Southern Baptists have been in a bit of a row since 2019 when they passed Resolution 9 endorsing critical race theory as an aid when dealing with race relations. But while some may acknowledge that the CRT issue has "driven a wedge" in the denomination, others admit seeing a leftward drift in the denomination before that time.
In hopes of righting the ship, so to speak, the relatively new Conservative Baptist Network has asked Pastor Tom Ascol to run for the presidency of the denomination.
"For several years I've had people ask me if I would be willing to submit my name to be nominated for the SBC presidency, and I've just always laughed that off," he shares with AFN. "It's not anything I've ever aspired to [or] anything that I've thought that I needed to try to attain. I always thought, and I still believe today, there are far better men than me who could do this."
But Ascol, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL, contends the denomination needs a change of direction. "I think our Convention has been too influenced by worldly ideologies and secularism over the last several years, in very subtle ways, that will be profoundly destructive if they're not stopped," he warns.
Ascol says he is seeing leaders who say they believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, but then turn around and deny its truths. In addition to CRT, says the Florida pastor, these influencers are being drawn into the cultural confusion over sexuality:
"We've begun to have some of our leaders say things like this: I know that homosexuality doesn't send anybody to hell because heterosexuality doesn't send anybody to heaven – and God whispers about sexual sin – and I was wrong for saying that same-sex attraction can be changed."
Last year, the Conservative Baptist Network endorsed Pastor Mike Stone for SBC president. Stone lost to Pastor Ed Litton. Stone has long been a critic of what he's seen as a liberal drift in the denomination.
The 2022 SBC Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 12-15 in Anaheim, California.
Religion News Service reported last week that in addition to Ascol, author and pastor Dr. Voddie Baucham will be nominated to lead the SBC Pastors' Conference, which precedes the gathering of church delegates. RNS labels both Ascol and Baucham as "anti-woke" pastors.