SBC Presidential Interviews | J.D. Greear

May 25, 2016

Will Hall | Editor
Baptist Message, Louisiana

**This article was originally posted HERE and is used by permission**
For more information on Will Hall click HERE and

Despite making an appointment for a phone interview and after a substantive conversation, J.D. Greear declined to participate in a live question and answer session with the Louisiana Baptist Message about his run for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention.

During the exchange, Greear made several special requests, some that were acceptable and one that was not.

He asked for questions to be submitted in writing.

The Message declined to grant this privilege because the two other candidates for SBC president — Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, and David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana — agreed to the live format, which requires the interviewee to be thinking on his feet and avoids getting typed responses ‘written by committee.’

For the record, to start their respective interviews, Gaines and Crosby each were asked to reflect on the axiom “keep the main thing the main thing” and then explain what the “main thing” would be in his presidency. Follow-up questions essentially were the same for both but were asked naturally during the respective conversations.

Greear would have been treated the same.

Greear also asked to see the article ahead of publication, a request the Message agreed was reasonable.

In fact, the Message granted Gaines and Crosby the opportunity to check write-ups of their interviews for accuracy in fact and context, but not to alter the essence of what either said.

Both were helpful in making minor corrections.

Greear would have had the same opportunity.

But, Greear expressed displeasure about an article the Message published about a controversy that emerged in social media among SBC leaders, including serving and retired International Mission Board trustees, regarding a campaign video for Greear which featured a two-second clip by IMB President David Platt.

Two other SBC entity heads also made cameo appearances, Russ Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Some Greear supporters, largely neo-Calvinist millennials, have called newspaper and online articles about the incident “a fake controversy” and dismissed the rap song spoof as nothing more than the initiative of a hip staff member who wanted to do something for her pastor. She has even said it was all her idea.

However, a Platt email stated Greear was the person who asked him to participate, and, Platt said Greear did not divulge to him that the two-second clip Platt made was for a Greear campaign ad.

Greear argued to the Message the email was a “private letter” and should not have been used without Platt’s permission.

However, the Louisiana Baptist Message received the exchange between Platt and a trustee with the understanding it was free to share with anyone, in accordance with Platt’s request in the email: “Please be assured (and please assure anyone who asks you about it) that I am not personally (and we are not organizationally) endorsing anyone for SBC president.”

Greear also accused the Message of twisting Platt’s email, although during his conversation with the Message, Greear indicated he had not actually seen the email.

In fact, Greear asked to see the Platt email, despite his insistence it was a “private letter,” and the Message forwarded a copy for Greear to read for himself what Platt wrote – and the Message asked Greear to point out any deviations between the published article and the email.

In the end, Greear did not offer the requested feedback and via a subsequent email declined to be interviewed.

As a final note, the trustee who received Platt’s email told the Message the article accurately portrayed how he read Platt’s comments.

Readers may view the Platt email here and the Message’s news report about it here.

The 2016 SBC Annual Meeting will be held in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14-15, and the election of a new president will take place the afternoon of the first day.


Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available


Wouldn’t answer questions……..that isn’t good…

Tim Woods

JD Greear answered EVERY media request, from all secular and Baptist state papers, except Will Hall’s request under Will Hall’s terms. This says a lot more about Will Hall than JD Greear

    Dr. Will Hall

    Tim Woods,

    Be careful where you step. You better have more courage than tapping on a keyboard if you’re going to challenge my integrity.

    — Will Hall

      Jon Estes

      Mr. Hall –

      Do you know Tim and are just throwing a jab at a friend or are you making a veiled threat? Just trying to figure out if Christ is anywhere in your statement to Tim Woods. If you know him well and there is a give and take you enjoy with him, no problem. If it is a veiled threat, I have problems with your integrity… For Christ is nowhere to be found in making threats to someone who disagrees with us.

        Rick Patrick

        Jon and Tim,
        Dr. Will Hall, editor of The Louisiana Message, was completely fair in his treatment of all three candidates in this interview process—Gaines, Crosby and Greear. Hall has the right to conduct the interviews “live” rather than in writing. Greear also has the right to refuse such an interview, but his refusal itself then becomes subject to evaluation. Both Gaines and Crosby chose to participate according to the rules of the interview. Greear did not. That says something about Greear, not Hall.

        Tim’s suggestion that Greear’s refusal “said more about Hall” was demonstrably false, and represents a very peculiar indictment of a well respected Southern Baptist journalist and state newspaper editor. Will’s reply guarding his own integrity makes complete sense in this context. Far from a “veiled threat,” Will is simply letting Tim know that this driveby attack on Hall’s integrity will not go unanswered.

          Jon ESTES

          Rick. I have no dog in the hunt for these interviews. I could care less about them. My comment was directed to the words Dr. Hall wrote… Nothing more – Nothing less.

