NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The next Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting is a year away, but several leaders already are suggesting that Fred Luter be the next SBC president.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Daniel Akin and Union University President David Dockery all have used their Twitter accounts to endorse the idea, as has Russell D. Moore, dean of the school of theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
After Akin announced June 7 he would nominate Luter as SBC first vice president at the annual meeting in Phoenix, Moore wrote in a Tweet, “And we should elect him pres. next year in New Orleans.” The next day, Akin wrote on his Twitter account, “Praying & believing it could lead 2 more next year. Time is right!”
After Luter was elected first vice president, Dockery sent out a Tweet saying, “Good day for SBC: 1st VP Fred Luter. Hope he will be elected president next year in New Orleans!” Akin re-Tweeted Dockery’s entry and added, “Amen!” That same day, Kelley wrote on his Twitter account, “Excited Fred Luter elected First Vice President. Next year in New Orleans we need to elect him president of SBC!”
Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, is the first African American elected as first vice president of the SBC. The convention has never had an African American president.
Time magazine asked Luter about the buzz over a possible nomination. He said his wife and his church would have to be on board.
“And of course God’s lead,” he said. “I’ve told people I’m going to enjoy this year working with Dr. [Bryant] Wright, he’s a phenomenal president. I have no agenda other than that, and one thing I have never done is politic for a position.” Wright is the current SBC president.
ZANE PRATT NEW DEAN AT SOUTHERN SEMINARY — Southern Baptist Theological Seminary announced that Zane Pratt will become dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism in August.
Pratt, a former missionary, oversaw missions work across Central Asia from 2001-11. Pratt will replace former dean Chuck Lawless who became vice president for global theological advance at the International Mission Board.
In addition to his role as dean, Pratt will serve as associate professor of missions.
“I am absolutely thrilled with the appointment of Zane Pratt as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism,” said R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Seminary. “Zane is one of the world’s premier missiologists and most effective missionaries. … His experience leading a missionary movement in one of the world’s most challenging regions is invaluable.
“I have had the opportunity to visit with Zane on the field and to see him at work. I have long admired his vision, his tenacity and his faithfulness. I cannot wait for the students of Southern Seminary to know him as dean, teacher and friend. I am convinced that he will be an epic leader of the Billy Graham School, and I am further convinced that his leadership here will mean that many, many new missionaries will go out in service of the Great Commission.”
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press. With reporting by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.