Roger Spradlin, SBC figure who helped craft the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, dies at 68    

Pastor Roger Spradlin of Valley Baptist Church of California speaking at a gathering in June 2023.
Pastor Roger Spradlin of Valley Baptist Church of California speaking at a gathering in June 2023. | Screengrab: YouTube/Valley Baptist Church

Roger Spradlin, a Southern Baptist Convention pastor who helped craft the influential 2000 Baptist Faith & Message, has died following a battle with cancer. He was 68. 

Valley Baptist Church of Bakersfield, California, a congregation that Spradlin helped to found in 1985 and served as co-senior pastor up until February, posted a statement on Sunday from his family confirming that he died that morning.  

“While we had some really great moments this past year, it was also filled with a lot of suffering. But God was merciful and answered our prayers as Pastor Roger has been at such peace and in such comfort over the last several weeks,” the family stated.

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“He passed very peaceably and comfortably with Ginger and some of the family by his side. We deeply mourn our loss, but also rejoice knowing that he is now in heaven with our wonderful Savior and many loved ones who have gone on before.”

Spradlin is survived by Virginia, his wife of 46 years, three children, and 10 grandchildren.

Richard Land, president emeritus of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, and executive editor of The Christian Post, had Spradlin as a student at Criswell College of Dallas, Texas. 

"He was always very serious about his studies and very devoted to his calling," Land recalled, in comments given to CP, adding that Spradlin "demonstrated that over the many decades of his faithful service to the local church and to the cause of Christ."

Land offered his condolences to Spradlin's family, saying, "I am sure they will be comforted as I am by the fact he's now in the presence of his Savior."

Born in 1955, Spradlin graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1977, earned a master’s degree in biblical studies from Criswell College in 1983, and later received a doctor of ministry degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky in 2002.

Spradlin held a host of leadership positions in the SBC, including chairman of the SBC Executive Committee from 2010-2012, chairman of SBTS’ board of trustees from 1999-2001, and president of the California Southern Baptist Convention from 1997-1999, reported Baptist Press.

Spradlin served on the 15-member committee that eventually drafted the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, which was adopted by messengers at the 2000 SBC Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.  

The Faith and Message has garnered considerable controversy in recent years due to its statement that the office of pastor is to be “limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

In June, messengers at the SBC Annual Meeting voted overwhelmingly to affirm the removal of prominent California-based megachurch Saddleback Church from SBC membership due to its violation of this portion of the Faith and Message.

In October of Last year, Spradlin was diagnosed with inoperable bile duct cancer, which contributed to his decision to retire from ministry in February of this year.

As Spradlin retired, his son, Andrew, became the new co-senior pastor of Valley Baptist Church, alongside Brian Busby. During the inauguration of the new lead pastors, Spradlin told those gathered that his church “exists for the people who aren’t even here.”

“We’ve got a lot of people here tonight,” Spradlin added, fighting tears. “But our city is filled with broken people that aren’t here tonight. They’re not in anyone’s church. They’re living lives of desperation.”

“And then one day, someone in this room will invite them, and they will come. They will walk down the aisle and their life will be forever changed. We exist for those people.”

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