Rolland Slade, the 62-year-old senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, called his historic election as the first black chair of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee on Tuesday, God’s plan.
“I don’t think there was ever a plan for me to be in this position,” Slade told Baptist Press. “I think it’s what God has done. … I believe God loves diversity; He created us and we are all diverse. I think for us to not embrace it is saying that, ‘We’ve got a better idea than You [God].'”
Slade’s election to lead the executive committee comes just eight years after the 175 year old former pro-slavery denomination elected Fred Luter Jr. as the denomination’s first black president. His nomination for the post was unopposed and he was unanimously elected by ballot vote, BP said.
“Rolland is certainly deserving of this historical honor not just because of the color of his skin but because of his knowledge, skills, and leadership as a member of the Executive Committee through the years,” Luter told BP of Slade’s election. “I am proud of Rolland and proud of the men and women of this committee for making this such a historic moment in the Southern Baptist Convention. To God be the glory for the things He has done!”
Mike Stone, the outgoing chair who called for the ballot vote to mark the historic moment, said Slade’s election at a time when the U.S. is grappling with major civil unrest over racial inequality and instances of police brutality is God’s providence.
“I think we all realize by what is going on in this country as well as in our convention, this timing is in many ways the providence of our Lord,” Stone, who leads the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, said.
The SBC’s President J.D. Greear called Slade’s election an “exciting day for our convention.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair