Several years ago, on a visit to Switzerland, I got to ride the Berner Oberland Bahn up to the Eiger glacier on the slopes of the magnificent Jungfrau, the “roof of Europe.”  More snow and ice accumulate on the glacier each year than actually melts and runs off, but the runoff fills several lakes and rivers, providing hydroelectric power and a water supply that is one of the country’s greatest natural resources.  During my visit, we swam in the Brienzersee, the Aare River as it runs through the town of Interlaken, and later on, the Thunersee.  The Brienzersee is freezing cold, and your body never adjusts to the water temperature.  The Aare River is also freezing, though not quite as cold.  But a few miles downstream, the water empties into the Thunersee, which is larger, and further from the glacier, and while it is still not a warm body of water, is much more comfortable in which to swim.  As the water flows, it is warmed by the sun and the earth. 

In the past several days, I’ve observed some things, and read some things on blogs and in news reports that makes me think the relationship between the BGCT and the SBC may be warming up a bit.  For a long time it has been a frozen glacier, with very little runoff.  But there are some signs, from both sides, that the ice may be melting. 

At the SBC meeting in Indianapolis, the M.E. Dodd Award was given to the pastor of a uniquely aligned BGCT congregation.  Dr. David Dykes is pastor of the Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, which is the largest single contributing church to the SBC’s Cooperative Program.  Considering that the BGCT has been virtually shut out of SBC leadership since the formation of the SBTC, this was certainly a sign of change in that relationship.  Last year, Gary Dyer, pastor of First Baptist Church of Midland, which ranks third in Cooperative Program giving and is also uniquely affiliated with the BGCT, was appointed to the SBC’s committee on nominations. 

David Lowrie reported on the BGCT breakfast at the convention this year.  Unfortunately, I missed the gathering, but was glad to hear that our executive director, Dr. Randel Everett, was in Indianapolis for the SBC meeting.  That is an encouraging sign to those of us who have been hoping for, and advocating for, a warming of relations between the two groups.  Most of the BGCT’s churches have continued to support the SBC through the Cooperative Program, and that doesn’t appear to be changing.  The historic ties between the two groups have been strong, and there is no reason they shouldn’t continue to be. 

Ken Coffee, a retired BGCT executive, has suggested on his blog that the BGCT extend an invitation to the SBC’s newly elected president Johnny Hunt to address the BGCT in October.  I think that is an excellent suggestion, and would be a great way to help melt a little bit more of the glacier.  Along with that, he has suggested that the prohibition against Southwestern Seminary having an exhibit booth at the BGCT be lifted.  That, too, is an excellent suggestion.  I’ve never understood why such a petty and unproductive action has been taken by the BGCT. 

When I attended the search committee listening session in Waco way back last summer, several of those in attendance expressed a desire that we select someone who would help end the “spitting contest” with the SBC.  In dozens of responses and emails related to this blog, the overwhelming sentiment has been to express just that very thought.  The ice is melting.  The glacier is still there, and the river is cold, but it the longer it flows, the warmer it will get. 

 

Advertisements

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.

10 responses

  1. Ken Coffee says:

    Lee, thanks for the plug and thanks for agreeing with me on these two proposals. I am very excited about the possibility of both these things happening. As you know, the squeaking wheel gets the grease, so I would encourage everyone who agrees with these two things to e-mail Randel Everett at randel.everett@bgct.org and tell him how you feel.

  2. Tim Dahl says:

    A good place to start in the thaw would be for the SBC leadership to ask forgiveness. They sinned, and they sinned hard. With out any repentance, then healing will be a long time coming, imo.

    To ask any BGCTer to repent would be the equivalent of asking someone who has been abused to ask forgiveness of their abuser. It has to start with the SBC.

    Tim Dahl

  3. Lee says:

    I don’t believe the leadership of either group is innocent of causing disunity and disharmony. The issue of who fired the first shot has been lost in continued efforts at retaliation, and pushing a win-lose agenda. The focus has shifted from Christ to an agenda of staking out territory. It has become about the personalities involved.

    However small the effort may be, I am committed to making a difference.

  4. David Lowrie says:

    We must learn the lessons of the past so we don’t make the same mistakes, but we cannot claim our future living in the past.

    I believe we can move forward together. We will probably not walk in lock step like we may have done in the past, but we can be moving in the same direction and we can stop wasting energy struggling with each other.

    The honor for David Dykes was well deserved. It is a good solid pastor/leader who has been doing his job. Knowing David I suspect he is Kingdom first and the alphabet soup of letters (SBC, BGCT, SBTC, CBF, etc…) are more of a nuisance than a mission.

    We can change. I pray we will.

    David Lowrie

  5. Tim Dahl says:

    Hey Guys,

    I’m sorry, what I said wasn’t said with the best of feelings. I remember having Dr. Dilday as a teacher, and I just can’t for the life of me figure out why they fired him. Yet, at the same time, I have no idea why the BGCT would have gotten rid of Minatrea? Their Missional Church group was one of the best things ever. Now…its gone.

    There is one thing that I’m suspicious of concerning the SBC’s warming up to the BWA. It is nice that they gave Billy Kim an award; but they also put money in the Budget for the Chapman’s campaign to start the SBC’s own international group. That they would put that in the Budget shows me that there is no real desire to reconcile with the BWA. As long as the current leadership stays the same (sorry, I see Hunt as an insider), very little positive change is forthcoming.

    Tim Dahl

  6. Tim Dahl says:

    Ok, I’m stupid. I should have said Welch’s campaign, not Chapman. Chapman has had nothing to do with it, as far as I know.

    Sorry,

    Tim

  7. Ken Coffee says:

    Tim, I understand your feelings toward the SBC. Just understand that some of them have those same feelings toward the BGCT. We need to get past who must ask forgiveness of whom and just focus on discovering what we can do together that enhances the kingdom. I think scripture would teach us that the offended has as much responsibility for engendering peace as the offender. Both have a role and neither should wait for the other to step forward. It would be oh so good just to meet each other moving toward each other, but that would be a perfect world scenario. Probably won’t happen. That should not keep us from cooperating on important matters of interest to both.

  8. Tim Dahl says:

    Ken,

    I think that I can understand where you’re coming from. I can see that people can have strong feelings against the BGCT for any number of reasons. What irks me is that the basis for all the anxt is a lie. The “Conservative Resurgence” was just a political ploy by Patterson/etal, and has done so much damage. They continued to lie, and succeeded in getting the SBC out of the BWA. These guys have been and continue to be corrupt. As long as those guys are still around/in charge, I don’t see much healing happening. In the end, all I see is more pain and hurt for the BGCT. One of the most horrible things to happen would be for Patterson to take the stage at the BGCT Annual Convention. That would make a mockery of all the pain he put so many people through.

    Tim Dahl

  9. Lee says:

    Southwestern is not a BGCT entity, and does not have to report to the BGCT in session, though I believe they did extend courtesy invitations to Dr. Naylor and Dr. Dilday in the past. But it is unlikely that they will give Patterson any time at the podium. I’m not sure which church he belongs to, conceivably, if it is dually affiliated, he could get elected as a messenger and get to a microphone that way.

  10. Tim Dahl says:

    Word is that Patterson belongs to Birchman Baptist, in Fort Worth. For some reason people thought he might join Travis, as the previous presidents had done.

    Tim Dahl