I’ve been reading other accounts of last Friday’s meeting of TBC in Dallas, and I’ll add a few more comments, before leaving the BGCT alone for a while.
The New Baptist Covenant
This was the elephant in the room during the meeting. A few remarks were made about the BGCT’s participation, and that of some individual Texas Baptists. There wasn’t much in the way of open discussion. But I did have several conversations with people in which I expressed my view that a vote needs to be taken at the convention in November which officially sanctions the BGCT’s participation. Concerns have been raised over the political implications of the NBC, and over the soteriology or theology of at least one of its principal organizers, and I believe those concerns are valid enough to warrant a straight up vote, yea or nay, on the BGCT’s sponsorship. I see no reason why a group of free and faithful Baptists would object to a convention vote on an issue of this nature. To use the name of the BGCT over the objection of some of its constituents without any kind of consultation with the churches at all is not consistent with Baptist practice.
It is my intention to make a study of the BGCT bylaws prior to the November convention and then bring a motion to the convention recommending a vote on this particular issue. I think those who have concerns or objections to participating should at least have a means of registering their objections.
TBC Naming BGCT Officers
I’m glad Gary Cook chose to use at least a portion of his time to ask that TBC discontinue its practice of endorsing candidates for officer positions in the BGCT. I can’t say that I have ever really been comfortable with this method of insuring that the BGCT remains open and free from fundamentalist control, because it bears a resemblance to the very thing to which we are objecting. On the other hand, considering the structure of the BGCT as a Baptist organization, I don’t know if a fundamentalist takeover could have been prevented had TBC not nominated officer candidates and supported them in getting them elected. But I agree with those who are saying that the time has now come for this practice to be set aside.
If I vote for Joy Fenner, I want it to be because I believe she is the person best suited for, and called by God to be the BGCT president at this time, and not because she is endorsed by TBC or because electing a woman to this position is long overdue. Likewise, if I vote for David Lowrie, I want it to be because I believe the same about him, and not because I am against TBC naming a candidate. These are both great people, they would make great leaders, and it would be a great idea if whichever one of them does not get elected to the presidency to be nominated for the First VP position.
I have a lot of respect for David Currie. He was able to see the impact of fundamentalism on the SBC and helped head off a fundamentalist takeover of the BGCT. He was able to discern that it was not the view held by the majority of Texas Baptists and succeeded in mobilizing a silent, passive majority to head off a takeover. He’s also been able to continue to hold the line because he’s recognized that many Texas Baptists, while not fundamentalist, are Biblical conservatives.
Currie said that the BGCT is a group that is already doing its best to include and work with everyone, from those who belong to and support the Alliance and CBF, to those who want to support the SBC. He cited as evidence the fact that there are many BGCT committee members and trustees who come from churches that support the SBC and are not connected with either CBF or TBC. The selection of an executive director who is not connected to any particular political or interest group in the BGCT would be another way of convincing doubters that TBC is serious about convention unty and cooperation. So would allowing a vote on the BGCT participation in the NBC.