Frank Page elected SBC president
GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--Frank Page, pastor First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention June 13 by messengers to the SBC’s annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C.
In a three-candidate race, Page on the first ballot defeated Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., and Jerry Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn.
Of the 8,961 votes cast, Page received 4,546 votes, or 50.48 percent. Floyd was second with 2,247 votes (24.95 percent), followed by Sutton with 2,168 votes (24.08 percent). In the election for first vice president, Jimmy Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., was elected in a runoff. In the election for second vice president, Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., was elected on the first ballot over three other nominees.
The presidential election was the first highly contested presidential race at an SBC annual meeting since 1994, when Jim Henry defeated Fred Wolfe in Orlando.
Page succeeds Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., who served two terms as president.
Forrest Pollock, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Fla., nominated Page for president.
Pollock described Page as a man who will “not only love the Word of God -- the inerrant Bible -- but also will support the Cooperative Program.”
“We’ve got to work together if we’re going to accomplish the Great Commission,” Pollock said. “That’s the reason that we started the Cooperative Program in the first place -- so that granddaddy’s church could work with your church and my church to reach the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Page’s church gives 12.4 percent of undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program, Pollock said.
“This issue is not about theology; it’s about methodology,” Pollock said. “Are we going to support our missionaries or not, and who has the credibility to stand before us and challenge us to do more? You see, we can’t have a double standard.... All of us must give if we’re going to reach this world for Christ.”
Pollock said Page is “not a high flying preacher, just a soul-winner.”
Pollock ended the nomination emphasizing the importance of electing a president who supports the Cooperative Program.
“My granddaddy didn’t have a seminary degree but even he understood you can’t even spell SBC president without a ‘C’ and a ‘P,’ Pollock said.
Page has been pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., the past five and a half years. He previously served as pastor of Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, Ga.; Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas; and LaFayette Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C.
He has served on the executive boards of the South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina state Baptist conventions.
Page is the author of the book, “Trouble with the Tulip: A Closer Examination of the Five Points of Calvinism,” released in 2000 by Riverstone Group Publishing.
He earned a doctor of philosophy degree in Christian ethics and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
Page is a native of Greensboro, N.C. He and his wife Dayle have three grown daughters.
Johnny Hunt, pastor of the Atlanta-area First Baptist Church, Woodstock, nominated Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., as a seasoned leader who has displayed visionary leadership locally, nationally and globally. Hunt also noted Floyd’s “incredible administrative capacity.”
Hunt illustrated Floyd’s heart for northwest Arkansas and the surrounding states by relaying an anecdote about him swiftly presenting a $25,000 gift for Hurricane Katrina relief to Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Dr. Ronnie Floyd is on mission and is leading his church to be a mission-minded church on every front,” Hunt said.
Hunt also mentioned Floyd’s 10-year service on the SBC Executive Committee, including two years as chairman. He talked about Floyd taking a group of his church members and encouraging International Mission Board missionaries in Asia, at his own mission expense.
Floyd’s devotion to his wife of 30 years, Jeana, and his “wonderful, godly” sons, Josh and Nick, were also noted by Hunt.
Calvin Wittman, pastor of Applewood Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, Colo., nominated Sutton. In a day when Southern Baptists are in a time of “denominational uncertainty and transition,” Wittman said Sutton is the man who will “strive for unity, facilitate diversity and model charity.”
He pointed to Sutton’s passion for evangelism. Over the past 20 years at Two Rivers Baptist Church, Sutton has baptized 3,380 new believers.
“That’s a commitment to evangelism,” Wittman said.
Wittman also called Sutton a committed conservative, a humble man and a pastor whose track record “speaks loudly of stewardship.” Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville has over 20 years given an average of 13.4 percent annually to the Cooperative Program and other Southern Baptist mission causes, Wittman said.
“Dr. Sutton is one of us, a grassroots pastor, committed to keeping this convention in the hands of the churches it serves,” Wittman said.
In the election for first vice president, Jackson received 51.44 percent (1,107 votes) of the votes, edging Mark Dever (47.86 percent, 1,030 votes), pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., in the runoff.
On the first ballot, Dever received a plurality of the votes, with 29.72 percent (1,090 votes) of the vote to Jackson’s 27.48 percent (1,008 votes). Convention rules state that the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff. On the first ballot Kelly J. Burris, senior pastor of Kempsville Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Va., received 22.76 percent (835) while Keith Fordham, an evangelist from Fayetteville, Ga., received 19.79 percent (726 votes).
In the election for second vice president, Drake received 50.37 percent of the vote (2,408 votes) on the first ballot over three other nominees.
With reporting by Michael Foust, Eva Wolever & Allen Palmeri.