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SBC DIGEST: Floyd calls meeting to ‘find a way forward’; National Prayer Breakfast to be virtual

Floyd calls meeting to ‘find a way forward’

NASHVILLE (BP) – In response to ongoing conversation in the Southern Baptist Convention, Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the SBC Executive Committee, has scheduled a meeting in early January with officers of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC, the Council of Seminary Presidents of the SBC and SBC President J.D. Greear.

Saying Southern Baptists have clearly stated their opposition to “individual and systemic racism” and their determination to eradicate “racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry,” Floyd added that it was “time for us to focus on our actions, specifically in how we relate to each other.” Floyd’s hope is to foster healthy dialog and unity in Christ after a series of statements issued in recent weeks.

The Council of Seminary Presidents issued a statement Nov. 30 reaffirming “with eagerness” the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. The seminary presidents’ statement said while condemning “racism in any form,” they agree that “affirmation of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and any version of Critical Theory is incompatible with the Baptist Faith & Message.”

In response, Marshal Ausberry, president of the National African American Fellowship and senior pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Farifax Station, Va., issued a statement on behalf of the group that affirmed the Baptist Faith and Message, but “recognize(d) that there are ideologies from a sociological and anthropological perspective when used appropriately, help us to better understand the inner workings of a fallen and sinful world.” Ausberry added that those ideologies “do not supplant, by any means, the supremacy of Holy Scripture. And where such ideologies conflict with Scripture, it is Scripture that governs our worldview, our decisions, and our lives.” The statement also affirmed the existence of systemic racism.

And Friday (Dec. 18), leaders including former SBC President Fred Luter, issued a statement (“Justice, Repentance, and the SBC”) “stand(ing) with” the statement by Ausberry and the National African American Fellowship, “affirming their acknowledgment of systemic racism and their admonition to proceed with prayer for ‘better understanding through our mutual love for Jesus Christ and one another.’”

The meeting is scheduled for the first week of January.

Editor’s Note: The headline of this article was changed after publication.

National Prayer Breakfast will be virtual in 2021 due to COVID-19

By Bob Smietana

WASHINGTON (RNS) — The National Prayer Breakfast will be a virtual event next year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The gathering has been held annually, usually on the first Thursday of February, for nearly seven decades and draws thousands of attendees from around the world.

The virtual 2021 breakfast will be streamed online, A. Larry Ross confirmed. Ross is a longtime evangelical public relations expert and friend of the Fellowship Foundation, the nonprofit that organizes the prayer breakfast.

Details of the event are still being finalized, but there will be no large group gathering due to the pandemic.

Also known as the Family and the International Foundation, the Fellowship, with the help of members of Congress, has organized the prayer breakfast since 1953, when President Dwight Eisenhower spoke to about 400 politicians as well as business and religious leaders, including Billy Graham.

Every president since then has spoken at the invitation-only event. It has often been one of the first major post-inauguration speeches given by a new president.

The Biden transition team could not confirm whether President-elect Joe Biden has been invited to speak. Biden, a Catholic, has attended the breakfast in the past.

The event has often been attended by Southern Baptist Convention presidents, former presidents and other leaders, most recently in 2018.

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