies to hide the Convention’s problems and persecute any vocal critics. As Lopez notes, Mohler has already used his influence in harsh ways, pulling strings behind the scenes to get dissenters blocked or silenced.
With Mohler excluded from consideration, one must choose among Litton, Stone, and Adams. Litton has too many ties to the financial corruption of the Woke movement. In recent years Baptists have been alarmed to know that Pierre Omidyar and George Soros, two donors with unsavory and unchristian political motives, have funneled money into functions or shell organizations positioned to influence Baptist beliefs by way of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Lopez argues that Litton would take the SBC further down the direction we do not want to take.
With Litton and Mohler both out of consideration, Lopez like many traditionally minded Baptists must choose between Stone and Adams. While Lopez considers both men strong candidates with solid ideas, Stone’s associations and past history in leadership lead Lopez to find Adams a better option. Many of Stone’s media associations, such as Janet Mefferd and Todd Starnes, as well as his MAGA-style contacts at Liberty University and elsewhere, lead Lopez to fear that his presidency would mirror the problems with the Trump movement in the Republican Party. “I was a strong Trump supporter,” Lopez says. But Lopez notes that during the Trump era, with many of these MAGA-style personalities in positions of power, nothing was done in response to what happened to him or Russell Fuller. Trump’s recent endorsement of Greg Abbott, the Texas governor who just sank the socially conservative agenda, reminds Lopez that Trumpian figures have a consistent history of letting down conservatives at the worst possible moments.
While Lopez likes Stone and can’t fault someone for voting for him, he sees Adams as a more viable pathway to change. Adams’ campaign has been all about transparency and ethics in stewardship, themes that Lopez played heavily in his resolution this year.
When Gatekeepers CEO Jeff Dornik raised concerns about the encroaching wokeness in the Southern Baptist Convention, Lopez qualified those concerns with general observations about financial corruption, dishonest managerial tactics, and unbiblical practices such as Non-Disclosure Agreements and blacklisting. It doesn’t matter if someone is on your side politically sometimes; if they allow blacklisting, financial shenanigans, and intimidation of whistleblowers to flourish unchecked, you lose out no matter your political agreement.
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