Baptists slowly changing?

From the Winston-Salem Journal:

And now as the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Page still knows.

“Most people unfortunately see Baptists as persons who are against many things,” he said during a recent interview. “We’re asking people to let us tell you what we’re for.”

Page wants the country to see Baptists as caring, compassionate and “irenic,” a favorite word that means “without anger.”

He is backing his goals with the New Vision for Southern Baptists, a series of efforts both within and outside the Southern Baptist Convention. Page has been elected to a one-year term and may be chosen for a second term.

The move is more of a course adjustment than a course correction, Page said.


He is still a conservative Baptist who opposes gay marriage and abortion and believes in the inerrancy of the Bible.

But, not all is lost…

The organization’s direction has been shaped over 20 years, Leonard said, and it will take a lot longer than two years to undo that direction.

If Page appears to be too moderate, he may be perceived as a return to something that the current SBC worked very hard to deliver themselves from, Leonard said.

But in the 20 years that the old guard has been shaping the organization, some churches have been quietly changing and trying to counter the strident Baptist image.

The new president’s agenda may be the beginning of a long-term trend that parallels the trend toward conservatism that began in the 1970s, Leonard said.

Page said that he is under no illusions that change will come easy.

“You have to have a great deal of patience because it is sometimes like herding cats,” he said. “I have no authority over anyone.”

But he said that he believes that he has a lot of company within the Convention who will come forward once they understand his message.

Some of the slowest changing institutions in the history of humanity has always been religion and the Church. Maybe this is the beginning of a slow change toward compassion and understanding of LGBT people and other minorities within the SBC?


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