NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Louisiana pastor Fred Luter has told his congregation that he’s willing to have his name placed in nomination for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, a step that could lead to a historic election.
Luter, currently the first vice president of the SBC, made the announcement Sunday, as first reported by the SBC Today website. Baptist Press confirmed that Luter is willing to be nominated in a Thursday (Feb. 2) call to the church he leads, Franklin Avenue Baptist in New Orleans.
“He and his wife [Elizabeth] have been praying for months,” Johnell Thomas, pastor of membership at Franklin Avenue, told BP. Thomas said Luter “did announce that he would allow his name” to be placed in nomination in addressing the congregation.
Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue, is the only announced candidate so far. If elected, he would become the convention’s first African American president — and it would happen as the U.S. commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. He already is the SBC’s first African American first vice president.
Voting will take place at the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans in June. A nominator has not been announced.
In August, Luter had said he was “80 percent” leaning toward the idea of allowing his name to be placed in nomination.
“It is an awesome responsibility [to serve as SBC president],” he told the Baptist & Reflector newspaper then. “I don’t want to take it lightly or for granted.”
In that same interview, Luter said his goal, if elected, would be to “bring us together as a convention” so that “we can truly be the body of Christ. … We need to major on the things that have made this convention great through the years — evangelism and discipleship.”
Michael Foust is associate editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).