Wednesday, September 29, 2010

For the Record

Some wise somebody has said that the formula for steering clear of criticism is to “believe nothing, do nothing, dream nothing, expect nothing, plan nothing, say nothing, support nothing, and think nothing.” If you want to make a redemptive difference, prepare yourself for criticism. Naysayers, critics, negaholics, and detractors, you will have with you always. My high school football coach used to tell us that “anyone who is in the game must be big enough to take the boos as well as the accolades.” There will always be someone nearby who will find something to vilify. And this certainty played a role in our continuing to embrace the Texas Baptists Committed brand.

I invite those who are confused about the “why” of TBC to read the thoughtful posts We Are Texas Baptists Committed and part 4 of Why It’s Good to Be a Baptist These Days. You will immediately note that there is no disparaging of anyone who holds a contrary perspective. TBC is intently about kingdom business. There are too many lost people in the Lone Star State walking about without the hope of Christ for us to get caught up in petty squabbling and infantile quibbling. Getting the word out to those who need to hear that God loves them and wants what is best for them trumps inane bickering and pointless mudslinging 100 percent of the time.

Texas Baptists Committed is going to continue to encourage leadership in the BGCT. No, we have no official slate of candidates. Yes, we do encourage leaders to share their giftedness with the larger body of traditional Baptists. This is nothing new. We all do it in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Texas Baptists Committed is going to continue to be supportive of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and its leadership. TBC has a life wish for the BGCT! Randel Everett and every last one of those outstanding people who work in the Baptist Building deserve our prayers and reassurance! Yes, the BGCT is going through a rough patch right now. But, truth be told, so are other conventions, denominations, churches, and institutions. A pastor friend told me just the other day that he has had to take a 15 percent cut in pay. Does that mean that he is a bad guy? Does that suggest that his church is doing something wrong? Of course not!

Texas Baptists Committed is NOT against pastors and churches that choose to financially support the Southern Baptist Convention. Too many of those who are valued friends of TBC are pastors and leaders of churches that give significant dollars to the SBC. It’s common knowledge that most BGCT churches route financial support to the SBC. TBC is defined by what we are for, not by what we are against.

Several days ago, Bill Jones penned a post titled “Which beliefs are Baptist ‘dealbreakers’?It is obvious that the purpose of the post was to promote meaningful dialogue about those issues that divide or unite us. The writing was so unambiguous that even the most imaginative reader couldn’t misconstrue the intent of the entry. When did frank and candid dialogue become something to be discouraged?

A few years ago, I stood before the BGCT Executive Board and read from Acts 5, where Peter and the other “sent ones” were rounded up and brought before the Sanhedrin, the council of religious leaders in Jerusalem, to be threatened and bullied into silence. And the Record states that Gamaliel stood up in the midst of this tumult and suggested to the council that they not act in haste and risk making martyrs of this band of ragamuffins. He suggested a pragmatic yardstick: Are these men caught up in anything redemptive or is this movement barely a blip on the radar screen? If God is not in it, it will collapse under its own weight. But if God is in it, let’s not be found opposing God Himself.

Maybe Gamaliel was on to something. So I have no response for those who choose to defame, denigrate, or cast stones. They have every right to do what they do best. We at Texas Baptists Committed, however, choose to intently be about kingdom business. I invite you to join us.

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