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Miss. House speaker is seminary trustee

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
JACKSON, Miss. (BP) -- A Southern Baptist who is a trustee at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is the newest speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi.

Philip Gunn, second vice chairman of the seminary's board of trustees, was elected speaker in early January, making him the first Republican to sit as speaker of the house in Mississippi since Reconstruction.

Gunn, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2004, was unopposed in his bid for speaker. And, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger newspaper, members of the House met Gunn's election with cheers and a standing ovation.

"This is a tribute to the leadership of Speaker Gunn, and his election brings honor to the people of Mississippi and to the board of trustees of Southern Seminary," seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. wrote in a letter to the trustee board.

Russell D. Moore, senior vice president for academic administration and dean of the school of theology at Southern Seminary, said he's proud of Gunn as a fellow Mississippian.

"He's a humble, decisive servant-leader who knows his roots and his vision," Moore said. "I love working with him at Southern Seminary and pray for him as he leads the greatest of the 50 great states."


Gunn is a member of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton.

"The Mississippi House of Representatives has elected a true Christian statesman to its highest position," Morrison Heights senior pastor Greg Belser said. "I know of no finer man in politics anywhere. Philip Gunn is a man of unquestioned character and a deep love for Christ and the church while balancing the enormous demands of family and community service. He is the real deal."

Compiled by staff of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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