JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Some leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention are working to remove the word “Southern” because of the South’s history of slavery, The Washington Post reports.
According to the convention’s president J.D. Greear, there is a push to rename Southern Baptists “Great Commission Baptists" due to what the Post called, “the racial reckoning underway in the United States.”
The name change is also because some see the name “Southern Baptist” as too regional for the group which exists around the globe.
Greear, who is pastor of The Summit Church in North Carolina, did say that the 50,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention are autonomous and can still refer to themselves as Southern Baptists if they so choose.
“Our Lord Jesus was not a White Southerner but a brown-skinned Middle Eastern refugee,” Greear told the Post. “Every week we gather to worship a savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear.”
He also stated that “hundreds” of church leaders in several Southern states have committed to using the name “Great Commission Baptists” and that the theme of next years Southern Baptist Convention will be “We are Great Commission Baptists.”
Greear made headlines earlier this year when he called for Southern Baptists to declare “black lives matter.” He did clarify that he is not aligned with the organization Black Lives Matter and that statements such as “defund the police” are “unhelpful.”