NASHVILLE – The trustee search committee for a new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has launched a website to aid in identifying a candidate for the position.
The SBC entity addresses moral, ethical and religious liberty issues from a biblical perspective from its offices in Nashville and Washington, D.C. Richard Land, who has led the ERLC since 1988, has announced his retirement effective Oct. 23, 2013.
The website – erlc.com/presidentialsearch – features pages dedicated to an outline of the attributes ERLC trustees are seeking in a candidate and a prayer guide for the committee’s work. The site also is the only way by which interest in the ERLC presidency can be communicated to the trustee search committee.
The committee expects a candidate to “demonstrate a commitment to applying Biblical principles and gospel understanding to critical ethical concerns of our time” and asks Southern Baptists to pray “that the hearts and minds of search committee members be open to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.”
Barry Creamer, who heads the ERLC trustee search committee, announced the site Oct. 1. Creamer is vice president of academic affairs and professor of humanities at Criswell College in Dallas.
The committee will accept curriculum vitae through a portal on the website from prospective candidates through Oct. 31, 2012.
“The search committee is not looking merely for the person with the best resume,” Creamer explained. “We are pursuing God’s will for the person we should recommend to the ERLC board as the next president.”
Creamer said prayer has undergirded the committee’s actions from the beginning. “Our focus has been to pray for God’s direction throughout the search process and to develop a practical and prudent process,” he said, adding that the posting of the prayer guide is a “very important reminder of our responsibility not to become pragmatic in our process, but to seek God’s leadership.”
Creamer said the presidential search committee has been “on task” and “active every week” since being appointed in August after Land’s retirement announcement in late July.
The characteristics spelled out in the website’s presidential profile “are, for the most part, non-negotiable,” Creamer said, noting, “Compromise on the profile is not likely.”
According to the committee’s website, the individual who would be considered for the ERLC’s chief executive position should have “significant education in and demonstrated understanding” of ethics, philosophy, and history, among other academic disciplines, and “be able to comprehend complex and significant ethical issues quickly and respond to them succinctly.”
The site suggests a candidate should be “characterized by the qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3, personally above reproach, with a life characterized by ministry and a demonstrated commitment to the local church and to the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Land, in announcing his decision to leave the commission, indicated he is not retiring from ministry, writing, “When God called me into His ministry a half-century ago, He put no time limit on that service. It was, and is, a lifetime calling.” The Texas native soon will begin his 50th year of ministry, having begun preaching as a 16-year-old in Houston.
Search committee members, in addition to Creamer, are Kenda Bartlett, executive director of Concerned Women for America in Washington, D.C.; Kenneth Barbic, a lobbyist with the Western Growers Association in Washington, D.C.; Lynne Fruechting, a pediatrician in Newton, Kan.; Ray Newman, executive director of Georgia Citizens Action Project in Atlanta; and Bernard Snowden, family life pastor at Antioch Baptist Church in Bowie, Md. ERLC trustee chairman Richard Piles, who appointed the search committee, is an ex officio member. Piles is pastor of First Baptist Church in Camden, Ark.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Dwayne Hastings is a vice president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.)