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CNN- For most of their annual meeting this week in Dallas, Southern Baptists have talked about spiritual matters, particularly their keen focus on gaining new converts.
But the gathering of the nation’s largest evangelical group took a political turn on Wednesday morning, when Vice President Mike Pence addressed the nearly 10,000 delegates, known as messengers.
And some weren’t happy about it.
“I know that sent a terribly mixed signal,”tweeted J.D. Greear, a North Carolina pastor who was elected to be the denomination’s new president on Tuesday.
“We are grateful for civic leaders who want to speak to our convention — but make no mistake about it, our identity is in the Gospel and our unity is in the Great Commission.” The Great Commission is Jesus’ call in the Bible for Christians to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
In introducing Pence, Steve Gaines, the outgoing president of the Southern Baptist Convention, as the denomination is officially known, noted the Vice President is a conservative Christian who “loves the Lord Jesus Christ.” Gaines said he appreciated Pence’s appearance last November at a memorial service for the victims of a mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.