Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A New Low in Texas Baptist Life

Denominational politics among Texas Baptists has reached a new low this year.  In times past, it has not been unusual for innuendoes, distortions, and sometimes vicious rumors to circulate about the character and theology of the candidates who were running for offices in the convention.  This year, however, a candidate for office is openly circulating vile rumors and malicious hearsay  with the clear intention of sullying the reputation of a layperson outside of Texas and not running for office.  

Ed Jackson, a layman from Garland, Texas, and a candidate for second vice-president of the BGCT, has slandered Bob Stephenson, a layman from Norman, Oklahoma, in a comment posted on Ken Coffee’s weblog.  Other persons share equal culpability for re-posting and circulating his slanderous rumor throughout the blogosphere.
Jackson has accused Mr. Stephenson of receiving an illegal kickback from donations he made to First Baptist Church of Norman, OK.  In reality, funds that Stephenson donated to the church were transferred from the church to Oklahoma Baptist University to be used for scholarships.  Jackson’s statements about FBC Norman, therefore, are inaccurate and totally irrelevant in regard to the work of Texas Baptists.
Jackson also alleges that Stephenson is “the MAJOR contributor to TBC.”  Mr. Stephenson’s generosity to Texas Baptists Committed (TBC) has never been a secret, though it is highly unlikely that his donations to TBC amount to more than those of other contributors.  In reality, his contributions to TBC have been miniscule in comparison with his generosity toward numerous other Baptist causes – including the financial safety net that TBC and other mainstream Baptists collected to help transition the SBC missionaries  who refused to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message Statement.
Stephenson takes great pride in whatever small role he has been able to play in assisting TBC to assure that the institutions and agencies of BGCT have held fast to historic Baptist principles and remained free from the domination and control of fundamentalism.  He encourages other free and faithful Baptists to demonstrate their gratitude for the efforts of TBC by donating to support its ongoing work.


  1. Bruce, Thanks for addressing this issue. Over the years I have been privileged to get to know Bob Stephenson reasonably well. He is one of a number of folks who have contributed to efforts to various groups which have an agenda of preserving Baptist principles and resisting fundamentalist and right-wing efforts to erode or undermine Baptist principles I not only applaud his consistency, but I am also grateful for his gracious way of giving his resources without being overbearing about getting his way in each decision made by the group. TBC has come under attack rather strongly in the recent past, and a number of untruths and half-truths have been circulated. My opinion is that anyone who is pushing unsavory comments about Mr. Stephenson is not only "barking up the wrong tree" but is on a fishing expedition because of another agenda.
    Clyde Glazener

  2. Bruce, If this is the Ed Jackson who served as First Vice-President of the BGCT, he wrote David Currie a letter still extant requesting the support of TBC in pursuit of that office. If that is the case, he is in the debt of Bob Stephenson and TBC for the support given him. I do not know the man or whether this is the same Ed Jackson, but if this is the same person, he needs to recant some of the remarks you referenced.