BGCT blogger Rick Davis reported yesterday of rumors that some within the BGCT are contemplating a departure to form yet another Baptist state convention in Texas. (HT: Aaron Weaver, aka Big Daddy Weave)
Having not kept up with goings-on in the BGCT, I don't know what to make of this. Are we talking about three or four people or three or four hundred people? Was this talk prior to or subsequent to the most recent annual meeting of the BGCT? In Davis's comment stream, Ken Coffee (recent unsuccessful candidate for the BGCT vice-presidency) suggested that the sore spots for these folks were the plans to morph the BGCT into a national convention and the BGCT's hostility toward the SBC.
To any such folks, if they exist: If you are comfortable with the BGCT's budget priorities (80% for us, 20% for the rest of the world) and with the liberal doctrinal positions and low view of the Bible manifest at the Texas CLC, some of the BGCT universities, etc., then you ought to wait things out and not do anything drastic right now. If your sole objection is to BGCT expansion beyond Texas, I'm not sure to what degree such plans are really on the table any more. The name change to "Texas Baptist Convention" (if adopted) seems to imply a return to a Texas-only philosophy at BGCT. If your only objection is to the tension between the BGCT and the SBC, then you need a reality-check—the BGCT's budget priorities and liberal doctrinal positions, juxtaposed against the SBC's financial plans and conservative doctrinal positions, guarantee ongoing tension between these two bodies in their current relationship. Don't let some of the folks on blogs fool you—attempts to bring the SBC to liberal positions on women preachers and the like are failing.
On the other hand, if you are uncomfortable with the BGCT's doctrinal positions and budget priorities, then you ought to try a dual affiliation with the SBTC before you go and start a third state convention. None of the blogs that I've read have given any explicit shortcomings that these allegedly discontented BGCTers have with SBTC that would convince them to start a third state convention rather than joining the other one already in existence for a decade now. I could speculate as to a few possible items in that category.
It may be that you've heard horrible things about the SBTC that have eliminated any interest in joining. I would ask you, why not find out for yourself? Isn't it possible that the BGCT is not the most objective place to learn about the SBTC? If your church is comfortable with the SBC's statement of faith, then you meet the criteria to belong to the SBTC (and if not, then I've already suggested that you might just ride things out over at BGCT for a while). If, after adding an affiliation with SBTC, you find that the SBTC is every horrible thing that its detractors have alleged, then you can quite easily end your SBTC affiliation, and you will still be aligned with BGCT. If, on the other hand, you find that SBTC has been misrepresented, then you'll have saved yourself the work of establishing a third convention.
It may be that you've met a person or two connected with SBTC whom you haven't liked that much. Such an experience frankly slowed the rate at which I dipped my toes into the SBTC pool. But quite obviously, since you're considering breaking away from BGCT to start something else, you have had some sort of a bad experience with some people at BGCT. Yet you're still a member of that convention. Every convention, church, Sunday School class, fellowship group, you-name-it, is a mixed bag. I've found the SBTC to be a warm, wonderful, Christ-honoring, gospel-spreading, mission-affirming fellowship of Baptist believers. You might find it differently, but don't you owe it to yourself to find out for yourself?
It may be that you're tired of all of the fighting—not interested in being a part of some sort of government-in-exile. Guess what: Neither was I. I was pleasantly surprised at first and continue to be pleased to find that BGCT is never mentioned at SBTC events. We've moved on. In fact, if you haven't moved on, and are looking for a place to join in BGCT gripes, then please don't come to the SBTC. Souls are too precious and time is too short for such things. The place to gripe about the BGCT is the BGCT annual meeting.
It is your privilege as believers to choose your own affiliations, and it is your duty as believers and stewards to pursue vigorously what you believe to be the best strategy for proclaiming the gospel to the world. But before you start something new, you owe it to yourself and to your progeny to have considered and tried every option for affiliation with present groups. Perhaps that process will lead you to a newfound sense of belonging within the BGCT. Perhaps it will lead you to join your brethren in the SBTC. Perhaps it will lead you to launch something new. Whatever should come of it all, my prayer is that you might honor the Lord, remain true to His Word, and diligently pursue His work to His glory.