Friday, May 11, 2018

Denominational News

Now, that’s a catchy title! I’m sure it will garner great attention! But, our church is actually connected to a denominational family. We are a Baptist congregation.

Historically, we have chosen to voluntarily cooperate with the Tarrant Baptist Association (TBA), the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), and the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). Remember those acronyms – there will be a test later.

In the past 25 years or so, the denominational landscape has changed, to say the least. So much so, that we most closely identify today as a Texas Baptist church. We are still vitally connected to the Tarrant Baptist work – but, the Texas Baptist “gene” is in our DNA. Obviously, Dr. Wade served as both the President of the BGCT and the Executive Director of the BGCT. I have been very involved in Texas Baptist life as well.

This summer, the three denominational bodies ---- BGCT, SBC, CBF --- are all holding their annual meetings in the metroplex! Arlington is hosting the annual meeting of Texas Baptists. This will be our family gathering. All of our affiliate convention bodies will meet together (e.g., African American Fellowship, Baptist Convención, etc.). It will be a wonderful meeting.

I will be nominating my friend, Dr. Michael Evans, as a candidate for President of the BGCT. Michael is the Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield. He is such capable leader and will serve Texas Baptists well.

The SBC and CBF will hold their annual meetings in June in Dallas. These are the two national bodies that used to be all be together in the Southern Baptist family. The SBC was established in 1845 and the CBF in 1990.

As time has progressed, the SBC leadership has migrated way to the right of the theological spectrum, while the CBF has migrated to the left of the same spectrum. Unfortunately, there are many of us who are in the “middle” of these two groups. In fact, the BGCT became the first denomination of any size to reject BOTH extremes of that spectrum. We are solidly in the theologically orthodox, centrist position now.

With that said, there are machinations at work to encourage, enhance, and further explain that “theological middle” position. I am engaged in helpful and robust conversations with leaders from across the country who are seeking new ways to partner in Gospel witness with like-minded theological centrists like me.

I love the dialogue I am in. God is stirring. We have no plans to start a new denomination. We are just seeking ways to partner together to answer the call of the Great Commission with folks who refuse to be led to extremism. 

I’m very hopeful. There are some wonderful Christian leaders from across America who are longing for a space for us to live collaboratively together in a missional, purposeful community. Our hearts are warmed by the Gospel. We are guided by Biblical authority. We are Christ-centered. We are Spirit-led. We are church-friendly. And – we are happy in our faith. We are winsome in our spirits.

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Continued prayers for you as you lead all of through this terrain of it. Thank you for posting this.💗