The Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), the largest state convention of Southern Baptists, has rejected the national Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) statement of beliefs because of the statement's call for wives to "submit graciously" to their husbands.
The BGCT affirmed the 1963 SBC Faith and Message statement during its annual meeting on November 9. The action distances the state convention from the SBC—the nation's largest Protestant denomination—by refusing to adopt the revised statement on marriage and family, which was adopted at the SBC's annual meeting in 1998 (CT, July 13, 1998, p. 31).
NOT SUBSERVIENT: The motion was passed by a show of hands with little op position, a convention official reports. An effort to amend the motion by substituting an affirmation of the 1998 SBC revision failed by a similarly lopsided vote.
"That amendment, though it spoke about family and had some decent things in it, also had in it some barbs that were intended to hammer women about subservience," says Ft. Worth pastor Clyde Glazener, according to the Associated Press. Glazener, 64, was elected president of the 2.7 million-member BGCT on November 8.
Glazener told the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram that conservatives who pushed for the 1998 marriage and family section are using the Baptist Faith and Message not as a guide line but as a creed to try to get all Baptists to conform to their views. "They are trying to hold people's feet to the fire and walk lockstep with them," Glazener says.
SBC RESPONDS: "I am grateful that the BGCT leadership has made crystal clear for the sake of Texas Baptist churches where they stand on family and church issues," says Paige Patterson, SBC president and a Texas native. "Now it is up to the churches to decide with whom they agree—with a liberal, culturally acceptable view of family and church, or with a Christ-honoring, Bible-believing perspective.
"I have every confidence that the majority of Texas Baptist churches will go with Christ and with the clear instruction of the Bible," Patterson says.
Richard Land, president of the SBC's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, says in a statement, "I find it curious that the BGCT, while affirming the inerrancy and full authority of Scripture, would question the Baptist Faith and Message's article on the family … which is little more than a paraphrase of the Apostle Paul's teaching.
"As for me and my house, we are going to stick with the Apostle Paul," Land says.
INERRANCY QUESTION? Most Southern Baptist leaders see the BGCT's action as a violation of biblical teaching. But not all evangelicals would agree.
"This is an inappropriate use of the notion of inerrancy," says Gary Burge, professor of New Testament at Wheaton College.
"The place of women in the Bible is an interpretive, hermeneutical question. It is not an inerrancy question.
"There are countless evangelicals who embrace inerrancy and an egalitarian view of women," Burge says.
With reports from Baptist Press.
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