A Note of Support for Tom Ascol

Great responsibilities fall on the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Besides the wisdom needed to make fitting appointments to those positions over which he is granted prerogative by our constitution, other skills, personal traits of character, and biblically-informed vision will obviously be needed. We must pray for this president as Solomon prayed for himself, “Give your servant an understanding heart … to judge between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). My vote in this election for just such a time as this will be for Tom Ascol. This affirmation is not to be taken as reflecting negatively on other candidates but arises from an unexceptionable confidence in him. Without equivocation, for decades Dr. Ascol has manifested the character, experience, pastoral integrity, biblical and confessional theological insight and conviction, and knowledge of the cultural and philosophical challenges that face an evangelical denomination today. He has received two degrees (MDiv and PhD) from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been my friend, conversation partner, and ministry example for more than four decades. During that time his personal character, witness to truth, and growth in grace have not receded nor wavered. J. B. Gambrell led Southern Baptists to adopt the Seventy-five Million campaign which initiated the Cooperative Program. E. Y. Mullins led Southern Baptists to adopt the 1925 Baptist Faith and Message, which challenged the decline into modernism that plagued other denominations. Herschel Hobbs led Southern Baptists through the Elliott Controversy and to adopt the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message. Adrian Rogers’s election to SBC presidency in 1979 began the Conservative Resurgence which arrested the precipitous decline of a growing percentage of Southern Baptist’s agency employees into biblical and theological relativism.  Southern Baptists presently are in the throes of a cultural and ethical crisis where clear perception, purposeful and meaningful engagement, an unintimidated honesty, and a determined vision for gospel preeminence is needed. With due respect to the spirituality, biblical convictions, and competence of the other candidates, I view Dr. Tom Ascol as prepared providentially for the presidency of the SBC in this critical time. With no hesitation, I am supporting his candidacy for SBC president.