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Texas, SBC leaders hold ‘helpful conversation’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–A recent meeting between leaders of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and the Southern Baptist Convention was called “friendly and helpful” by participants.

The luncheon was April 6 on the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth.

According to SWBTS officials, the meeting was to discuss relations between the two groups.

There have been concerns expressed in the past by the groups toward each other but the statement by SWBTS said the “informal luncheon was a friendly and helpful conversation concerning ways the conventions can continue to work together in Kingdom causes.

“While acknowledging that there are concerns which continue to be studied, participants said it was the sort of conversation that can lead to a new level of trust and partnership.”

The Baptist Standard, newsjournal of the BGCT, reported participants were saying very little about their participation.

“The Fort Worth meeting apparently was prompted by SBC leaders, who learned [Charles] Wade was scheduled to preach in the seminary’s chapel service that morning,” Marv Knox, Baptist Standard editor wrote in the paper’s April 17 issue. Wade is BGCT executive director.

“[SWBTS president] Ken Hemphill reportedly asked Wade to meet with a group representing SBC concerns. The size of the meeting grew until the night before,” Knox wrote. He said participants characterized the meeting as cordial.

James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC and a former Texas pastor, was quoted by the Standard as saying, “It was a good meeting. Anytime we can communicate and talk together, that’s good.

“The meeting was polite. There was not any hostility or anger. We were able to surface some things that will give us a foundation for discussion in the future.”

Wade affirmed the BGCT’s intention to work with groups, such as the SBC, the Standard reported.

“There was a time when everybody trusted everybody,” Draper said. “Unfortunately, we’re in a time when there’s little trust. Building relationships is how you restore trust.”

SBC representatives at the meeting included Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the Executive Committee; Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas, and a member of the Executive Committee; O.S. Hawkins, president of the Annuity Board; Don Kammerdiener, executive vice president of the International Mission Board; R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Randy Singer, executive vice president of the North American Mission Board; Draper and Hemphill.

In addition to Wade, BGCT representatives included Jim Denison, chairman of a BGCT committee studying missions-sending agencies and pastor of Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas; Clyde Glazener, BGCT president and pastor of Gambrell Street Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Dick Maples, BGCT associate executive director; Bernie Spooner, BGCT Bible study/discipleship division director; and Phil Strickland, director of the BGCT Christian Life Commission.

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  • Herb Hollinger