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*Editor’s note: Richard Jackson has returned to his native Texas and has brought the Jackson Center for Evangelism with him. It is located at Howard Payne University in Brownwood. For Richard to speak at TBC meetings is costly for him. He will be “blackballed” by some in our state. But that is Richard Jackson. When you think of honesty and integrity, you have to think of Richard. His closest friends fifteen years ago now are the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention. Why is Richard not a SBC leader with them? The answer is simple. INTEGRITY! We are printing some quotes (edited for brevity and clarity) of his remark at one of our dinners. Read them and trust you are reading the truth.

“When I started getting Southern Baptist platforms (in the 1970s), I immediately started speaking up about the necessity of upholding the Word of God; staying hot after the trail of the lost; holding on to biblical prospective and evangelical zeal. That is who I was and everybody knew it.

“The interesting thing about my speaking out was that whenever I thought there was a drifting a little too far one way or the another, I would say so. I said it on seminary platforms and convention platforms. No one ever censored me. I was never criticized for saying what I believed was important at that time.”

“In the mid ’70s, I got invited to Nashville to a meeting to talk about Bold Mission Thrust. We sat there and my job at this meeting was to offer ideas about how we could finance Bold Mission Thrust. This was our plan to see that by the year 2000 not a soul is on the face of the earth who has not heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Boy, I tell you I was so pumped. I was excited and I said when it came by turn to speak, ‘Listen, you are on the right page. You are finally not only playing the right game, you are in the right ball park. This is where Baptist people have been wanting to be all the time.’”

“I really believe Baptist people believed in winning people to Christ and I was all for this thing. So, you know it started getting pumped up and then in 1978, I started getting phone calls from people who were saying to me, ‘You know we really have got to stop the liberal drift in Southern Baptist life. We have got to do it right now. We have got to take over.’

“Everything in me started backing up. I got a phone call one day from a man in Houston who wanted to know if he could come spend two days with me to talk about the Southern Baptist Convention. I said no. I hung up the phone and it was like God wrote up on the wall in my office, ‘have nothing to do with this.’ It was that plain. The writing was not on the wall, but it was that plain.

“The next thing I know I get to Houston, Texas, 1979, to preach at the Pastor’s Conference. I am right in that crowd, part of those people who are trying to be used to get this takeover objective accomplished.

“I can remember the feeling I had. The eerie feeling that something was not right. I had no idea about it, but my spirit was not right.

“On Wednesday night, we joined hands, 50,000 strong, and committed ourselves to tell everybody alive about Jesus.

“Now folks, do not give the devil too much credit. He is not omnipresent. He can only be in one place at one time. But if you were Satan, and you knew that the strongest evangelical body in the world was meeting in representatives at Houston, Texas, at the Astrodome, to commit themselves to present the gospel to everybody alive, where would you have been that night? I would have showed up in Houston. That is what I would have done. I think the devil himself was in Houston at that 1979 convention. I do not have any doubt about it. Bold Mission Thrust has long since been put aside. We lost our whole perspective and objective. "

“Later I heard a man say, ‘There are not but two professors at Southwestern Seminary that believe the Bible and one at New Orleans Seminary and none in the other four seminaries.’

“Another man looked at me and said, ‘Well, what do you think of that Richard?’

“I said to him, ‘I think it is a lie. I do not think that is true.’

“They started calling men that had invested their lives in me — men that prayed for me — shared the Scriptures with me — calling those men liberals, saying they did not believe the Bible.

“So you wonder how it came along that Richard Jackson weaned away from that movement? The reason is not biblical belief. You are listening to a biblical conservative. I am a simple Bible believer. I am not a scholar. I study the scholars. I am just a mechanic.

“But I can tell you one thing, I have bet my life on the Book. I have preached it, loved it, tried to live it, and repented when I did not live it. I am an evangelical zealot.

“Now why am I not in this movement, if this is who I am? I can tell you why. Because the movement is political and has been from the beginning.

“Everything we hold dear as Baptists is under attack. What I am telling you is this. If you want the freedom and the autonomy of the local church, the individual believer priest to be protected, you better keep Texas Baptists committed to Texas Baptists and biblical Baptistic positions. Do not let somebody up there start telling us what we are supposed to do.

“The baptistic involvement of the local church and the local believer priest has been long since taken away. Now listen, what you are voting on in Amarillo is putting it back to where it was. It is not taking away the Cooperative Program but it is redefining the Cooperative Program. Now it is saying the local church can make decisions. The most hypocritical thing that has happened is for the Executive Board of the SBC to vote to bypass state conventions and then to accuse Texas Baptists on this report of changing the Cooperative Program.”

September 1994