Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

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Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Tue May 13, 2014 11:51 am

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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue May 13, 2014 2:05 pm

Goodness, Charles Stanley and Bailey Smith might never have made it to be SBC President knowing how small a percentage their churches gave, and Adrian Rogers would not have been far behind :) .
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 13, 2014 2:19 pm

This is old news. The change in messenger allocation is a wash, IMO. Every church would get two for next to no contribution, and more for either percentage points or each $2500.

The bigger news is in tying the BFM into the SBC constitution for the first time.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Tue May 13, 2014 4:24 pm

I was more interested in the fact that there is a creedal requirement now in the document which I don't think was there in the dark ages (or is that light ages) when I was in the SBC.

I also got a chuckle at this bit of historical revisionism. :lol:

SBC Jargonese - Q: Had the suggested new language been in effect at the time of the Conservative Resurgence, would it have been possible to correct the course of the convention in the manner that was accomplished in the 1980s?


English Translation for those who don't speak SBC jargonese - Q: Had the suggested new language been in effect at the time of the SBC Takeover would it have been possible to abandon the original doctrine and polity of the convention by the use of political chicanery as it was accomplished in the 1980s?
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Bob Terry agrees with Thornton

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue May 13, 2014 5:33 pm

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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Stephen, if you had read my blog back in February you would have been up to speed on this already. bob Terry agrees with me and thanks for the link.

The Executive Committee's New and Improved SBC Constitution

exerpt:

1. Do we really think it necessary in 2014 to inform thousands of SBC churches that their communion practices are liable to cause them to be dismissed from the SBC? It is not allowed to say, "Nah, we will never wield this sword. It's just nice to have."

2. Is the CBF still such a problem that we think it necessary to find a clean, neat way to get rid of them altogether?

3. Do we want to invite scrutiny on this basis of all SBC churches that are happily supporting our work, missionaries, and entities which churches may not be adhering to the BFM in all of its entirety and subject to the varying interpretations of this SBC sub-group or another? While the BFM is a good guide for our employees, entities, and personnel, would it be better used as a club against churches that might tweak this or that part of it.

4. Aren't we happy to have considerable numbers of dually affiliated African-American churches who might differ in some small degrees from the BFM?

5. Will we have a call to further tighten the BFM or distill it for the essence of what being in friendly cooperation really is.

6. Do we want yet another Cooperative Program reduction plan and isn't Frank Page hopeful, finally, for a slight "uptick" in it?

Of several quirks about we Southern Baptists, one is that we all have two eyes, a nose, innumerable opinions, and pockets full of agendas. Whose agenda is best served by these changes?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Tue May 13, 2014 6:57 pm

Stephen, I will delete any and all references to Molly Worthen. You did good with the link. Discipline yourself enough to actually address the subject at hand.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Jerry_B » Fri May 16, 2014 8:52 pm

This is only an issue when the votes are close. Until then, you could base the number of messengers on views to a churches website and the difference would be negligible.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Sat May 24, 2014 9:19 am

Here's the text of the proposal:

Executive Committee of the SBC Proposal wrote:Article III. Composition: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of Baptist churches in cooperation with the Convention at levels which the Convention, from time to time, determines. The following subparagraphs describe the Convention's current standards and method of determining the maximum number of messengers the Convention will recognize from each cooperating church to attend the Convention's annual meeting.

1. The Convention will only deem a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention, and sympathetic with its purposes and work (i.e., a "cooperating" church as that descriptive term is used in the Convention's governing documents) which:

(1) Has not intentionally operated in any manner demonstrating opposition to the doctrine expressed in the Convention's most recently adopted statement of faith. (By way of example, churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior would be deemed not to be in cooperation with the Convention.)

(2) Has formally approved its intention to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention. (By way of example, the regular filing of the annual report requested by the Convention would be one indication of such cooperation.)

(3) Has made undesignated, financial contribution(s) through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the Convention's Executive Committee for Convention causes, and/or to any Convention entity during the fiscal year preceding.

2. Under the terms above, the Convention will recognize to participate in its annual meeting two (2) messengers from each cooperating church, and such additional messengers as are permitted below.

3. The Convention will recognize one (1) additional messenger from each cooperating church for each full percent of the church's undesignated receipts or for each six thousand dollars ($6,000), whichever is less, which the church contributed during the fiscal year preceding through the Cooperative Program, and/or through the Convention's Executive Committee for Convention causes, and/or to any Convention entity.

4. The messengers shall be appointed and certified by their church to the Convention, but the Convention will not recognize more than twelve (12) from any cooperating church.

5. Each messenger shall be a member of the church by which he or she is appointed.

6. If a church experiences a natural disaster or calamitous event and, as a result, the church is not qualified to appoint as many messengers as the church could appoint for the Convention's annual meeting immediately before the event, the church's pastor or an authorized church representative may, for no more than the three (3) annual meetings after the event, certify the facts to the registration secretary and obtain the same number of messengers it could have certified for the Convention's annual meeting immediately before the event.


