Guest / Limited Access /

He is the man most responsible for founding the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC)—the denomination that provided a church base for Martin Luther King Jr. But you won't find his name noted in many history books. In fact, most black Baptists will credit King and New York preaching legend Gardner Taylor with starting the denomination. The credit, however, rightfully belongs to L. Venchael Booth, whose story is finally told in a recently released book about the PNBC.

In November 1961, Booth persuaded a cluster of disaffected members of the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. to leave their massive denomination—then and now considered the mother of all black Baptist groups—and form the PNBC. The new entity they agreed to launch that chilly day at Booth's Cincinnati church has since become the second-largest black Baptist group in America.

Booth doesn't strike one as a maverick or a rebel. But 40 years ago, those were fitting descriptions for a man who decided to take on what was one of the black community's most powerful institutions. "It was not folly or a desire for power that propelled me to move ahead with calling for a new convention," says the 82-year-old preacher. "It was a belief that our convention should inspire us to do greater kingdom building."

Righting History


The history of African American Protestantism is loaded with sensational stories—from AME founder Richard Allen's unceremonious departure from the white Methodist church to Church of God in Christ organizer Charles H. Mason's Pentecostal epiphany at the Azusa Street revival. In more recent times, the history has been less heroic and more political. Some of the liveliest episodes have taken place among black Baptists, who formed slews of denominations ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedPhilip Yancey: Be Pioneers of Grace in a Post-Christian America
Subscriber Access Only Philip Yancey: Be Pioneers of Grace in a Post-Christian America
The author lays out a way to witness after churches have lost their cultural privilege.
TrendingPope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
Pope Francis Learns What Rick Warren, Russell Moore, N. T. Wright Think about Marriage
(UPDATED) Warren turns Vatican conference into 'revivalist meeting,' while Moore explains why marriage crosses theological boundaries.
Editor's PickA Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
A Decision in Ferguson: How Should Evangelicals Respond?
The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?
Comments
Christianity Today
The Forgotten Founder
hide thisMarch 11 March 11

In the Magazine

March 11, 2002

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.