Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Southern Baptist Elect First African-American President

On Tuesday June 19th the Southern Baptist Convention made history when 7,700 ministers unanimously supported the vote for Rev. Fred Luter, Jr. to become the first Black president of the predominately White denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention is the world’s largest protestant denomination and some would say the whitest. The vote is extremely historic in light of church history, because the Southern Baptist denomination became a separate denomination in 1845 after a regional split with northern Baptist over the issues of slavery. After the Civil War a second split occurred when most Black Baptists in the South separated from white churches and set up their own congregations.  To further distance itself from the history of slavery the denomination changed its name to Great Commission Baptists; this name change was endorsed by a 53% vote. These changes are extremely important and a good start but in order to move past it’s history of racism the Southern Baptist will have to do more than change its leadership and name, but it will have to create an environment where church leaders can truly repent of racism and prophetically preach that their congregants do the same. It should be noted that these large scale changes began with a 1995 apology the denomination made to African-Americans for its history of racism and supporting segregation.

It remains to be seen if these high level changes will trickle down to individual congregations where 11:00am Sunday morning is still the most segregated time of the week. These recent changes by the Southern Baptist Convention highlight the fact that globally the Christian Church will have to make serious adjustments as a result of the exponential growth of people of color in the pews. Many cathedrals in Europe are empty while in South America and Africa church membership is exploding, for example the two largest churches in the world are located in South Korea NOT the Bible Belt. In order to survive the Christian church will have to deal with racism and accept leadership from people of color, with these inevitable changes it remains to be seen whether White Christians will make the needed adjustments or leave the church unable to let go of the idolatry of racism.

Though the Southern Baptist have made two huge steps this week, now the real work of healing the racial divide in its church begins. As we know from the historic election of President Barack Obama, just because “our president is Black” does not mean that racism has come to an end and in fact it may rear its head in more insidious ways.

Share This Post

3 Responses to Southern Baptist Elect First African-American President

  1. DocWilson Reply

    June 25, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    Your Blog was very informative as well as insightful. I would like to correct one thing the Name of the Convention was not changed but what did happened was that a choice was given to it’s 45,000 churches and 5,000 mission congregations that they could use the name Great Commission Baptist as a descriptor if they so choose. As an African American who is part of the Southern Baptist, I would covet the prayers of those who call on the name of Jesus as LORD and Savior to help us display a unity among ourselves. The Bible is clear that it is our love for one another that will show that we are His disciples.

  2. Onleilove Reply

    June 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Dear Doc:

    Thank you for weighing in as a Black Southern Baptist. I apologize for the misunderstanding when I researched a name change was reported, but thank you for the correction.My prayers are with you and your church. Take care.

  3. Benjamin Reply

    June 25, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    This guy must think that he is still on the plantation. So sad. Black brainwashing by whites is still the norm. Poor preacher.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>