No one can stop........the power of blogs
Frank Page wins SBC presidency in upset over powerbrokers
By Greg Warner
Published June 13, 2006
GREENSBORO, N.C. (ABP) -- In a major upset, outsider Frank Page of South Carolina was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention over two candidates closely tied to the SBC's conservative power structure.
Page, who described his election as a victory for grassroots Baptists, was elected with 50.48 percent of the vote on a first ballot against Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd and Tennessee pastor Jerry Sutton, both high-profile leaders in the conservative-dominated SBC.
Sutton, pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn., received 2,168 votes, or 24.08 percent. Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark., received 2,247 votes, or 24.95 percent. Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., received 4,546 votes -- a mere 65 more than necessary for a first-ballot victory.
Page's election signaled a defeat for the SBC's conservative powerbrokers, who have hand-picked all but one president since 1979. Only Orlando pastor Jim Henry, elected in 1994 and 1995, lacked the endorsement of the SBC's conservative leaders.
Floyd lost despite the endorsement of three SBC seminary presidents, including Paige Patterson, the SBC's most powerful leader. Sutton reportedly had the support of Paul Pressler, another SBC conservative architect.
The surprise election also reflected grassroots dissatisfaction with officers who direct the SBC's work but offer little financial support to its central missions budget, the Cooperative Program. Page's church contributes 12.1 percent of its 2005 undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program. Floyd's church gave 0.27 percent of undesignated receipts to the Cooperative Program in 2005 and an additional 1.6 percent to other SBC causes. Sutton's church gave nothing to the CP in 2005 but sent 2.7 percent to SBC causes.
After his election, Page, 53, said he would seek to create a more open Southern Baptist Convention, but added: "I'm not trying to undo a conservative movement that I have supported all these years." He said he would continue the trend of appointing leaders who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible but who also have "a sweet spirit."
The SBC has been the hidden engine of the fundie movement. They have pulled the church right since Reagan, even offering to convert Jews and Mormons. This kind of challenge is a healthy since of political democracy and reform.
posted by Steve @ 2:36:00 PM