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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Broadway Baptist Church Controversy: Finale

The ongoing Controversy at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth has made its way from the world wide web and blogosphere into several secular newspapers.

First, an article titled Broadway Baptist group seeks ouster of pastor written by Max Baker appeared in the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.

Also, The Christian Post has an article titled, Baptist Conflict Intensifies with Call to Oust Pastor.

Today, the Dallas Morning-News printed an article authored by Sam Hodges titled Members of Fort Worth's Broadway Baptist Church call for pastor's firing. Here's a snippet:

Deacons of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth are recommending that an anniversary pictorial directory have no family photos, an effort to defuse a controversy over whether gay couples should be included.

But troubles for the moderate Baptist congregation are mounting, with some members calling for the firing of Senior Minister Brett Younger, saying he has mishandled the directory issue and led the church in too liberal a direction on homosexuality and theology.

And the conclusion:

Dr. Younger and the deacons had asked Broadway members not to debate the church's troubles in the press, and they have almost unanimously obliged. But the latest developments, including statements for and against Dr. Younger, have made their way onto Web sites and blogs.

More and more, church fights are playing out on the Internet, said Quentin Schultze, a professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College in Michigan.

"It tends to make it more difficult to come to a peaceful agreement," he said.

Finally, Ken Sury has a short column on the website of the Waco-Tribune. Here it is:

The religion blog on the Dallas Morning News has this entry about some members of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth calling for the dismissal of pastor Brett Younger over a pictorial directory.

Younger, a Baylor alum who previously pastored at Lake Shore Baptist Church, is scheduled to speak at Chapel at Baylor on Feb. 27. He also is the author of the book Who Moved My Pulpit? and writes ongoing columns for Baptists Today and the online editions of the Baptist Standard.

The two bloggers who took this Controversy public in the blogosphere have also weighed in:

How are we going to act? by The Whited Sepulchre (spouse of Broadway staffer)

The Battle for Broadway by J. Coleman Baker (Broadway member)

The Whited Sepulchre has decided to stop the chitter-chatter and stay silent on Broadway issues for the time being. J. Coleman Baker of ProgressiveBaptist.net is not taking that vow of silence.

He writes:

Yesterday, after reading The Whited Sepulchre’s statement that he would stop blogging about Broadway Baptist for a while, I was tempted to follow his lead. But then, I discovered that The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had printed an online article referencing my site. Then this morning there was this article in print and on the web. Needless to say, the terribly painful news about BBC is now out in the open, and I see no reason to stop blogging.

Those on the other side think that if we fire Younger, we will be on the path to being the historic, conservative church they want. That is not the case. If they succeed in firing Younger, we will still have all the same questions, conflicts, and problems that we currently face.

My hope, and the hope of a vast number of BBC members, is that rather than focusing on the pastor, we would begin to focus on the matter of direction and future. Let’s begin a process of determining what kind of church BBC will be. Let’s all agree to enter a process of dialouge and decision. Let’s listen to each other, pray with each other, and move forward in God’s hope.

And in the end, let’s agree to respect the decision of the majority of the church. And if we don’t like the kind of church Broadway comes out as on the other side, let us gracefully exit.

A couple of notes: J.C. Baker's reasoning behind his decision to continue blogging is weird to say the least. It was he who helped publicize the "terribly painful news about BBC." Once folks like Robert Saul took their complaints to the web and once folks like Baker and The White Sepulchre responded to those complaints in the blogosphere, it was inevitable that secular newspapers, Christian publications and other bloggers such as myself would report on that conflict.

The solution that the deacons reached sounds utterly ridiculous. No family photos? Will the infants and toddlers have to pose ALONE for the church directory as well? If photographed alone, I suspect some families will take up an entire page!

More pictures = more money for Olan Mills, I guess.

At least someone comes out on top in this Controversy.

Such an odd compromise is only a temporary solution to the bigger problems that Broadway obviously faces. Read J.C. Baker's post. I think he understand that. He writes that Broadway needs to, through dialogue and discussion, "begin the process of determining what kind of church BBC will be." Sounds like a wise guy. Calm discussion and honest dialogue are always preferred over fighting and bickering. And at least both sides of this controversy are committed to seeing Broadway remain a Baptist church. The last thing Baptist life needs is another historic church ashamed of actually being Baptist.

Please see: The 5-Part series on The Broadway Baptist Church Directory Controversy

Part 1: The Broadway Baptist Church Directory Controversy (11/16/07)
Part 2: Broadway Baptist Postpones Directory Decision (12/2/07)

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Anonymous rob said...

Wow, everyone. Does this seem a bit a much to you...? A church fighting about some people who want to have their picture made together?

7:48 PM

Anonymous Tom said...

Truly, I did not know peace and joy until I stopped going to Baptist churches. This is a classic example of why.

9:38 AM

Anonymous David Lowrie said...


AS you probably know the issues and fears run much deeper than picture in a directory. It appears we are witnessing a congregation struggling with its identity and values. The directory issue is a symptom. The real issues are much deeper and central to the core identity of the church. I pray the Lord will guide Pastor Younger as he leads his church through this storm.

11:56 AM


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