Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Division at Germantown Baptist Church

Awhile back I heard that Germantown Baptist Church was going through some major division. A number of members, including the pastor, drafted a new constitution and bylaws. The primary change was that the 11,000-member church would move from a congregation-led church to an elder-led church.

Here are a couple of articles from the Commercial Appeal.

Article #1
Article #2

SaveGBC is a website recently set up by members who oppose the new constitution and bylaws. On the other side of the issue is GBC Plain & Simple. This site was created by those who support the new constitution and bylaws, and has letters by the pastor and many of the staff.

This Sunday night, May 7, the congregation will vote on this issue. Sam Shaw, the senior pastor, made the comment, "It really does give us an opportunity to demonstrate how Christians can disagree and remain family." Maybe I'm a pessimist, but I do not see this ending in a good way. My gut tells me that we'll see another church planted out of a split. I guess we'll find out soon.

3 comments:

Emily said...

Robert,
I too heard about this a while back and was shocked, as G'town Baptist has been such a progressive light in the Memphis area for a long time now. Through all my contacts at seminary, I have known staff at that church, have admiration and respect for their current pastor, as well as their previous pastor. It's heartbreaking to see them go through this. The most important thing we can do is pray that the church members will respond Biblically in love to each other. I know one thing for sure, Memphis needs Germantown Baptist.

Peterson Toscano said...

When I see these sorts of things happening in churches that men have built, I realize how far we have gotten from Christ's message and instead built our own little (and medium sized) kingdoms that are based more on the Western captitalistic model than the teachings of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

It has gotten worse, not better after the vote. The middle of the road members are watching our church melt before our eyes. The die hard new CBL people & staff apparently cannot accept that they have lost and the old CBL people won't back down either. Three staff members have already quit and http://www.toddpennington.com/ has a 14 page letter allegedly from a staff member that is heartbreaking on a number of levels.

I had gone to church for 40 years without shedding a tear until my first visit to this place. It was unlike any place I'd ever been. I fear it's gone for good.

Please pray for us. I don't see how we avoid a split over this. There is a meeting Sunday night to vote on a "peacekeeper" contract which believe it or not has become almost as divisive as the CBL fight.