I’ve been following the memoirs that Rick Davis has been writing about his term of service as the BGCT’s evangelism director.  It’s interesting stuff, and my frame of reference includes the experiences of a college buddy of mine who served in a similar executive position in another state convention, and some other college friends who got too close to the flame of the Baptist Foundation of Arizona scandal and got badly burned.  You can read what the Samurai has written and draw your own conclusions. 

Is this standard operating procedure for Baptist organizations? 

Denominational politics is par for the course, we are told.  No real explanations are given, and certainly no justification is offered, it is just “the way things are.”  Most of the current political activities in the BGCT and the SBC date back to 1979, when a political movement began consolidating power to protect the SBC from a perceived theological drift to the left.  The current leadership of the BGCT, heavily dominated by Texas Baptists Committed, organized to prevent a fundamentalist takeover of the BGCT and its institutions.  Energy and resources were shifted to those causes.  So whatever happened to Bold Mission Thrust? 

A lot of water has passed under the bridge in almost 30 years.  A reform movement has arisen in the SBC because the mission of the conservative resurgence has changed from stopping the perceived “leftward theological drift” of the SBC to preserving the high level institutional and denominational jobs for its leaders as rewards for service.  The tightness of their control has produced resistance and a move for reform.  In the BGCT, the moderate leadership that organized to control the convention’s boards and offices is now engaged in wholesale damage control in the wake of a scandal which sullied their reputation. 

Those in the SBC who are hoping for reform and change are pinning those hopes on the election of another Frank Page type president in June.  In the BGCT, the hope is that the newly named choice for executive director will go in at least a bit of a different direction than his close ties to TBC, CBF and moderate Baptists would indicate, in refocusing the convention back on Kingdom business.  Other than that, it would appear that only the formation of another political organization would be effective in electing officers and appointing trustees to bring about change. 

We need revival.  Genuine, Holy Spirit-led, poured out revival.  That is our only hope.


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

6 responses

  1. Ken Coffee says:

    In vite you to a post on my blog called Denominational Frenzy.

  2. rick davis says:


    I regard the rumored reports of coming attacks on me as just rumor. I do think some of these things come, as others have come lately, as spiritual conflict intended to deter me from my purpose. My memoir is in fact a collection of essays to point a direction rather than to “out” some fallible human beings. It is a “think piece,” not a gossip column.

    I do not believe Chris Liebrum or anyone else is sitting in the building trying to prove I once got a speeding ticket. They have bigger fish to fry.

  3. Dylan says:

    Denominational politics is definitely a turn off for the people I went to school with at the Baptist college I attended, which is probably why most of them either avoided involvement with an established church in favor of a small group, or sought out non-denominational churches or worship gatherings.

    Personally, I think it is somewhat amusing to see people throw around their “celebrity” status in a Christian denominational organization. That kind of behavior is the antithesis of what Jesus preached and taught and as far as I am concerned is nothing more than a sign of apostasy. “Ichabod” has been written over that door. All those backroom deals and jockeying for power and pulling strings and making deals. The only thing that’s missing is the cheap cigar smoke and stale whiskey.

    If you want younger Christians participating in your denominational structures and institutions, you’ll have to do better than that.

  4. David Birdsong says:

    Lee, in your post you stated,

    “Other than that, it would appear that only the formation of another political organization would be effective in electing officers and appointing trustees to bring about change.”

    Are you suggesting an organization similar to Texas Baptists Committed, only opposite of their political positions? Kind of a ‘moderate conservatives’ group, or ‘moderates with a rightward tilt?’

    Please elaborate because I feel I am lost inbetween the political positions of both the BGCT and the SBC. Theres not a group or title that represents.


  5. Lee says:

    I believe it will take an organization to get enough votes at the convention to elect officers not endorsed by TBC. That’s certainly ironic. But TBC has succeeded in making sure their interests have not only been represented in the BGCT, but have controlled the BGCT. David Lowrie came as close as anyone to winning without an organization last October, partly because he was running in conservative West Texas, and partly because the TBC backed administration got slammed with Valleygate.

    I wouldn’t know what current terminology of denominational political identity would describe the 3,000 plus churches in the BGCT who are uniquely aligned with the SBC and want to remain so, compared to about 200 churches aligned with CBF. There are those who say the “moderates” have to be in control, or the fundamentalists come in and take over and kick them to the curb. But I don’t think those in the BGCT who are connected with the SBC are looking to purge the state convention of “moderate” CBF-affiliated churches. It has been suggested that BGCT cooperation should not be affected by whatever other denominations or organizations churches may affiliate with, whether that be CBF, the SBC, both, or even dually affiliated SBTC churches. But I think it will take an organization to elect the kind of officers who will be fair and balanced in their committee appointments. I’m not saying I’m thrilled about that, I’m saying I think it will be necessary to bring it about.

    What is currently happening is that the number of churches supporting the BGCT cooperative program is declining, requiring repeated requests for more money from fewer churches. If the perception is that the current executive board and BGCT leadership is still moving “left”, and is continuing to distance itself from the SBC while at the same time increasing partnerships with CBF, more churches, from that 3,000+ who support the SBC will simply give less to the BGCT. They’ll vote one way or another.