NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The nomination of Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., for president of the Southern Baptist Convention was confirmed May 20 by Bob Bosworth, the congregation’s music minister.
Drake is one of six candidates Southern Baptist messengers will consider. Baptist Press asked each candidate to participate in a survey of mostly standardized questions, but the questionnaire included at least one query individualized for each candidate.
Drake’s answers to the questions posed by Baptist Press follow:
1) What has God done in your life and ministry to prepare you to be president of the Southern Baptist Convention?
Forty-two years pastor of SBC churches in California, Texas, New Jersey, Arkansas. Seeing God save 300-plus each year for the past 10 years and allowing us to disciple them.
God has allowed me to serve as moderator of our association twice and as second vice president of our SBC.
He has allowed me to serve as a founder and ambassador for the Presidential Prayer Team and vice President of the Congressional Prayer Conference in Washington, D.C.
God has also allowed me to serve as chaplain to the USS Kitty Hawk, CVA-63 Veterans Association and the Minuteman Project.
He has allowed me to minister to millions of radio congregants five hours a week for the past six years.
He called me to serve for the past five years as facilitator for a nationwide “Telephonic Prayer Meeting,” not only with Southern Baptist but other evangelical prayer warriors.
God has worked out that I am well known in the media, especially in regard to soul winning (church of 100 winning over 300 to Jesus each year), salt and light and fighting the big guys. This presence in secular, as well as Christian media, will help the world find Jesus and help people better understand who Southern Baptists really are. They will know that all that we do is to lift up Jesus, and remember He said if He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto himself.
God has worked it out for me to network with U.S. government officials, as well as two ambassadors from Israel, and this will help me bring Southern Baptist soul winning to a wide audience in America and the world.
2) If you are elected, what would be your priority message for Southern Baptists?
Articles XIV and XV of our Baptist Faith and Message, to put into practice all across our convention New Testament unity to win souls and bring our convention back to the people. I will also stress that our convention needs to establish righteousness, especially with those who are saved, and to encourage those who are not to come to Jesus.
If Southern Baptists ask me to lead, I will lead us to follow Article XV to oppose “racism and every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless and the sick. In order to promote these ends, Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.” If elected, Articles XIV and XV will be my marching orders.
3) What do you believe is needed to see churches more effectively bringing people to Christ and making disciples?
The local church needs to put Articles XIV and XV in effect to minister to the needs of the community, as well as be salt and light, and then lead them from help to faith in Jesus and disciple them to become a part of this outreach and soul-winning effort. If we meet their non-spiritual needs and then win them to Jesus, they will want to be a part of carrying that same physical/spiritual needs to others.
4) Decline/plateau in membership, baptisms: What do you think the future holds for the SBC?
If our leaders will help us put into practice Articles XIX and XV, we will see many more come to Jesus. Our future is in His hands and I believe if we will do our best, and we have not been doing that, He will do the rest and baptisms will go up.
5) Regenerate church membership: To what extent do you see regenerate church membership as a significant concern in the Southern Baptist Convention?
The Bible says repent, remember and return to our first love. As much as we can, we need to make sure all our members are saved and on their way to heaven, not just members.
6) Calvinism: Do you see any reason for non-Calvinist Southern Baptists to be concerned about a renewed emphasis on Calvinism in some Southern Baptist churches and seminaries?
I am not a Calvinist, but I see no problem for those who wish to understand Scripture that way. We have a lot more in common than we do in difference.
7) The IMB trustee guidelines governing baptism and private prayer language in appointing missionaries: Do you think their action was needed and appropriate?
8) The role of the Baptist Faith and Message: What do you see as the proper role of the Baptist Faith and Message when it comes to governing SBC entities and employees?
We need to get back to the entire message, not just the parts we like. Our founding Baptist fathers spent a lot of time and prayer putting this together, and even though it is not Scripture, I believe it is of God. It needs to govern our entities and employees.
9) While you served as SBC second vice president, controversy arose over what some alleged was your use of the title to push your personal issues. Should Southern Baptists be concerned you will use the office of president to promote activism rather than lead the SBC?
I did not use my title or position to push personal issues, only to push us to win more people to Jesus by doing what Article XIV and XV said we were to do. I assure Southern Baptists I am a team player, and if any member of the SBC asks me to not proceed in an area, I will listen.
I will use my position and presidential office to promote activism in the area of Articles XIV and XV, nothing else.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.