David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
August 21, 2007


One of the highest honors I have ever received was getting to preach the funeral of Billy Ray Parmer, a man small of stature but still a giant of a man. Billy Ray was a unique individual, full of insight and courage. He could see right through any sort of fake spirituality; he could analyze any situation to perfection.

Billy Ray spent his life as a rural pastor, a great calling. He invested his life in the community of Valley Mills and, after retiring, invested his life in missions in Mexico.

The next few weeks, I am going to reflect on some of the wisdom of Billy Ray Parmer. It is fitting for our current situation in Texas Baptist life as we go into our first convention in many years with two candidates announced for president of the BGCT.

Billy Ray was fond of saying that “perception is reality” for many people. What he meant was that the truth did not matter to many folks; it was what they perceived was true that mattered to them. Thus, people very easily and often believed things that were totally false. One of our roles at TBC was to try to explain reality to people so that they could deal with things with correct information, as it related to the SBC and BGCT.

One of the “perceptions” that some seem to have is that TBC is a shadow convention that controls the BGCT in the way that Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler have controlled the SBC.

I would find this humorous if I did not think that a few people actually believed it.

It is a total fabrication in every form and fashion, and I will give you two specific examples.


First, I serve on the Committee to Nominate Boards for Affiliated Ministries (CNBAM). It used to be the “Committee to Nominate Institutions and Boards.” What it means is that we appoint the board members of our 23 institutions. This is the first committee of the BGCT on which I have served in 20 years, except the Board of Howard Payne University, of which I am an alumnus.

People think that I have enormous influence over who serves on the CNBAM committee, as well as those whom it appoints. Nothing could be further from the truth. When I went to my first committee meeting, I did not know, or had never heard of, at least half of my fellow committee members.

This week, we will meet to name these people and, to be very honest with you, I doubt that I will know or will have ever heard of 90% of the people who will be appointed to serve our BGCT‑related institutions. I trust our institutions and their presidents. These appointments will be from every perspective in Texas Baptist life.

The reality is that there is an enormous difference between why TBC did what it did in Texas and why the Fundamentalists did what they did in the SBC. The Fundamentalists took over the SBC TO CONTROL the SBC; TBC stopped a Fundamentalist takeover of the BGCT to make sure that the BGCT IS NOT CONTROLLED. Do you understand the difference? We saved Texas so that our institutions and their presidents would be free, not controlled. We had a totally different motivation.


Persons who say that TBC acts like the Fundamentalists in control of the SBC simply prefer to believe their perceptions or, shall we say, “fantasies,” rather than reality. If you doubt this, feel free to call one of our university or institution presidents, and ask them how much TBC has tried to control who serves on their boards.

People with great imaginations have also claimed that the new executive director of the BGCT has already been chosen and that I have told the committee who to name. Wow! Do these people also believe that my Paint Rock ranch has oceanfront property?

I invite you to call all 15 committee members and ask them if I have even suggested a person or even a short list of who should be interviewed. I simply do not have a clue. I’m praying about it, but I just cannot come up with who I think the right person is. If I could, I would recommend someone to the committee.

Perception is not reality, and wise people know it. It is usually better to examine the facts. And the fact is that TBC in no way acts like the Fundamentalist leadership of the SBC – never has and never will. And persons who believe that we do are actually believing what they choose to believe and not the real story. Examine the facts, and think about it. Even better, check it out, and make a phone call or two.

Make sure that your perceptions and reality match up.