NASHVILLE (BP) — Megachurch pastor Tony Evans and hip-hop artist Trip Lee are among additional speakers for a racial reconciliation summit sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics entity.
“The Gospel and Racial Reconciliation” will be the theme of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s second Leadership Summit, March 26-27 in Nashville.
The ERLC announced in December it was changing the theme of its 2015 summit from pro-life ethics to racial reconciliation in the wake of grand jury decisions in the police killings of black men that provoked widespread protests and a nationwide discussion. The shift in plans followed refusals by grand juries in St. Louis County and New York City to indict police in the high-profile deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Evans is senior pastor of Dallas’ Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship, where he has served for nearly 40 years since founding the church. He is the author of several books and the president of the national ministry The Urban Alternative.
Lee has recorded five rap albums, including his latest, “Rise,” which quickly reached No. 1 on the iTunes list upon its release in October. He is the author of two books and has served as a pastoral assistant and elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
Other African American leaders named Jan. 21 as additional speakers for the summit are:
— K. Marshall Williams, president of the National African American Fellowship of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Nazarene Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
— Thabiti Anyabwile, church planting pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., and an author and popular blogger.
— Derwin Gray, founding and lead pastor of Transformation Church, with campuses in Indian Land and Rock Hill, S.C.
— Dhati Lewis, founding and lead pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta.
Other newly named speakers are:
— Frank S. Page, president of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee.
— Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
In a news release introducing the new summit speakers, ERLC President Russell Moore said the summit “will help equip us to tear down carnal divisions, to bring about peace, so that churches reflect the kingdom of God.”
“The New Testament is clear that the gospel reconciles us not only to God but also to each other,” Moore said. “Racism and injustice are not just social ills; they are sins against God. Racial reconciliation is a matter of what gospel we believe and to what mission we’ve been called.”
The summit will seek to set forth how the Gospel applies to racial reconciliation in churches and communities, according to the ERLC. It will include keynote addresses and panels in the main sessions as well as speeches in breakout sessions.
In addition to Moore, other summit speakers previously announced are:
— John Perkins, an author and leading evangelical voice in the civil rights movement.
— Fred Luter, first African-American president of the SBC and senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
— H.B. Charles, pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
— Juan Sanchez, preaching pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
— Robert George, professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University.
— Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
— Kevin Smith, assistant professor of preaching at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville.
— D.A. Horton, national coordinator for urban student missions at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board and executive director of ReachLife Ministries.
— Trillia Newbell, an author and the ERLC’s consultant for women’s initiatives.
— David Prince, pastor of preaching at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky., and associate preaching professor at Southern Seminary.
— Josh Smith, lead pastor of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas.
The summit will take place nearly 20 years after messengers to the SBC’s 1995 meeting adopted a racial reconciliation resolution. The statement expressed repentance for the convention’s past racism and asked African Americans for forgiveness. The meeting also will occur within a week of the 50th anniversary of the voting rights march from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery.
The first ERLC Leadership Summit, held in April 2014, was on the Gospel and sexuality.