KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man whose great, great, great grandfather was a slave is now the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Dr. Fred Luter was elected SBC President this year, and he ran unopposed.
“This convention was started over slavery,” explained Luter.
When the SBC was founded in 1865, members supported slavery and many owned slaves.
“Here we are now, 2012, a son of a slave is now president of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Luter said.
He admits it was a proud moment that his mother was able to witness one week before she died.
“She couldn’t be there because of her health, but she watched it on TV and when I went back Louisiana and walked in her house she said, 'That’s my president,'” he said.
Luter was in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday speaking to students at Midwestern Theological Seminary.
He believes his presidency is a bright signal that the past is the past but now the Southern Baptist Convention is for everyone. In 2010, the SBC adopted a resolution that all races and ethnicities are welcome to be part of the convention.
Luter said one of his primary goals is to help convention churches reach out to young people.
“We're losing a lot of young people so some way, somehow we need to make it a focus and an emphasis on how we need to reach this generation,” Luter added. “There's no way we can reach this iPod, iPad, iPhone generation with an 8-track ministry; we've got to do some things differently to reach them.”
Luter also encouraged his audience of seminary students that they should never be ashamed of the Gospel and always believe that it has the power to change lives and bring true happiness.
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