Committee Appointed to Look for Richard Land's Successor

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has appointed the members of the committee that will look for a new commission president.

The ERLC Executive Committee appointed Barry Creamer, vice president of academic affairs at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas as chair. Elizabeth Wood, spokeswoman of the ERLC, told The Christian Post that the presidential search committee "will determine the scope of the process and will release information based on their discretion."

Declining to comment further, Wood provided CP with a statement made by Richard Piles, acting chair of the ERLC Executive Committee to Baptist Press.

"Our search committee will be asking the Lord to direct us to the individual who can serve the commission and Southern Baptists for another 25 years in the arena of biblical ethics and public policy. I am confident that person is within our convention and will emerge eventually," said Piles.

Dr. Richard Land has been the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission since 1988. During his time, he was named one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals and was frequently in the public spotlight.

Land, 65, has spent a great deal of his time in Washington, D.C., talking with elected officials and other movers and shakers on the national public policy stage. He has also participated in several debates regarding faith and American society, including many events with him debating Jim Wallis, CEO of Sojourners and author of God's Politics.

Earlier this summer, Land announced that he would step down from his position at ERLC on Oct. 23, 2013. He told The Christian Post earlier that he decided to announce his retirement early so that the ERLC and its board would have ample time to find a replacement in order for there to be an "orderly transition." He also confirmed that his retirement was voluntary and that he was not asked to step down.

"It has been the honor, privilege, and blessing of a lifetime to serve the Lord, the wonderful people of God called Southern Baptists, and other brothers and sisters in the faith through the ERLC for virtually half of my entire ministry," wrote Land in a resignation letter.

"Now, I believe that God has led me to the place where He is releasing me to other places of service in His Kingdom."

The list of issues Land, who also serves as executive editor of The Christian Post, has advocated for or defended include the sanctity of life, race related issues, immigration, traditional marriage and religious freedom. He told CP that he has "no intention of retiring from the issues that are of importance to our society. I feel called to fight for the biblical principles important to our nation and our world."

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