David R. Currie
A Rancher's Rumblings
January 22, 2007


On Tuesday, January 9, 2007, I was honored to join other Baptist leaders in meeting with former United States Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in a meeting at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where it was announced that we would hold a “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant” meeting, also in Atlanta, from January 30 through February 1, 2008.

What an exciting idea for non-fundamentalist Baptists of various conventions to gather together to celebrate, dream of, and plan what we can do together as Baptists!

I have been honored to be a part of the prior meetings planning this announcement, held at the Carter Center during 2006. I look forward to working toward a strong Texas Baptist presence at this meeting, as well as working to encourage Mainstream Baptists from across our great nation to attend.

Let me mention some things that this historic meeting is about:

Unity in Diversity: It will be the first time in years—over 100 years—that Baptists from many Baptist conventions gather together to celebrate their shared faith in Jesus Christ. Attendees at the January 9 meeting included representatives from the following Baptist groups, among others:

Association of Brazilian Baptist Churches in North America

Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec

Baptist General Association of Missouri

Baptist General Association of Virginia

Baptist General Convention of Texas

Baptist Union of Western Canada

Baptist World Alliance

Canadian Baptist Ministries

Canadian Conference of Southern Baptist Churches

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Japanese Southern Baptist Churches of America

Laotian National Baptist Fellowship

Lott Carey Baptist Foreign Mission Society

Mainstream Baptist Network

National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.

National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.

National Missionary Baptist Convention of America

North American Baptist Fellowship


Progressive Baptist National Convention

Russian-Ukranian Baptist Union

Seventh Day Baptist Conference

Texas Baptists Committed

My friends, this is history‑making stuff. These conventions and organizations have never met together before to celebrate their faith and commitment to historic Baptist principles and practices. I applaud President Carter and Mercer University President Bill Underwood for visioning this historic meeting.

Cooperation: This meeting is about what we can do together, not what we can disagree about. After years of division in Baptist life, this is a meeting intended to celebrate cooperation and diversity. How wonderfully refreshing!!!!

Biblical Values and Faith: This will be a meeting focused on Biblical values and faith. The theme is Unity in Christ. The plenary sessions will focus on Biblical themes: Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor; Unity in Respecting Diversity; Unity in Seeking Peace and Justice; and Unity in Welcoming the Stranger and Healing the Brokenhearted.

Breakout sessions will focus on preaching; being good stewards of the earth; fighting sexploitation, racism, poverty, and AIDS; finding common ground; exercising faith in the area of public policy; guiding our youth at the crossroads; sharing God’s good news through evangelism; being good financial stewards; and developing and exercising personal spiritual discipline.

Now let me mention some things that this meeting is NOT about:

Partisan Politics: Yes, two former Democratic Presidents of the United States were at the press conference and are advancing this idea. This is positive and helpful, because their presence will attract the attention of the national press to this Baptist meeting. After the recent death of the wonderful Christian Gerald Ford (I appreciated greatly his work with The Interfaith Alliance, on whose board I proudly serve), there are now only four living presidents—two of whom happen to be Baptist, and traditional Baptists at that. I am pleased that they are willing to support this effort.

But this meeting is in no way a Democratic Baptist meeting. I know that President Carter and President Clinton do not want a partisan political meeting. They want prominent Baptist Republicans to join in this effort, too. To be honest, I know that there are many prominent Baptist Republicans who are traditional Baptists at heart BUT have been reluctant to show their “true colors,” so to speak, because of the influence of the Religious Right in the Republican Party.


I know who my TBC members are. They are primarily traditional Texas Baptists who also happen to be Republicans (this is Texas, after all). They stand firmly for religious liberty and the separation of church and state. They hold fast to historic Baptist principles and, while they do not agree politically with many things that Presidents Carter and Clinton did while president, TBC members are bigger than partisan politics. They will celebrate this meeting. They are proud to “show their colors” as traditional Baptists.

I have strongly expressed my feelings that this meeting must not, in any way, appear to be about partisan politics, and all of those meeting with me have strongly agreed with me on that point.

Bashing the Southern Baptist Convention: This meeting is not, in any way, about bashing the SBC. Yes, it is about presenting a voice that is different than that of the SBC—a voice of inclusiveness, and cooperation. The SBC is not about those things. It has chosen, in fact, to no longer participate as a member of the Baptist World Alliance or the North American Baptist Fellowship.

In the December 2006 edition, the wonderful publication, Baptists Today, www.baptiststoday.org reported a story of an association in Alabama kicking out a local Baptist church because it had ordained a woman and called her as Associate Pastor. On the next page was a story about the Missouri Baptist Convention kicking out 19 churches because they were dually‑aligned with the SBC and CBF. This is the modern SBC and those who affiliate with them—persons interested in defining those with whom they will not cooperate, and refusing to cooperate with as many as possible.

We don’t do that in Texas, and we never will.

Also, before you say that this is an anti-SBC meeting, please go re-read the list of conventions, listed above, that are participating in this “New Covenant” meeting. Ninety percent of those conventions were not involved in the SBC battle that you and I know so well. As we say in West Texas, “they didn’t have a dog in that fight.” They could care less about debating or discussing the SBC.

Most of all, this is a meeting about JESUS, and I hope that you will make a commitment now to be a part of it next year, and to be a part of a new covenant in Baptist life for years to come.