Yes, there is much to celebrate about the Baptist General Convention of Texas; its ministries continue to touch many lives in the spirit of Christ.
One reason this meeting was so “quiet,” however, was that the triumvirate of convention leadership, messengers and Executive Board have rid the convention of those they consider disagreeable.
Your claim that “Texas Baptists are not a monoculture … not all cut from the same cookie cutter … so many perspectives …” rings hollow to those whom the convention declared “outside of harmonious cooperation” and removed following the 2016 annual meeting.
I first thought you had ignored the three ousted churches, but upon re-reading your editorial I realized they may well be the “weeds” you say need to be “pulled here and there.” These “weeds” are three churches made up of faithful baptized believers who for decades sacrificially supported the ministries of the BGCT. But now they are weeds to be pulled?
An admonition to quit fighting and have “a good party” rings hollow to the subjects of the last fight, who are no longer welcome at the “party.”
As editor of the Baptist Standard—which according to the website’s “About” page, is an independent news source—you now routinely refer to the BGCT by its adopted (and trademarked) name of “Texas Baptists,” which excludes any Baptists in Texas who are not part of the BGCT.
In this editorial, you even refer to the BGCT as “we,” sounding more like a pastor/messenger than a journalist.
At the Texas Baptists Committed Breakfast at the 2016 annual meeting, I said BGCT leadership—in insisting on agreement concerning a nonessential doctrine—was violating the Baptist principle of local church autonomy.
Yes, leadership secured a majority vote, thus meeting the demands of Baptist polity.
But to then celebrate a “quiet” convention after ridding themselves of those who might dare act like Baptists and disagree? And to claim that “many perspectives” are present after the convention has disposed of any “cookies” stamped by a different cutter?
You’ve got to be kidding!
Executive Director, retired, Texas Baptists Committed
By using the metaphor of “weeds,” I did not intend to insinuate people or churches are weeds to be pulled. People—as God’s image-bearers—and churches—as the body of Christ—are not weeds to be pulled. I apologize for creating this impression.
I intended the metaphor to refer to what all of us must do in submitting to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us as individuals and as the corporate body of Christ.