CORPUS CHRISTI (BP)–Messengers to the 115th Baptist General Convention of Texas passed a recommendation by a theological education study committee to defund the seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention seminaries, a move that will cost the six institutions more than $4 million annually.
The measure passed Oct. 30 on a raised ballot vote by more than 6,000 messengers by about a 60 percent to 40 margin. Southern Baptists in Texas will be able to continue to support SBC seminaries through their designated funds.
The BGCT subsequently voted by secret ballot on proposals to defund the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the SBC Executive Committee of about $1 million. The vote was being tabulated as of 5 p.m. Central time.
Bill Merrell, vice president for convention relations with the SBC Executive Committee, said after the vote: “Many think the adoption of this plan signals the beginning of the end game many anti-Southern Baptists have longed for, planned for and worked for.
“It is disappointing in the extreme that the separating steps would be taken at the very time God’s blessings have been so manifestly poured upon the missions evangelism and theological training efforts of Southern Baptists.
“This thrusts upon Southern Baptist laypeople and pastors in Texas the necessity of deciding whether they will follow those who would lead them to weaken their involvement with the greatest missionary enterprise of our time. We urge Southern Baptists in Texas to continue and deepen their faithful and fruitful partnership with Southern Baptists around the country and around the world.”
A full story on the Texas vote will appear in Baptist Press Tuesday,