Christmas came early to the Baptist building in Dallas. Sunday afternoon word began to spread across the Texas plains announcing the Dr. Jim Denison had resign as pastor of the prestigious Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas to assume the role as theologian in residence and director of the Center for Informed Faith housed in the offices of the Baptist building in the heart of downtown Dallas. In a time of announced cutbacks all across the Baptist world from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to Southern Baptist Seminary such a major advance seems out of place and out of tune with the present context, but Denison’s leadership came as a gift from a handful of visionary Baptist leaders who wanted to give their pastor and friend the opportunity to pursue a lifetime dream. You heard it right, Denison, and his staff will be financed from gifts outside of the Cooperative Program. God is still amazing.
When Randel Everett announced this move he was practically giddy. Denison is a close friend to Everett. Denison wants to help the BGCT to be a world-class leader in theological education and speaking truth into a world desperately seeking answers. Instead of many of the talking heads on television that are high on volume and low in substance, Denison speaks of a reasoned faith rooted in the real world. If you don’t know Denison’s journey of faith it is story that needs to be told. Denison was introduced to the faith by riding a bus to church in Houston with his big family Bible under his arm. Can you imagine the scene of this young man climbing down the steps of the bus with his huge Bible in tow looking lost and out of place. Praise the Lord for the bus worker who knocked on the door of Denison’s apartment and the church that welcomed him in with open arms. Even though Denison has moved in the upper echelons of Baptist life he is still rooted and grounded in the world of his youth.
The BGCT is beginning to show signs of life and visionary commitment to be a significant force for good in Texas and around the world. The BGCT stands as a miracle in the Kingdom of God. It is one of the most diverse religious organizations in the world. Now at its core it has a theologian that can speak in the heart and head languages of the people.