Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas Robert Jeffress and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention Bobby H. Welch endorsed Ken Hemphill for president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Hemphill faces J.D. Greear in the election of the next SBC president. The contrast in support for Hemphill and Greear is substantial. Greear has support from the likes of the progressive ERLC chief Russell Moore.
The endorsements by Dr. Jeffress and Dr. Welch were first reported by the Baptist Message.
“I enthusiastically endorse Dr. Ken Hemphill for president of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Pastor Robert Jeffress said, He noted that Hemphill “is a proven leader with a consistent track record of supporting all the various ministries of our denomination.”
Welch stressed the importance of Hemphill’s ability to focus exclusively on the job of SBC president.
“There are a number of excellently qualified Southern Baptists who would make a great president of the SBC, any other time except this time,” former Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch wrote. “This time, we are in desperate need of a full time – 7 days a week – 24 hours a day – 365 days a year – president who can focus SBC on the things that are essential to regaining our place in evangelism-world missions-home missions.”
These conservative endorsements are major news in the election of the next Southern Baptist Convention president. The endorsements of Jeffress, a noted political conservative and voice of evangelicals who stand for conservative social policies, is a clear sign that Moral Majority style conservatives are coalescing behind Ken Hemphill’s candidacy.
Welch’s endorsement marks a major turning point as he becomes the first former SBC president to endorse Hemphill.
Both Welch and Jeffress stressed the importance of Hemphill as a statesman capable of dealing with the serious issues facing the Southern Baptist Convention.
“As our Convention faces so many critical decisions that will determine our denomination’s future for decades to come,” Jeffress said, “we need a leader who has both the ability and the desire to unite, rather than further divide, Southern Baptists.”