BGCT: TBC. OMG. TGIT. LOL.

   There are some phrases, once distant, now joined in the collective consciousness.

   Peanut Butter met Jelly. They got together.

   Postal employees? Disgruntled.

   Infrastructure? Crumbling. 

   Madonna? Sleazy. 

   The religious world in Texas had its own issues.

   The BGCT split into two factions with twenty faces. Then, there came the official split, creating the SBTC. According to who you believe, the BGCT lost either 1,000 or 2,000 churches. Depending on who you trust, the BGCT now has 5,600 churches and missions and the SBTC now has more than 2,000 units, which would collectively be more than the two groups as one started with before the schism.

   According to who you invest with the growing portions of this split atom mutate outward to start new units.

   Along the way, each faction tried to join itself with some descriptive words.

   BGCT? Distinctive, institutional, traditional

   SBTC? Exciting, energizing, inerrant.

   I am underwhelmed by the "branding" effort of both groups.

   Along the way, the BGCT picked up some descriptive words.

   BGCT: Top-heavy, out of touch, outdated.

   To these, the Wade administration added other descriptive words.

   BGCT: Unsettled, incompetent, scandal ridden.

   The Future Focus Committee of the BGCT was created from the floor of the convention a year ago. Good people were appointed to the FFC. (Yes, more initials.) The FFC has had to come to grips with some really tough realities, to wit:

  • This committee was created from the floor of the convention, which thing one of our historic presidents had read out of existence in his unseemly haste to protect the outgoing administration. Ergo, the FFC had to do something, if for no other reason than to show the convention does exist on the floor of the convention meeting, parliamentary gymnastics notwithstanding. Incidentally, if you ever get to vote again with the choice of guilt/history vs. competence, control your guilt a little longer.
  • The cupboard is largely bare. There is not much money left, there is less money coming and any sea change requires energy. In denominational life, money is energy and it is a non-renewable resource, if you fritter it away.
  • There is a new administration just now seated. Can we trust them? I already said no, we can't yet, but we have to give them a chance. You do not hire an executive and tell him he cannot execute, or tie his hands with fifty new regulatory agents to thwart his every move. Historically, President Nixon overstepped everything from good will to criminal law. The brakes put on the Presidency after him were so onerous they almost unbalanced the balance of power set out in the constitution. The new administration of the BGCT was in danger of being eviscerated for the mistakes of its (now) untouchable predecessor.

      Question: What is the one thing you do when you cannot stay where you are the way you are? What do you do with the mitigating factors of (relative) poverty and a new (hopeful) administration?

   You change the name.

   This will protect the innocent, if you can find any.

   The name change is a good faith attempt to apologize across the board for the chicanery of the last decade. The FFC intends to extirpate the past, at the same time refusing to burden the future. At the very least, the FFC is admitting the past is too heavy to carry with us into the next decade by making some hurried reflexive reactions now.

   Oh, get a dictionary. I didn't take you to raise.

   Someone will note the Biblical penchant for name changes and this worthy commentator will be both right and wrong. Abram and Abraham. Sarai and Sarah. Jacob and Israel. Saul and Paul.

   The early patriarchal family name changes come about because of a change of nature and mission. Is the TTBC, nee-BGCT, changing its nature and mission? If so, do we get to vote on that or do we become irrelevant to the process right after we vote on the historical name change?

   I am sick to death with hollow gestures deemed historic.  We will not survive much more of this nonsense.

   Saul becomes Paul. Why? Luke thinks it is so he can reach the gentiles, since the Jews have put his new faith out of the building.

   Ok, we can start to legitimate a name change for this purpose. If you intend to divorce from past associations to emphasize a new flexibility for the purpose of reaching people who will in no way combine with anything BGCT and, if, by your typological manumission you focus on the mission just ahead in light of the realities at hand, we can buy into that rationale.

   Oh, is that what you meant?

   OK. Why didn't you just say so?

  

15 thoughts on “BGCT: TBC. OMG. TGIT. LOL.”

  1. I am still in shock that we are going to be talking about a name change.
    Last year in Amarillo, a large group of Texas Baptists showed up and voted for change. They almost upset the TBC bandwagon.
    OK, we voted for a FFC committee. I believe this was a call move beyond the elitist control that gave us Wade and find ways to promote a renewed focus on integrity, trust, and real relevance. Instead we will again be thrown into a controversy.
    Gee, what awesome leadership!

  2. If the name is changed and everything else stays the same, what’s the difference? Would this work for a church, or an individual? Would we advise Christians to change their name? It sounds more like a business rebranding, like a food product or medicine.
    If it is more — an attempt to apologize or admit something — why not just directly do that? And renaming may be Biblical (God did it for momentous purposes), but this self-renaming does not seem analogous.
    As always, my thoughts are as a church member. If this is deeply significant and transformative to insiders, that’s a good thing. It just won’t speak that to public (if they even learn of it). They may react just as we’d react if another group tried this. But IMO the folks out there won’t care, except for those who are attached to the old name.

