Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler tweeted Thursday afternoon that he is willing to be nominated next June as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Earlier in the day Pastor H.B. Charles Jr. of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, announced his “prayerful intention” to nominate Mohler, 60, for president at the 2020 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting scheduled June 9-10 in Orlando, Florida.
“Our times are filled with serious challenges from our culture, along with as incredible opportunities for gospel witness,” said Charles, elected in 2017 as the first African-American to serve as president of the SBC Pastor’s conference. I believe [Mohler] is the statesman leader we need at this precise moment.”
Mohler replied that he “would be honored to serve Southern Baptists in any way, and would do anything I can to lead and serve faithfully and well.”
Mohler has served in the past as chairman of the SBC resolutions committee and on committees that worked on a major restructuring of the nation’s largest Protestant body in 1995 and revisions to the Baptist Faith and Message in 2020, including a ban on women serving as senior pastors.
If elected, Mohler would be the seventh man to lead the convention as president while also serving as a president of one of the denomination’s six seminaries. The most recent was Paige Patterson, until recently president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, who served two one-year terms as SBC president between 1998 and 2000.
Mohler, elected president of the seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 33, has long been a high-profile leader. He has done numerous media interviews and is recognized as a leader in what is dubbed the “young, restless and Reformed” movement embracing John Calvin’s “doctrines of grace,” also known as five-point Calvinism and summarized with terms that form the acronym TULIP.
Opponents of the New Calvinism, who call themselves “traditional” Southern Baptists, say the movement is overrepresented in Southern Baptist life.
Southeastern Seminary President Danny Akin, Midwestern Seminary President Jason Allen, Southwestern Seminary President Adam Greenway, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission head Russell Moore and retired LifeWay president Thom Rainer all previously served under Mohler’s leadership.
North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell is his former pastor, and International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood was honored by Mohler in 2015 as Southern Seminary’s distinguished alumnus of the year.
Mohler previously ran for SBC president in 2008 at age 47 but withdrew from the race to recuperate from major surgery.
No stranger to controversy, Mohler in recent months has apologized for his past support of an evangelical leader accused of concealing sexual abuse, weighed in on an argument about female preachers involving Bible teacher Beth Moore and clashed publicly with evangelical author John MacArthur, who said recently that SBC leaders are caving into allowing women to preach and advised Beth Moore, a well-known Southern Baptist Bible teacher, to “go home.”