Deja vu: BGCT takes a step back from Royal Lane Baptist Church
Officials of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) on Wednesday asked 500-member Royal Lane Baptist Church of North Dallas “to remove the partnership with the BGCT from any of its church’s publications” until questions regarding the church’s apparent tolerance for homosexual members are resolved. BGCT officials also said they would hold in escrow any funds received from the church while the issue is being resolved.
As of this writing, the church Web site does not link to BGCT as a ministry partner.
Their About Us section does still conclude:
Royal Lane is an ecumenical Baptist congregation affiliated with The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and The Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Royal Lane’s membership “includes BGCT employees and a BGCT executive board member. BGCT employees must belong to an affiliated church, so a split with Royal Lane could force some to choose between workplace and worship place,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
Royal Lane Baptist Church is an inclusive, multi-generational congregation joined in Christian community. We are a vibrant mosaic of varied racial identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and denominational backgrounds.
The church is considering its response.
University Baptist Church in Austin was disfellowshipped by the BGCT in 1994 “for ordaining a gay man as deacon and for failing to regard homosexuality as sinful.” The church was expelled by the Austin Baptist Association in 1943 for accepting black members, and later readmitted. In the 1970s, University was the first in the Southern Baptist Convention to ordain women as deacons, the church history shows. It left the Southern Baptist Convention in 1997 “because of ramifications of the fundamentalist takeover of that organization.”
Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth, Texas, postponed a similar confrontation last year when it chose not to send messengers to the BGCT annual convention. Broadway was nonetheless found not to be in friendly cooperation by the Southern Baptist Convention last year because it was deemed to “approve and endorse homosexual behavior” as a result of a confrontation provoked when it published photographs of same-sex couples in the church directory.
Broadway’s expulsion by the SBC was an assertion of the kind of Cathist inflexibility that independent demographic analysis predicts will frustrate achievement of expansive evangelism goals like those pursued by the SBC’s Great Commission Resurgence Task Force.
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