The southern baptist conference tamped down a push from the proper at its biggest meeting in a long time on tuesday, electing a new president who has worked to bridge racial divides within the church and defeating an attempt to make an trouble of vital race concept.
Pastor ed litton, of saraland, ala., answers questions after being elected president of the southern baptist convention, in nashville, tenn., on june 15, 2021.Mark humphrey / ap
The greater than 15,000 delegates in attendance picked as their next leader ed litton, a white pastor from alabama who turned into nominated via fred luter, the handiest black pastor to function president of the usa’ largest protestant denomination. Luter praised litton’s dedication to racial reconciliation and said he has dealt compassionately with the problem of sexual abuse inside sbc church buildings, another hot-button difficulty at the collection.
Within the 2d round of voting, litton defeated mike stone, a georgia pastor backed through a brand new institution known as the conservative baptist community, which advocated supporters to return to the meeting as balloting delegates. Stone had campaigned aggressively, consisting of speaking at church buildings throughout the u . S . A . Or even appearing on fox & pals on tuesday earlier than the vote.
Ultimately the message that stone — who supported a movement to repudiate important race idea — turned into a divisive choice, appeared to resonate with citizens.
Litton has embraced a role as the person excellent ready to construct bridges and sell harmony.
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“on occasion, every circle of relatives has disagreements and tensions,” he stated in a campaign video. “because we’re a family, we don’t surrender on one another.”
Amongst litton's fantastic attributes are an extended document of difficult work promoting racial reconciliation, and his perseverance in the face of personal tragedy. Litton’s spouse of 25 years, tammy, turned into killed in an car twist of fate in 2007; years later, he married kathy ferguson, the widow of any other sbc pastor killed in a 2002 automobile crash.
Alan move, an sbc pastor from california who has worked with him on racial reconciliation tasks, evoked those attributes in endorsing litton’s candidacy.
“he'll do a very good process because he has man or woman and integrity, he operates in humility, he trusts and lifts up jesus, he has suffered and experienced the affection of god in the midst of wonderful grief,” move wrote at the weblog sbc voices.
Litton, sixty two, earned a bachelor’s diploma in religion and theater from grand canyon university, a non-public christian college in phoenix, and later obtained a health practitioner of ministry from the southern baptist theological seminary.
He spent the early years of his ministry in texas and arizona, and due to the fact 1994 he has been senior pastor of an sbc church — now called redemption church — in saraland, alabama, a suburb of cell.
For the beyond six years, he’s been energetic in a mobile coalition called the pledge organization, a movement of leaders from special racial, religious and vocational backgrounds who need to decrease the city’s racial divide.
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Litton changed into nominated for president at tuesday’s sbc meeting by means of pastor luter, who in 2012 became the sbc’s first and to date best black president. Luter said he’d acknowledged litton for greater than 20 years, to begin with teaming up to preach on behalf of racial reconciliation.
That motive has been a long-lasting one for litton, who has built robust relationships with many black pastors.
Overdue ultimate 12 months, racial tensions in the sbc have been heightened when the presidents of the sbc’s six seminaries — they all white — issued a assertion repudiating crucial race principle, a term used to describe reviews of systemic racism. In response, a numerous organization of southern baptists, together with litton and luter, co-signed a assertion declaring that systemic racial injustice is a reality.
All through his campaign, litton recognized team spirit and variety as two of his pinnacle priorities.
Without unified commitment to the gospel, he stated in one marketing campaign video, “we will stumble into opposing factions, differences of reviews and turf battles that squander valuable time and resources.”
As for diversity, he referred to that blacks, hispanics and asian individuals improved their presence inside the sbc during the last two decades whilst white club declined.
“i want to keep broadening ethnic range on our boards to mirror who we clearly are and who we’re turning into,” he stated. “i want to build bridges. In which essential, we should repair burned bridges.”