I like the financial requirement above and beyond the membership. I think a straight up formula would be best, at least, more representative of the supporters of the SBC's denominational ministries, but this is moving in the right direction. Instead of membership, perhaps average weekly worship attendance should be the number used to determine a church's messenger quota.

I don't see any "creedal" requirement in here at all. The statement in #1 doesn't specify a "creed" to adhere to, nor does it require a church to actually adopt the denomination's statement of faith. It only requires churches not to deliberately be in opposition to it. I can't think of a reason why a church that desired to be in friendly cooperation would want to oppose something they are supporting.

While I understand the desire to see churches support the SBC through the Cooperative Program, and I think the ability to send messengers should rest, at least in part, on church support of this core denominational giving and distribution program, I also think that churches should be able to determine their own priorities for giving. A lot of churches have a conviction about missions support, and an aversion to denominational bureaucracy, and want all of their missions money to go to the field, instead of into the layered executive structure of fancy office suites, high dollar salaries and Wednesday golf outings. They shouldn't be penalized for that.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 9:36 am

Number 1, subsection (1): Has not intentionally operated in any manner demonstrating opposition to the doctrine expressed in the Convention's most recently adopted statement of faith. (By way of example, churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior would be deemed not to be in cooperation with the Convention.)

The example given is old, having been added several years ago. The wording that adds "statement of faith" i.e., the BFM, is the change. The convention up to now has not required churches to affirm the document and does so here in a backhanded way by adding this provision whereby a church could be declared not in friendly cooperation if they "intentionally operated in any manner demonstrating opposition" to the BFM. This is vague enough to snare, according to the view of some SBCers, a church that practices some degree of open communion, a church that has a woman in any executive ministry position such as student minister, or other churches in various ways. Even after the CR, there is much variation among SBC churches.

There are considerable numbers of ethnic churches now in friendly cooperation with the SBC who are more open to women in church leadership. There are considerable numbers of churches that have an elder polity that appears to run counter to the BFM. There are vast numbers of churches that are very relaxed about communion. Do we wish to place all these in jeopardy? I think not.

Look at it this way. Even during the CR no con proposed amending the constitution in this way. Why?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Sat May 24, 2014 11:35 am

Perhaps the messengers will vote that part of the proposal down. It would be difficult, at any rate, to enforce, especially as it related to communion practices, elder rule, or even women in leadership unless they were a "senior pastor."
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 11:51 am

Sandy wrote:Perhaps the messengers will vote that part of the proposal down. It would be difficult, at any rate, to enforce, especially as it related to communion practices, elder rule, or even women in leadership unless they were a "senior pastor."


I suspect that there will be an amendment offered to delete that part.

If passed, all that necessary to boot a church is for a majority vote. Sure, same is true now but the basis for expulsion would get greatly expanded.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 12:29 pm

Sandy wrote:I don't see any "creedal" requirement in here at all. The statement in #1 doesn't specify a "creed" to adhere to, nor does it require a church to actually adopt the denomination's statement of faith. It only requires churches not to deliberately be in opposition to it. I can't think of a reason why a church that desired to be in friendly cooperation would want to oppose something they are supporting.


Sandy, but that is still a creedal requirement in reverse. If you can't oppose a statement or part of a statement then that is a doctrinal requirement in the negative. As to why anyone would oppose the denominations faith statement, maybe they don't like how it has been changed? Maybe they disagree with some large or small part of it? Maybe they aren't drones who walk in lock step with the denominational leadership?

I can't imagine a human written doctrinal statement that someone couldn't find some point of disagreement. But hey, I guess that whole autonomy thing in the SBC only goes so far as not disagreeing huh? :lol:

I don't get why the SBC doesn't just admit that the BFM is a creed. It seem to me it would fit with other evangelical denominations that have expected faith statements. If the SBC expects churches to either tow the line or not oppose the current statement how is that not a creed? And, does that mean that messengers from a church are not in "friendly cooperation" if they move to change the BFM?

Could a church, for example, be deemed not in friendly cooperation if they tried to change the SBC back to the 1963 BFM?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Sat May 24, 2014 1:28 pm

It's hard to think that this turns the BFM 2000 into a "creed" since it only applies to the seating of messengers at a two day annual meeting, and then only if a particular church shows up, and there is a seating challenge. The requirement is not to adopt it or make it the church's official doctrinal statement. I think that takes it way out of the category of a creed.

Maybe William has some insight from his circle of the SBC world to guess on the odds of that part of the proposal getting passed at all. The few Southern Baptists I know up here who are planning to be in Baltimore are pretty intense when it comes to the financial requirement, not so much when it comes to that particular requirement. But then, churches up here are heavily dependent on NAMB funding for church planting.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 2:06 pm

The linking of the BFM in the SBC constitution is a bad idea. I would vote against it but, unless someone gets some noise going about it it will be incorporated. The route to challenge it would be (a) why this, why now? (b) ethnic churches would be alienated.

