Texas Baptists Committed ceases operations

by Keith Collier/Southern Baptist TEXAN, posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 (12 days ago)

HOUSTON (BP) -- Texas Baptists Committed, an organization formed in the 1980s to promote moderate principles and leadership within the Baptist General Convention of Texas, announced on the organization's blog July 8 that its board of directors had voted to cease operations at the end of July.

TBC Executive Director Bill Jones cited lack of funds and "battle fatigue" as factors.

"Funds have been tight at TBC at least since I first joined the board in January 2006," Jones said in the blog post. "With no visible 'battle' for control of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, as there was through most of the 1990s, many Baptists just haven't felt the urgent need for a 'watchdog' like Texas Baptists Committed. 'Battle fatigue' was a factor, too."

Jones said he told TBC leaders in January 2016 that he would be stepping down as executive director in July 2017 and urged the board "to look for an executive director who is younger than I am and has stronger credentials, and provide that executive director with a staff …. Unfortunately, the funds never materialized to support any of that."

Saying the decision was "easy" from one standpoint because funds had run out, Jones also noted that the decision was "difficult" and "gut-wrenching." In a separate blog post July 8, Jones described a brief history of TBC.

In the mid-1980s, during the struggle over control of the Southern Baptist Convention between conservative and moderate Baptists, a group of moderates formed the "Laity for the Baptist Faith and Message," which eventually became "Baptists Committed to the Southern Baptist Convention," or popularly known as "Baptists Committed." The Texas chapter -- Texas Baptists Committed -- formed in 1987, naming David Currie as its first coordinator.

In 1992, the national Baptists Committed merged with the new Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the Texas chapter continued to focus on resisting what it deemed attempts at a "Fundamentalist takeover" in the BGCT.

Jones' blog article stated that TBC worked "tirelessly" in the 1990s to prevent conservative leadership within the BGCT. However, when conservatives formed the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention in 1998, the focus on running moderate candidates for the BGCT presidency shifted to working with pastor search committees in Texas churches.

In Jones' blog announcing the closing of TBC, he criticized BGCT Executive Director David Hardage for renewing a relationship with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jones went on to offer support for CBF's new Fellowship Southwest regional network.

Keith Collier is managing editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN (www.texanonline.net), newsjournal of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
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