David Currie makes the following statement in the May 20 edition of A Rancher’s Rumblings:
“I recommend that anyone who runs for office in the Baptist General Convention of Texas begin by making clear to Texas Baptists first, that he or she loves and supports the mission, ministry, and institutions of the BGCT; and second, that he or she opposes SBC-style Fundamentalist control. They can give their mission money where they want to give it, but they must publicly commit to firmly opposing Fundamentalism in any form. That is only fair and right. People have a right to know where these candidates stand on Fundamentalism. “
Is this somewhere in the BGCT bylaws or constitution? Obviously, we are working with Currie’s definition of “fundamentalism” here. Whether or not I might agree with that, it seems a little bit presumptuous to this Baptist to see another Baptist telling other Baptists they must accept someone else’s definition of a term, and that if there are those who fit that definition in the BGCT, they can’t run for office without explaining themselves. And they also can’t run for office if they fit that particular definition of the term.
I would suggest that Currie make this recommendation in the form of an amendment to the bylaws of the BGCT, and use the influence of the officers who support TBC to make the appropriate parliamentary maneuvers to see that it gets a better than fair shot at a vote from the convention floor. If this is going to be the criterion for candidates for BGCT office, it should be voted on, and approved by the convention.
Currie says, “The BGCT should be a “big tent” convention that offers a place at the table for churches that support CBF missions, SBC missions, or both. Support of CBF or SBC is not – and should not be – an issue in the BGCT. We have worked hard to protect local church autonomy and protect every local church’s right to give cooperatively as it chooses, in whatever percentage it chooses.
“The reality is that there should be no Fundamentalists remaining in the BGCT. Frankly, if you are a Fundamentalist, there is a convention that was created just for you – the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. That is where you belong, and you should join it with our blessing. You can leave the BGCT, and there will be no hard feelings on our part. “
So much for the idea of a “big tent.” Regardless of the apparent analogy, the tent is clearly not big enough for some, including anyone Currie deems a “fundamentalist,” and anyone else who might welcome those into the tent. I’m a little bit confused. Isn’t that the same attitude exhibited by SBC leadership toward those they have labelled “liberals”? There’s the door, don’t let it hit your rear on the way out?
Good grief! Are we ever going to get to the point where we can get along, and work and play well together, like good little Baptists should? How does labelling people with your own pet definitions of a term, and then suggesting that they head for the exit enhance our almost non-existent evangelism, advance the Kingdom and glorify the Lord? The BGCT is already operating on 90% of a budget that was already reduced because of the previous year’s slump in giving. How is this going to help that?
TBC, and other moderate Texas Baptists have been highly critical of the tactics and methods used by those who took over the SBC, and formed the SBTC. Even in this particular blog, Currie points out the “balance” and diversity of the officers who have served in the BGCT for the past five years. BGCT leadership has emphatically denied that the search committee formed to find a new executive director was “stacked,” though the majority of its members had ties to both TBC and CBF. Though there are fewer than 350 CBF-contributing churches in the BGCT, out of 5,700, the proportion of members of those churches represented on the boards and committees is much greater. We keep seeing the same names, and multiple appointments from the same churches, appearing on boards and committees. Those kinds of things don’t match up with the language of “big tents, inclusiveness, diversity and free and faithful Baptists.” The only apparent difference between the fundamentalists of the SBC, and the moderates of the BGCT is the type of people they disenfranchise and exclude.
And tell me, how is the Kingdom of God advanced by all of this turf protecting?
I’ll close with this statement from the blog of Michael Chancellor, a pastor in Abilene. It says what I want to say a whole lot better than I can say it. You can read the whole post here:
“The organization that has propped up the incompetent leadership grew out of the onslaught of fundamentalism that began to take over state conventions after they have taken over the national Southern Baptist Convention. However, the problem is that in the words of Martin Luther King Jr. the organization has “become the beast in order to defeat the beast.” They stifle dissent, they threaten, promise to destroy and ostracize those that disagree with them. They raise doubts about their motives and finally, when all else has failed, they outmaneuver them while talking about the need to have a free and open discussion which they will not permit.”