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Texas Baptists counter SBC on marriage; approve 2 SBC-related study committ

EL PASO, Texas (BP)–Messengers to the 114th annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas rejected a move to affirm the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention statement on marriage and family, which includes wives submitting to their husbands in tandem with husbands loving their wives.
Meeting in El Paso, Nov. 8-9, about 2,300 messengers affirmed the 1963 Baptist statement of faith, elected three new officers by acclamation, approved a $51 million budget for 2000 and honored Bill Pinson for his service as BGCT executive director.
Messengers also approved, by large majorities, the formation of two study committees relating to the BGCT’s relationship with the SBC:
— a study committee “to examine financial resources, theological positions and mission strategy and philosophy of Southern Baptist mission sending agencies [the SBC’s International and North American Mission boards and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship] and report their findings to the BGCT Executive Board.”
— a study committee “to examine the financial resources, theological positions and philosophies of Southern Baptist and BGCT-supported seminaries and report their findings to the BGCT Executive Board.”
Though both motions used similar wording, the first was submitted by Nathan Porter of Waco’s Calvary Baptist Church and the second by Bill Shiell of McGregor’s First Baptist Church.
Concerning the issue of women’s submission in marriage, the convention approved a motion by Bob Newell, pastor of Memorial Drive Baptist Church in Houston, to “affirm, in its entirety, the Baptist Faith and Message statement, as adopted in 1963, as a unifying statement of our common faith and practice … .”
Messengers to the 1998 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City adopted a marriage and family amendment to the 1963 statement that included a call to Christian wives “to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband,” who, according to the amendment, is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. Then the 1999 SBC in Atlanta authorized President Paige Patterson to appoint a committee to look at studying the overall confessional statement and make recommendations.
BGCT messengers rejected an amendment from the floor which would have affirmed the statement of faith as amended in 1998.
Texas Baptists elected Clyde Glazener, pastor of Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth and immediate past chairman of the BGCT executive board, as president. Rudy Camacho of Fort Worth, president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, nominated Glazener, calling him “a man of vision.”
At a news conference following his election, Glazener said Texas Baptists need to “move on to the Promised Land” and focus on their own vision.
Also elected at the Monday convention session were Lorenzo Pena, director of missions for El Paso Baptist Association, as first vice president, and Bill Ballou, minister to adults and senior adults at First Baptist Church of Abilene, as second vice president.
Messengers approved a total budget of $51,151,184 for 2000, an increase of more than $1.4 million, 2.8 percent, over the current budget. Of the total operating budget, $46,750,000 is to come from Cooperative Program giving, a 2 percent increase over the 1999 Cooperative Program budget.
Of the total, $14.9 million is devoted to sharing the gospel, strengthening churches and starting new congregations; more than $21.8 million is earmarked for supporting Christian higher education, equipping God’s people for service and strengthening Christian families; about $6.2 million is devoted to meeting human needs; and $8 million is dedicated to missions and ministry support, including the Ministers Counseling Service.
The convention saluted William M. Pinson Jr., who retires as BGCT executive director on Jan. 31, 2000, after more than 17 years of service.
During the executive board report, Glazener introduced to messengers Charles Wade, who assumes the post of executive director-elect on Nov. 15 and becomes executive director on Feb. 1, 2000.
Noting he was “humbled” by his election as executive director, Wade told messengers that “with your help, we can make sure we can help Texas churches put their arms around the state and hug people for God. With your help, we’re going to have a good time together.”
In other business, Phil Lineberger, a messenger from Williams Trace Baptist Church in Sugar Land, submitted the only motion that dealt with a change to the BGCT constitution. Lineberger moved to amend Article 8 of the BGCT Constitution, Section 1, sentence 3 to read: “The personnel of these boards, shall be active members of cooperating Baptist General Convention of Texas churches.”
The constitutional amendment would remove the requirement that churches affiliated with the BGCT be confined to within the borders of the state. Any changes to the constitution require two-thirds majority approval at two consecutive conventions. The proposal received fewer than two dozen dissenting votes.
C.R. “Bubba” Stahl of First Baptist Church in Boerne made a motion that BGCT churches have “a time of prayer for our brothers and sisters” in the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention “as they meet in Dallas next week and celebrate their first year … .” The motion passed overwhelmingly, and Stahl led in prayer, asking God’s blessings on “every good work” of the SBTC.
Other motions reflected a variety of closely related concerns of messengers. Jim Kolb of Woods Baptist Church in Tyler submitted a motion, which messengers approved, calling for BGCT leaders to “develop a simplified budget system that is not as confusing as having five budget options, while protecting the right of any church to give as they so choose.”
Moises Perales of Iglesia Bautista Emmanuel in Bridgeport moved that the newly formed Asociacion Bautista Hispana Norte Centro de Texas, an association of predominantly Hispanic Baptist congregations, be officially recognized as a BGCT association. The committee on order of business referred the matter to a study committee named by the convention.
Messengers approved a motion by Charles Wise of Trinity Baptist Church in Gatesville urging the Christian Life Commission of the BGCT to “provide in-depth resources to Texas Baptists on the issue of capital punishment.”
Russell H. Dilday Jr., who has completed his second one-year term as BGCT president, challenged Baptists in Texas in his presidential message to reject any devilish distractions and say, “Get behind us, Satan. Don’t mess with Texas Baptists.”
Dilday added, “We have a job to do — putting God’s Word to work. We will not be detoured into petty debates, or sidetracked by worldly strategies, or drawn back into controversy.”
Next year’s annual meeting will be Oct. 30-31 in Corpus Christi.

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  • Ken Camp