HOUSTON (BP) — Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention June 11-12 re-elected Fred Luter, the body’s first African American president, to another one-year term and heard him deliver a rousing challenge to Southern Baptists to unite and pray for revival.
The call for cooperation and revival was delivered by other leaders, including Executive Committee President Frank Page, and from members of a Calvinism advisory committee who spoke in the exhibit hall the day prior to the convention.
“Could it be,” Luter asked during a special Tuesday evening service focused on revival, “that the reason that lost friend, that lost relative, that lost co-worker, that lost neighbor, that lost classmate, have not yet turned from darkness to light is because they don’t see us as the body of Christ getting along? Friend, how is it that we say we love God, whom we’ve never seen, yet don’t speak to our brother and sister that we see every day?”
Messengers also passed 12 resolutions that covered a variety of issues, including one that expressed “our continued opposition to and disappointment in” the Boy Scouts’ decision to allow homosexual members. The resolution affirmed the right of churches to determine their affiliation with the Scouts.
Another resolution that garnered significant attention addressed mental health, calling on Southern Baptists to fight the “stigmatization and prejudice” of those with mental health concerns and to “love and minister to” them. It passed in light of the suicidal death of Rick Warren’s youngest son and the publication of a new book by Page about the suicide of his daughter Melissa.
Luter was elected unopposed, getting a standing ovation from the messengers when Registration Secretary Jim Wells cast the ceremonial ballot for the convention.