Southern Baptist leaders will be noticeably absent from a historic convention of Baptists this month in Atlanta aimed at reversing decades of racial and theological divisions and driving new socially conscious ministries.
Up to 20,000 white, African-American and Latino Baptists representing more than 20 million church members will gather in Atlanta in two weeks for what Baptists watchers are calling an historic event.
The president of the Southern Baptist Convention denounced the Atlanta meeting, whose public face is former President Jimmy Carter. Carter critically and publicly left the denomination in 2000.
The very people who have played up the dissensions are the ones calling the meeting, the Rev. Frank Page said in a statement last year, and he questioned what he believes is the liberal slant of the speakers, who include ministers, politicians and people involved in social ministries. ...