Preliminary review of the Shadycrest Baptist Church Pearland report
by Wm. Robert Johnston
updated 24 June 2001
Some specific inaccurate/misleading statements and flaws in reasoning (statements from the report are italicized):
- The report (by Pastor Daily)
- Most of the leaders within our State Convention (B.G.C.T.) prefer to be called "moderates," but many of the leaders within our national convention (S.B.C.) refer to them as "liberals."
BGCT leaders probably prefer the term "mainstream" (in the early 1990s the term "centrist" was also used in self-description). The term "moderate" is actually used more frequently by critics (SBC and other conservative leaders).
- Charles Wade...made this statement..."We also believe there is nothing to be gained by criminalizing a doctor or a woman if she concludes that in cases of threat to her life, rape or incest she ought to have an abortion."
While Daily is critical of this statement, he does not point out the fact that Wade does not criticize criminalizing the other 98% of abortions, or that Wade's statement is addressing political aspects more than moral aspects. For example, some Baptists might have the view than demanding anti-abortion legislation in these "hard" cases may jeapordize efforts to place legal restrictions on the majority of abortions (an area where there is a greater consensus among Americans).
- As a conservative, I felt that this action on the part of our State Convention was highly offensive and unethical. What causes them to assume that they have the right to redirect our world hunger funds to an institution that is not an official part of our State Convention or National Convention?
The hunger funds were not redirected "to an institution"; they were redirected in part through these organizations. The ultimate destination of the funds remained hunger relief as part of a Baptist ministry. While "not an official part", one organization (BWA) has organizational ties to the SBC and the other (CBF) is comprised largely of Southern Baptist churches. The right to direct these funds stems from the operating guidelines of the BGCT and was affirmed by the convention's vote in 1997 to approve the E/E report recommendations. Daily might be offended, but the charge of "unethical" is questionable.
- 5. To determine the number of messengers a church can send to the State Convention based on an amount of money given to the State Convention
This is confusingly included in a list of "costly duplications of National Convention agencies and institutions." The BGCT change was to determine representation based on a combination of church size and church financial support for BGCT ministries. The SBC has an equivalent requirement, where representation is determined by a combination of size and giving.
- 1995--Our State Convention leadership refused to allow the matter of the University Baptist Church, which has a practicing homosexual deacon, to be discussed and voted on by the messengers at 3 consecutive annual sessions.
It is also important to point out that many of our State Convention Leaders including our Executive Director, Charles Wade, have close ties to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship...This is somewhat disturbing, because the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship tends to be very compromising in regards to its assocation. This is reflected by the fact that the University Baptist Church in Austin Texas, which has a practicing homosexual currently serving as a Deacon, continues to be accepted by and affiliated with it.
Nowhere does this report acknowledge that the BGCT Executive Board in 1998 withdrew fellowship from University BC over this issue, an action which is indeed at odds with the current position of the CBF on this issue.
- As most of us are aware, the Calvary Baptist church in Waco Texas made history a few years ago by calling a woman to be their Senior Pastor.
Currently at most about one in 1,600 churches or missions in the BGCT have woman senior pastors (as of 2001), compared to one in 550 for the SBC (as of 1998).
- My prediction is that the [BGCT] and the [CBF] will, in one way or another, merge to form a new National Convention. I also predict that this convention will become increasingly more compromising and allow startling atrocities to exist within its affiliated churches under the all embracing umbrella of what it calls "Baptist Distinctives"...If our belief in "The Autonomy of the Local Church," for example, means that we will remain associated with a church that has a practicing homosexual as a Deacon (as the CBF has already done); then, we will have clearly distorted our interpretation of "Baptist Distinctives."
Besides being unsubstantiated, there are several reasons to doubt the prospect of such a merger. The BGCT and CBF currently have contradictory positions regarding churches that ordain homosexuals (the BGCT withdrew fellowship from such a church in 1998, while the CBF has declined to do so). The CBF is organizing some affiliated state fellowships, so such a merger seems problematic for organizational reasons (the CBF is nation-wide, the BGCT is state-wide, Texas would presumably need a state-wide entity in this hypothetical scenario). The BGCT would lose a majority of its member churches were it to make such a move--and BGCT leaders know this. Even with such a merger the BGCT would be forced to drastically reduce the size and scope of its organization, agencies, and ministries. Even if BGCT leaders are accused of lying when they declare no intention of such a move, there are practical considerations that mitigate against any such merger.
The implication that the BGCT might eventually support ordination of homosexuals is unsupported given the BGCT Executive Board's clear action in 1998 to withdraw fellowship from University BC.
© 2001 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 24 June 2001.
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