The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was founded in 1845. Slavery played a significant role in its formation, a fact for which the denomination has expressed great remorse.
In a resolution adopted on its 150th anniversary, the SBC stated, “We lament and repudiate historical acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest” and added, “We apologize to all African Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime.”
The denomination further stated, “We ask forgiveness from our African American brothers and sisters,” and then committed to “pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships.”
Now the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has taken a significant step in this pursuit. The SBC’s Executive Committee, the group that runs the business of the denomination outside its annual meetings, has elected its first African American chairman.
Rev. Rolland Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, was elected unanimously in what the outgoing chairman called a “wonderful and historic moment.” He was previously vice chairman of the committee and chair of its Cooperative Program Committee.
How Tony Evans and Robert Morris are making a difference
I became a Christian through the outreach of a Southern Baptist church and graduated from a Southern Baptist seminary. While Denison Forum is nondenominational, I will forever be grateful for the contributions made by Southern Baptists to my faith and life.
But I have never been as proud of Southern Baptists as I am today. Nor have I been more committed to their goal of “pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships.”
To that end, this week we have been answering Benjamin Watson’s call to respond to racial injustice with awareness, advocacy, and action. Yesterday we discussed awareness, examining the history of racism in American culture and asking God to reveal any vestige of this sin in our lives.
Today, let’s focus on advocacy, defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” We practice advocacy when we use our influence in the service of a value or purpose. The Executive Committee of the SBC practiced advocacy when it elected an African American chairman. Dr. Tony Evans practiced advocacy when he wrote a brilliant article for the Dallas Morning News stating that “the church must address racial, economic, health care, and opportunity inequity, as well as recognize the systems that work against the fair treatment of people.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison