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Hunt prostate surgery set for Jan. 7

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP)–Johnny Hunt will undergo surgery Jan. 7 to remove a cancerous prostate, according to a spokesman for the Atlanta-area church where Hunt serves as pastor.

Hunt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., and president of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced Nov. 23 that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and planned to undergo initial treatment in January.

A statement released by the church’s executive pastor, Jim Law, said the procedure to remove Hunt’s prostate would be conducted Jan. 7 at Northside Hospital in Atlanta.

Hunt and his wife Janet “have come to this decision after much prayer and seeking the Lord,” Law said. “Dr. Hunt would like to thank so many churches and individuals who have interceded on his behalf these past few weeks. He is deeply grateful and has sensed the prayers and the love that has been demonstrated to him in so many ways by many Southern Baptist brothers and sisters. Would you commit to continue to pray now for the success of the surgery on Jan. 7th and for his time of recovery?”

Hunt was elected SBC president during the convention’s June 2008 annual meeting in Indianapolis and re-elected at this year’s meeting in Louisville, Ky., when he was instrumental in the formation of a 23-member Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.

Hunt is the third SBC leader this year to disclose a prostate cancer diagnosis, following O.S. Hawkins in August and Jack Graham in June. Hawkins is president of GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Graham, a former SBC president, is pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano.

The statement Hunt released at the time of his diagnosis read in part:

“As a Pastor, one thing that comes to mind is that there are far more trials and illnesses in God’s family than we are aware of. My heart goes out to all who are challenged with cancer, or whatever the illness may be. My Mother suffered with cancer and went home to be with the Lord 25 years ago next February. My Mom taught me in her challenges that the Lord had moved her from ‘Why me?’ to ‘Why not me?’ I must confess that she really did pass that along to me; therefore, my attitude today is not ‘Why me?’ but ‘Why not me?’ If anyone has been blessed by God, it is this Pastor. The Lord has been so good to me. I believe that the Lord oftentimes allows things to come into our lives, and this, in particular, has been a great reminder of my mortality, and also of a genuine faith that has brought me through everything that I have ever faced; so, the Lord has been speaking encouraging words into my heart. I have the privilege to be the Pastor of such a precious, precious fellowship. First Baptist Church Woodstock has embraced Janet and me, along with our children and grandchildren, in such an encouraging way.”
Mark Kelly is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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