NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention’s top ethics official is retiring next year.

wrote in a letter dated today that he would step down in October 2013 on his 25th anniversary with the SBC. Land stressed he was not retiring from the ministry or what he called “the culture war.”

Land has been a highly visible convention leader, articulating Baptist views against abortion and same-sex marriage.

The SBC reprimanded him in June and cancelled his radio show for racially insensitive remarks about the Trayvon Martin case. Land had to apologize for claiming President Barack Obama and black leaders exploited the incident.

The remarks came amid the Baptists’ diversity push and the election of their first black leader.

The retirement was first reported by the Baptist Press, the SBC news service.