  3. I am going to wait to hear more about what the rationale is for this change. At present, I have heard no rationale that seems to make a lot of sense. BGCT stands for something great. I may vote to throw it away, but I will have to be convinced beyond what I am currently feeling.

  4. I consider myself computer/internet competent, but not blogger competent—this posting is my first ever. I want to respond to comments made on two fronts:
    1) concerning the work of the Future Focus Committee, which I co-chair along with Andy Pittman, and 2) the election of officers for the BGCT at the annual meeting next week.
    The name change recommendation (from BGCT to Texas Baptist Convention) is not the sum total of our work. We planned to give a brief report at the 2008 Convention, since our final report and recommendations will not be presented until the 2009 Convention. The name change proposal was one we felt we should present now, but it is only one of several proposals our committee will present to Texas Baptists for consideration. I would encourage messengers to come to the meeting next week and hear our rationale, discuss its merits, and vote one’s conscience. We have a blessed heritage and we feel this name change will help us identify who we are to the more than 11 million people who live in our great multiethnic state. In my mind, it is simply formalizing the informal language we have used for years—we are Texas Baptists. Nothing more, nothing less.
    I will be nominated for election as President of our Convention when we meet next week. I remember the days when messengers would nominate one or more persons to serve as officers, giving people a choice. This is the way it should be. I love the life God has given me—to live my life as a pastor. I have had the privilege of pastoring Texas churches in Venus (yes, it’s a real place), Grandview, and Lewisville. I also spent four years pastoring in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The church I presently serve (FBC Lewisville) gives generously to the Cooperative Program, supporting BGCT and SBC ministries and institutions. I spent eleven years as a student at Southwestern Seminary. Like many others, seminary is what brought me to Texas in the first place. And I now consider it a privilege to teach New Testament, as a teaching fellow, for the B. H. Carroll Theological Institute—an innovative seminary that will impact future generations. I look forward to working with those who want to see our convention move forward in evangelism/missions, Christian education, and meeting the needs of desperate people. If elected, I will serve to the best of my ability. If not elected, I will still serve our Convention to the best of my ability.

  5. Rick,
    I am certain that your readership has also read the articles found on the Baptist Standard and BGCT websites.
    http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8752&Itemid=53
    http://www.bgct.org/texasbaptists/Page.aspx?pid=5581
    There were a few things I said that did not make it into the articles. For that reason, Stephen and I have written an additional statement posted on my blog for anyone interested in more of our committee’s rationale.
    http://andypittman.blogspot.com/
    Thank you for pointing out how this is simply the first step in a revision process.

  6. Andy, Stephen,
    I think what I said was we need a well stated rationale for this and I can make one. I am not on the committee or likely to be on any committees again. Frankly, it is more fun to sit out here and watch you guys twist in the wind, where I got to twist for years.
    Surely, we will hear and read more than what was put out yesterday. Once again, the crack communications of the baptist grape vine gave us a vignette (cumbersome, ungracious), which may harden into reality, or at least, manifest perception.
    Ah, well. Jesus is coming again.

  7. Yes, we should go to a brother personally when we have a problem, but since I am not driving to Lufkin, and since it was a public statement, how could Bro. Pittman make such a statement that no one alive remembers the BGCT story?
    Was it not Baptist Committed who state their purpose was keep this heritage alive?

  8. Just one question. How many people on the FFC have served on other boards or committees in the BGCT? How many of them are members of CBF and TBC supporting congregations?

  9. Lee,
    Two answers: I dont know. I dont know.
    However, Lowrie and Hatfield and Pittman’s churches continue to support SBC causes. They cannot be said to be TBC politicos, though one might be more acceptable than the other to the TBC.
    This is not a stacked committee like the Theological Education sub-comm was stacked.

  10. “Just one question. How many people on the FFC have served on other boards or committees in the BGCT? How many of them are members of CBF and TBC supporting congregations?”
    Just one question, Lee? I see a couple.
    1) I don’t know how many of them are on multiple committees.
    2)I hope that all of them are part of a CBF supporting congregation. That shows both intelligence and compassion, imo.
    2) I hope all of them are supporters of TBC. That means there is a chance that they know of the BGCT story.
    Not that you were actually asking me. 🙂
    Tim

  11. Note to Stephen Hatfield:
    The population of Texas is around 23 million; not 11 million as you wrote.
    I gotta say, if you want to be president of the BGCT, you need to know the population of Texas within a couple of million.

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