Dr. James T. Draper Jr., the former president of LifeWay Christian Resources, is recovering in the intensive care unity of Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine, Texas, and is expected to be there for three more days, according to those close to him.
Draper, who served as LifeWay president for 15 years before retiring in 2006, was admitted last Thursday after what doctors initially diagnosed as a severe allergic reaction to a myelogram procedure, according to LifeWay's current president, Thom Rainer.
A myelogram is an x-ray of the spinal cord after injection of air or a radiopaque substance into a specific space.
"He will be in ICU for three more days, but the news is all good," Rainer reported Monday, describing Draper as being "on the road to recovery."
Fondly regarded for years as the "pastor of the Southern Baptist Convention," Draper had served in ministry for more than 55 years and was elected president of the denomination in 1982 and 1983.
In announcing his retirement in 2004, Draper said, "As a minister, I will never retire."
"I cannot retire from ordination, the call to preach or the compulsion of the Holy Spirit to work and witness as a Christian minister," he stated. "The surgeon lays down his scalpel, the attorney shuts his law books, the engineer puts down his calculator and the pilot turns in his wings, but the minister does not retire. Retirement from that call comes when you wake up and find yourself in the presence of the Lord."
Draper and his wife, Carol, currently reside in Colleyville, Texas, less than ten miles west of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
The Drapers have three adult children – all in their late 40s and early 50s.