By Sharayah Colter
In a culture driven by identity politics, it would be a natural assumption that I—a woman— would cite several women-centric reasons for supporting Pastor Tom Ascol for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Being pointedly "pro-women" can certainly translate to positive polling and successful elections within secular society. For Christians, though, proving partiality to one group or another need not play a role in how we select our leaders.
Ladies, you should vote for Pastor Tom Ascol for the same reasons your male counterparts should vote for him: He is a man of integrity who stands courageously, winsomely, and unashamedly on the truth of Scripture.
As messengers, we do not need to elect a candidate for Southern Baptist Convention president who will pander to one voting bloc or another or who will promise to elevate any one person or group over another in the SBC family. Southern Baptists simply need to vote for a true man of God—a man of the Word.
Dr. Tom Ascol is such a man.
When it is time to vote in Anaheim, Calif., this June, these three Scriptures will guide my decision to vote for Pastor Ascol, a man who has been faithful to contend for truth, a man who respects his church and loves his family, and a man who demonstrates what it means to fear God, not men (Mt. 10:28).
Prov. 28:1 — “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Pastor Ascol fits the mold of the righteous man who indeed has nothing to fear, because the only One he does fear is God. What can man do to those who love God and are called according to His purpose? Nothing that God does not allow and that He does not use to make us more like Christ and to draw men unto himself. The SBC needs a bold, righteous leader.
1 Tim. 3:1-4 — “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence” A leader should be above reproach. I believe the man we elect as leader of a convention comprised of 47,000 autonomous churches should exhibit at least the same qualities Scripture says those autonomous churches should expect of their pastors. Pastor Ascol fits the biblical model of what it means to be a selfless leader, submitted to the authority over him and carefully caring for the souls entrusted to his care within his local church. The SBC needs a qualified leader.
Jude 3 — “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” The Christian faith is full of things hard to understand and things which must be carefully balanced (2 Peter 3:16). The Bible, which calls Christians to put on love (Col. 3:14), to have speech of grace (Col. 4:6), and to bear with one another (Eph. 4:2), does not contradict itself when instructing Christians to contend for the faith. To the human mind, these concepts can seem at odds, but in God’s economy and through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christians can contend for the faith with passion and conviction—proclaiming the truth and warning of the very real consequences of sin—and do so in love, grace, patience, and goodwill. Pastor Ascol has modeled these traits and the careful balance required to follow and honor the whole counsel of Scripture. The SBC needs a spiritually mature leader.
As I said, none of these traits have anything to do with issues specific to women or to any other category of people for that matter. We do not need a president who will make any segment or portion of our collective body the priority during his time serving Southern Baptists. We simply need a man who fears the Lord, who walks daily with Him, and who will commit to a presidency guided by the Bible and the Bible alone.