Southern Baptists elect ‘gentler’ leader

The Southern Baptist Convention, gathering in Greensboro, NC, this week, chose its new president yesterday.

According to an article from the Winston-Salem Journal, the SBC has chosen Greensboro-native Fred Page, current pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, South Carolina.

The article points out that Page’s win was quite unexpected. He was backed by a large group of younger conservative to moderate members and pastors who are wary of the Convention’s current track and possible future.

You might remember me blogging about those younger SBC pastors a while back. In that post I quoted from an article regarding on of those younger pastors:

Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., called for SBC leaders to abandon their cause of “convention conformity” and become more inclusive. “Unless we stop shrinking the parameters of what it means to be a Southern Baptist, we will end up being a narrow, isolated sect within Christendom and lose our ability to reach the world for Christ,” Burleson wrote.

It seems as though the Convention might be heading toward a brighter future, in terms of inclusion and acceptance that is. I doubt the SBC will ever be fully inclusive or supportive of LGBT people, but any improvement is better than none.

As for newly elected Fred Page, he says he is a conservative, although hope for inclusion can be found (from the WS Journal article):

Page was quick to dismiss any suggestion that his election signals a moderation of SBC theology. He described himself as a conservative who believes in the literal truth of the Bible. But he said he hopes to present a gentler face than past SBC leaders.

“I believe in the word of God,” he said. “I’m just not mad about it.”

I think I’ll write Reverend Page a letter to thank him for his Christian calm. Maybe the SBC won’t be so vile in their language about LGBT people anymore. Maybe… we can be seen as human, instead of a disease or abomination. If any of that happens, I’ll be happy. I don’t care if they believe I’m living in sin (because all humans, including the SBC members, are living in sin), but I do care that I be treated as human and with all the love that Christ would have shown me.

I’m kind of pleased with this SBC election. If anybody has any reason for me to not be pleased… please speak up… don’t keep me in the dark.

2 Responses to “Southern Baptists elect ‘gentler’ leader”
  1. Well…

    Pleased may be too strong of a word?

    The unexpected election of Frank is a step forward for SBCers. Yes, he’s very conservative. However, it appears that he will be willing to work with all Southern Baptists.

    While I will never associate with the SBC again – it would be nice to see a SBC that is dedicated to missions and evangelism NOT politics and vile exclusive rhetoric.

    Frank Page is a MUCH better Conservative than leaders like Paige Patterson and Al Mohler.

    However, with Burleson and Page – they are still committed to Inerrancy and the exclusion of Women from Ministry!

    I think a NEW SBC could tone down the rhetoric on LGBT. But theologically, SBCers can’t budge on that issue. At least not until they budge on inerrancy and women in ministry first…which I don’t see happening. These guys are still committed to the so-called “Conservative Resurgence” (i.e. Fundamentalist Takeover of the 80s)

    For me, as a former-SBCer – I’m gonna sit back in my lazy-boy, grab a beverage, a big tub of butter popcorn and watch the SBC begin to implode. Fighting will ensue. I promise. Before the SBC can get better – they gotta fight first…

    Big Daddy Weave

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for the comment Weave.

    Although Page may have some rough spots, I think he may tone down some of that exclusivist rhetoric of the SBC I so often complain about.

    He may be conservative, but I’m kind of hoping that is all he is… there is a difference between a conservative and a conservative who is prejudiced to the point of practicing bigotry and hateful politics (and the same holds true for liberals, lol).

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