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Study committee leader Campbell is BGCT president by acclamation

DALLAS (BP)–Robert G. “Bob” Campbell was elected president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas on day one of an Oct. 29-30 annual meeting in Dallas.

Campbell was chairman of the BGCT study committee that recommended the redirection of a projected $4.3 million from the six Southern Baptist Convention seminaries (and expanded by the BGCT executive board to include nearly $1 million cut from the SBC Executive Committee and Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission).

Campbell has been Westbury Baptist’s pastor since 1991. From Nov. 2000 – Sept. 2001, Westbury Baptist gave $37,514.87 to the BGCT, $10.894.28 to the SBC and $2,477.35 to the CBF in addition to $33,236.34 in designated missions giving combined to the BGCT, SBC and CBF.

Campbell was nominated by Phil Lineberger of Sugar Land, who characterized Campbell as a “man of integrity” with a “strong spiritual backbone.”

BGCT messengers also elected Paul McBride, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church of The Colony, first vice president and Steve Vernon, pastor of First Baptist Church, Levelland, second vice president.

In a news conference in response to a question about whether the BGCT is moving to remake itself as sort of an independent service convention separate from the Southern Baptist Convention, Campbell said the BGCT is going to continue to be “old-line traditional Baptist.”

Campbell said the BGCT has always been “independent” and there is no “connectionalism” between its churches.

“We have always been that. We will continue to be that. And we will continue to voice the interpretation of Scripture to allow for some dissent,” Campbell said.

Answering a question about the BGCT’s new literature publishing arm, BaptistWay Press, Campbell said the efforts by the BGCT to develop that ministry, as well as its focus on theological education within Texas, is something Texas Baptists need and have asked for.

About the BGCT’s 8.8 percent budget reduction and the changes in options offered to churches for Cooperative Program giving, Campbell said the churches will be allowed still to designate however they want their money to be spent — to include percentages sent to the SBC for disbursement to the missions entities and seminaries.

When asked whether the budgeting changes might cause more churches to leave the BGCT, Campbell said it should not cause more defections.

“I will hope not. I hope they will see it for exactly what it is,” Campbell said. “I am hoping and praying and will try to get more for our theological schools.”

Citing costs as limiting factors for some students, Campbell said the choice should not be based on money.

“If they would like to go to some other seminary, God bless them,” Campbell said. “Simply because another seminary might be cheaper, there might be a reason why it’s cheaper.”

Also during the news conference, Campbell underscored his strong feelings about partnership missions, noting that BGCT leaders are seeking a partnership with Mexican Baptists in addition to partnerships in Australia, Brazil, Latvia and Russia.
Todd Starnes contributed to this article.

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  • Joni B. Hannigan