Baptists elect new president after other candidate steps aside
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A virtual tie between two candidates for president of the Southern Baptist Convention has been resolved with one stepping aside to endorse the other.
Tennessee pastor Steve Gaines was elected by acclamation Wednesday at the convention's annual meeting in St. Louis after North Carolina pastor J.D. Greear withdrew his candidacy for the sake of unity.
On the previous ballot, Gaines had received 49.96 percent of the votes while Greear got 47.8 percent.
Gaines said he also considered dropping out, but reconsidered after he and Greear met and prayed together.
Greear said Southern Baptist unity was too important for its leader to be chosen by such a narrow margin.