On June 14-15, the Southern Baptist Convention held its annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ, and made one of the most historic decisions of its existence when it elected Pastor Fred Luter (Franklin Avenue Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA) as first vice president. Leaders of SBC say that this unprecedented move will likely lead to Luter\’s elevation to the presidency of the nation\’s largest Protestant denomination next year.
According to the New York Times (www.nytimes.com), â€œThe election of the pastor, the Rev. Fred Luter of New Orleans, at the denomination\’s annual meeting in Phoenix was a milestone for a church that was born in defense of slavery and has worked to overcome a history of racism. The Southern Baptists have seen a decline in members and are trying to broaden their appeal among blacks, Hispanics and Asians.â€
The meeting adopted sweeping corrective measures, including requiring its various bodies to report annually on the role of ethnic churches and leaders and calling on the Convention president to â€œgive special attention to appointing individuals who represent the diversity within the convention, and particularly ethnic diversityâ€ in committee appointments.
This year’s meeting comes following the release of internal figures showing SBC affiliates baptized fewer people in 2010 than any time since the 1950s and also saw declines in overall membership and attendance.
Do you think that the Southern Baptist is finally ready to reconcile from its racist past, or do you believe that this is a “politically correct” and strategic move?