David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

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David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:18 pm

https://www.baptiststandard.com/opinion ... -just-lost

I agree with him, It's a Big Deal.

I am proud to have invited Currie and he showed in Momma's hometown of Collinsville, Al Feb 2002. We had some straight talk then and there are pictures of our pastor and his wife's reaction.

My testimony of what ensued is in the UTenn published book The Exiled Generations, Carl Kell, editor.
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Re: David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby Sandy » Sun Dec 18, 2016 5:39 pm

A couple of points on this.

Currie's reaction and perspective contains several points that explain why things are happening in the BGCT as they are. He writes from the perspective of a Baptist bureaucrat who has had his hands on various reins of power within the convention structure for way, way, way too long. He bemoans the churches that don't send any messengers, and individuals who don't get involved, but what he doesn't understand is that the narrow "core" of churches and individuals who run things, and the small circle of individuals who are constantly recycled from board to board, office to office, actually repulse churches from getting involved. It's a provincial, backward way of doing things that favors the inner circle, and operates based on a "who you know" approach, rather than a "what you're capable of doing" approach. I watched it for years, as individuals worked their way into the narrow network of prominent, well-connected individuals serving on boards and committees as long as extended term limits would allow, and then moving on, as a reward for their years of dedicated service, to a six figure denominational post in the central office in Dallas with a nice view, and a golf date on Wednesday afternoon. People were tired of that. And when it erupted into conflict that produced the SBTC, with the exit of thousands of churches to either a dual affiliation, or withdrawal altogether, most of the churches that led the charge out of the state convention were those that had been shut out for years by the exclusive, narrow leadership that had been in place in the BGCT for years. Currie and his inner circle didn't get it then. It appears that they don't get it now.

One of the churches mentioned by Currie in his response is Wilshire Baptist Church of Dallas. This is an inner-city church, but it is in the wealthy, upscale inner city district on Dallas' north side. For the entire time I lived in Texas, and went to BGCT annual meetings, there were never fewer than 10 of its members holding convention offices, or trustee posts. Their pastor, George Mason, was a constant influence in the agencies, the colleges and universities, and the executive board. People got tired of hearing from him and about him. Since the formation of the SBTC, and the initial departure of 1,000 churches, most of them leaving completely, and not remaining dually affiliated, the BGCT has continued to lose support. The SBTC has gained more than 1,200 new affiliated congregations, and an additional 1,000 BGCT congregations have dropped their BGCT affiliation altogether. Currie talks about the 200 or so churches in the CBF in Texas that will be the place where all of that former BGCT leadership will wind up. But what does it say, that 200 churches provided the majority of convention leadership, and now that they may be pushed out because of their stance on LGBT issues, it will leave the BGCT leaderless? It says that the wrong leaders have been in charge for far too long.

Now, having said all that....

Right wing politics aside, Baptist groups that continue to be opposed to LGBT inclusion also need to be quite clear about their opposition to all of the things that the Trump candidacy have brought to the table, particularly sexual assault of women. Given the level of evangelical support for Trump's candidacy, which was as far as I am concerned a complete abandonment of values in order to support a political candidate, it would be sheer hypocrisy not to step up and condemn the man's behavior, all of it that was blatantly and incredibly anti-Christian and demonic from any Biblical moral perspective, and try to put some distance between themselves. Personally, I think they've lost this battle handily, and no longer have the moral ground to be opposed on any social or moral issue. For the folks on TV and in the media, it's a book and video sales issue anyway, but all churches are going to pay for the open support of some, whether they participated or not. If you want the moral high ground in being opposed to LGBT issues, then you also need to be opposed to Trump's definition of morality. The best way to have done that would have been to stand against his candidacy, and not encouraging your people to vote for him, but since that didn't happen, they better scramble to save what's left before the well runs completely dry.

Oh, and by the way, your darling Donald is a big supporter of LGBT rights and inclusion, and has said so. What are you going to do with that, besides ignoring it and pretending it isn't so?
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Re: David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Dec 19, 2016 2:43 pm

Maybe I'm showing my ignorance, but I'm not exactly certain what CBF has to do with the BGCT. It seems that many of the struggles of the BGCT are not really related to CBF. Perhaps, some churches have had an undue influence on the BGCT, but this seems to be more a Texas thing than an CBF thing.
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Re: David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby JE Pettibone » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:27 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Maybe I'm showing my ignorance, but I'm not exactly certain what CBF has to do with the BGCT. It seems that many of the struggles of the BGCT are not really related to CBF. Perhaps, some churches have had an undue influence on the BGCT, but this seems to be more a Texas thing than an CBF thing.


