Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

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Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:02 pm

Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit against two breakaway entities
As the doctrine-driven battle for control of the nation’s largest Protestant body in the 1980s and early 1990s trickled down to state conventions, trustees of five Missouri Baptist entities changed governing documents to distance their ministries from the controversy that was radically altering the image of Southern Baptists at the national level.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:21 am

Total legal costs to MBC = millions. Would like to see the final tally.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:11 am

I wonder what the differences were between the conference center, a valuable piece of property located on the Lake of the Ozarks, and the Foundation and University. The newspaper they let go and started another one, and I can understand why they wanted to fight for the foundation, given the role of such institutions connected to Baptist state conventions. The university, which receives a fraction of its financial support from the convention, and which has recruited students and staff during the long period when they've been distanced from the convention, will most likely appeal, and get a court to block the decision until the appeal is heard. That will take a lot of time, and will cost the convention more in legal fees. What do they gain by getting control of the trustee board of a university that is only nominally connected to the convention anyway?

The Windermere case is identical in terms of what was at stake, but a different court ruled in completely the opposite way. If I were in the convention, I'd be curious as to what made the difference. It seems like it would have to be something in the way the relationship to the convention was structured.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:06 am

This had gone on for so long, I had just about forgotten it. Most institutions have changed during this time, and I suspect that the whole dynamic makes this less than a "great and noble victory."
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:49 pm

As an alum of Missouri Baptist University, I'm sorry to see them lose the the law suit. One reasons the fundamentalists could take over the SBC was the over-close link between SBC schools and the denomination. When the trustees are chosen by the denomination the school eventually can be forced to just be a mouth piece for one faction or another of the denomination. I prefer colleges, universities, and seminaries to have more freedom and independence than that.

Simpson College, here in Indianola, Iowa where I serve is a United Methodist related school. What that means is that the Bishop, the District Superintendent, and myself (as Pastor of First UMC Indianola) sit on the Board of Trustees. It also means that the University Senate of the UMC has to, on a regular basis, approve of their UMC affiliation be continued based on their relationship to the denomination. But that stamp of approval is not control, only recognition.

The United Methodists have influence and participation but do not control the school. I prefer this arrangement of shared responsibility and not top down power. It means that no faction in the denomination (liberal or conservative) can take over the Board of the school and use it to push a denominational political agenda.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:20 pm

The school had governing docs that prevented renegade trustees from stealing the school away from MBC. Maybe MBC will run it into the ground but it's always been theirs to do so.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:39 pm

William Thornton wrote:The school had governing docs that prevented renegade trustees from stealing the school away from MBC. Maybe MBC will run it into the ground but it's always been theirs to do so.


William, as a former Missouri Baptist, I think some of those “renegade trustees” have come from churches that were dismissed from the convention for giving to the CBF or felt pressured out of the MBC. So the definition of “renegade” at this point seems kind of fuzzy to me. The church I grew up in gave a lot of money to MBC and MBU as well but left the convention when it felt disenfranchised by the MBC.

I guess what I’m saying is that it is complicated and complicated enough that this lawsuit went on a long time to get to a decision.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Sandy » Wed Oct 18, 2017 6:41 pm

William Thornton wrote:The school had governing docs that prevented renegade trustees from stealing the school away from MBC. Maybe MBC will run it into the ground but it's always been theirs to do so.


I see two possible outcomes here. One, the convention proposes that the university "buy itself out" in an arrangement similar to what Belmont made with Tennessee Baptists. They would recover at least some of the legal fees they've spent on this. Or, the school files an appeal with a higher court, and sees if the convention is willing to invest the funds to keep going.

My wife has family in a couple of the churches in the St. Louis association. I don't think the school will ever go back under convention control.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:13 am

Sandy wrote:
I see two possible outcomes here. One, the convention proposes that the university "buy itself out" in an arrangement similar to what Belmont made with Tennessee Baptists. They would recover at least some of the legal fees they've spent on this. Or, the school files an appeal with a higher court, and sees if the convention is willing to invest the funds to keep going.

My wife has family in a couple of the churches in the St. Louis association. I don't think the school will ever go back under convention control.


A buy out arrangement could have merit. It would stop the constant litigation. It would let what is a moderate school out from under the thumb of a fundamentalist convention. And both sides could have a bit of a "win."
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Thornton and regnegades

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:27 am

Sandy wrote:
William Thornton wrote:The school had governing docs that prevented renegade trustees from stealing the school away from MBC. Maybe MBC will run it into the ground but it's always been theirs to do so.


I see two possible outcomes here. One, the convention proposes that the university "buy itself out" in an arrangement similar to what Belmont made with Tennessee Baptists. They would recover at least some of the legal fees they've spent on this. Or, the school files an appeal with a higher court, and sees if the convention is willing to invest the funds to keep going.

My wife has family in a couple of the churches in the St. Louis association. I don't think the school will ever go back under convention control.


Would like to see Thornton explain further his definition of renegades and how it applies to other situations. No surprise to Thornton I would like to know who he considered the "renegades" in the Nelson Price Shorter Debacle with the Ga Baptist Convention; and then who were the "Renegades" when Jerry Vines met off campus during a Peace Committee expedition in NC with Rocky Purvis and other fundamentalist disgruntled in 1987 when Pressler and Jesse Helms went after my Dad's friend and classmate Randall Lolley at SEBTS
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby William Thornton » Tue Oct 24, 2017 8:28 am

You're a renegade. I'm not. Look it up in the liberry. Get the Gospel Dog to help you if necessary.
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Re: Missouri Baptist Convention wins lawsuit

Postby Sandy » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:23 pm

http://mbcpathway.com/2017/09/28/breaki ... -home-mbu/

This is from the Pathway, the MBC publication. So it looks like the University and the Baptist Home both have an appeal avenue still open to them, the same one the Foundation took earlier. Most of the pastor friends I have in Missouri now are retired, though a couple still keep up with convention business. What I hear is that where it goes may be a coin flip. There's not an expectation that MBU will ever return to convention control, but the convention doesn't have the money to keep fighting the court battle. It is, in fact, in debt now because of it.

This is a case where the moderates took over an institution that was struggling with enrollment, having trouble paying bills, maintaining buildings and staying afloat, and since they gained control, enrollment has doubled, the school is out of debt, expanding endowment, making investments, establishing branch campuses and is the largest of the Baptist-affiliated colleges in the state, and among the most reasonable when it comes to cost. In a time when private, church related colleges are closing their doors and struggling at best, they're thriving and growing. That's something that most schools want to keep going.
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