Winfred Moore, a Texas pastor and two-time moderate nominee for the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) presidency, died May 8 in Amarillo, Texas. He was 95.
Winfred Moore, left, was elected Southern Baptist Convention first vice president in 1985 after losing the presidential election to Charles Stanley, right.
Pastor of First Baptist Church in Amarillo from 1959-89, Moore was defeated in SBC presidential elections in 1985 by Charles Stanley and 1986 by Adrian Rogers during conservatives’ battle to gain control of SBC entity trustee boards. Moore believed requiring “doctrinal uniformity as a prerequisite for missions” was neither “Baptistic” nor conducive to reaching the world for Christ, as he put it in a 1986 statement announcing his willingness to be nominated for the presidency.
At the 1985 SBC annual meeting in Dallas, which garnered a record 45,000 messengers, Moore allowed his name to be placed in nomination for first vice president in an apparent gesture of graciousness toward conservatives after falling short in his bid to prevent Stanley from winning reelection. He was elected first vice president with 66 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race.
Speaking with reporters near the platform after results of the presidential vote were announced, Moore seemed not to hear Virginia pastor Ray Allen nominate him for first vice president. Stanley, who was presiding as the sitting SBC president, asked Allen to come to the platform and inquired whether he was willing to be nominated. After asking Stanley in apparent jest, “Are you asking me that?” Moore said, “I will do with Charles Stanley everything that I know how to do to put the convention back in the mainstream of evangelism and missions.”
The exchange provided levity amid a contentious annual meeting. Conservative resurgence leader Paul Pressler wrote in his book A Hill on Which to Die that Moore’s election as first vice president “did salve a deep wound which Charles’s re-election had inflicted” on moderates.
Before pastoring in Amarillo, Moore served congregations in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas. Following his retirement from the pastorate in 1989, he taught religion at Baylor University.
Educated at Lambuth College and Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and George Peabody University in Nashville, Moore was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 1984 and 1985. He was an ex-officio member of the SBC’s Peace Committee by virtue of his service as first vice president.
Moore was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Elizabeth. He is survived by three children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by David Roach, chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention’s news service.)