ORLANDO, Fla. (BP)–“The world is tired of phony politicians and phony religion” and wants to see the “authenticity of Jesus Christ,” Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue told messengers June 15 at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Perdue called for Southern Baptists to be authentic, dependent on God and obedient in their daily lives.
The world wants “to see the authenticity of what we say carried out in what we do,” Perdue said. “Let’s be about the doing of what we say we believe as we show the world the authenticity of Jesus Christ in our lives, living out His principles, [that] they will be drawn to that light.”
Perdue said although he was saved at age 11, it was not until he was 29 when he realized, “like Solomon did, that all my accomplishments were in vain. It was all meaningless.”
God began to teach him dependency at that point and Perdue said that dependency on God gave him the courage to stand on the Georgia’s Capitol steps during a time of drought and ask God to send rain.
About that same time, Perdue said reading Joshua 1 taught him “God is faithful if we are obedient.” The governor said observance is consistent with obedience: “We can’t teach something if we don’t observe it.”
As Perdue began his remarks, he referred to the Great Commission Resurgence discussion that had taken place earlier that day, saying it reminded him of the Georgia legislature.
“Democracy is sometimes painful to watch, but it’s still the best in the world,” he said. “I was in Cuba last week and they don’t have this kind of discussion in Cuba. So give God the glory we can come together as brothers and sisters and talk about the best direction for Southern Baptists.”
Perdue and his wife Mary have been members of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., where outgoing Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt serves, for the past eight years. There, they teach couples in Sunday School and are “very active,” even on Sunday night, Hunt said. Perdue also has spoken for Hunt on different occasions and has “a passion for soul-winning,” the SBC president said.
The governor said he was “honored to sit” at Hunt’s “feet, as sheep in his pasture,” consuming “the hay of the Bible week after week. He [Hunt] knows where the hay barn is.” Perdue said it was obvious that their pastor spends time “on his face and his knees, prostrate before God. That’s the only source of biblical truth that he brings us, week in and week out.”
Perdue noted he was in the last year of his final term and “I’m not running for anything and Johnny Hunt’s not running for anything, I don’t think.”
The couple, who have served as foster parents, pled with Southern Baptists to consider becoming foster parents for the “forgotten children of the world” — an “unreached people group,” Perdue said.
Perdue’s wife Mary said Christians have a mandate from the Lord to care for the fatherless. “We will affect them for eternity in a way that is life-changing,” she said.
Barbara Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Convention.