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Timetable outlines events in Texas dispute between conservative, moderate Baptists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Baptist General Convention of Texas may leave the Southern Baptist Convention, according to remarks made by the BGCT’s president that appeared in the June 24th edition of the Dallas Morning News.

Clyde Glazener, pastor of Gambrell Street Baptist Church in Fort Worth, and president of the BGCT, said the possibility of creating a new Baptist denomination will be discussed at the BGCT’s annual meeting in October.
Following, is a timetable that outlines key events in the battle between conservatives and moderates in the BGCT:

— August 1997. A Texas Baptist study committee, created in 1995, releases a 20-page report that would make historic changes in the partnership between the state convention and the SBC. The report includes recommendations that Texas Baptists approve sending out “lay envoy” missionaries throughout the world, publish their own Sunday School and church literature, and create a “Texas Baptist Theological College.”

–Nov. 10-11, 1997. Messengers to the BGCT convention in Austin approve the recommendation from a Texas Baptist study committee.

— November 20, 1997. A conservative group disenchanted with the BGCT begins the process of creating a new state convention, the Southern Baptists of Texas.

— Oct. 16, 1998. Articles of Incorporation for “The Baptist Convention of the Americas” were quietly filed by former Baylor president Herbert Reynolds. The board of directors includes John F. Baugh of Houston, W. Winfred Moore of Waco, and Paul W. Powell of Tyler.

— September 28, 1999. Charles Wade is elected as BGCT executive director by the BGCT executive board. Wade was among the organizers of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a denomination-like shadow organization formed in protest of the SBC’s leadership.

— November 8-9, 1999. Messengers to the BGCT meeting in El Paso rejected a move to affirm the 1998 SBC statement on marriage and family, which included wives submitting to their husbands in tandem with husbands loving their wives; the BGCT approved the formation of two study committees relating to the BGCT’s relationship with the SBC.

— November 1999. An in-depth study by a deacon committee at the First Baptist Church, Dallas, reveals that for 14 of the past 16 years, BGCT presidents have been linked in some capacity with the CBF. The report recommended the church join the new, more theologically conservative Southern Baptists of Texas.

— November 17, 1999. First Baptist Church, Dallas, votes to loosen its nearly century-long relationship with the BGCT and join the Southern Baptists of Texas. The church remains duly aligned with both organizations.

— February 28, 2000. A group of conservative pastors meet at Prestonwood Baptist Church to discuss doctrinal issues and the possibility that the BGCT is planning on creating a national “shadow” Baptist convention. Jack Graham, pastor at Prestonwood, predicted that more than 40 percent of the churches in the BGCT are unhappy with its current direction.

— April 13, 2000. Leaders of the SBC and BGCT met in a closed-door meeting at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to discuss relations between the two groups. Participants of the meeting called it friendly and helpful.

— May 18, 2000. Houston Baptist University, a traditionally conservative school, voted to declare autonomy from the BGCT in an effort to stop the removal of some trustees who attend churches that “did not meet the threshold requirements of being a BGCT cooperating church.”

— May 23, 2000. The BGCT executive board votes to withhold $1.5 million in funding for Houston Baptist University.

— June 14, 2000. A Texas Baptist pastor tells messengers to the SBC meeting in Orlando that the “Bible is just a book.” The comment came during a floor discussion on the 2000 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message. The BF&M contains language that acknowledges the Bible as divinely inspired without any mixture of error. The BF&M is overwhelmingly approved.

— June 24, 2000. Clyde Glazener, president of the BGCT, said the convention may leave the SBC. The issue will be discussed at the annual BGCT meeting in October.

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