Nothing in the Giving Plans Study Committee (GPSC) report amended and approved by messengers in annual session Nov. 12 changes the relationship of any church cooperating with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, according to BSC Executive Director-treasurer Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
Milton A. Hollifield Jr.
Hollifield distributed a letter via e-mail to over 4,000 pastors and associational offices Nov. 18 to clarify misperceptions that churches which give money both to the BSC and to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) are no longer welcome in the BSC.
“A church's cooperative relationship with the BSCNC is based upon (its) financial support of the Cooperative Program, and (its) desire to participate in the missions and ministries efforts of the Convention,” Hollifield said. “The autonomous decision by any church to direct a portion of its missions budget, whether through use of the remittance form or through direct contributions, to organizations outside of the BSCNC does not result in a change of relationship with the Convention.”
Messengers adopted the report of the Giving Plans Study Committee after amending it to exclude an option that would have let churches send money to CBF national through their check to the BSC. Dialog between opinions on the convention floor at times grew tense.
“The discussion surrounding the five recommendations of the study committee and the subsequent amendment revealed both the strength and weakness of Baptist polity,” Hollifield said. “Any messenger at any time may question anything for any reason.”
Although debate on the amendment included repudiation of CBF for not holding to inerrancy, Hollifield said in the “frequently asked questions” section of his letter that voting on the amendment was not a referendum on inerrancy. It was neither a vote for “liberal theology” nor a vote against “the doctrine of inerrancy,” he said.
Hollifield applauded the unity evident in the annual meeting’s first two days and emphasized the Convention’s commitment to serve local churches.
“We have taken great leaps forward to prayerfully position the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina as a servant to local churches,” he said. “North Carolina brims with change as the state's population increases with people from other nations and cultures. It seems that God is bringing the world to our doorstep, and we must learn to live as missionaries in our own state.”
Hollifield emphasized that the Giving Plans Study Committee full report included five recommendations. The other four were adopted, which include a move to a single plan and the options to negatively designate; to designate two percent each for the Adopt an Annuitant Program; and to designate two percent for theological education at Campbell and Gardner-Webb divinity schools.
Hollifield said GPSC members “represented the finest our churches could offer” and that they “were respectful of each other; prayed for each other; talked with each other; and worked to advance the issue forward with no false caricature of the other's position.”
He reminded churches that the current four giving plans are operational through all of 2008 and 2009 and encouraged “all churches currently in friendly cooperation with this Convention” to continue to support its work” through the Cooperative Program.
He closed with an argument for the value of churches’ continuing cooperation with the BSC.