BGCT: Decision on CBF driven by 'biblical truth'
DALLAS (BP) -- The Baptist General Convention of Texas' decision to stop forwarding churches' contributions to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship reflects a commitment to the biblical view of marriage, say the convention's president and executive director.
The BGCT Executive Board adopted a recommendation Feb. 20 to "remove CBF as a giving option from the BGCT gift remittance form and to encourage churches to send their CBF gifts directly to the CBF national office," according to Texas' Baptist Standard newsjournal.
The move came less than two weeks after the CBF Governing Board voted to replace its former prohibition of hiring homosexual and transgender employees with a policy that opened some positions to "Christians who identify as LGBT."
Initially, the BGCT responded Feb. 12 with a statement reaffirming the convention's belief "the Bible teaches that any sexual relationship outside the bounds of a marriage between a man and woman is sin."
The BGCT Executive Board's subsequent decision to stop forwarding gifts to the CBF received only one negative vote and was not accompanied by any discussion during the board's general session, the Standard reported.
BGCT executive director David Hardage said following the vote, "Texas Baptists have consistently held to biblical truth on marriage and human sexuality while at the same time loving and caring for everyone," according to the BGCT release.
Previously, the BGCT enabled each church to designate the percentage of its gifts that would be used for BGCT missions and ministries and the percentage for one of three worldwide partners: the SBC, BGCT Worldwide or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The BGCT recommends that congregations designate 79 percent of their cooperative gifts for BGCT ministries and 21 percent for a worldwide partner, but the 79-21 split is not mandatory.
The CBF now will be removed from among the convention's worldwide partners.
The CBF was founded in 1991 as a fellowship of churches that objected to the ideology and methods of the Southern Baptist Convention's Conservative Resurgence.
In 2017, 349 churches in cooperation with the BGCT gave approximately $1.1 million to the CBF through Texas Baptist channels -- $776,981 as a cooperative giving option and $315,862 to CBF Global Missions, the Standard reported.
CBF executive coordinator Suzii Paynter, former director of the BGCT Christian Life Commission, said the Executive Board's decision "is deeply disappointing for how it changes the cooperative method by which Texas Baptist churches support CBF," according to a CBF news release.
At least two other SBC partner conventions forward churches' contributions to CBF: the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC). The BGAV's Executive Board is scheduled to meet Feb. 26.
According to a Feb. 20 action of the SBC Executive Committee, the SBC will "no longer recognize the DCBC as a Baptist body authorized to receive and disburse Cooperative Program and other SBC contributions" if the DC convention does not "secure" by May 20 "the removal of any churches from its fellowship that have demonstrated a faith or practice affirming, approving or endorsing homosexual behavior."
The BGCT is one of two state conventions in Texas that partner with the SBC. The other Texas convention, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, does not forward gifts from churches to the CBF.