Southern Baptists approve alternate name, but barely

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) In a close vote, members of the Southern Baptist Convention have voted to accept the alternate unofficial name of “Great Commission Baptists.” Their two-day meeting ends Wednesday (June 20). By Adelle M. Banks.

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Black Southern Baptists try to keep expectations in check for first black SBC president

RANDALLSTOWN, Md. (RNS) As the Southern Baptist Convention is poised to elect its first black president, the mostly African-American flock at Colonial Baptist Church is equal parts excited and astonished. “The denomination has come from 180 degrees,'' said Vernon T. Gaskins, 83. “I am quite shocked to see it but I’m glad to see it.'' By Adelle M. Banks.

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Southern Baptist heavyweight Richard Land in the fight of his life

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (RNS) For the past 24 years, Richard Land has used his folksy charm and fiery rhetoric to become the public face of Southern Baptists. Now his future is in doubt, pending a probe of his remarks about the Trayvon Martin shooting and for alleged plagiarism. By Bob Smietana.

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Black Southern Baptist Fred Luter says church shouldn’t be defined by race

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) The New Orleans pastor who's poised to become the Southern Baptist Convention's first black president says the denomination shouldn't be defined by its racial history, even as he has concerns about how President Obama has been treated, and the ongoing Trayvon Martin case. By Kim Lawton.

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