ARLINGTON, Texas (ABP) — A prominent African-American pastor says it is time for the Southern Baptist Convention to elect its first black president.
Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, said in a blog March 31 that in order to achieve a "Great Commission resurgence" to make the denomination more effective, the convention founded in 1845 to defend slavery should first undergo a "great repentance resurgence" by electing someone representative of people groups that Southern Baptists hope to reach.
McKissic, a former trustee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, as an ideal candidate for the job.
McKissic said by phone that he has discussed the idea with Luter, but he doesn't know if Luter would allow his name to be placed into nomination. Luter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McKissic said he also was supporting Troy Gramling, lead pastor of Flamingo Road Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as president of the SBC pastors' conference, which precedes the annual meeting scheduled June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla.
McKissic said some bloggers have opposed Gramling, the only announced candidate for the post so far, because of his church's relatively low percentage of Cooperative Program support and the fact that his church has a female member on staff.
McKissic said he does not believe Gramling's views on women in ministry fall beyond parameters of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message, but he contends that more is at stake than personalities.
"The SBC must repent of systemic, institutionalized and historic negative attitudes toward women, race and dissenters," he wrote. "When we repent of our sins and turn from our wicked ways, then God will forgive our sins and heal our convention and anoint us to go forth with power in carrying out the Great Commission."
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.