SBC/Broadway Decision

On June 22, the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention made the decision to recommend that the Southern Baptist Convention cease its relationship with the historic Broadway Baptist Church of Fort Worth. Broadway cooperated with SBC for over 125 years to reach the world with the hope of the gospel and wanted to continue this relationship for the sake of the gospel.

I am deeply saddened that the SBC Executive Committee felt compelled to make this decision. I worked feverishly behind the scenes to help the SBC leadership and the leadership of Broadway Baptist Church to come to some kind of win/win solution. The crux of the situation boiled down to two distinctively different views on how to minister to those marginalized by society. The SBC leadership felt compelled to hold true to their biblical understanding of the brokenness of homosexuality, while Broadway Baptist Church felt compelled to offer the gospel to all regardless of lifestyle choices. Sadly common ground could not be found, and the SBC messengers will have to make a decision about its relationship with Broadway.

Throughout these discussions and negotiations the leaders of the SBC and Broadway sought to conduct themselves in a Christ-like manner. Even though the final outcome was not what I had hoped for,  I was encouraged to see men and women talking openly and frankly with each other in a spirit of love and understanding. There are times in following Christ that relationships are complicated and messy. There are times we cannot agree, but I pray we will disagree in the spirit of love and understanding.

The key to the future for all followers of Jesus is finding creative and compassionate ways to offer hope to all people, especially those on the margins.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “SBC/Broadway Decision

  1. Pingback: Broadway Baptist Ousted From SBC | the big daddy weave

  2. BNeill

    Dr. Lowrie – I am glad to hear that the leaders of Broadway Baptist acted “in a Christ-like manner” in these dealings. That is not the way they acted toward more than 300 members who have now left the Broadway membership in Fort Worth (many with 30 to 50 years of service as Broadway members). They were driven out by a staff and deacons who publically declared that homosexual behavior was NOT a sin. The pastor at that time started a fire in the kitchen, then left while it was burning at full blaze. The letter to the Executive Committee contained at least two bald-face lies. I think they were acting “in a Christ-like manner” toward the SBC because they knew if they were kicked out they would lose one of their best assets – their 4 music staff members from Southwestern Seminary. And if the Broadway choir falls apart, Broadway church will die because a deminished congregation cannot fund the costly facilities.

  3. Glenn

    Every baptist body has the right to define itself, and the SBC has defined itself as intolerant of homosexuality. Broadway is not in agreement with that; for me, that’s the end of discussion.

    Just like the SBC, Broadway has the right to define or not define itself however it likes. However, I find it both confusing and unhealthy to send the youth group to a camp with a lesbian pastor one week, and then the following week say we have “never taken any church action to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”

    Lastly, given the way the BGCT defined itself a decade ago in the way it dealt with University Church in Austin, I don’t see how the BGCT can continue to welcome Broadway.

  4. Lee

    I’m sure that, being as close to the situation as you have been, you are aware of more things than have been reported in the media, or about which some people simply speculate. I was hopeful that the two groups would reach the point where they could agree, and salvage the relationship.

    I think there is a distinct difference between desiring to offer the gospel to all regardless of their lifestyle choices, and acting in a manner which conveys the idea that, as a church, you do not believe that a particular lifestyle or behavior is evidence of unrepentant or habitual sin, even though the scripture says that it is. A motion was made at last year’s SBC to disfellowship them because they appeared to be in violation of a bylaw related to friendly cooperation. The church asked the executive committee what it needed to do to continue the relationship, the executive committee listened to their statements, read their letters, and prescribed action in accordance with the scripture regarding how to go about resolving the differences, and the church declined to do so.

    Conviction of sin, and repentance, are part of the gospel equation. And while receiving Christ’s atonement on behalf of our sinfulness does not guarantee that we will become sinlessly perfect in this life, all of our sin must be confessed, and we must repent from it. The church has an obligation to its members to help them grow spiritually and church discipline is one of the scripturally prescribed methods of doing that.

    Whether or not the SBC should be singling out a particular sin as a test of fellowship, and the message it may be sending because it has done so with regard to homosexual lifestyles, is another issue for another discussion. Regardless, it does not change the facts of this particular situation.

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