During the Louisiana Family Forum’s Pastor’s briefing following the 2016 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast in Baton Rouge, then-state Rep. Mike Johnson was prayed over by a group of pastors. At the time, Johnson had filed in the state legislature the "Pastor Protection Act," a bill that would have provided a simple protection for pastors — prevent the state from forcing religious leaders to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies. Photo by Mark H. Hunter via Baptist Message.

Mike Johnson is a member of Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, Louisiana

By Will Hall, Baptist Message executive editor Special to the Capstone Report

WASHINGTON (LBM) – U.S. Congressman Mike Johnson, a member of Cypress Baptist Church in Benton, Louisiana, has been elected House speaker, meaning he is second in the line of succession if President Joe Biden should be unable to serve.

Johnson garnered 220 Republican votes in favor versus 209 Democrat votes against in the Oct. 25 House vote. Two seats in the House are vacant (one Democrat, one Republican) and four members did not vote (three Democrats, one Republican).

The office of speaker has been vacant since Oct. 3, when Matt Gaetz, a member of First Baptist Church, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, led a GOP minority (eight congressmen) to join with Democrats to oust Kevin McCarthy, a member of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, California, from this key leadership position.

The drama was amplified by the failures of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, also of Louisiana, Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, of Ohio, and Majority Whip Tom Emmer, of Minnesota, to capture enough support from their Republican colleagues to overcome the Democrats’ block of votes in their respective bids to be elected speaker.


Johnson has enjoyed overwhelming praise from conservatives.

Yesterday, when Johnson was named the GOP nominee by his party peers, Gaetz praised Johnson as a “good godly man who’s going to advance Republicans.” Speaking to reporters, he also described Johnson as “the best possible candidate” to lead the House.

Ahead of the vote today, former President Donald Trump told reporters that Johnson was “spectacular” and later added that Johnson is “popular, smart, sharp. He’s going to be fantastic,” according to a report on foxnews.com.

After the vote for Johnson, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) released a statement congratulating “my good friend, Mike Johnson.”

“Mike isn’t just a consistent conservative — he’s a courageous one,” Kennedy wrote. “He loves God, his family, and his country more than anything, and he has devoted his life to serving them faithfully. American families share Mike’s Louisiana values, and they deserve his confident, principled leadership.”

Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director Steve Horn also expressed high praise for Johnson.

Horn told the Baptist Message, “This is an exciting day for Louisiana. This is an exciting day for Louisiana Baptists. More than anything, this is an exciting day for America.

“To have someone with Mike’s intellectual acumen, love for America, principled convictions, and Christian worldview as speaker of the House gives me great hope,” Horn said. “We need to be praying for Mike, Kelly, and their children.”

Meanwhile, Johnson’s pastor, John Fream, called Johnson “a tremendous man of God, a historian, constitutional expert, biblical scholar and great family man.” He also described Johnson as an “humble servant.”

“Mike and [wife] Kelly are stars and so willing to follow the Lord wherever and however He leads them,” he told the Baptist Message. “I am fired up for my friend and this nation!”

Fream added that his congregation is committed to praying for Johnson and his family “as they are called for such a time as this to lead.”


In the U.S. House, Johnson has championed protection of pro-life groups from threats and attacks, advocated for the criminalization of knowingly taking a minor across state lines for an abortion and opposed the use of federal funds for sexually oriented events for kids. He also pushed the Oath Act to force all House witnesses to be sworn in before being allowed to testify.

In 2018 he served as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of conservatives in the Congress. Subsequently, he was elected vice chairman of the House Republican Conference in 2021 and 2022.

Johnson’s conservative principles have been evident in his private life, as well.

In 2015 he founded Freedom Guard, a non-profit legal ministry to defend people and institutions of faith. In this capacity he has successfully represented Answers in Genesis against opposition to the development of its Noah’s Ark theme park, and he defended the sports chaplaincy program at Louisiana State University from attacks that it was unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, in 2022, he and Kelly launched a ministry podcast, “Truth be Told,” which focuses on hot topics and current events from a Christian perspective.

Before going to Congress, he was a Louisiana legislator who pushed pro-life and pro-family bills for one term after a special election in 2015 to fill the vacant 8th district seat.


Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican representing New York, nominated Johnson, Oct. 25, “as speaker of the people’s House” amid shouts of “Mike, Mike, Mike.”

She quoted from 1 Samuel 16:7 and Galatians 6:9 before closing with “May God bless our next speaker, Mike Johnson. May God bless the United States of America.”

After a counter nomination of Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), by Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), the House elected Johnson as speaker along party lines.

This article first appeared at the Baptist Message.