The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) and the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas (BMAT) have announced an historic agreement (see Southern Baptist Texan, Baptist Progress) bringing two groups of Texas Baptists together who have been separated denominationally for a century.
Dr. Bart Barber, a Texas pastor who also serves as a trustee and adjunct professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary, calls this announcement "progress toward good biblical unity." Dr. Barber also mentions that no "doctrine" is being compromised in the merge.
What do churches of the Baptist Missionary Association believe? Examining the doctrinal statement of the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas, one notices that there are three short statements about God and creation, one statement about man's depravity, four statements about salvation, and SEVEN lengthy statements about the "true" church.
Google "Landmarkism" and "BMA" and you will have a supply of interesting reading material. I have written many articles on the infiltration of the tenets of Landmarkism into the Southern Baptist Convention. I have stated publicly that I don't mind at all cooperating with Landmarks in the Southern Baptist Convention, but most Landmarks would have a problem cooperating with many of our SBC churches. Why? Landmarks believe ...
(1). There is only one "true" church and it is the local Baptist church structured on proper polity.
(2). There is no legitimate baptism unless an "authorized" official from the "true" church baptizes.
(3). Gospel cooperation is attained only when "true" churches cooperate with each other in evangelism.
(4). Closed communion is a tenet of the New Testament and essential for proper church polity.
(5). There is no such thing as a "universal church." The local Baptist church of Christ is the true church.
Dr. Paige Patterson has served as a board member of BMA organizations and universities, and is sympathetic with Landmark beliefs. A prized first edition of Landmark founder J.A. Graves' tome The Great Iron Wheel sits on the coffee table in the Presidential mansion at Southwestern Theological Seminary.
Again, I commend the Southern Baptists of Texas for their step toward Christian unity by seeking reconciliation with the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas. My question is "When will the efforts toward Christian unity be extended toward the Baptist General Convention of Texas?"
One might answer my question by saying, "When the doctrine of the Baptist General Convention of Texas lines up with the doctrine of the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas and the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas, that's when."
If that indeed is the answer, then I suggest that the merging of the SBT and the BMA has nothing to do with Christian "unity" but the merging of two groups with similarly narrow and ultimately unbiblical ideological views of the local church. That's not "unity."
The Conservative Resurgence was said to have been about the inerrancy of the Bible, but the continuing fundamentalist domination within the SBC has led some to go far beyond the argument over the nature Scripture to only cooperating with those who agree on tertieary interpretations of Scripture. The SBT reconciling with the BMA and not the BGCT confirms what I've been writing for five years, but my hope is that the spirit of unity will extend toward the BGCT as well.