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Texas newspaper clarifies BGCT president’s comments

AUSTIN, Texas (BP)–A Nov. 11 story in the Austin American-Statesmen containing statements attributed to outgoing Baptist General Convention of Texas President Charles Wade was inaccurate, according to the Texas newspaper in a correction published Nov. 28.
The Texas newspaper’s page A1 story, written by staffer Kim Sue Lia Perkes, paraphrased Wade’s remarks on Southern Baptist Convention leaders’ focus. She wrote that Wade said the SBC is focusing on forcing “all Baptists to believe the Bible is factually scientifically true. If they don’t back off from insisting on biblical inerrancy as a Baptist litmus test, then they will drive more and more Texas Baptists away.”
In fact, Wade said, “Southern Baptist leaders will have our support if they focus on missions and evangelism, but they will drive more and more Texas Baptists away if the focus on requiring conformity as a condition of cooperation.”
The newspaper, in its correction notice on page A2, said, “Wade did not discuss the subject (biblical inerrancy) during his presidential address but spoke instead against the SBC’s effort to enforce ‘conformity as a condition of cooperation’ among its churches.”
As a result of the newspaper’s delay in making the correction, several stories in Baptist Press and Baptist state papers carried the Austin America-Statesman’s version of Wade’s comments. BGCT officials gave Baptist Press a copy of Wade’s comments which were published in BP’s Nov. 25 release as well as a statement by a newspaper spokesman that at that time affirmed the Nov. 11 story. The information was part of a larger story about BGCT officials commenting on the formation of a new Texas convention, Southern Baptists of Texas, following the annual meeting of the BGCT in Austin Nov. 10-11.
Wade is pastor of First Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas.