SBC leader who helped champion conservative resurgence dies from COVID, pneumonia

Jimmy Pritchard
Jimmy Pritchard, former president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and a leader of the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. |

A Southern Baptist Convention pastor who helped advance the denomination's conservative resurgence has died at age 65 after battling COVID-19 and pneumonia.

Jimmy Pritchard, former president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church of Forney, Texas, died last week following a brief battle with the illnesses.

FBC Forney announced the death of Pritchard in a statement posted to their Facebook page on Feb. 24, noting that they brought the news “with great sadness.”

“We ask that you please be in prayer for Jeannette; his children, James, John and Julie and their families; his brothers and their families; his church staff; your fellow church members and all those who knew and loved Bro. Jim,” the church stated.

“We will share information from the family as it becomes available in the coming days; but for now, your prayers are coveted.”

SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards said in a statement that Pritchard was known for his prayer gatherings and revival meetings throughout Texas.

“Brother Jimmy knew that every spiritual awakening has been preceded by prayer and obedience. He could see the goal line of making disciples of all nations,” Richards stated.

“And now, in glory, I think he has an even clearer vision of the countless number of souls redeemed because of his obedience to that cause that he championed.”

The Southern Baptist Texan credited Pritchard as being involved in the Conservative Resurgence, a multiyear struggle in which theological conservatives took control of the SBC.

According to the SB Texan, a public visitation will be held Friday in the First Baptist Forney Chapel and a funeral will take place on Saturday, which will be livestreamed.

In addition to being a pastor of FBC Forney since 1994 and former head of the SBTC, Pritchard held several other leadership positions within the SBC.

These included pastor of Congress Avenue Baptist in Austin, member of the SBTC Executive Board, a trustee at the SBC International Mission Board, a trustee at Criswell College, and the Southwestern Seminary alumni association president.

In 2014, while serving as SBTC president, Pritchard signed a letter to Houston Mayor Annise Parker denouncing her for subpoenaing the sermons of five pastors who had been critical of a proposed local LGBT ordinance.

“We ask you, and the city of Houston, to acknowledge that the issuing of these subpoenas is improper and unwarranted, in order to ensure that such will not happen again,” read the letter, in part.

“Whatever a church or synagogue or mosque or any other religious body believes about marriage or sexuality, the preaching and teaching of those bodies should be outside the scope of government intimidation or oversight.”

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