DALLAS (ABP) — The Baptist General Convention of Texas will seek full membership in the Baptist World Alliance, a body with which it has had informal ties for a number of years.
The BGCT's Executive Board approved the action March 1, with two members voting against. The BGCT and the Baptist General Association of Virginia are the first two state conventions to seek such membership.
The BWA's membership committee will consider the requests in a March 7 meeting. If that committee approves, Baptists from around the world could vote on the applications during the Baptist World Congress July 27-31 in Birmingham, England. It will be the 100th anniversary of the BWA's founding.
The decision to seek membership comes in the wake of the Southern Baptist Convention's “economic and emotional pullout” from the BWA last year, said Bob Fowler, chairman of the BGCT Administrative Committee, which recommended the action. But it also reflects a commitment to the world body that Texas Baptists have had since the BWA's beginning, he said.
Messengers to the 1997 BGCT annual meeting voted for the convention to “explore the possibility of the BGCT becoming a member organization” of the BWA as part of a broad proposal from an Effectiveness/Efficiency Committee. That option was not open until last year, when the BWA altered its rules for membership, which previously had been limited to national Baptist bodies.