Since the controversy in Texas regarding the Baptist Faith & Message (2000), the Baptist General Convention of Texas has been vilified as the liberals of the state, especially considering the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention formed to affirm the BFM and its support of inerrancy and the roles of women.
My question is, is the BGCT as “bad” as advertised by many?
As a young Baptist, I went to Dallas Baptist University (a BGCT-affiliated school) and had been fed the idea that all members of the BGCT hate the Bible. As a matter of fact, I was trying everything I could to transfer out of DBU soon after hearing that they were in support of the BGCT. As it turned out, the Lord (thankfully) kept me at DBU and I learned a great deal and got to know some great men. Particularly, I have become very close to Jan Daehnert, a legend in BGCT life. Dr. Daehnert loves the Bible, loves Jesus, and loves the church. After meeting him, and others, I began to realize that the BGCT was not the enemy, as some pastors had told me.
Let me be clear, I am a strong proponent of the BFM precisely because of the reasons that the BGCT turned away from it, and always find myself more aligned doctrinally with the SBTC and the SBC as a whole. I am perhaps the most inerrancy-supporting person you will ever meet, and I realized that some people in the BGCT believe in inerrancy as much as I do and, unfortunately, there are some who do not. But, do I paint the BGCT with a broad brush because of some of those who choose to hate conservative “fundys” like me? I find it to be unfair, at best.
One final thing that helped me to appreciate the BGCT – at least at some level – is the fact that they financially support church plants that they themselves may not totally agree with. I once asked a friend of mine, Rick White, why his inerrancy-believing, Calvinist-teaching, male-elder-led, Acts 29-aligned church would be associated with the BGCT. His answer? “Because they give money to church plants like us.” This was yet another huge revelation for me. I don’t think I’ve ever met a Calvinist in the BGCT nor have I met many who will put a foot down on denying women the pastorate, yet they align with churches like Rick’s, The Village, and Living Acts (whose Calvinist, inerrancy-preaching pastor is a BGCT church planting coach) – all churches that very openly believe strongly in the many things that the BGCT is said to hate.
I rarely agree with opinion pieces published in the Baptist Standard, and I find myself scared of some of the views of the Bible that exist within the BGCT. But, by God’s grace, I hope to never hate another brother in Christ. Muslims are enemies of the Gospel. Mormons are enemies of the Gospel. So perhaps, just perhaps, we conservatives in Texas should be more open-minded and appreciative of the BGCT than we are.