Today, there was a historic election.
It was not where you would normally think of but rather at the Southern Baptist Convention taking place this week in New Orleans. There messengers (elected delegates from the more than 37,000 SBC churches) unanimously elected New Orleans pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church as president of the denomination – the first African-American elected to the post.
The election is a historic one for a body that has sought to reject its past sin of racism. The Southern Baptist Convention was originally founded in 1845 – splitting from northern Baptists over the issue of slavery.
“We cannot undo the past, but we can show the world we are changing our future,” said Charles Kelley, President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary as the convention began Tuesday morning. Kelly was joined by Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who thanked the Baptists who have helpe
d in the rebuilding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.
Luter was nominated by fellow New Orleans pastor David Crosby, who spoke of how Luter was a leader in the community in the aftermath of Katrina. His church has led thousands to Christ and baptized over 200 last year.
As the sole nominee, the convention unanimously stood as Luter was voted in as President with many messengers cheering and waving their ballots in the air (video).
“To God be the glory for the things he has done,” said Luter to the packed convention hall. “God bless you. I love you.”
“I thank God for the content of his character,” commented Waylon Bailey, pastor of First Baptist Church Covington, Louisiana who brought a report following the election.
You can read more about the election from Baptist Press here.