NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The president of the Southern Baptist Convention issued a word of caution to leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas – “Don’t mess with the SBC missions program.”
Jack Graham, SBC president and pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, said he is concerned by the BGCT’s plans to create a new missions network.
“I personally am disappointed and indignant that the greatest mission organization in the world is being portrayed by the BGCT as inadequate and ineffective,” Graham told Baptist Press. “I think it’s another example of some Texas Baptist leaders attempting to move the BGCT out of the mainstream of SBC life and missions. It appears the study committee went on a fault-finding mission rather than a fact-finding mission regarding SBC missions.”
Graham’s church is dually aligned with the BGCT and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, a conservative, pro-SBC body based in Dallas. He suggested that churches remaining in the BGCT should carefully examine the proposed missions agency.
“I think every Southern Baptist church in Texas should evaluate this latest move and prayerfully consider an action that would support SBC missions, and what I think is going to happen is that more and more of our churches in Texas will change their giving profile to make sure that SBC missions are funded,” Graham said.
He predicted that more Texas churches will leave the BGCT and align with the SBTC, while other churches will simply designate their offering to ensure their support of SBC missions.
Graham said he believes there is another motive behind the BGCT’s planned missions agency.
“I’ve said for a number of years, they want to operate as a shadow national convention or depository of denominational work,” he said. “I would say to all my fellow Texans, don’t mess with the SBC missions program.”
Bill Tinsley, associate executive director of the BGCT, told Baptist Press the BGCT is not interested in forming a new national denomination.
“That’s not our intention,” Tinsley said. “We realized that would be a perception, but that is not the intention of the committee.”
Regardless, Graham said SBC missionaries are doing a strong work across the globe.
“When you look at what we are doing globally, the IMB is stronger and more focused than ever,” Graham said. “Our missionaries unilaterally support the BF&M [Baptist Faith and Message statement of Baptist beliefs]. They are being empowered by the SBC to fulfill the Great Commission. If you want to accomplish the most for missions on a local and global scale, then Southern Baptist cooperative missions is the very best way to do it.”