Southern Baptist Convention elects Jeff Iorg as new Executive Committee president

Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in September 2022.
Jeff Iorg, president of Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in September 2022. | Screengrab: YouTube/Southwestern Seminary

Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary head Jeff Iorg has been unanimously elected to serve as the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee.

In a Thursday vote, 60 members of the SBC Executive Committee chose Iorg. He will serve as president-elect until May 11, when he completes his tenure at Gateway Seminary in California. 

"Today's unanimous vote marks a significant turning point for the SBC Executive Committee and the SBC as a whole," said SBC EC Chairman Philip Robertson, as quoted by Baptist Press, the official news service of the SBC.

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"You cannot overstate the importance of leadership, and Jeff Iorg is a leader among leaders. The way Southern Baptists have united around this nomination is something we haven't seen in a long time. I am extremely grateful to God for that. It's a new day at the EC."

Iorg led Gateway Seminary since 2004 and oversaw its move from the San Francisco area to central California in 2016. He was announced as a nominee earlier this month.

"Jeff Iorg has already brought unity to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and to the Southern Baptist Convention, as evidenced by the acclaim from far and wide in response to the initial announcement and by today's unanimous vote," said SBC President Bart Barber in a statement.

"Jeff Iorg has said today that the SBC is a force for good. I believe that God will use Jeff Iorg as a force for good, and I will cheer him on and pray toward that end."

The Executive Committee has 86 members and works on behalf of the SBC between annual sessions, overseeing things like reviewing financial statements, distributing funds for ministries and serving as the trust agency for SBC properties.

The convention body has been without a leader since October 2021, when SBC EC President Ronnie Floyd resigned over the committee's decision to waive attorney-client privilege as part of an investigation into how SBC leadership has reportedly mishandled abuse accusations.

After Floyd resigned, the EC appointed Willie McLaurin, an EC vice president, as interim president while the convention body searched for a new leader.

Last May, the SBC EC voted 31-50 against appointing Texas Pastor Jared Wellman, an executive committee member who had been a top candidate. 

Wellman faced objections over some of his work on the search committee, while some wanted a person of color for president instead.

McLaurin resigned in August last year and stepped away from consideration when it was revealed that he had misrepresented his academic credentials.

Jonathan Howe, an executive committee employee since 2019 who had served as vice president for communications, filled in as interim president when McLaurin departed.

In late January, Neal Hughes, chairman of the presidential search team for SBC EC, announced that an unnamed candidate for the position of president had withdrawn from consideration.

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