March 19, 2017

170 YEARS AT ODDS WITH CHRIST IS LONG ENOUGH:

Debate over Southern Baptist leader exposes racial rift (ADELLE M. BANKS, 3/18/17, Religion News Service)

A total of 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump. But the nation's largest evangelical denomination is also striving to improve its race relations -- especially given its Civil War-era history of defending slavery -- and Moore has been one of the SBC's most vocal champions of that effort.

Alan Cross, a Southern Baptist minister who authored a book on racism and Southern evangelicals, said the declarations by black Southern Baptists "were very strong and I do believe were key in moving this in a healthy direction."

"Seeing the SBC led by African-American pastors in calling for reconciliation in this divide is significant," he said.

Two of three recent statements featuring black leaders' support of Moore compare him to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a leader whose messages about justice were rejected by some of his generation, including some Southern Baptists. [...]

[Former Southern Baptist Convention President Fred Luter]s was the first name on a letter posted on the New Orleans Baptist Association website responding to a request received by the Louisiana Baptist Convention to study recent actions by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.

"Dr. Moore speaks with a prophetic voice to this generation," said Luther and other signatories, including black, white and Hispanic Baptists. "We may not like everything that he says, but we fear what our faith community may become if we lose his voice."

Moore has told RNS that he is confident he will remain in his post. Ken Barbic, who chairs the ERLC board, has described Moore as "a Gospel-centered and faithful voice for Southern Baptists."

A third endorsement came from Arlington, Texas, pastor Dwight McKissic, who suggested that predominantly minority churches may want to determine their future contributions to the Southern Baptist Convention based on the final decision on Moore's status in the denomination.

"The implications of the Executive Committee's investigative report is staggering and could be tantamount to an earthquake in the Convention," McKissic predicted.

"If Moore is marginalized or fired, 80-90 percent of Southern Baptist Black Churches who share Moore's views on President Trump would also simultaneously feel as if their political convictions regarding the current President of the United States would also be officially reprimanded, rejected and rebuked by the Southern Baptist Convention."

McKissic proposed the original language for the resolution adopted at last year's SBC annual meeting that called for repudiating the Confederate flag, a step Moore called for the previous year, saying "Let's take down that flag."

When that statement was adopted, Moore said Southern Baptists "made history in the right way."

"This denomination was founded by people who wrongly defended the sin of human slavery," he said. "Today, the nation's largest Protestant denomination voted to repudiate the Confederate battle flag, and it's time and well past time."

Posted by at March 19, 2017 8:03 AM

  

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