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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The nation's largest Protestant denomination has voted to adopt an alternative name for churches that feel the title "Southern Baptist" could be a turn-off to potential believers.
Although the denomination's name will officially remain Southern Baptist Convention, many delegates still opposed the optional "Great Commission Baptists." Fifty-three percent of delegates voted in favor while 46 percent voted against.
Those who supported the new name argued that it would help missionaries and new churches to reach more people.
An online poll by the SBC's Lifeway Research of 2,000 Americans found that 44 percent said that knowing a church was Southern Baptist would negatively impact their decision to visit or join.
The term "Great Commission" refers to Jesus's command to his apostles to go forth and make disciples of all nations.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)