Last week, David Currie, executive director of the Texas Baptist Committed announced he will be stepping down from this post. His announcement marked a shift in Baptist life in Texas. Currie alluded to a new day in the life of the Texas Baptist Committed. Not long ago, I believe Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard, called it “winning the peace.”
The Texas Baptist Committed under Currie’s leadership took a stand against Fundamentalism on the march. When the stakes were high in Texas Baptist life, Currie, Phil Strickland, Hebert Reynolds, and John Baugh called Texas Baptists to their historic roots. In a politically charge environment, Currie led the TBC to be the voice for reason and cooperation.
As the war for Baptist identity raged, Currie stayed true to his historic values and roots and fought hard to keep the BGCT safe from those who sought to control it, and possibly rob it of its institutions and mandates. That was then.
Now the challenges facing the BGCT are quite different. The struggles of the past are pall in comparison to the challenges of tomorrow. While denominations and conventions the nation over as cutting back, and moving into obscurity often by self-inflicted wounds, the BGCT stands at a crossroads.
The challenge of tomorrow is not so much a battle with Fundamentalism, but rather a challenge of capturing the hearts and minds of the generations to come. Most denominations are one or at best two generations from extinction. Young leaders of today have little or no denominational loyalty. Many of these young leaders see the political infighting of the past as irrelevant for the future. They see the large cumbersome hierarchies of denominations out of touch with the “flat” realities of tomorrow.
The new task of the TBC rests with communicating the best of historic Baptist values and principles in a way that the next generation will embrace them as their own. The Baptist of tomorrow may not claim this honored name, but I hope and pray the principles our Baptist forefathers passed on will not die on our watch.
As Currie said, “Don’t get me wrong, I am not going away.” For this we can be thankful. Currie is often misunderstood, and maligned, but I found in him someone who shoots straight, loves Texas Baptists, and is willing to do whatever it takes to win tomorrow, even it means stepping down from a post he loves and cherishes.