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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Surprise in the SBC: Outsider Wins Presidency

PageAccording to The Decatur Daily, Melanie B. Smith writes...

A South Carolina pastor who had said it would take "a miracle" for him to be elected is the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Rev. Frank Page won 50.4 percent of the vote Tuesday at the meeting in Greensboro, N.C. He defeated the Rev. Ronnie Floyd of Springville, Ark., and the Rev. Frank Sutton of Nashville.

The decision by messengers to pick someone unexpected showed "a healthy kind of freedom of God," said the pastor of Southside Baptist Church.

Page had the support of a group of mostly younger ministers, who have criticized the convention for not drawing leaders from a broader but still conservative spectrum.

Page told an interviewer Monday that he would seek to involve more people as leaders if elected, according to Baptist Press.

"I am tired of seeing the same names," he said.

Several pastors who are "blogging," or publishing online journals, from the meeting, rejoiced at Page's election. Some SBC watchers attribute bloggers with successfully challenging the SBC political machine.

The Rev. Wade Burleson of Oklahoma is a blogger who backed Page and criticized the International Mission Board, which he serves as trustee. Other trustees voted to oust him but later rescinded the decision, though censuring him.

Burleson submitted a motion Tuesday calling for investigation of "manipulation" and "coercion" by IMB trustees. By early Tuesday evening, messengers had not discussed it.

Convention support
Bloggers and others criticized Floyd for his church's poor support of the denomination's Cooperative Program, the main source of funding for mission work, seminaries and agencies.

Floyd's church, First Baptist Church of Springville, Ark., gave less than 1 percent of its undesignated funds to the program last year. The church has 16,000 members in two campuses. Floyd said the church spent money on its own mission work.

Page's church, First Baptist Church of Taylors, S.C., gave over 12 percent of undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program in 2005.

Sutton decided to allow his nomination only eight days before the meeting as criticism of Floyd grew.

Shifting control
Page said his election did not signal any moderation of theology for the convention, according to The Associated Press. He said he believes in the literal truth of the Bible. But Page said he wants to present a gentler face than past SBC leaders.

"I believe the word of God," he said. "I'm just not mad about it."

Page's church averages attendance of more than 2,500 a week. The convention has 43,000 churches with more than 16.2 million members, making it the largest non-Catholic religious body in the United States.

You can read the entire article here.

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June 14, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink

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I'm thankful that he won without there having to be a run-off. That, in my eyes, is a very positive way for Page to get started.

Hopefully those whose candidate did not win can put that all behind them and give Page their support.

He has my support most importantly through prayers.

Posted by: Camey | Jun 14, 2006 8:49:54 AM

As an IMB missionary myself...I am glad somebody who actually supports us won.

Posted by: Donnie | Jun 14, 2006 9:38:52 AM

There is hope for us after all... Maybe... Just Maybe this is God's way of getting us on the right track finally.

Posted by: Jeff Ruble | Jun 14, 2006 7:57:02 PM

Pastor Sutton's name is actually Jerry, not Frank.
Just thought he would appreciate the correction.

Posted by: danny | Jun 16, 2006 10:13:22 PM

Frank Page was the first pastor I served with in full-time ministry after seminary, 22 years ago. He's the 'real deal' and will do a great job as SBC President. I pray this will begin the process of returning the convention to a focus on missions and sharing Jesus and away from politics and exclusive leadership.

Posted by: Kevin | Jun 17, 2006 1:04:06 AM

"Frank" Sutton was an actor most noted for playing "Sargeant Vince Carter" on "Gomer Pyle: USMC".

Don't know why I felt the urge to mention that...


Posted by: Curtis | Jun 18, 2006 3:53:56 PM

William Styron, whose Holocaust novel Sophie's Choice became a film and an opera, has died, aged 81.

Posted by: Duane Tibbetts | Jun 22, 2007 2:41:46 AM

William Styron, whose Holocaust novel Sophie's Choice became a film and an opera, has died, aged 81.

Posted by: Duane Tibbetts | Jun 22, 2007 2:43:58 AM

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