The SBc executive committee hasn't even offered any rationale for its inclusion. That's an insult to all SBCers, in my view, and presumes that they would rather operate without having to deal with actual Baptists.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 3:18 pm

Sandy wrote:It's hard to think that this turns the BFM 2000 into a "creed" since it only applies to the seating of messengers at a two day annual meeting, and then only if a particular church shows up, and there is a seating challenge. The requirement is not to adopt it or make it the church's official doctrinal statement. I think that takes it way out of the category of a creed.


Sandy, don't get me wrong, my Church has creeds. I'm not against them. But I don't see how you can view it as anything other than creedal for a reference to a faith statement to be in the document that determines seating of messengers. UM folks have creeds and we don't even make the seating of lay members dependent on their agreement to our faith statements. So I would view that as more creedal than what my Church does though we have officially adopted creeds.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 3:24 pm

William Thornton wrote:The linking of the BFM in the SBC constitution is a bad idea. I would vote against it but, unless someone gets some noise going about it it will be incorporated. The route to challenge it would be (a) why this, why now? (b) ethnic churches would be alienated.

The SBc executive committee hasn't even offered any rationale for its inclusion. That's an insult to all SBCers, in my view, and presumes that they would rather operate without having to deal with actual Baptists.


To the current executive committee it could look like an easy way to lock out your opponents now or in the future. But once you do that kind of thing it can be used against oh say Calvinists like Al Mohler's crowd, or others who dissent from the current power group. It could also be used against CBF/SBC churches but I doubt that is the reason behind it. The CBF isn't a powerful enough force in SBC circles now to bother to do that.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 3:52 pm

I think not, Timothy. There's no easy way to make wholesale expulsions at the SBC level. Individual churches would have to be identified, researched, probably contacted, and then voted on. It's the idea that I don't like.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 3:53 pm

I call the change the "Cooperative Program Reduction Plan."
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 4:15 pm

William Thornton wrote:I think not, Timothy. There's no easy way to make wholesale expulsions at the SBC level. Individual churches would have to be identified, researched, probably contacted, and then voted on. It's the idea that I don't like.


I see. William, who does vet credentials? I'm assuming there is a credential committee? As you point out, they'd have to research individuals, maybe impractical. That being the case, the new rule seems like a waste if it isn't very enforceable.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 4:15 pm

William Thornton wrote:I call the change the "Cooperative Program Reduction Plan."


Interesting. So you think it will negatively impact CP?
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sat May 24, 2014 4:45 pm

Probably not but it cannot help, it can only hurt.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Timothy Bonney » Sat May 24, 2014 10:49 pm

William Thornton wrote:Probably not but it cannot help, it can only hurt.


I don't follow CP figures anymore. But all I read is that giving to all denominations is down.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby Sandy » Sat May 24, 2014 11:26 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
William Thornton wrote:I think not, Timothy. There's no easy way to make wholesale expulsions at the SBC level. Individual churches would have to be identified, researched, probably contacted, and then voted on. It's the idea that I don't like.


I see. William, who does vet credentials? I'm assuming there is a credential committee? As you point out, they'd have to research individuals, maybe impractical. That being the case, the new rule seems like a waste if it isn't very enforceable.


Unless someone knew of an example where a church specifically committed a "deliberate" violation of the BFM 2000, it would be tough to enforce. Actually, a messenger from one of the participating churches would have to know of a specific incident in another church, be aware of the bylaw and its interpretation, and show up at the convention, along with the offending church, for any action to be possible. Several years ago, when the convention added the clause that churches which are known to affirm or condone homosexual behavior would not be considered in friendly cooperation with the convention, only one church did not have its messengers seated as a result and that's because their position had been highly publicized in the press, and there was plenty of written documentation in a high profile situation, and the church, Broadway Baptist Church in Ft. Worth, sent messengers.

I don't think this is aimed at churches dually affiliated with CBF, though Broadway was. Few CBF related churches that are also still in the SBC would be in violation of the bylaw. The few "glbt friendly" churches within their ranks severed ties with the SBC long ago. Likewise, I think the small handful of CBF congregations with female senior pastors aren't dually affiliated. It would be difficult to remove a typical dually affiliated CBF congregation, I think.
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Re: Proposed Changes for Seating SBC Messengers

Postby William Thornton » Sun May 25, 2014 6:14 am

Actually, an XComm member said that the move would force dually affiliated churches off the fence and make them choose either the CBF or SBC. Hard for me to imagine that after all these years we would think purifying the convention of dually affiliated churches has any value. Such might be the best growth plan the CBF can envision, though. If that movement were to happen, that would be a CP reduction plan.
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