SBC President Goes into Surgery for Cancer

Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt is scheduled to go into surgery Thursday morning to remove a cancerous gland.

Fellow Southern Baptist leaders tweeted about the surgery, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Eastern time, and urged people to pray for the 57-year-old Christian leader.

"By the time you read this our dear friend @johnnymhunt will probably be in surgery," tweeted Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. "Please remember to pray for him today."

Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale in Springdale, Ark., wrote on his blog, "Pray for his (Hunt) wife, Janet, and their family, as well as their church family. We are praying for a successful surgery, concluding in a good report."

Floyd added, "May God be praised and Jesus magnified through this entire experience. May our Johnny Hunt be healed by our Lord and may He experience in the future the greatest days of his life and ministry."

Hunt announced in November that he has prostate cancer and expected to have surgery in January.

In a statement released through Baptist Press, the news wire service affiliated with the SBC, Hunt said he was "very encouraged" that doctors had discovered the cancer at an early stage. He also shared that his mother had battled cancer and taught him to not ask "Why me?" but rather "Why not me?"

"I must confess that she really did pass that along to me; therefore, my attitude today is not 'Why me?' but 'Why not me?'" Hunt said in the statement. "If anyone has been blessed by God, it is this pastor. The Lord has been so good to me."

He continued, "I believe that the Lord often times allows things to come into our lives, and this, in particular, has been a great reminder of my mortality, and also of a genuine faith that has brought me through everything that I have ever faced; so, the Lord has been speaking encouraging words into my heart."

In response to the outpouring of calls for prayer, Hunt tweeted, "I am really touched by your prayers and concern!" and "Thanks for all the prayers, Jesus is Lord!"

Jim Law, executive pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., where Hunt is pastor, told BP that Thursday's surgery at Northside Hospital in Atlanta will remove the cancerous prostate.

Hunt was elected to head the 16.2 million-member SBC in June 2008 and was re-elected this past summer during the denomination's annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.

In addition to his duty as SBC president, Hunt also pastors First Baptist Church of Woodstock, a 172-year-old church in the Atlanta area that has over 14,000 members.