International Mission Board President David Platt says he wasn’t aware he would appear on a campaign video for Southern Baptist Convention President nominee J.D. Greear, according to a report by the Louisiana Baptist Message.
The video, posted on YouTube shortly after Greear’s nomination was announced in March, was created by Ashley Unzicker, whose 2014 rap pardoy schooled Baptists on their own history (set to the theme song from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”) Unzicker’s new rap about Greear’s candidacy features cameos by SBC leaders, including Platt, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore, and Southeastern Seminary President Danny Akin, saying the line “It’s tricky.” (The rap is set to Run-D.M.C.’s 1986 song of the same name.)
In response to the video, some outlets (including this blog) have questioned whether SBC leaders should be seen as endorsing one candidate over another.
Baptist Message editor Will Hall informed fellow editors in an email April 4 that Platt “denies he knowingly endorsed J.D. Greear for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, stating he was not aware Greear’s request for a video clip was for the purpose of creating a campaign ad.”
In an email response to an IMB trustee March 23, Platt said he was overseas when Greear asked him to shoot the 2-second video clip, but he wasn’t aware how it would be used.
“Please be assured (and please assure anyone who asks you about it) that I am not personally (and we are certainly not organizationally) endorsing anyone for SBC president,” Platt wrote. He said he would “be thrilled” to serve alongside Greear or Steve Gaines, the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., who was announced as a candidate March 9, or “any other faithful Southern Baptist pastor who might be nominated to serve in this important role.”
Platt added that he had called Gaines “to assure him that I was not in any way ‘endorsing’ J.D., and I expressed my delight in the prospect of Steve potentially being in that role. We had a great conversation about his vision for the SBC, and I am completely confident in the Lord’s leadership in whoever serves in this role for the next couple of years.”
David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church, New Orleans, was announced on March 24 as a third nominee for the denomination’s top elected post. Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis will vote for the office of president on Tuesday, June 14.