Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

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Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:02 am

How about this attempt to cover the mess of CR:

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7217/53/



“And they've done that, I think, successfully,” Luter said. “I think what this election would do, if I am elected, it will say, ‘Hey, we're not only talking this thing; we're putting our money where our mouth is.'"

“If I'm elected, it's going to be because of the Anglo messengers who overwhelmingly have voted for me,” he said. “It won't be because of the handful of black folk that's going to be there. So it will say something to the country and to the world that the Southern Baptist Convention is not just talking this thing, we're actually walking this thing. And I think that will speak volumes.”

One hundred-sixty-seven years after its split with northern Baptists over slavery prior to the Civil War, the Southern Baptist Convention remains predominantly white, but leaders say that half of churches started in the last decade were non-Anglo.

Ethnic congregations made up about 13 percent of SBC churches in 1998. That increased to 18 percent by 2008, with African-American and Hispanic congregations leading the way at 6 percent each of SBC churches, followed by Asians and other ethnic groups making up 3 percent each.

In recent decades Southern Baptists have passed 11 resolutions seeking greater ethnic participation in convention affairs. Last year messengers approved recommendations of a study group named to increase involvement by ethnic churches.




Fake and fighting constantly can't be covered with a "graceous outreach to minorities and ethnics" = SORRY :oops:
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Re: Covering the Mess or Fixing the SBC House?

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:53 am

I fail to see how this is "covering" anything. The facts cited in the article speak for themselves. The fact that a very traditionally white, Anglo Saxon Protestant denomination is seeing its most rapid growth take place among African Americans and Hispanics says an awful lot about the kind of culture change that is taking place. It puts stereotypes to rest, emphasizes that independence and autonomy among the various entities of Southern Baptist denominational life always bring missions, church planting and the business of being the church back to the forefront when those things are temporarily replaced by secular political interests or personal kingdom building.

This is more or less how the SBC has always operated. All the different convention committees, trustee boards, associational and state convention structures, provide places for the self important to pose, strut, gather an entourage and think of themselves more highly than they ought. It's a big deal in Baptist life to organize, and then make sure you elect officers, so that you can identify who's going to strut and pose, and who is actually going to go do the work. Apparently, a lot of work has been done to plant and strengthen churches made up largely of minority group members, and they now have enough power and influence to elect one of their own as an officer, though I don't see Fred Luter as a strutter or poser.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby William Thornton » Thu Mar 15, 2012 8:35 am

Gene, good topic. I changed the title to highlight the salient issue, electing a black SBC president, Fred Luter. I think it will get more attention.

My opinion:

Were I to be in New Orleans in June, sweltering with the masses, I would vote for Luter. I think he is a good man and would be a good president. I also take him at his word that for the SBC to elect a black man would be a positive move.

One of the SBC's secrets is that about one in six SBC congregations is ethnic, a figure not often reported. Certainly most of the revenues and most of the leadership comes from traditional white churches. While I haven't seen any figures on it, I'd say that most SBC congregations are multi-ethnic to some degree. It is rare for me to attend a church, now that I am retired, where there aren't Latinos, Black folks, or Asians worshipping with me.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Tim Dahl » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:07 am

The BGCT has had some "historic" presidents over the past few years. I'm thinking of three off the top of my head: a Female president, a Hispanic president, and an African American president. I'm actually friends with one of them.

To be honest, I haven't seen a bit of difference in how the BGCT does things because of these "historic" presidents. The system is still the system it's been for the past twenty some odd years (imo).

My guess is that having Luter be the president won't make any kind of real "difference" in the power players of the convention. But, it might make for some good PR. I mean, it can't be for nothing that a convention founded because of it's pro-stance towards slavery, ends up having an African American president... right?

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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:34 am

The last church I served in Houston was SBC to the core, and unanimously voted to affiliate with the SBTC in 2009. It had, among its active membership, a group of older WASP folks in their late 60's, 70's, 80's, a few 90's and at least three in their 100's, who accounted for about 40% of the attendance, a group of non-Spanish speaking families who accounted for another 40% of the active members, but about 90% of the pre-schoolers, children and youth,and the other 20% of the active members being about equally divided between African Americans and Asians, mostly Indians and Chinese. In addition to that, we had a booming Spanish-speaking congregation of about 80 people, and a new African American church plant that grew from 15 to 80 in a matter of eight months.

