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BGCT refuses to seat church, charts future

Nov. 11, 1998

BY ASHLEE ROSS

Contributor

Ashlee_Ross@baylor.edu

HOUSTON--Messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted to not consider a motion allowing messengers from a church that had ordained a homosexual deacon.

The executive committee of the BGCT decided not to allow Austin's University Baptist Church to send messengers to the convention because the church had ordained a homosexual deacon. Messengers decided not to vote on whether to reverse this action.

The motion to reverse the executive committee's decision was made by Bruce Dyer, a messenger from Waco's Seventh and James Baptist Church.

Dyer said the executive committee's decision 'violates the autonomy of the local church and the priesthood of the believer.'

A motion to allow 'all persons regardless of race, sexual orientation, age or gender' to be ordained failed by an overwhelming vote.

In addition, messengers debated abortion at the final session of the convention Tuesday morning.

A motion to ask the Christian Life Commission (CLC) and the Human Welfare Coordinating Group (HWCG) to evaluate pro-life issues and to make a statement against abortion passed after some debate.

Debate revolved around abortion in light of injury or death to the mother.

Barry Kramer from Woodland West Baptist Church in Arlington said Texas Baptists should take 'a stand on the primary moral issue of our day.'

A messenger from Tallowood Baptist Church in Houston said she would like to defer the motion until the first man in Texas has a baby.

BGCT President Russell Dilday reminded officers, 'we're not debating the issue of abortion' but are debating a motion to allow the CLC and HWCG to make a statement.

Messengers voted to turn this over to the two organizations.

Messenger Bubba Stall from First Baptist Church in Burney asked that the convention end in prayer for Southern Baptists of Texas, the convention formed by Baptists who wanted complete alignment with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Dilday supported the amendment and asked that the prayer not be a 'fake' action. The vote was unanimous.

An expected morning walk-out by fundamentalists did not occur.

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