The Southern Baptist Convention made history last week. The Convention – a denomination formed in 1845, in part, to support slavery, and later, with notable brave exceptions, largely supported Jim Crow segregation into the 1960s – elected its first African-American president, Dr. Fred Luter, Jr.
Dr. Luter's election symbolizes the Southern Baptist Convention having been transformed by the convicting power of God's Holy Spirit from a virtually all-white denomination as late as the mid-sixties to the most multi-ethnic major denomination in the United States today. Approximately 20 percent of Southern Baptists are non-Anglo (African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American, and Native-American, etc), and ten percent of Southern Baptist Convention churches are predominately African-American. more >>
How did you become saved? Did you admit you were a sinner, repent of your sins, believe Jesus Christ died for your sins, and call on the Lord and pray to accept Jesus into your life?
The recent decision by delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention to affirm the use of the "sinner's prayer" – known as a prayer of repentance and "inviting Jesus into your heart" – has undermined Calvinism in the denomination and placed a renewed emphasis on traditional Baptist soteriology: if you repent, call on the Lord and believe in Christ for mercy, you are saved.
The resolution, which passed Wednesday by a majority vote of around 80 percent, affirmed the belief that "repentance from sin and personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are necessary for salvation." Citing Romans 10:13, it also affirmed that "repentance and faith involve a crying out for mercy and a calling on the Lord," more commonly known as the "sinner's prayer," as a "biblical expression of repentance and faith." more >>
NEW ORLEANS – Conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention fought what is believed to have been a "bloody" battle some 30 years ago when the authority of the Bible was at stake. Though that battle was won, the threat of theological liberalism remains.
"The debate about ... Scripture is never going to be over," said Dr. Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a principal figure in the Conservative Resurgence, to hundreds of young Southern Baptists earlier this week.
"The enemy never sleeps and he will make every appeal in very unique ways. He will come at this issue of whether or not the Bible is really believable." more >>
NEW ORLEANS – All eyes are on Fred Luter as he officially begins his term as the first black president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
While many recognize Luter's election in and of itself as a giant step forward in racial reconciliation, they say only time will tell what kind of impact his leadership will have on a mostly white denomination.
For the most part, African Americans in the SBC are confident that the future is brighter. more >>
NEW ORLEANS — Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, went on record Wednesday to oppose any attempt by gay rights activists to frame same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue.
On the last day of their annual meeting, Southern Baptist messengers overwhelmingly adopted a resolution that denounces "the effort to legalize 'same-sex marriage' as a civil rights issue since homosexuality does not qualify as a class meriting special protections, like race and gender."
The resolution, titled "'Same-Sex Marriage' and Civil Rights Rhetoric," was a direct response to President Obama's personal affirmation of gay marriage and recent federal lawsuits against the Defense of Marriage Act, according to the Resolutions Committee spokesperson. more >>
NEW ORLEANS – Dr. Richard Land, one of the most prominent leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention, addressed the reprimands over his Trayvon Martin comments in public for the first time at the denomination's annual meeting Tuesday. He also reiterated his commitment to racial reconciliation and acknowledged the work of Pastor Fred Luter, Jr., who became the first African-American president of the SBC yesterday.
Earlier this month, Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission – the denomination's public policy arm – received two reprimands by the ERLC executive committee for making "racially charged" comments in the Trayvon Martin shooting and for plagiarism during his Richard Land Live! radio program. The radio show was canceled as a result.
Standing before 8,000 messengers on Tuesday, Land addressed the reprimands before giving a presentation on the work of the ERLC over the past year. more >>