Electing Luter will go a long way toward putting some of the stereotypes to rest, and toward pointing out that what happens in the SBC, from a church growth/evangelism perspective, is much more a matter of what the churches are doing than it is a result of any kind of denominational initiative or program. Sometimes, those in the denominational headquarters, and those who receive salaries from denominational pocketbooks, are not on the same page as those in the churches. That was certainly the case up until 1979.

While Luter would be the first African American SBC president, I'm not sure that the convention will remain as it is today. There is zero growth, and in fact, actual decline taking place among the predominantly white, predominantly older congregations in the Deep South. The numerical growth, including baptisms, is happening in inner cities in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, and among Hispanics in Texas and the Southwest. As this article points out, and as William suggests, the percentage of ethnic members as part of the whole will continue to increase fairly rapidly. While most of them are as theologically conservative as the old Southern whites, their political perspective is much different. That will be a big change. Likewise, the day will come when ethnic minority members represent a significant percentage of SBC support. That will change things.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Mar 15, 2012 1:03 pm

It's great to hear about these diverse SBC churches.

Ethnic diversity in SBC churches (even moderate ones) was not my experience in south-middle Georgia. Even not far from William's neck of the woods, I didn't see any ethnic diversity in the small rural churches that I visited one semester while at UGA.

The diversity is somewhat improved in the Waco area. But even where there is Hispanic-Anglo diversity, there's little class diversity. Generally, the diversity is a combo of middle-class whites and middle-class Hispanics. Still, the many more rural churches that I've visited to hear my dad preach were exclusively white.

I agree with alot of what Sandy said. The SBC's best hope is increasing ethnic diversity. At least some leaders including the current President and Frank Page recognize that and have taken steps to increase participation. Up to this point the SBC's diversity has largely been on paper.

I don't see the election of Fred Luter winning over black churches affiliated with historic Baptist denominations. Black Baptists already don't understand Luter's and McKissic's involvement in the SBC. That's been publicly acknowledged.

Any future SBC growth among African-Americans will come through church plants not established churches.

The SBC has also had some success with Asian-Americans. The political perspective is going to need to change if the SBC wants to reach Hispanics. In light of the laws in Arizona and Alabama and other developments, there's increasing tension out there. How do Hispanics in America view the SBC? That would be an interesting survey for Lifeway to conduct.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:12 pm

I think it's a good thing for the SBC just as was the election of Emmanuel as CBF's moderator. It's a step at least from the 19th century into the 1970's--an event long overdue. CBF has also had Joy Yee representing Asian Americans.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:04 pm

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:It's great to hear about these diverse SBC churches.

Ethnic diversity in SBC churches (even moderate ones) was not my experience in south-middle Georgia. Even not far from William's neck of the woods, I didn't see any ethnic diversity in the small rural churches that I visited one semester while at UGA.

The diversity is somewhat improved in the Waco area. But even where there is Hispanic-Anglo diversity, there's little class diversity. Generally, the diversity is a combo of middle-class whites and middle-class Hispanics. Still, the many more rural churches that I've visited to hear my dad preach were exclusively white.

I agree with alot of what Sandy said. The SBC's best hope is increasing ethnic diversity. At least some leaders including the current President and Frank Page recognize that and have taken steps to increase participation. Up to this point the SBC's diversity has largely been on paper.

I don't see the election of Fred Luter winning over black churches affiliated with historic Baptist denominations. Black Baptists already don't understand Luter's and McKissic's involvement in the SBC. That's been publicly acknowledged.

Any future SBC growth among African-Americans will come through church plants not established churches.

The SBC has also had some success with Asian-Americans. The political perspective is going to need to change if the SBC wants to reach Hispanics. In light of the laws in Arizona and Alabama and other developments, there's increasing tension out there. How do Hispanics in America view the SBC? That would be an interesting survey for Lifeway to conduct.


I don't think you're going to see much ethnic diversity in traditional or rural SBC congregations in the South, particularly in places like Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi. Perhaps in some of the bigger cities in the South, maybe Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, you can find openness in some churches. Here in Pittsburgh, there aren't a lot of SBC affiliated churches, and the local association is a mix of inner city church plants and established, older churches in the outlying communities who switched from ABC-USA. But among the inner city churches, all but one or two are primarily ethnic or language congregations, and there are several African American, Asian and Eastern European churches that are thriving. The same holds true in the Philadelphia area, where there are a couple of multi-campus African American house churches that probably draw 1,000 worshippers on Sunday and account for more than half the baptisms in the state convention.

