Thursday, June 21, 2012
I was in New Orleans for a historic moment. The Southern Baptist Convention elected the first African-American to serve as president of the convention. It was an incredible moment. I stood with the close to 8,000 other messengers in an ovation to the election of Dr. Fred Luter.
The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 as a reaction to the anti-slavery sentiments being expressed in relation to missionaries and churches. For decades the SBC was associated with slavery, and racism. Attitudes of racism would continue for a long time among many in SBC churches, especially in the south.(In some backwoods, rural churches it unforun
ately still exists).
In the 1990's the Convention took a long overdue step -- a public acknowledgement of sinfulness, and a profession of repentance to God.
Since that time, diversity among Southern Baptist Churches has grown in leaps and bounds. Repentance is something that must be lived out and demonstrated over time.
The election of Dr. Fred Luter was a historic moment. It serves to demonstrate the reality of repentance. It serves to demonstrate actual faithfulness to God's Word. It shows that the convention has prioritized scripture and our common focus on the gospel and missions.
By the way, in my opinion, this was not simply electing Dr. Luter because he was black. He is extremely qualified. He has faithfully pastored Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans. He has been there through Katrina, suffered with his people, and continued to hold fast to God's word. He has seen the Lord rebuild his church - physically and spiritually. He is a faithful family man, husband, father, and servant of Christ.
I am thankful to God and proud of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
For more info read Denny Burke's blog