MH News February 4, 2021

The race-related crisis in the Southern Baptist Convention took a turn for the worse when a former longtime member penned a stunningly hostile letter to Rev. Dwight McKissic. McKissic is a leading African American pastor working within the Southern Baptist network. He recently announced his separation from the Texas state affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention. In response, Rev. John V. Rutledge wrote McKissic a letter which the latter promptly made public. In the letter, Rutledge (a former SBC pastor in Colorado) made a series of racist accusations against McKissic and recommended that all “Negroes” leave the Southern Baptist Convention. The letter can be found on Facebook.


The Baptist-turned-Ecumenical institution Belmont University of Nashville, Tennessee, has named a new president, the Methodist biblical scholar Gregory Jones of Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina. Jones, an ordained minister and author or editor of 19 books, has served as professor, dean, vice president, and institutional strategist for the Methodist-affiliated university. He will succeed long-time Belmont president Bob Fisher who is retiring. Jones’ wife, Susan, is also an ordained Methodist minister.   


Religious groups have taken the lead in providing space for state vaccination programs. In an editorial in USA Today, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Orthodox Union, made their pitch to help “anyone in need of vaccination, whether or not they are members of our congregations or of our neighborhoods.”  Similar offers have come from the United Methodist bishop of New York. Black churches across the country, located in communities hard hit by the virus, have opened their doors for testing and vaccination operations. Derrick Scobey, pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Oklahoma City which had treated 1,100 persons, said: “We got on the phone, texted and called pastors around the city probably the last hour of the day and just said if you do have anyone else 65 and older send me their name and their age and tell them to come now.”


Prophesy in the Pentecostal/Charismatic culture of American Christianity continues to be on the front page of what’s happening. Charisma website and magazine is the epicenter of much of this activity. No fewer than 19 front page articles deal with the subject of prophecy, some of it directly reflecting upon the failed prophecies of Trump’s re-election. Typical articles carry such titles as: “What to do when a prophet misguides you,” “Prophetic Words are Not for Sale,” and “This Prophetic Word Will Open Your Eyes.”


New York
Famed and accomplished actress Cicely Tyson died at the age of 96. The star of such movies as “Sounder” and “Trip to Bountiful,” Tyson was honored with two Emmy Awards, one Tony Award, and an Oscar nomination. She was also the first recipient of the International Faith and Family Film Festival Award at Bishop T.D. Jakes’ inaugural Legends Awards in 2017. She was a faithful member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Tyson was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor in 2015, during which Cece Winans sang a version of the old gospel song, “Blessed Assurance.”