Ed: And Dave, what percentage of CBF support comes from Texas and from Virginia ? Which has the most CBF related divinity schools?
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Re: David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby Rvaughn » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:44 pm

Dave, you are probably right that it is more of a Texas thing than a CBF thing. I assume the main CBF connection is the thought that moderate churches that leave the BGCT will end up in the CBF.

One thing I found interesting. Currie was responding as "counterpoint" to Roger Olson's "point" on the topic. When I looked at Olson's bio on his Patheos blog, he says that he and his wife are members of Calvary Baptist Church, and that it is a congregation in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He did not mention being in the BGCT, but they may be dually affiliated. Neither here nor there, other than it would seem that if the Standard chose him for the "point" he would be in the BGCT. Maybe he is.
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Re: David Currie's Straight Talk on Future of BGCT

Postby Sandy » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:22 am

Rvaughn wrote:Dave, you are probably right that it is more of a Texas thing than a CBF thing. I assume the main CBF connection is the thought that moderate churches that leave the BGCT will end up in the CBF.

One thing I found interesting. Currie was responding as "counterpoint" to Roger Olson's "point" on the topic. When I looked at Olson's bio on his Patheos blog, he says that he and his wife are members of Calvary Baptist Church, and that it is a congregation in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. He did not mention being in the BGCT, but they may be dually affiliated. Neither here nor there, other than it would seem that if the Standard chose him for the "point" he would be in the BGCT. Maybe he is.


There's a lot of overlap between the BGCT, its leadership, and the 200 or so churches in Texas that financially support CBF. Calvary Baptist in Waco, where Olson attends, is a cooperating church with the BGCT, and supports CBF. The BGCT offers churches a Cooperative Program giving option that allows them to channel gifts to CBF, and avoid any pass-through to the SBC altogether. I don't know that Calvary uses that particular option, though I would guess they might, since they were at odds with the SBC when they called a female pastor years ago.

This particular issue, which involves the BGCT's definition of a policy declaring churches out of "harmonious cooperation" based on their definition of marriage being out of step with that of the BGCT, involves just two churches at the present time. It's similar to the issue CBF is dealing with regarding its hiring policy, but different in that this involves the definition of cooperation within the organization, something CBF doesn't do. The assumption that Stephen made when he posted this here, that somehow it would affect the CBF congregations in the BGCT, and the similar assumption that Currie makes regarding how many churches may eventually leave the BGCT as a result, really don't have anything to do with CBF. Here's a link to the story in the Standard referencing the convention's action.

https://www.baptiststandard.com/news/te ... ooperation

I'll make a couple of observations regarding CBF and Texas Baptists, which might add to the discussion, though this particular issue really doesn't involve CBF, other than that the two churches involved are financial contributors to the Texas CBF and to the national group.

One, the CBF members here who are from the east seem to always either dismiss or discount their Texas brethren when it comes to discussing things they feel are at the core of CBF identity. I don't think specific numbers are broken down in a way that brings anything to bear on this issue, but looking at what does get reported, it is apparent that the only state which actually has a larger number of churches affiliated with CBF is North Carolina, and given the size and scope of many of the Texas churches which are affiliated, I'd say the Texans might outnumber the Carolinians in total membership. The dollar amount for CBF that gets passed through the BGCT's CP giving program adds up to a third of CBF's total budget. Maybe more money actually comes out of North Carolina or Virginia, but it looks like the Texans are in the lead in terms of financial support. Given that all three of CBF's executive coordinators are native Texans and came from Texas Baptist churches, discounting their influence is counterproductive, don't you think?

Two, notice that in the story related to the view of marriage criteria for "harmonious cooperation," the power to make that determination was taken from the convention messengers, and given to the executive committee, which is currently dominated by individuals who come from the more moderate churches in the BGCT, most of whom support CBF. Both of the churches mentioned, First Baptist Church in Austin, and Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, have had members on the executive committee of the BGCT as long as I can remember. So those who are going to determine whether or not a church's view on marriage is in line with that of the BGCT are those who are more likely to be sympathetic to those whose view is challenged. The BGCT has consolidated more decision making power in its executive board, which is controlled by a significant majority of members of CBF supporting churches, than any other state convention, something they've always been highly criticial of the leaders of the alleged "fundamentalist takeover," aka Conservative Resurgence for doing.
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