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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The Rev. Billy Graham's minister is warning Southern Baptists not to idolize their denomination's new president.
The Rev. Don Wilton exhorted his fellow pastors before the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting starts Tuesday in New Orleans.
The denomination, which was born out of pre-Civil War conflicts over slavery, is poised to make the Rev. Fred Luter of New Orleans its first black president, which could be an important step in healing the image of Southern Baptists.
But Wilton stressed that Southern Baptists aren't electing a king, but a "chief servant of the Lord Jesus Christ."
In his weekly visits to the Rev. Billy Graham, Wilton said he must guard himself against idolizing the 93-year-old evangelist.
The first session of the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference, on Father's Day, featured Wilton and other pastors being introduced by their sons who have followed them into ministry.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)