The historic Broadway Baptist Church in the heart of Fort Worth has chosen to step away from its historic relationship with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. I believe this decision came after much prayer, discussion and reflection.
Over the past two years I have worked hard at building a relationship with the leadership of Broadway and its pastor Brent Beasley. My first initial contact with its leaders was in Nashville as I joined with them in discussions with the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention. This was a very stressful day of questions and responses. During the day the Broadway delegation handled themselves with much grace, and the Executive Committee worked hard at seeking to find common ground.
Following this meeting I had numerous conversations with Charlie Johnson, the interim pastor of Broadway about practical steps that could be taken to restore the relationship with the SBC. Unfortunately, this partnership was not able to be salvaged and the SBC voted to end the partnership. By this time Brent Beasley had been called as pastor of Broadway. Brent stepped into a very trying situation, and rightfully the focus of his ministry needed to be on addressing the needs of the church family not convention politics.
Due to the actions of the SBC, the BGCT’s relationship with Broadway immediately became an issue. As president I decided to be proactive in my response so I reached out to Brent and had a number of face to face open conversations with him. I have found Brent to be good honorable man. He has been very open and genuine in my dealings with him. I consider him a friend in ministry. In the course of discussions we talked frankly about our understandings of ministry today and how the Word of God addresses many of the challenges we face. We agreed on most fronts, but we also had differences on how the gospel applies to the complex challenges of dealing with our culture.
Over the course of time it became clear that it was going to be difficult for Broadway to continue to cooperative with the churches of the Baptist General Convention of Texas and continue to do ministry by in line with the core values.
This summer my wife and I traveled to Fort Worth and worshiped with the people of Broadway. It was a moving time of worship, and we were warmly received. I sensed I was among family, so this makes their decision more difficult to swallow. After the service we had lunch with Brent and talked about the future. It was at this point I realize our relationship was going to change. I respect their decision, and I also believe the BGCT and its leadership has done all that could be done to maintain the partnership without compromising our historic values and commitments.
From my perspective Broadway has moved from its positions of the past to where the stand today. I believe they believe they have matured and followed God’s leadership. However, I believe the BGCT must stay true to its commitment to the sanctity of marriage and our understanding of the Biblical teachings on human sexuality and the gospel.
The pressure are great upon the church to find ways to be welcoming to all people while at the same time preaching a gospel of repentance and transformation. From the earliest days of this journey I have been committed to the conviction that our hope is not drawing lines in the sands, but in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the answer for our sick society. Our society will not be transformed by pointing our fingers at those who are struggling in sin and making them the scapegoats.
I pray as a Baptist family we will double our efforts to live and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.