Dan Summerlin withdraws from consideration as SBC Executive Committee interim president


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A retired pastor described as “beyond reproach” withdrew his name Tuesday from consideration as interim president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee.

Dan Summerlin, the longtime pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church in western Kentucky, offered no public explanation for his decision, though Executive Committee Chairman Philip Robertson of Louisiana said Summerlin cited his wife’s health as a primary reason.

Robertson said the current interim president, Jonahan Howe, will remain in the position for the foreseeable future.

The Executive Committee had released a statement early Monday heralding Summerlin, and saying he would be recommended as the interim leader during a two-day meeting that ended on Tuesday.

“Dr. Dan Summerlin is a proven leader with four decades of service at many levels of convention life,” the statement said. “Dr. Summerlin has the administrative skills we need, a stellar reputation across the landscape of the SBC, and the relational acumen needed to represent the EC in our cooperative efforts as a convention during this interim period.”

Summerlin is revered in Kentucky where fellow church leaders know him best.

“Dan Summerlin is an incredible leader, a man above reproach in all ways,” said Brian Horton, a missions strategist in northeastern Kentucky.

Summerlin would have been the Executive Committee’s third interim president since mid-August. Willie McLaurin resigned on August 17 after members of the Executive Committee discovered that he had falsified his resume.

McLaurin had been interim leader since February 2022 and was a candidate for the permanent position. McLaurin acknowledged in a letter of resignation that he had included schools on his resume that he did not attend, including North Carolina Central University, Duke University Divinity School and Hood Theological Seminary.

After McLaurin’s resignation, Howe was made interim president. He faced criticism after his appointment for being a member of Woodmont Baptist Church, a Nashville congregation that is dually aligned with the liberal Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Howe’s wife serves as minister of students and discipleship at the church.