Floyd, NBCUSA talk racial unity in NY Times

By Diana Chandler |  January 25, 2016

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Southern Baptist Convention President Ronnie Floyd and National Baptist Convention President Jerry Young are featured in a Jan. 24th New York Times article on their continued efforts to bring racial healing in the U.S. through the Gospel of Christ.

Still working on goals the two Baptist leaders established in November 2015 at "A National Conversation on Race in America" in Jackson, Miss., the men sat down with New York Times writer Laurie Goodstein to discuss their hearts' desire to heal wounds that for some run as deep as the SBC's 1845 founding to uphold the rights of slaveholders.

"I can't do anything about what happened in 1845, but I can do a lot about where we are today in 2015," said Floyd, senior pastor of the multisite Cross Church in northwest Arkansas. "My church has a lot of people that are not white. We live in the homeland of Walmart, J. B. Hunt, Tyson Foods and the University of Arkansas. And with the growth of those companies, our whole region has changed. And in order for us to reach our region, we have to be able to reach all people."

Young, who leads the National Baptist Convention USA Inc., formed in 1880 by freed blacks, told the New York Times that the historical dichotomy between the two conventions still surfaces today.

"I've never said this to Dr. Floyd, but I've had fellows in my own denomination who called me and said: 'What are you doing? I mean, are you not aware of the history?'" Young said in the interview. "And I say, obviously I'm aware. They bring up the issue about slavery and that becomes a reason, they say, that we ought not to be involved with the Southern Baptists. Where from my vantage point, that's reverse racism.

"I do understand the history, and I understand the pain of the past," said Young, who pastors New Hope Baptist Church of Jackson, Miss. "But what I'm also quite clear about is, if the Gospel does anything at all, the Gospel demands that we not only preach but practice reconciliation."  

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