          I do not know how you read it when he states… ‘You better have more courage than tapping on a keyboard if you are going to challenge my integrity.” I read it as a threat.

          If Ezell said these words to a state exec who wrote something in disagreement with him, this blog would light up and want to lynch him. Do you disagree?

            Andrew Barker

            Jon Estes: Neither do I have a “dog in this fight” as you put it, but as a seasoned observer (and fairly regular contributor) I think I can spot a genuine comment when I see one.

            When you come out with terms like “I have problems with your integrity” … and “Christ is nowhere to be found in making threats to someone who disagrees with us”, do you know what? I too begin to have questions ….. about ‘your’ integrity. Perhaps you ought to go away and “examine yourself to see if you are in the faith” lol.

              Jon Estes


              Better check your eyes. My comment was completely genuine.

              Maybe you think Christ approves of threats. I don’t.

              Alas, I think I’ll stay. I kinda like it here. Please, don’t you leave. I need a few laughs each day.

                Andrew Barker

                Need your eyes testing, Jon?
                You were the one who said “I read it as a threat”. Nobody else does.
                You are the person who is talking in terms of ” this blog would light up and want to lynch him”. Nobody has talked about lynching anybody.
                You are the one who has stated “Alas, I think I’ll stay. I kinda like it here.” Has anybody actually asked you to leave?
                You then follow this with a suggestion for me not to leave “Please, don’t you leave.” Why would I leave?
                You say “I need a few laughs each day” If this is how you get your laugh …….?

                You began by stating “My comment was completely genuine”
                I would say disingenuous …. and that’s me being generous! :-)

                  Jon Estes

                  Don’t need your generosity. I’m doing very well without it.

                  It is obvious we see things from different perspectives. I’m not surprised nor am I interested in observing things differently.

                  I believe I’ll stay, even though you suggest I go away…

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jon, the *only* person who has brought up the possibility of you going away is *you*.

                    Jon Estes

                    Andrew. Go back and read who used the term “go away”. The idea didn’t come from me. I simply responded to the one who used the term. Of course the term was being used to question if I was in the faith. I laughed that off… Still do.

                    I do find your approach to me being a person of faith or not very non-evangelistic.

                    Thanks for the chuckle.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jon: I didn’t just say “go away” did I. This is typical of you, taking just half a sentence. Force of habit I guess. I said “go away and examine yourself”, quite a different meaning. Plus it was a quote, fully intended to be taken with a pinch of salt, hence the lol, after you had rather sanctimoniously upbraided Will Hall. Perhaps you can’t see the irony in it. I guess I was expecting too much of you.

                    Never mind, it appears you get your laughs and chuckles from these interactions??? :-o

                    Jon Estes


                    Seems you chose to use only half of your sentence. Not surprised.

                    Sad you find that you needed to put a lol on the sentence where you question someone’s faith.

                    But the chuckle at your attempt at humor, not your humor, still remains.

                    Andrew Barker

                    Jon: Never questioned your faith. Just suggested you examine it ….. in the light of *your* criticism of Will Hall. “If it is a veiled threat, I have problems with your integrity… For Christ is nowhere to be found in making threats to someone who disagrees with us.” Perhaps you could tell us all where Christ is in your comments to Will Hall?


                  If you are willing I’d like to connect with you by email. Thanks brother.

                  Jon Estes


                  I am not questioning your intellect or understanding of these things but I suggest you step back, take some time away to research and really learn what we are talking about. lol

                    Andrew Barker

                    So Jon, what are you talking about? Is that really a question worth researching?

                    You posted to Will Hall: “Do you know Tim and are just throwing a jab at a friend or are you making a veiled threat?” This was followed by what I can only describe as the most pompous piece of spiritual grandstanding I’ve seen in a while, and I quote …. “Just trying to figure out if Christ is anywhere in your statement to Tim Woods.”

                    The thing is Jon, I haven’t seen where “Christ is” in your comment to Will Hall either and neither have you given any explanation. In fact the main piece of explanation we have from you is that you enjoy contributing because it gives you chuckles, laughs and lots of lol!

                    So to finish I’ll quote from a source which I think you’ll recognize …. ” I’ll be glad to give you the last word. I’ll refrain from replying to you in this thread again. Of course I do find it funny when someone replies to another saying the other needs the last word.”


        Jon, I have questioned your integrity since the old BBCopenforum days. You acted as chief of the spiritual police over there too. Evidently that is your thing.

          Jon Estes


          The whole premise of that blog was for those who did not want Gaines to stay to be the chief spiritual police on the matters of Bellevue.

          Your comment is funny.


            Jon, you acted the same way there as you do here. You made claims of threats there, too, in your typical condescending manner. Then rebuke others for responding in kind. Wouldn’t modeling what you expect from others toward you be a better path as a pastor? You want special treatment just as Greear does.

            My guess is you come to places with a cannon when some simple questions would do. But that wouldn’t work now. Too late. Everyone would be looking around for the cannon.

