Monday [Jan. 14], Bailey Smith, evangelist, pastor, Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) president, and former Truett McConnell University (TMU) trustee, died after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Smith was 79.

Smith, who served two terms as the SBC president, was a pivotal part of the decision for Truett McConnell to be the first Baptist college affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention to officially adopt the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) as the confessional identity for the institution. Smith made the first motion to move the decision in 2009, and since the implementation, all full-time faculty members are required to sign the BF&M in a public forum.

“If it wasn’t for the prophetic stance of Bailey Smith, our Southern Baptist Zion, including our seminaries and even our University, would be mired in unmitigated liberalism to this day,” said TMU President Dr. Emir Caner. “Without any regard for his own reputation and career, Dr. Smith took a stand for the inerrant Word of God when others stood on the sidelines. His love for the lost and his love for God’s Word commanded him to do so.”

Dr. John Yarbrough, Director of Alumni Relations & Public Policy, Associate Professor of Christian Studies, former President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and longtime friend of Smith said, “Bailey Smith has been a hero and friend for more than 30 years. He has been a compassionate counselor to me personally at a time in my ministry that I needed someone for whom I have great respect to guide me.”

Dr. John Gerald Harris, retired editor of The Christian Index, described Smith as “a powerful preacher, devoted pastor and faithful friend” on the Index’s online news site.

The book “The Sacred Trust” by Emir and Ergun Caner stated, “Without a doubt [Bailey] Smith is the ideal personification of a Christian who has an unwavering, single-minded commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission.”

“We are forever in his debt for taking such an unpopular yet necessary stand,” said Caner. “Now, we too must continue to stand for God’s Word, knowing the eternal state of lost people relies on Christians believing and sharing the love of Christ. Revelation 14:13.”

Smith was a family man who leaves behind his wife Sandy, of 55 years, and three sons, Scott, Steven, and Josh.

“On this morning, my father, Bailey Smith, went to be with the Lord. I was blessed beyond measure to have him as a father. He has left a legacy that I hope to honor with my life and ministry” said his son, Josh, who is pastor of Price Avenue Baptist Church in Bogart, Ga.

“He was a great preacher, soul-winner, and Godly leader,” added Yarbrough. “I know that he heard a resounding, “Well done my good and faithful servant” as he entered his heavenly home. He is kicking up gold dust today on the streets of heaven as he rejoices in the presence of God with many faithful friends.”

There will be a visitation with the family Tuesday, January 29, from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at One Heart Church in Norcross, Ga followed by a memorial service at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 30 at the same location.


Jenny Gregory is the Digital Media Specialist for TMU.


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