MEMPHIS (BP) — More than Three,600 registrants plan to collect in Memphis to pursue racial unity on the event of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights chief Martin Luther King Jr.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) and The Gospel Coalition (TGC) will co-host the occasion — “MLK50: Gospel Reflections From the Mountaintop” — on the Memphis Convention Center half a century after King’s slaying on April Four, 1968, in the Tennessee metropolis. The April Three-Four convention’s aim is to contemplate the state of racial unity in the American church and tradition, in addition to to study what’s required to obtain solidarity amid the nation’s ongoing division.
ERLC President Russell Moore mentioned he hopes the occasion “will remind us afresh of the Gospel we believe.”
“Not only that, but my hope is also that it will drive all of us toward Gospel consistency on issues of human dignity,” Moore instructed Baptist Press in written feedback. “In all, I pray it will bring a word of Gospel hope, repentance and unity to many brothers and sisters in Christ.”
The church “should be leading the way” on “issues of racial justice and unity,” Moore mentioned, including that the Gospel “reconciles the sons of slaveholders with the sons of slaves.”
Walter Strickland, affiliate vice chairman for range at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, mentioned he hopes the convention will probably be “a thoughtful commemoration of a man who significantly changed the landscape of our country, and not just the veneration of a person but the celebration and the giving of tools to pursue the vision that he had that was birthed actually in Scripture.”
In a telephone interview, Strickland instructed Baptist Press the demographics of the convention could possibly be distinctive.
“[B]ecause of the nature of the event and the type of things that are happening … this crowd is going to be very diverse,” mentioned Strickland, additionally an assistant professor of systematic and contextual theology and second vice chairman of the Southern Baptist Convention.
He hopes the contributors – together with academic and church leaders — “will begin to build relationships with each other so that they can then continue this work …. of establishing, at least as much as we can, this beloved community that Dr. King was advocating for now as a testimony to what God is going to do in the kingdom,” Strickland mentioned.
King, solely 39 on the time of his loss of life, was the chief of and spokesman for the civil rights motion from his time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala., in the mid-1950s till his assassination in 1968. He led the motion to follow nonviolence in its pursuit of change, serving to produce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In Memphis to advocate for sanitation staff on strike, King gave what turned referred to as his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech the evening earlier than he was killed.
Among the MLK50 convention’s matters, audio system and panelists will give attention to racial justice as a Gospel situation, have fun King’s legacy, bear in mind the civil rights motion, deal with the inconsistencies of white evangelicals on problems with race and focus on racial rigidity in the United States.
In addition to Moore and Strickland, the varied lineup of audio system and panelists contains:
— H.B. Charles, pastor-teacher of Shiloh Church in Jacksonville and Orange Park, Fla.
— John Piper, founder and trainer of Desiring God.
— John Perkins, longtime civil rights chief and founding father of the Christian Community Development Association.
— Benjamin Watson, newly signed tight finish for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League.
— Don Carson, co-founder of TGC and analysis professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
— Karen Ellis, president of the Makazi Institute and author/lecturer on worldwide spiritual freedom.
— Matt Chandler, lead instructing pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas-Fort Worth space and president of the Acts 29 Network.
— Ralph West, senior pastor of The Church Without Walls (Brookhollow Baptist Church) in Houston.
— Charlie Dates, senior pastor of Progressive Baptist Church in Chicago.
— Mika Edmondson, pastor of New City Fellowship in Grand Rapids, Mich.
— Jackie Hill Perry, poet, rapper and speaker.
— Eric Mason, lead pastor of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, Pa.
— Juan Sanchez, senior pastor of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
In addition to audio system, panels and breakout periods, MLK50 organizers mentioned particular options of the convention will embody:
— A time of company lament and prayer the night of April Three because the convention’s audio system and advisory board members collect on stage to repent of previous failures, pray for therapeutic and ask God to work in and via church buildings to produce racial concord.
— The unveiling of the Dream Forward Scholarship Initiative, which includes 15 Christian schools and seminaries which have dedicated to investing in a brand new technology of minority leaders from the Memphis space.
— An providing to assist the Memphis Christian Pastors Network and its work to foster racial unity in town.
— Joint participation with town of Memphis and others gathered to honor King throughout a ceremony April Four on the Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis. The convention will pause from Four to 7 p.m. CDT so attendees can collect for the tolling of bells at 6:01 p.m., the time when King was killed on the motel. Conference planners have consulted with the National Civil Rights Museum, the King household and native pastors, leaders and regulation enforcement officers to coordinate plans with the opposite occasions honoring the late civil rights chief, in accordance to the ERLC.
— Local involvement, with greater than 10 audio system from Memphis, lots of of attendees from dozens of space church buildings and performances by the Tennessee Mass Choir.
Also convening the MLK50 convention with the ERLC and TGC is an advisory board of greater than 50 Christian leaders, together with: Steve Gaines, Southern Baptist Convention president and senior pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church; Byron Day, president of the National African American Fellowship of the SBC; Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Justin Giboney, co-founder of The AND Campaign; Ray Ortlund, lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville; Felix Cabrera, senior pastor of Iglesia Bautista Central in Oklahoma City; Kevin Smith, government director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware; and Jenny Yang, vice chairman of advocacy and coverage for World Relief.
A simulcast of the occasion could also be accessed at mlk50convention.com/stay.
Conference data is on the market at mlk50convention.com.