Mississippi Pastor Jerry Young Wins Election as Next National Baptist Convention President

President-elect Rev. Jerry Young gives his first speech at the National Baptist Convention on Friday in New Orleans. (AP Photo/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune)
President-elect Rev. Jerry Young gives his first speech at the National Baptist Convention on Friday in New Orleans. (AP Photo/NOLA.com The Times-Picayune)

Among other things, the new president of the nation’s largest African-American denomination is a graduate of a non-denominational seminary with ties to the “young, restless and reformed” brand of Calvinism.

A Mississippi pastor defeated four other candidates to win election as president of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. — the nation’s largest historically African-American denomination and second-largest Baptist group behind Southern Baptists.

Jerry Young, 63, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., succeeds Julius Scruggs, pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., who was elected to a five-year term in 2009.

Delegates to the 7.5 million-member convention’s 134th annual session — held Sept. 1-5 in New Orleans — chose Young, a sitting vice president and immediate past president of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention of Mississippi, over pastors R.B. Holmes of Jacksonville, Fla.; Clifford Jones of Charlotte, N.C.; Boise Kimber of New Haven, Conn.; and Randy Vaughn of Port Arthur, Texas.

Young, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church since 1980, earned both this master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Reformed Theological Seminary, a non-denominational seminary with multiple campuses associated with the “young, restless and reformed” movement promoting biblical inerrancy and Reformed, or Calvinistic, theology among evangelicals.

Ligon Duncan, an associate of Southern Baptist leaders including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler and Pastor Mark Dever of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, is chancellor and CEO of the seminary, with campuses in Jackson, Miss.; Orlando, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Washington, Houston and Memphis, Tenn.

The weeklong gathering of the convention headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., featured a video greeting from President Obama and remarks by civil rights activist Al Sharpton.

Obama thanked National Baptists for supporting his My Brother’s Keeper initiative to empower young African-American males to succeed.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you at the National Baptist Convention for the good works that you do every single day as brothers and sisters in Christ,” Obama said. “For 128 years you’ve been bending the arc of the moral universe closer to justice by working to advance equality and opportunity and respect for all.”

“On some of the most urgent challenges of our history — from the fight for equal voting rights to giving all our children a chance at getting world-class education — you’ve been out in front, reminding us what’s right, pushing us to do better and to be better,” he said.

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SOURCE: Associated Baptist Press
Bob Allen

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