BALTIMORE (BP) -- Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention elected Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd as president and heard repeated calls for prayer and revival -- highlighted by outgoing President Fred Luter's presidential sermon.
Photo by Van Payne
Messengers also gave the first of two required approvals to an amendment of the SBC constitution, requested information about a Muslim student who was admitted to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and heard Executive Committee President Frank S. Page call for a "Great Commission Advance" in SBC missions.
The June 10-11 convention's 5,294 messengers marked an increase from 5,103 in Houston last year. Virginia had more messengers than any other state at the Baltimore convention with 497. Maryland was second with 429.
Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, was elected on the first ballot with 51.62 percent of the vote. Maryland pastor Dennis Manpoong Kim received 40.70 percent of the vote while Kentucky pastor Jared Moore received 5.91 percent.
"I want to see revival come to the church of Jesus Christ," Floyd said at a news conference following his election, "so that America would be awakened with a powerful God consciousness where great numbers come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior."
Preaching from Psalm 80:18-19, the passage for this year's "Restoration and Revival through Prayer" theme, Luter said Southern Baptists must repent of their failure to share the Gospel with lost men and women.
"As your president for the past two years, my heart's desire has been that God would make us one and that God would send revival and renewal through the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention," Luter, the SBC's first African American president, said.
"Brothers and sisters, the only way that will happen in this nation, the only way that will happen in this convention, the only way that will happen in our churches is if the people of God cry out to God in prayer, if there is genuine repentance, if there is genuine remorse, and if we call on the name which is above every name," Luter said.
The proposed amendment to Article III of the SBC Constitution would grant two messengers to the annual meeting for each cooperating church that contributed to convention causes during the preceding fiscal year. A church would qualify for additional messengers through one of two avenues:
-- A church would receive one additional messenger for each full percent of its undesignated receipts given through the Cooperative Program, as a designated gift through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
-- A church would receive one additional messenger for each $6,000 given during the preceding fiscal year through CP, as a designated gift to the EC for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
The $6,000 figure was selected by adjusting the present figure of $250 -- adopted in 1888 -- for inflation and other factors. To become final, the amendment must be approved again at next year's annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
Page told messengers about a strategy for world evangelism and discipleship called Great Commission Advance. A key component of the strategy is CP, Page said. He reported that the Executive Committee will soon reduce its CP allocation for the third time during his tenure as president in order to send more money to Southern Baptist ministries at home and abroad.
"I'll drop the Cooperative Program if you can show me something else that long-term is effective and engages every church concurrently and consistently in an Acts 1:8 strategy," Page said. "Show it to me, and I'll support it.... But I haven't found it yet."
Page said the average CP gift among Southern Baptist churches rose for the first time in two decades to 5.50 percent.
The convention adopted nine resolutions on topics ranging from transgender identity to payday lending, church revitalization, global hunger relief, the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and casinos and lotteries.
The resolution on transgender identity affirmed "God's good design that gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one's self-perception." The resolution invited transgender persons "to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the Gospel" and opposed all efforts to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy." Read More