        Dr. Will Hall

        Mr. Estes,

        I don’t waste words on threats and I don’t suffer the words of the arrogant, especially those who would presume to speak for Christ or self-righteously assume the right to sit in His place.

        — Will Hall

          Jon Estes

          Dr. Hall,

          You wasted a few on your comments to Tim, it seems.

          Maybe you can tell me what you meant when you said… ”You better have more courage than tapping on a keyboard if you are going to challenge your integrity.”?

          Since your previous comment does not show any sign of concern for those who disagree with you but to get defensive, I do question your integrity. I do hope you treat those in your state convention who give to pay your salary to be the editor of their state paper better than you do Tim Woods.

            Dr. Wil Hall

            Jon Estes,
            I’m getting bored with your sophistry:
            — I’m not defensive, just blunt.
            — I don’t threaten. Like I said, it’s a waste of words. How witty of you to write “You wasted a few on your comments to Tim.” I get it, you think because you say it’s so, then, it must be so. What’s next? Are you going to start a round of, “I know you are, but what am I?”
            — It’s clear you don’t like push back. Not my problem. I don’t put up with name calling. Get over it.
            — Likewise, don’t pretend this is simply a matter of my having an issue with someone who simply “disagreed with me.” I’m not shocked by your deception – to reiterate — just bored with your sophistry.
            — On that note, I meant what I wrote exactly as it is originally written. Only an argumentative idealogue wanting “the last word” would claim not to understand. But, I’ll make it really simple for you to understand — I’ll type slowly and you read slowly so you don’t miss my meaning — I know the Spirit’s voice and yours is not His.
            — Finally, most Louisiana Baptists are like me and don’t suffer the words of the arrogant or the ideologue wanting the last word.
            — WKH

              Jon Estes

              Dr. Hall,

              Tell me what you meant by… “You better have more courage than tapping on a keyboard…”?

              Courage to do what?

              Courage for what?

              Did you want to convey Tim wasn’t courageous enough to say something to you face to face? It reads that way. I notice you have your friends here who defend the language, I’m not surprised but I know I’m not the only one who read it the way I did.

              Who called you a name? Your article on Greear is more critical of Greear than anyone here has been towards you. You act as if Greear must be interviewed and interviewed on your terms only. But then, that’s how you want the comments toward your article or questioning your integrity to be handled… On your terms.

              No ideologue here, I’ll be glad to give you the last word. I’ll refrain from replying to you in this thread again. Of course I do find it funny when someone replies to another saying the other needs the last word.

                Dr. Will Hall

                Since you’ve graciously conceded the last word to me, I’ll take it.

                I don’t suffer people who lack courage to say face-to-face what they casually write on comment streams, and a strong rebuke is a biblical response — you might refresh your reading of Galatians 2:11-21 and Paul’s handling of Peter, for instance.

                As for your creative interpretation of the article which plainly states facts (in context), not commentary, it’s clear you are an ideologue who is crying “foul” because you’re “hurt.” I get it. You like Greear and can’t stand to read news that’s not glowing about him.

                “My terms” for conducting the three interviews were the same for each candidate and, for the record, reflect generally accepted practices of journalism. For that matter, a “sunlight” approach in communications is pretty good behavior in business, government, the military and the ministry.

                As for how I respond to comments about me, it’s not about my handling them according to “my terms” but about holding individuals accountable, and, letting them know a computer keyboard is not the Ring of Gyges.


Yes, Tim, it does. It shows the willingness of an editor to be equally fair to all interviewees. Additionally, Greear’s refusal is more telling about him as compared to Crosby and Gaines. It is fairly typical to attack the messenger when one doesn’t like the Message.


This is very disapointing, and I agree with Norm. I think Greear’s opponents are one up on him! We need truth and transparency in the SBC, not arrogance!

Shelvin Lamb

I am disappointed that Greear declined the interview. However, this article is really distasteful. I am a faithful reader, agree with a lot of what is written in many articles and have posted commented before. 22 sentences that could have been one: “Greear declined the same opportunity as Crosby and Gaines.” This article does not help.


    “This article does not help.”

    In what way(s)?


The truth is often distasteful. I am not surprised–these types usually control their venue. I have never seen them allow questions in an open format that was not in front of loyal fans. It is how they protect and insulate themselves with adoring fans. They don’t do well outside the bubble. Not a great leadership characteristic.

He need not worry. He has the vote. The convention votes what Mohler wants.


    UNITY! Unity to the elite means let’s all unify to margenalize the icky people who think the SBC elite should have to answer basic questions.


Why should JD Greer have to answer questions from the peasants? None of the other elite care what average people think. Greer got his wittle feelwings hurt and so he refuses to grace the rabble with his ability to answer off the cuff. It’s not like a qualification of SBC President is the ability to think on his feet and answer questions.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available