BP: If you are elected, what do you envision as your key emphases or key messages to Southern Baptists? What do you see as greatest challenge to the SBC in the short-term?
Luter: This convention has been one of the top conventions in the world as far as our primary mission of evangelism and discipleship. My goal and vision is that we would get back to being that convention we’re known for. Through the years we’ve kind of gone off-track with some things and that has allowed us to not make evangelism and discipleship our main focus. My prayer is just that we get going back in the right direction, depending on God to help us fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. That’s what He’s called us to do and that’s what I hope to lead this convention to do during my time as our president.
BP: Even with just your nomination, what message do you hope it sends to the SBC and to the nation?
Luter: The thing I hope it sends to the SBC is that if you’re faithful to God and faithful to God’s Word, that God will be faithful to you. That’s what’s happened here. I’m from the Lower Ninth Ward, and Mom and Dad were divorced when I was a kid. But through the 30-some years I’ve been a believer and the 25 years I’ve been a pastor, I have been faithful to God, faithful to the Word of God, and faithful to my wife. I just believe God has allowed this [nomination] to happen for such a time as this. It is nothing I was looking for. It was not on my bucket list, so to speak, but I think God ordained this because of the fact that what we’re dealing with right now through the convention is trying to make the convention diverse. I think this will speak not only to our convention but to our country and throughout the world that this convention is serious about reaching all people.
BP: Since news broke at last year’s meeting that you would consider allowing your nomination as SBC president, what comments by fellow SBC leaders and by friends have been most significant or most encouraging to you?
Luter: They’ve been saying, ‘Fred, it’s time. Many of them feel God has just raised me up for this time to speak not only a message of the Word of God to our convention, but to the folk who are not part of our convention about the direction this convention wants to go as far as reaching all peoples. I think this will say to a lot of young preachers across America who are Asian, African American, Hispanic that hey, this convention is not just saying this. They’re putting their money to their mouth. This convention is truly open to all people.
BP: Describe the rise in awareness of you by SBC leaders. How did it come to pass that you preached the annual sermon at the Southern Baptist Convention in 2001 when it was last in New Orleans?
Luter: It happened as a result of our baptism record. We started growing as a church and as a result leading our association in baptisms, and from there our Louisiana Baptist Convention. Wayne Jenkins [LBC evangelism director] called one year in the early 1990s. I didn’t know him when he called, but I will never forget it. He said Franklin Avenue was first in the state in baptisms and he’d like me to come up and receive an award at the evangelism conference, ‘and I’d like you to preach,’ he said. After that, Wayne would give my name to different ones and before you know it I would be preaching at different evangelism conferences and state conventions across the country.
Read the whole article. I’m excited about Luter’s candidacy and think he has the opportunity to be a powerful voice / leader for the Southern Baptist Convention.