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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Baptists Endorse Randel Everett As BGCT Executive

A week before the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant kicked off, the Baptist General Convention of Texas announced that Virginia pastor Randel Everett is the nominee to replace Charles Wade (who recently retired) as Executive-Director of the BGCT. Read about that here. Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard, weighs in on Everett's nomination here.

In a phone interview with Ken Camp of the Baptist Standard, Everett highlighted three tasks that he believes could bring Texas Baptists together. They are:

Missions. “Texas Baptists should make sure every person in Texas has the opportunity to respond to the good news of Christ within his or her own language and context,” he said.

Christian education. From religious education in local congregations to high education in universities and seminaries, Texas Baptists should “make sure we are providing the resources to ensure that people grow in Christ’s likeness,” he said.

Advocacy. Texas Baptists should become advocates for the separation of church and state to ensure religious liberty for all people, and they should be advocates for the poor, he said. “There is no reason any child in Texas should go to bed hungry.”
All sounds good to me. Having grown up on the campus of a small Baptist college and now as a graduate student at a very large Baptist university, I appreciate the value of Christian Higher Education, particularly Baptist Higher Education. And Texas Baptists need a missional leader committed to the social implications of the Gospel and a missional leader who is willing to advocate for the separation (not accommodation) of church and state.

Everett's CV is here

Below are a few endorsements from various folks:

I've known Randel Everett for over 30 years, and I feel he will be a wonderful leader for Texas Baptists. In addition, his wife, Sheila, is very talented and will be such a blessing to ministers' wives and young people. The search committee came to this crucial decision after seeking God with all our hearts.
Gary Cook, president, Dallas Baptist University

Randel Everett will be an excellent choice as executive director for the BGCT. He was my pastor at University Baptist Church in Fort Worth; I remember his sermons as solid, biblical (and fairly short!). He and his wife Sheila both have great personalities. They win the love and confidence of people.
H. Leon McBeth, distinguished professor emeritus, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Randel Everett is one of the most dynamic, energetic and creative Baptist leaders I have known over the past 25 years. I find inspiring his commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ, his vision for ministry and missions, and his dogged determination that Baptists will help shape the future in the urgent advance of Christianity. Randel and Sheila are dear, dear friends whom Kay and I look forward to welcoming back home to Texas.
Randall O’Brien, executive vice president and provost, Baylor University

I warmly welcome the news of Dr. Randel Everett’s nomination as BGCT executive director. I have known Randel for 18 years as a friend within the fellowship of the BWA commissions and committees. Randel is a warmly relational leader, an able communicator of the gospel and has a proven track record in the pastoral leadership of local churches. He has a missional heart and a wide experience of sharing the gospel among people of different cultures. Above all he loves the Lord and seeks to be a devoted follower of Jesus Christ. I am delighted at the possibility of developing the already significant collaboration between Texas Baptists and the global family of the BWA.
David Coffey, president, Baptist World Alliance

I have known Randel Everett for many years. In fact he pastored the church to which belonged for many years. I found him to be one of the ablest and most dedicated pastors I’ve met. He has few rivals when it comes to presenting a message in the pulpit. I know his family, and he is a man not only of spiritual depth but of great character. I think it would be hard, frankly, to find a better person to be executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Chuck Colson, author

Randel Everett is an experienced pastor, a visionary Baptist leader and a man of spiritual integrity. He is a global Christian who thinks both biblically and strategically. I am delighted at his nomination to be the next executive director for the BGCT.
Daniel Vestal, executive coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Some good endorsements. But Chuck Colson? When you get endorsed by Colson, I'm not sure what that says. On the one hand, Everett is advocating the separation of church and state. On the other hand, Colson has argued that church-state separation will aid the efforts of terrorists and allow radical Islam to grow unchecked. Strange bedfellows, I'd say. Aside from Colson, Everett seems to have an impressive resume with the support of more than a few long-time Baptist leaders.

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Blogger D.R. said...

First, I am impressed more with the Leo McBeth endorsement than I am with that of Chuck Colson. But the fact that Everett appeals to those across the theological spectrum is really the most impressive thing about him.

As for Colson, you said, "Colson has argued that church-state separation will aid the efforts of terrorists and allow radical Islam to grow unchecked."

This is not really accurate. It would be better stated that Colson argues that the application of the separation of church and state used in his particular case in Iowa regarding prison ministries could result in terrorist organizations taking a further foothold in our prisons.

In fact, the very article you cited notes,

To be fair to Colson, a report titled "Out of the Shadows: Getting Ahead of prisoner Radicalization" indicates that there is a possible risk from radical Islamists who learn their extremism in prisons.

And both of you ignore the 2005 case against Kevin Lamar James and others who hatched a plot to bomb L.A. while in prison. Here is a short synopsis of a film made by PBC entitled, "Homegrown: Islam in Prison":

The film traces the men charged with this 2005 plot in Los Angeles, a group calling itself Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheech, which translates to Assembly of Authentic Islam, shortened to JIS by law enforcement. The group plotted to strike U.S. military facilities, Israeli national interests and synagogues in the Los Angeles area around the Jewish high holidays. The leader of the group was Kevin Lamar James, imprisoned for robbery. One of the group’s pivotal adherents, Levar Haney Washington, swore an oath of allegiance to James and JIS just prior to his release on parole from Folsom State Prison outside Sacramento, California in November 2004. Allegedly, Washington recruited two others to his cause once he was released.

So, I don't think Colson is as radical as you make him out to be based on his comments regarding terrorism and the separation of church and state.

And again, I am glad to see the BGCT nominate a candidate that appeals to people across the Baptist theolgoical spectrum.

12:24 PM


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