By Bob Allen
An Arkansas pastor with a long record of denominational service has been elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Messengers to the June 10-11 SBC annual meeting chose Ronnie Floyd, 27-year pastor of Cross Church, formerly known as First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., over two other nominees on a first ballot.
Floyd received 51 percent of the vote, topping Korean-American Dennis Kim, pastor of Global Mission Church of Greater Washington, with 41 percent, and Jared Moore, pastor of a small church in Hustonville, Ky., with 6 percent.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., described Floyd in his nomination speech as “a leader with peerless experience in the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Floyd has held leadership positions including president of the SBC Pastors Conference, chairman of the Executive Committee and chairman of a Great Commission Task Force that reported to the convention in 2010.
Mohler introduced Floyd as a “unifier” and “denominational statesman” who has led his church to become one of the leading contributors to the Cooperative Program unified budget. Mohler commended Floyd as one who “stands in a direct line of noble leaders who have defended the inerrancy of Scripture and every doctrine of our Baptist Faith and Message.”
“We face a moment of great trial and urgency,” Mohler said. “Our nation is embracing a horrifying moral rebellion that is transforming our culture before our very eyes. Direct challenges to religious liberty and freedoms of our churches are now a clear and present danger.”
“We dare not underestimate the challenges we now face,” Mohler continued. “At this crucial hour, we desperately need a leader who can model convictional compassion and compassionate conviction, who can articulate our message in the midst of most trying times and represent us all well.”
“While the world is turning itself upside down, we need a leader who can lead Southern Baptists and demonstrate our message and live it out before the world with conviction and confidence,” Mohler said.
Floyd will succeed Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, the first African American to lead the nation’s second-largest faith group.