The National Religious Broadcasters on Tuesday unanimously elected Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, president of Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, to be its new president. Johnson promised that as its new leader the NRB would champion religious freedom and freedom of speech.
"It is an honor to be elected as president & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters and it is a joy to sense God's calling to lead this association of Christian communicators," said Johnson in a statement. "If Christians want to be heard by the current generation, they will have to communicate the Gospel in their 'media language' with excellence. Recent developments on the cultural and legal landscape require that we defend the biblical and constitutional principle of free speech with zeal. With God's help, I am ready to give myself to this task. I am thankful for Dr. Frank Wright's faithful service as my predecessor and plan to build on the foundation of his leadership."
Dr. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and a member of the NRB's Board of Directors, told The Christian Post. "I think this is wonderful news. Jerry Johnson has the drive and the intimate knowledge of the new media that is needed to bring the new media people alongside the old media people in defending religious freedom and freedom of speech in the United States in the decade ahead."
Johnson was unanimously elected by the NRB Board of Directors on Tuesday following vetting by the Presidential Search Committee and later selection by the Executive Committee. The Board of Directors interviewed Johnson Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and unanimously approved his selection. Johnson did not seek the position, but was asked by the search committee, along with several other applicants, to apply.
During the interview, Johnson said he was "committed to making the NRB as great and effective a champion for the First Amendment as the NRA is for the Second Amendment."
Johnson was one of Land's students at Criswell College. Land wrote a letter of recommendation in which he described Johnson as one of his four most gifted students. Due to his experience, Land believes Johnson is a "perfect fit" for the position.
Johnson is an ordained Southern Baptist pastor, and a graduate of Criswell College, Denver Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Ph.D. in ethics. His dissertation is titled, "Peter Singer's Proposed Value of the Person in Rethinking Life and Death: A Critical Valuation."
Besides serving as a pastor in Texas and Colorado, and in various academic positions, Johnson also has experience doing a live radio program from 2004 to 2008 that focused on hot-button issues and politics.
According to Land, Johnson has been an effective fundraiser and has shown an ability to work with the diverse Christian groups that the NRB represents.
"The NRB is a sleeping giant," Land added. "Jerry Johnson is God's man to wake the NRB up and start it marching in the right direction."
Johnson will begin his new position on Nov. 1 and, like his predecessor, Dr. Frank Wright, committed to stay in the position for 10 years.