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‘Take the Ship’: Conservatives Goal to Commandeer Southern Baptists

Probably the most high-profile vote on the assembly would be the election of a brand new president, a race whose main candidates are Mike Stone, a Georgia pastor who’s the favourite of many conservatives, together with Mr. Nelson and Mr. Jolly; Ed Litton, an Alabama pastor who has largely prevented tradition conflict battles and has the help of the denomination’s first Black president; and Albert Mohler Jr., a lion of the denomination who helped usher in a conservative revolution a long time in the past and is now within the awkward place of being labeled a average “compromise candidate.” Mr. Stone, a onetime underdog, is taken into account a critical contender.

Regardless of which aspect emerges triumphant from the assembly subsequent week, a schism looms.

“Quite a lot of us will know if this conference is for us as soon as it’s over,” mentioned Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, who has been main antiracism efforts within the denomination. If Mr. Mohler or Mr. Stone wins the presidency, or if resolutions are handed that affirm racism, in his view, he’ll depart. A number of different Black pastors have introduced their departures throughout the previous yr.

Hostility over vital race concept among the many Southern Baptists, which got here to the foreground after Thanksgiving when seminary presidents denounced it, is interwoven with its weaponization by the G.O.P., he mentioned.

“The litmus take a look at now for being a Baptist is you need to denounce C.R.T. as they do?” he mentioned. “We’d be fully off our rockers to submit, give that form of energy to a white denomination, notably with regards to race.”

The conference has traditionally mirrored divisions within the nation. The latest assembly, two years in the past in Birmingham, Ala., centered on sexual abuse in evangelical church buildings. The yr earlier than, tensions had been political. Mike Pence, then the nation’s vice chairman, gave a keynote tackle to rally evangelical help for Mr. Trump forward of the midterm elections.

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