An historic vote by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) this week: The nation’s largest Protestant denomination elected New Orleans pastor Fred Luter Jr. as its first African-American president. The emotional vote was hailed as a significant step for the SBC, which was founded in 1845 in support of slavery. Luter told us he hopes to address the SBC’s declining number of baptisms and members:
Rev. Fred Luter Jr: We need to find out what happened, and we need to fix it, because that’s something this convention has been very proud about, about the fact that we’ve always made evangelism a priority.
In other business, SBC delegates narrowly approved an unofficial alternate name, Great Commission Baptists, which can be used by churches that are uncomfortable with the word “Southern” in the denomination’s title. Delegates also approved a resolution opposing same-sex marriage and saying gay rights are not civil rights.
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