WDRB story about racial integration in the SBC features Mohler, Walker and Chitwood

Communications Staff — May 22, 2012

With Fred Luter poised to become the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) next month, the subject of the denomination’s history with race relations is on the front burner. WDRB, a FOX affiliate in Louisville, Ky., recently aired a story about the matter that featured commentary from Southern Seminary faculty members R. Albert Mohler Jr. and T. Vaughn Walker. Paul Chitwood, executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and a former faculty member at Southern, also appears in the story.

The report, produced by Lawrence Smith, highlights the historical significance of Luter’s likely election at this year’s national convention, which will be held in New Orleans, June 19-20. As a denomination that originated out of conflict over slavery, the installment of an African-American president would represent substantial progress for the SBC with respect to racial integration.

“The history of the Southern Baptist Convention is tied to the history of America,” said Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, in the report.

“You just look at how America has been transformed on issues such as race relations, and the Southern Baptist Convention is very much a part of that. Now, that’s to our shame in that we should have been leading when sometimes we were following.”

Walker, WMU Professor of Christian Studies and professor of black church studies at Southern, stated that Luter’s election as SBC president is, for him, on par with Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president of the United States.

“I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. I’m delighted that it has occurred in both instances,” said Walker, who in 1986 became the first full-time African-American faculty member at a SBC seminary.

The full report is available at WDRB’s Web site. Video of the story is available at YouTube.

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