Willy Rice statement makes clear Big Eva will find replacement to challenge conservative Tom Ascol.

In a statement published to social media, Willy Rice announced he was withdrawing his name from the race for President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“Dear Southern Baptist Family,” Rice begins his statement. “I am hereby withdrawing my name as a candidate for the SBC Presidency this summer. The last few days have been very difficult and I’ve found myself in an untenable position of watching people I love in a church I love done immeasurable harm simply because my name was being considered for this office. My calling is to my local church, my family, and to the  mission field God has given me. I wish to return my time and attention to those things.”

Rice then signals the SBC insiders intend to field another candidate. After all, the SBC Elites and Big Eva can’t allow an actual conservative like Tom Ascol to win.

“I do hope another candidate will emerge whose ministry has been characterized by leading in the local church with a passion for the Great Commission,” Rice said. “I will continue to contribute to Southern Baptist life and cooperative efforts where I am able, but my primary focus will be as the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church as long as God allows me to serve in that position.”

Rice then thanked his supporters.

“I am profoundly grateful to the many people who encouraged me and supported me over the last few weeks. Your kindness was far more than I deserve and I regret that I cannot fulfill your hopes for me to serve as SBC President,” Rice said. “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever. I have been given far more than I have ever deserved and I am grateful to my many Southern Baptist friends whom I look forward to serving alongside for many years to come.”

The announcement follows revelations Friday that Rice dismissed a deacon at his church for what Rice described as a potentially abusive sexual sin. The sexual sin allegedly was a then 27-year-old high school teacher having sex with an 18-year-old student.

Now speculation can begin on who Big Eva will run in place of Willy Rice.