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Offbeat Mike Pence criticized for Trump ‘campaign speech’ at Southern Baptist Convention

17:32  14 june  2018
17:32  14 june  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Virginia Pastor Garrett Kell called for Pence 's 11 a.m. speech to be replaced by a time of prayer so as to not give the impression that the evangelical denomination aligns with a particular political party. Southern Baptist Convention , The Tennessean.

The vice president delivers remarks at the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas. FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service

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DALLAS — Vice President Mike Pence celebrated President Donald Trump's recent summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un as a success during his Wednesday morning address to the Southern Baptist Convention. 

"The meeting that took place was direct and honest, provocative and productive," Pence said. "It resulted in a bold first step where North Korea's leader committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." 

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STORY: Mike Pence ’s speech got mixed reactions from the Southern Baptist Convention . In an age when 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump , and 75 percent still support him, the decisions of the messengers on the floor of the SBC convention hall suggest that the story of

Vice President Mike Pence 's speech before the Southern Baptist Convention is being criticized by many as being too focused on politics and President Donald Trump . At a speech before the SBC annual meeting at the Kay Bailey Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday, Vice

Many of the Southern Baptists listening to the Republican leader during their big denominational meeting in Dallas responded to Pence's update on Tuesday's summit in Singapore with applause and cheers.

They rose to their feet when Pence spoke of Trump securing a commitment from North Korea on recovering and repatriating the remains of those who fought in the Korean War.  

"We are finally going to bring our boys home," Pence said.

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Pence's nearly 40-minute speech to the country's biggest evangelical church group covered a wide range of topics, including praise for several changes Trump has made since he took office. He lauded the president's anti-abortion efforts and the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  

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Vice President Mike Pence spoke to thousands of Southern Baptists on Wednesday morning at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention . Republican presidents and administration officials have been appearing at SBC meetings since Gerald Ford spoke to the convention in 1976.

"Vice President Mike Pence gave an often boastful campaign -style speech Wednesday to the closing session of the Southern Baptist Convention 's annual meeting, winning several standing ovations even as some evangelicals criticized his appearance. Pence repeatedly made clear that the SBC

The vice president is often admired by evangelicals for his Christian faith and his ability to influence President Donald Trump on policies that resonate with conservative Christians. 

Soon after he walked on stage, the vice president reiterated a sentiment he often shares, explaining to the thousands of Southern Baptists in the convention hall that he is a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third.

Not all happy with Pence's speech

However, the vice president's speech itself did not sit well with everyone in the convention hall and those watching online. Some took to social media to express their dismay of the address, calling it partisan and a stump speech. 

At about the time the speech ended, North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear, the newly elected Southern Baptist Convention president, tweeted about public officials at the annual meeting. 

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"I know that sent a terribly mixed signal. 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," Greear said. "Commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do."

Those reactions were in keeping with earlier efforts by some to prevent Pence from addressing the convention and to stop public officials from speaking at future meetings.

They raised concerns about sending the wrong message that Southern Baptists are aligned with the Republican party as well as worries that it could alienate minorities and those who take issue with the Trump Administration. 

A Tuesday morning vote to substitute Pence's speech for a time of prayer failed to get enough support after Grant Ethridge, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, made a biblical case for showing hospitality to people in positions of authority. 

"I believe we respect the position regardless of whether or not you supported or voted for the person," Ethridge said.

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Vice President Mike Pence spoke Wednesday at the Southern Baptist Convention 's annual meeting. But news of Pence ’s speech provoked a considerable amount of dissent among attendees, revealing a fissure in the denomination over associating with President Donald Trump .

Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting on Wednesday in Dallas. The featured speaker was Vice President Pence , who spoke of the day he accepted Jesus Christ as his savior and of the importance of prayer, but mostly delivered a speech fit for a campaign

Before the vice president took the stage Wednesday, those in the room rose to their feet for several minutes of pre-scheduled worship. 

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

Pence praises Sutherland Springs church, encourages Southern Baptists

Pence walked on stage to loud applause after an introduction from current Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines, who is a pastor from Memphis. He remarked on the support Pence offered the victims of last year's mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which is a member of the network of churches. 

"I am so grateful to have a vice president who not only loves people, but also loves the lord, Jesus Christ."

Pence recounted visiting with the victims of the Texas shooting and praised Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who leads the Sutherland Springs church. He was moved by their strong faith in the face of that tragedy. 

"There's was a small church, but their faith was not small," Pence said. 

And, he praised Southern Baptists for their faith and efforts to spread the gospel. 

"The Southern Baptist Convention has always strived to reach the world for Christ and so you have throughout the decades," Pence said. "I believe with all my heart that your faith has moved mountains."

And he urged them to keep praying and doing God's work. 

"The truth is that no podium that the president and I will ever stand behind will be of greater consequence than the pulpits you stand behind every Sunday morning," Pence said.

"No policy we enact will ever be more meaningful than the ministries you lead and no action we take will ever be more powerful than your prayers."

Reach Holly Meyer at [email protected] or 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @HollyAMeyer. 

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