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Reynolds rallies BGCT support

Oct. 4, 2000

Truett students stand to gain in funding plan

By BLAIR MARTIN AND

BETH BOND

Lariat staff

A former Baylor president and a former critic of Baylor rallied support Tuesday night at First Baptist Church of Waco for a proposal that would funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars to Baylor's seminary.

The rally was held to discuss the recommendation of the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas to redirect funds away from several Southern Baptist Convention entities and toward Texas Baptist supported seminaries, including George W. Truett Theological Seminary.

Dr. Herbert H. Reynolds, president emeritus, and Dr. Joel Gregory, former pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, led a service in attempt to gather fellow Baptists in support of the recommendation.

Reynolds said in his speech that there are six distinct divisions between both the SBC and the Baptist General Convention of Texas, including beliefs on individual soul freedom, the priesthood of all believers and the freedom of conscience.

Reynolds said the revised 2000 'Baptist Faith and Message,' issued by the SBC, was in direct violation of those historic Baptist principles.

'Our individual soul freedom is the most prized possession we have under God,' he said.

Reynolds said the Baptist faith needs 'no interpreter' and 'no human being to stand between us and God.'

The SBC is elevating the statements made in the 'Baptist Faith and Message' to the point of inerrancy, putting it's message above the scripture of Jesus Christ, Reynolds said. This issue of 'creedalism' goes against Baptist tradition, he said.

The majority of Texas Baptists also believe the church's structure dictates that each state is guided, not controlled, by the SBC. In addition, each church is autonomous, meaning ideas on theology cannot be imposed upon them.

Another conflict resulting from the newest version of the Baptist Faith and Message is over the role of women in the church. Reynolds said a portion of that statement 'demeaned our Baptist women' by not allowing them to be ministers in the church. Later Gregory reiterated Reynolds' idea, saying, 'Every one of you, male, female, at all times, at all places, belong to a holy priesthood.'

These differences are reflected in the new budget proposal.

With the proposed recommendation, only $1 million of the $5.3 million normally sent will continue to fund the SBC seminaries. The difference will remain in the state and be distributed among the Texas Baptist ministries.

The main portion of the $4.3 million will go to Texas seminaries such as Truett, Logsdon and the Hispanic Theological Seminaries.

Gregory, former president of the BGCTs, said he shares his friend's concerns.

In the late eighties, Gregory was outspoken against Baylor's Baptist approach, which he called 'too liberal.'

He explained his past differences by simply saying 'with time, comes perspective.'

He said after a decade of silence, he has gained wisdom and is humbled to be back in Waco, near his alma mater.

Gregory's underlying message in his sermon, 'Focus on Jesus,' was that Jesus Christ is the foundation that 'no creed, phrase or confession' could capture.

He also emphasized that throughout this 'Christian battle,' Baptists need to remember their place and make sure their actions are acceptable to God.

Reynolds agreed that the fundamentalist approach is incompatible with the ideal Baptist roots.

Although he is often asked why he still involved in 'all of this Baptist stuff,' Reynolds said his work is unfinished.

'I have grandchildren to think about,' he said. 'And I don't want them to grow up under these fundamentalists.'

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