Lawrence E. Carter Sr. wins 2019 Gold Illumination Award

Lawrence E. Carter Sr.’s newest book, “A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher: How My Interfaith Journey With Daisaku Ikeda Made Me a Better Christian,” has won the 2019 Gold Illumination Award for Biography/Memoir.

Longtime Lithonia resident Lawrence E. Carter Sr.’s newest book, “A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher: How My Interfaith Journey With Daisaku Ikeda Made Me a Better Christian,”  has won the 2019 Gold Illumination Award for Biography/Memoir.

Carter, who is the founding dean of Morehouse College’s MLK Jr. International Chapel, is the college’s religion professor, archivist and curator. In “A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher,” Carter chronicles how Ikeda, a Buddhist author and educator, led him to a new self-understanding, renewed hope, and a revitalized faith.

Carter, who now lives in the city of Stonecrest, was mentored by the late civil rights leader and Morehouse graduate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has dedicated his life to sharing King’s teachings.

Carter was a 10th-grader in 1958 when Dr. King recruited him to attend Morehouse College. Twenty-one years later, Carter became the first dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel in 1979.

In the 1990s, however, Carter felt that his own efforts to grow King’s global vision for justice and peace had failed, and Carter found himself in despair until he discovered Ikeda’s work.

Like both King and Mahatma Gandhi, Ikeda labored for a world without violence and Carter said he felt a renewed sense of vigor as Ikeda and his work ushered him into the 21st century.

Vanderbilt University’s emeritus professor of religious studies, Lewis V. Baldwin, says it's been written “with keen insight, a rare passion, and ethical and philosophical sophistication.”

“This is the kind of book that can literally change a person’s life,” Baldwin says.

The Illumination Book Awards, in its sixth year, honors and brings increased recognition to the year’s best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview.

The 2019 awards were open to all books written in English and published since Jan. 1, 2017. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded in 19 categories.

Carter is also the Morehouse College archivist and curator. He will talk about and sign “A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher” on Feb. 27 at the Istanbul Cultural Center in Alpharetta. The event, sponsored by the Atlantic Institute, takes place 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at 591 N. Main St.

Carter, who also authored “Global Ethical Options: In the Tradition of Gandhi,” and is the editor of “Walking Integrity: Benjamin Elijah Mays, Mentor to Martin Luther King Jr., is also nominated in the memoir category for a Georgia Author of the Year Award which will be announced in June. 

For nearly 60 years, Carter, who is also an ordained Baptist preacher, has studied and worked in 14 American universities, colleges, and professional schools, spoken at over one hundred different colleges, universities, and seminaries, and received more than 1,000 speaking engagements from 18 Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist denominations. He has traveled to 38 foreign countries and appeared on more than 100 radio and television shows in Africa, Australia, Canada, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oceania, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

“A Baptist Preacher’s Buddhist Teacher” was published Nov. 18, 2018, by Middleway Press. It is available at,, and most bookstores.

For more information, contact Mimi Schroeder at or 404-447-6242.