As I write this, news reports tell us that we just might see, by the time you read this, the election of the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention. This is significant for all sorts of reasons: one being, of course, that the SBC was founded, partly, to protect the "right" of slaveholders to be missionaries. It's important also because it's a test for whether the SBC will go forward with the gospel and mission we say we believe.
One of my earliest memories is of a substitute Sunday school teacher in my Southern Baptist church chastening me for putting a coin in my mouth. "That's filthy," she said. "Why, you don't know if a colored man might have held that." It might just be my imagination playing tricks on me, but it seems as though she immediately followed this up with, "Alright children, let's sing 'Jesus Loves the Little Children, All the Children of the World.'"
Now, this lady probably didn't consciously think of herself as a white supremacist. She almost certainly didn't think of herself as subversive of the gospel itself. She never thought about the hypocrisy of holding the two contradictory worldviews together in her mind. She probably didn't see how her dehumanizing of African-Americans was a twisted form of Darwinism rather than biblical Christianity. more >>
Contrary to the recent recommendation by a Southern Baptist Convention task force that the denomination introduce an "informal" optional title – "Great Commission Baptists" – more than half of SBC pastors say they would not like to use the tagline.
LifeWay Research released on Friday the results of a random survey of more than 1,000 SBC pastors conducted in April and May 2012, showing that 54 percent say they will not use the non-legal moniker, although more than 35 percent have not discussed it.
Only 4 percent say they will use both Southern Baptist Convention and Great Commission Baptists in their descriptors, and 2 percent indicated they will use Great Commission Baptists exclusively in their church identification, found the survey conducted in light of the task force appointed by SBC President Bryant Wright to study a possible name change for the 167-year-old convention. more >>
Hundreds of Southern Baptists have signed a statement that rejects Calvinist views on the doctrine of salvation and outlines the "traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God's Plan of Salvation."
The statement – which denies that God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation, among other beliefs – has stirred wide debate within the Southern Baptist Convention with some affirming it fully and others arguing that it is causing an unnecessary division.
"Why are we headed down the broken road of schism over Calvinism today?" asked Josh Buice, pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church in Douglasville, Ga. more >>
A newly released Gallup poll taking America's moral temperature finds strong support for fidelity in marriage and increasing respect for unborn life, but in other key areas – specifically sex outside of marriage and homosexuality – Americans may have lost their biblical compass. And, unless all people of faith unite in opposition, pornography may be next.
Overall the trend is alarming for most. According to the Gallup organization's annual Values and Beliefs survey, seventy-three percent of the nation's citizens believe moral values are getting worse (up from 69 percent in 2011). This sense of moral malaise is generalized rather than specific with no one issue reaching even 25 percent as the number one issue. Lack of "compassion" or "caring" etc., reached first at 18 percent, followed by "Lack of family structure" and "Lack of faith/religion" at 10 percent, with many other individual issues gaining single digits.
When Gallup focused on the specifics however, sexual behavior became the battleground. more >>
The Southern Baptist Convention has long dealt with the issue of race, but now the majority of pastors of the America's largest Protestant denomination say they are ready to have an African-American as their leader.
Amid anticipation that the Rev. Fred Luter from Louisiana will be elected as SBC's first-ever African-American president next month, a survey shows that 86 percent of pastors say the likely historic shift in the leadership would be good for the convention.
"Southern Baptists have come a long way," Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, said Friday, announcing the results of the poll his group conducted this past spring. The poll asked pastors for their level of agreement or disagreement with the statement: "Without regard to any individual, I think it would be a good thing to have an African-American as president of the Southern Baptist Convention." more >>
A Baptist student group that initially filed for registration at Vanderbilt University for the upcoming semester has changed course and has opted instead to refuse recognition due to Vanderbilt's "all-comers" policy.
Baptist Collegiate Ministries of Vanderbilt was originally set to remain a recognized religious student organization. Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, told The Christian Post that the reason for the course reversal was a better understanding of what BCM was agreeing to in working under a policy that requires groups to extend membership and leadership positions to all, including those who do not share the group's beliefs, goals and values.
"Now if it was just we understand the policies of, that would be one thing, but to abide by it means to adopt as your own," said Davis. more >>