From The Christian Post - Anugrah Kumar
America’s largest Protestant denomination, which remained predominantly white and endorsed racial segregation for over a century, is posed to elect its first African-American president, a pastor from Louisiana, at its two-day annual meeting that begins Tuesday.
Even just a day before the Southern Baptist Convention’s meeting in New Orleans, La., the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. remained the only candidate for the office of the denomination’s president.
“It’s going to be historical because there’s never been an African-American president in the Southern Baptist Convention, so it’s going to be a historical day,” WDSU News quoted Pastor Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans as saying. “I am still the only announced candidate in this convention which is amazing to me.”
It was amazing, the 55-year-old black pastor explained, “to have a descendant of former slaves to be president of this convention… It’s making world news.”
The convention has reached out to black, Hispanic and Asian people in recent years. Over the last two decades, the percentage of non-Anglo SBC churches has grown from five percent to 20 percent.
A LifeWay survey last month showed that 86 percent of SBC pastors say the likely historic shift in the leadership would be good for the denomination. Of the nearly 1,000 pastors who responded, 61 percent agreed it would be positive, 10 percent disagreed, but 29 percent didn’t have an opinion. Of those who had an opinion, 50 percent strongly agreed and 36 percent somewhat agreed.