WASHINGTON (BP) -- Richard Land, who led the transformation of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics entity during the denomination's conservative resurgence, has announced he will retire next year after a quarter of a century of service as its president.
"Dr. Land has been a stalwart leader of conservative and Christian causes and has been at the forefront of protecting our liberty in America."
-- Mat Staver
Land's retirement as president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) will be effective Oct. 23, 2013, he announced in a letter today (July 31) to the acting chairman of the entity's board of trustees. His retirement is scheduled to take place 25 years from the date he assumed the ERLC's presidency in 1988.
Land, 65, has acted as an outspoken advocate among Southern Baptists for biblical positions on such issues as the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, marriage and race relations. His staunch efforts during his tenure also have made him a leading evangelical Christian voice among social conservatives in this country's escalating cultural battles. Time Magazine named him in 2005 as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals.
"Dr. Land has been a stalwart leader of conservative and Christian causes and has been at the forefront of protecting our liberty in America," said Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel and dean of the Liberty University Law School. "He will certainly be missed in the role that he has played for many years by those of us who have worked closely with him and those of us who have followed his work. I have a high respect for Dr. Land and believe his legacy will continue to be felt throughout the country."
Don Wildmon, founder of the American Family Association, told Baptist Press, "We're all indebted to [Land]. I'd hate to see him go, but if he's going to stay in the wars that's good. We need him."
Land made it clear in his letter he is retiring only from the ERLC, "not from the ministry, or from what is popularly called the 'culture war.'" Read More