The Southern Baptist Convention recently elected a new president, and because the vote ended in a contested race, one of the candidates graciously decided to step down.
Current SBC president Ronnie Floyd was stepping down after the maximum two one-year terms, but the contest between North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear and Tennessee Pastor Steve Gaines proved to be too close to call.
ChristianityToday.com reports that Greear received 47.8 percent of the vote and Gaines received 49.96 percent. However, according to SBC rules, a candidate must receive over 50 percent of the vote to win.
Even in a follow-up vote, neither candidate emerged as the clear winner.
In order to avoid controversy within the denomination, Greear decided to withdraw from the race and award the presidency to Gaines.
“Steve didn’t ask me to do this. This was my idea,” Greear writes on his website. “He was incredibly gracious when we talked about this and prayed about this last night. And we both sought counsel from some of the godly men that encouraged us to be nominated in the first place. Together, we feel this is best for the SBC and best for the Kingdom.”
Greear added: “I came to this convention with the conviction that the best days for the SBC were ahead of us. And I’ll be leaving this convention with the very same conviction. The greatest works of God aren’t in our past; they’re in our future. It’s time again for us to expect great things of God, and to attempt great things for God. So stand with me as we lift up the arms of our brother, and the next president of the SBC—Steve Gaines.”
The SBC recently held a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri to discuss issues of racial inequality. At that meeting, the SBC decided to reject the display of the Confederate flag as it seeks greater solidarity with the African-American community.
Publication date: June 16, 2016