I'm not sure I agree with your statement about black Baptists not understanding McKissic's or Luter's involvement in the SBC. I went to a conference at Cornerstone a couple of years ago dealing with Baptists and the Holy Spirit, mainly to bridge the gap between black churches which allow speaking in tongues, and white churches that frown on it, and most of the participants were from churches in and around Ft. Worth where the pastors are friends with McKissic. Cornerstone is the largest African American Baptist church in the DFW area, and it is fully SBC. Several of the others, also among the larger African American churches in the area, are dually affiliated with the SBC and their traditionally African AMerican denomination.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:48 pm

William---thanks for the title change and it is bringing good comment. I did mine in haste as I was leaving for work---and yours is "spot on"=far more accurate.

Good moderation, my brother! :)
Last edited by Gene Scarborough on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:34 pm

There's a big difference between attending a conference hosted at Dwight McKissic's church and getting Black Baptist churches to participate in the life of the SBC.

Also, I'm pretty sure that McKissic's church is not fully SBC. He was present for the meeting of the National Baptist Convention USA in 2008. I saw him. Not anyone can attend that meeting; you have to be a delegate sent by an affiliated church. If you remember, when all that brouhaha happened between McKissic-Patterson (which prompted the conference you attended), McKissic wrote a letter to Patterson referring to his "faith tradition" as "National Baptist Convention"

Also, Cornerstone is probably the largest SBC Black Baptist church in the DFW area. But it's not the largest Black Baptist church in DFW. Cornerstone is listed as averaging 2,000 attendance. Frederick Haynes' Friendship-West Baptist Church averages 8,000, New Birth Baptist Church averages 3,000, Concord Missionary Baptist Church averages 3000, and Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church averages 3,000. All in the DFW area.

Go to Google Books and look up "Uneasy in Babylon." That whole book is available in full-text online. It includes a chapter featuring Fred Luter and other prominent Black Southern Baptists. They discuss openly the attitudes of Black Baptists towards them with regard to their SBC affiliation. McKissic himself has in recent months made reference in his blog posts to this reality that many Black Baptist pastors just don't get why the Fred Luters and Dwight McKissics choose to be associated with the SBC.
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SBC is unworthy of thinking Black Baptist enthusiasm

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:52 pm

Lot of folks in SBC are not racists. Jim Henry for one has solid track record; and Bob TErry made a good defense of Charles Pickering.
That said Richard Land has never come clean with an examination of the race legacy of Jesse Helms and Paul Pressler. To My knowledge Pressler has never made a George WAllace statement I WAS Wrong in regard his history with Martin Luther King, nor Carlyle Marney for that matter.
So Luter will be a white washing.

Only 14 percent of white evangelicals in Alabama think President Obama is a Christian. Something there awry and SBC is not adequate to explore it. That doesn't mean every SBC Baptist deacon has to sign some politically correct card and vote for President Obama to be redeemed. But deep south states that cannot have a civil conversation about President's Obama's Faith, don't seem to me to be ready to elect a Black SBC President and it be anything other than a minstrel show.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:02 am

Big Daddy Weaver wrote:There's a big difference between attending a conference hosted at Dwight McKissic's church and getting Black Baptist churches to participate in the life of the SBC.

Also, I'm pretty sure that McKissic's church is not fully SBC. He was present for the meeting of the National Baptist Convention USA in 2008. I saw him. Not anyone can attend that meeting; you have to be a delegate sent by an affiliated church. If you remember, when all that brouhaha happened between McKissic-Patterson (which prompted the conference you attended), McKissic wrote a letter to Patterson referring to his "faith tradition" as "National Baptist Convention"

Also, Cornerstone is probably the largest SBC Black Baptist church in the DFW area. But it's not the largest Black Baptist church in DFW. Cornerstone is listed as averaging 2,000 attendance. Frederick Haynes' Friendship-West Baptist Church averages 8,000, New Birth Baptist Church averages 3,000, Concord Missionary Baptist Church averages 3000, and Golden Gate Missionary Baptist Church averages 3,000. All in the DFW area.

