GREENSBORO — Churches will no longer be able to support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) through a Baptist State Convention (BSC) giving plan. Messengers to the BSC annual meeting voted Nov. 12 to kill that option in the new giving plan they adopted that becomes effective in 2010.
Messengers disregarded a platform full of staff and elected leadership and the “prayer saturated” work of the Giving Plans Study Committee and voted 431-354 to kill an option in the proposed giving plan that would have allowed churches to designate 10 percent of their gifts to ministries of the CBF.
BR photo by Norman Jameson
Fletcher pastor Matt Williamson said he would be "willing to die on the hill of inerrancy of scripture" when he moved that the CBF giving option be removed from the Giving Plans recommendation.
The option was the committee’s conscious effort to make a way for North Carolina Baptist churches with an appreciation for the work of CBF to remain involved in the BSC. Messengers said they preferred a clear, exclusive separation.
While there is no way to anticipate the immediate effect, long faces among study committee members after the vote, which was the last action of the 2008 convention, showed real concern.
“The Giving Plan Study Committee made a proposal to the convention as we felt led of the Lord,” said Ed Yount, chairman of the Giving Plans Study Committee. “It was approved without opposition by the Board of Directors. The great thing about being Baptists is our autonomy and the messengers have spoken. My prayer is we can move forward in Christ.”
After the CBF option was deleted from the study committee’s recommendation to return the BSC to a single giving plan, the recommendation was approved with only about 50 people voting against it.
That vote will end the BSC's four giving plans in 2010, after 19 years of multiple options. One of the current options, Plan C, sends 10 percent to national CBF.
What was deleted
The study committee’s recommendation would have allowed churches to support CBF by checking a box on the remittance form churches use to send their money to the BSC. Following the vote, that box will not be on the form.
N.C. Baptist churches have been among CBF's strongest supporters since it formed in 1991 as a missionary sending alternative to the Southern Baptist Convention, which had taken a decidedly conservative turn. Many churches that have historically supported CBF through the BSC have started in the past few years to send money to CBF through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina (CBF-NC).
The motion to remove the option of giving to CBF through the BSC was made by Matt Williamson, pastor of Oak Forest Baptist Church in Fletcher. He originally moved that giving to CBF be removed from Plan C. After being told there was no Plan C in the recommendation, he moved to remove CBF from the proposal.
Williamson said CBF does not support biblical inerrancy, nor the Southern Baptist Convention.
"That does not seem to be good discipleship," he said.
C.J. Bordeaux, pastor of Gorman Baptist Church in Durham, a study committee member and a "very solidly conservative,” said North Carolina is a very diverse state and the committee “tried to include as many people and churches as we could.”
If churches do not support CBF, “you don’t have to check that box,” he said.
End the tolerance
Eric Page, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Columbus, spoke in favor of Williamson's amendment.
"I agree it's a choice, but if we don't take a stand this is tolerance," he said.
Page said Popeye only took abuse so long before he "popped out" a can of spinach and put an end to it.
"It's time for us to pop out a can of spinach and put an end to tolerance," he said.
When Yount said money going to CBF does not count as Cooperative Program giving Jeff Dawkins, pastor of Jewel Baptist Church in High Point, said that sounded like “a pacifier."
"It's real simple,” Dawkins said. “If someone wants to give to CBF, they can write a check to CBF."
Kenny Byrd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sylva, said that his church supports CBF. He said his congregation believes the Bible and believes in Jesus Christ.
"I'm not a dragon," he said. "I don't have smoke coming out of my ears."
Byrd said it's time to quit fussing and serve Jesus Christ.
"You know what, if you want to give to the SBC, you can write a check to the SBC," he said.
William Futrell, a messenger from Coats Baptist Church, said the BSC should not support another denomination, which is how he described CBF.
"Just because it has Baptist in its name doesn't mean it's Baptist," he said.
"My point is why burden the Baptist State Convention with this? If it doesn't count as Cooperative Program, why don't they just send it to CBF?"