ST LOUIS (BP) — In an effort to help bring unity following a close vote, North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear announced Wednesday he withdrew from the race for president of the Southern Baptist Convention during the SBC’s annual meeting in St. Louis.
SBC President Ronnie Floyd recognized Greear and Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines so they could address the convention at the start what was to be a third vote for president at the end of the June 15 morning session.
However, before any ballots could be cast Greear announced to the convention that he was withdrawing his name from consideration after he prayed last night and believes “we need to leave St. Louis united.
“I’ve said from the beginning it is tricky to lead the SBC,” Greear said. “I’ve spent a good amount of time praying and I believe for the sake of our convention and our election we need to leave St. Louis united. … We are united by a Gospel too great, and a mission too urgent, to let a lesser message stand in our way.
“I am respectfully withdrawing my candidacy as president and asking you to join me in electing Steve Gaines as president,” Greear said, adding that Gaines had considered “doing the exact same thing in reverse.”
Gaines said “there’s no way God is not doing something in all of this.”
Gaines said he had decided internally Tuesday night to withdraw during the National Call to Prayer for Spiritual Leadership, Revived Churches and Nationwide and Global Awakening but agreed to serve as president after the two men met Tuesday evening and prayed together.
“I just wanted Jesus to be lifted high” and the convention to be united, Gaines said.