DALLAS- In the effort to soften to soften the hearts of Southern Baptist Convention leaders threatening to break from the Baptist World Alliance, the Rev. Billy Jang Hwan Kim, the alliance president, brought a Korean children’s choir to Texas, Jan. 27.
The performance gave Kim a chance to comment upon the proposed break that would result not only in a loss of financial support for the BWA, but a possible rival in leading the worldwide body of Baptists. Should the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention accept the proposal during its general meeting this summer, the break will be officiated October, and a new form of Baptists under the name, “Empowering Kingdom Growth” may be established.
Both the SBC president Jack Graham, and one of the SBC study committee members who suggested the break, said that Baptists leaders worldwide support their move. However, neither released the names of such leaders.
Leaders of the 2 million-member Baptist General Convention of Texas – a moderate group that has clashed frequently with the conservative SBC – said it supports the BWA, and plans a Tuesday night rally in Plano on its behalf.
According to Rev. Charles Wade, executive director of the state association of 5,7000 churches, the concern over the break is not about losing money or influence, but rather a fear of breaking apart a “family.”
"It's what happens when a family gets torn apart," said Wade. "The whole world of Baptists would love for Southern Baptists to reject this recommendation and continue to be a loyal part of the Baptists around the world."
Rev. Kim agreed, saying, “I hope with the children's singing power, with the Holy Spirit, that Baptists will come together and not separate because we need to have a united front.
"The reason we came this time with our children, with all these diversified problems, was to use the children's faith and singing ... to soften the hearts of some of the Baptist leaders.”