Go to Google Books and look up "Uneasy in Babylon." That whole book is available in full-text online. It includes a chapter featuring Fred Luter and other prominent Black Southern Baptists. They discuss openly the attitudes of Black Baptists towards them with regard to their SBC affiliation. McKissic himself has in recent months made reference in his blog posts to this reality that many Black Baptist pastors just don't get why the Fred Luters and Dwight McKissics choose to be associated with the SBC.


Most of those pastors at the conference were from churches in Tarrant County who are dually affiliated SBC-NBC. Some of that results from a long standing relationship that the SBC has had with the National Baptist Convention that included support for some NBC entities, including, at one point, their Bible college in Nashville. Perhaps Cornerstone is dually affiliated with the NBC, though the level of mission support it contributes to the SBC through the SBTC is much higher than you would expect from a 3,000 member congregation in Arlington that is supporting two Baptist conventions.

I'm sure that the relationship between black Pastors and the SBC is somewhat tenuous, especially in Texas, which is still the South. Dwight McKissic, whom I know personally, is willing to put himself in a position to be a pioneer in opening up the SBC to black Baptists whose theological views are in line with the conservative SBC, but who take a different direction in secular politics, or even in church culture. His own church is a mixture of people who have Christ in common, but are diverse in many other areas, including politics and racial background, since it does have a fair number of members who are not black.

Outside the South, it is a different picture. There are large, growing, predominantly African American congregations affiliated with the SBC in most of the large cities in the Mid-Atlantic, along the East Coast, including Metro New York and Philadelphia, the DC area, and out in the midwest in places like Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis. They also exist in large numbers along the west coast, with large congregations of other ethnic makeup, in Washington, Oregon, California. They will eventually find their way into the denomination's leadership, and that may be the key to drawing some others in a little bit closer. Luter's election, while it might not change a lot of things right now, may prove to be a catalyst in the future. From a doctrinal and theological perspective, most African American denominations, at least the larger ones, are closer to the SBC. They differ on their take on secular politics.
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Gene Scarborough » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:39 pm

I was a teen in the late 50's and early 60's when integration was such a mess in the South.

The HMB (Home Mission Board) had Victor Glass as the liason person between the National Baptist Convention and the SBC. When Walker Knight advocated for integration in the Home Mission Magazine and featuring the ministry of Victor Glass, the fat hit the fan!!! Not just regular fat, but super heated smelly stuff for all across the SBC!!!

It amazes me now---for the sake of growth---how inviting the SBC has become!

Are we will using black folks to grow our crops of statistical growth?
Can we ever truely welcome them with heart and head?
Every Evangelism Conference and the the Home MIssions Week at Ridgecrest featured a black preacher---whose sermons are always the highlight of the week!!! Put head and heart together and you have a message no white person can deny and black folks love the give lively "Amens" too!!! :wink:
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Franklin Graham startin to see the Light

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Mar 26, 2012 9:11 pm

http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7243/53/

Maybe Obama is a Christian after all, he appears to concede
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Richard Land and Trayvon Martin

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:04 pm

Parham and Tennessean calls his latest a "rant"

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/sbc-official ... -cms-19482
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Re: Will electing Fred Luter, a black pastor, fix the SBC House?

Postby Gene Scarborough » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:15 am

We are getting away from the main topic, but it shows how Richard Land is not on the beam of racial parity.

This is a form of schizophrenia to me = rejoice in a black pastor running for SBC President / slice up our half-black President of the US.

Land is out of his element and somewhat out of his head, in my view :oops:
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Russ Moore on Alabama

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:39 pm

Not a perfect place to share this quote I submitted to Al Mohler's associate Russ Moore, but thought I would share it here FTR


Mark Kemp wrote Dixie Lullaby. I think Russ Moore and his Bham responder above could learn great deal about the Jukebox and Southern Transformation from that book.
Here’s a clue. It didn’t come from the inner circles of the SBC Conservative resurgence: Jesse Helms, Paul Pressler, Albert Lee Smith and Jerry Vines Deacons at West Rome (Ga) Baptist Church.

Howell Raines wrote a piece for the New Republic about Bear Bryant and George Wallace (Goodbye to the Bear) in a Dec 83 issue of the New Republic.

Russ Moore and his following could learn a little about Alabama there.
Or Moore could apologize to Vicki Covington and renew, reconcile that conversation

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