Run, Ronnie, Run…

The following nomination speech is an aggregation of my thoughts about the best possible case for electing Ronnie Floyd to the SBC Convention Presidency. After the speech, I will offer my response.

“My Fellow Messengers,

For many years Pastor Ronnie Floyd has led Southern Baptists, both by example and by the offices to which we have elected him. Now in his twentieth year as the pastor of First Baptist Church Springdale, AR, Ronnie Floyd has taken a medium size church in one of the poorest states in the nation and led it to reach an entire region with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Through his state-of-the-art television ministry, Ronnie Floyd is seeking ways to reach lost people in creative ways. But Ronnie’s heart for extending the ministry of First Baptist Sprindale has not minimized his commitment to deepen the ministry through consistent and disciplined personal holiness.

Ronnie Floyd is a man of prayer. Ten years ago this summer, Ronnie Floyd challenged all Southern Baptists to get serious about seeking the Lord’s face. His church experienced personal revival as a result of its renewed commitment to prayer and fasting, and the fruit of that amazing work of God’s Spirit remains today.

Ronnie Floyd is a visionary leader, and he’s never content with the status quo. Southern Baptists are in danger of succumbing to old methods of evangelism and ministry that worked a quarter century ago but are quickly becoming outdated and outmoded. From the moment he wakes up in the morning, until the evening when he goes to sleep, Ronnie Floyd is actively pursuing ways to get the message of personal victory through salvation in Jesus Christ to more people, faster, and more effectively. Ronnie Floyd can lead Southern Baptists to renew our vision and recapture a heart for personal revival.

He is also a man of immense concern for the health and strength of our nation. Whether leading thousands of men in spiritual renewal at a Promise Keepers rally, or through his books and sermons, Ronnie Floyd is always concerned to see America restored to God. He’s been on the front lines of the culture wars, and he’s never compromised a commitment to biblical morality. We need his voice, and the integrity of his life, if we are going to make a difference in our culture.

Finally, Ronnie Floyd is a mentor to young pastors. Scores of young men have grown up under his ministry, and many more have looked to him for guidance and direction as they plant their lives in various fields of harvest. Ronnie has walked with them, prayed with them, challenged them and counseled them how to be better stewards of the calling of God on their lives. In a day when many are worried about losing the next generation of Kingdom servants, Ronnie Floyd has fought against the current to make a difference in the lives of younger leaders.”

First of all, I have to confess that I do not believe Johnny Hunt will take this approach. I believe that justifications for low CP giving will be offered, along with numbers and statistics and more of the same “God has appointed him for such a time as this” jargon.

Second, I want to say that I really do believe that Ronnie Floyd has done a great work in Arkansas. Who can doubt that a church has grown at FBC Springdale? Who can assert that Ronnie hasn’t made a great difference in many people’s lives? I’ve certainly never suggested it, and I’ve not heard anybody who has.

Third, I do not believe that Ronnie’s personal prayer life — however effectual and earnest — should be a talking point for his nomination speech. Prayer is a matter of a man before God, and I’m not interested in throwing open the chambers of his prayer closet to investigate what God is doing therein. It seems odd to me that some of the people pumping Ronnie’s candidacy and using his private devotional life as a basis to appeal for votes are the same people who exoriate Jerry Rankin for what happens in his private prayer life. A man’s prayer closet is a closed matter. What God does there is nobody’s business. The same is true for fasting and giving. I’m not interested in how many hours a day Ronnie Floyd prays, and I’m not interested in how many dollars he tithes. I don’t really care how many days he goes without food. Those are matters between Ronnie Floyd and the Lord Jesus Christ. To discuss those matters in a campaign speech is comparable to the sin of Uzzah…touching that which is holy with unclean hands.

Yet, I will not vote for Ronnie Floyd. Not because he is a bad person or a bad preacher or a bad pastor. He’s a fine person, from what I know; and many can attest to the excellence of his pastoral leadership. I will support Frank Page for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I will encourage every messenger I know to do the same.

I was asked to support Jerry Sutton, and originally I thought I would agree. Upon further reflection, however, I have determined to stay with Frank Page for the reaons I have already enumerated on this blog.

Thank you, and good night. Tomorrow, I’ll be posting about J. Edgar Hoover. You’ll love it, I’m sure.

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