Messengers offer 17 motions at SBC
Gregory Tomlin, Baptist Press
June 16, 2011

Messengers offer 17 motions at SBC

Messengers offer 17 motions at SBC
Gregory Tomlin, Baptist Press
June 16, 2011

PHOENIX — Messengers offered 17 motions June 14 during the

opening day of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Phoenix,

Ariz. All but one of the motions, however, were referred to SBC entities or

ruled out of order during the subsequent business sessions of the convention.

The remaining motion was referred by messengers for a vote at the 2012 annual

meeting in New Orleans.

Referred motions

A motion by Keith Rogers from Santan Baptist Church on the Gila River Indian

Reservation in Chandler, Ariz., called for the Committee on the Order of

Business to reinstitute at least one evening session, preferably on Tuesday

evening, for the annual meeting. According to Rogers, “many of our lay leaders,

including some from the church that I pastor, and bivocational pastors who could

only attend an evening session, were not offered that opportunity this year.”

Rogers, in the same motion, said a missionary appointment service should be a

part of that evening session. The Committee on the Order of Business moved that

the motion be referred for consideration in connection with the 2012 SBC annual

meeting. Messengers approved the motion to refer.

Eleven motions were automatically referred because they dealt with the internal

operations or ministries of SBC entities. Several were referred to LifeWay

Christian Resources. Those included:

  • A motion from Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind.,

    requesting that LifeWay Christian Resources be asked to consider creating

    materials to equip fathers to lead families in regular home devotionals.

  • A motion from Craig Thomas from Whitwell (Tenn.) First Baptist Church asking

    LifeWay Christian Resources to reinstate disclaimers when they sell The Shack

    because the book undermines or opposes articles two and four of the Baptist Faith

    and Message 2000. Those articles pertain to the Trinity and salvation. In 2009,

    LifeWay posted in stores a discernment notice for readers of The Shack,

    primarily because of the fictional book’s depictions of different modes of God’s

    existence namely the representation of God as a woman. The notice about the

    book later was removed.

  • A motion from Channing Kilgore of South Whitwell Baptist Church in Whitwell,

    Tenn., to recommend LifeWay Christian Resources publish the criteria the entity

    uses in the selection and sale of “biblically-related materials.”

  • A motion from George Kelly of Memorial Baptist Church in Killeen, Texas,

    calling for the SBC to address the ministry and teaching needs of senior

    adults, “the fastest growing segment of our society.”

  • A motion from Stephen Haffly of Grace Baptist Church in Wake Forest,

    requesting messengers to encourage publishers, including LifeWay Christian

    Resources, to make electronic editions of academic works available for

    electronic devices such as Kindle, Nook and iPad. Haffly noted this would

    benefit students by making the literature more easily accessible and reduce

    production costs.

  • A motion from Young McCann of Journey Christian Fellowship in San Luis

    Obispo, Calif., requesting the SBC to study issues related to human sexuality —

    namely pornography and homosexuality — in the culture and in churches and

    provide guidelines for church members, church leaders and convention leaders to

    promote gospel-centered sexuality to educate, train and restore God’s people to

    bring maximum glory to God. McCann’s motion also was referred to the Ethics

    & Religious Liberty Commission.

  • A motion from Mickey Porter of Mountain View Baptist Church in Layton, Utah,

    to move the primary responsibility for ministry to university and college

    students from LifeWay Christian Resources to the North American Mission Board

    was referred to both entities.

  • A second motion from George Kelly, asking the North American Mission Board to

    develop a strategy and resources to assist small and struggling churches “to

    come alive by providing funds to call full-time pastors,” also was referred to

    the North American Mission Board.

Referred to the SBC Executive Committee were:

  • A motion from James Goforth of New Life Baptist Church in Florissant, Mo., that

    the Executive Committee investigate and develop a plan and system for online

    participation and voting of messengers across the country who cannot

    participate in the annual meeting in person. Goforth said this would broaden

    the involvement of small churches, bivocational and ethnic pastors, and

    international churches of the SBC.

  • A motion from Wiley Drake, pastor of Buena Park (Calif.) Baptist Church, to

    recommend to the local arrangements committee that the prayer room remain open

    24 hours a day during the remainder of the convention and future conventions.

Ruled out of order

Three motions were ruled out of order by the Committee on the Order of Business

because they were in the nature of resolutions, calling for the convention to

express an opinion without taking substantive action. The time for submitting

resolutions also had passed.

Ruled out of order for this reason were:

  • A motion in support of Israel offered by Adam Sanders, pastor of Denton

    Baptist Church in Cosby, Tenn.

  • A motion from Wiley Drake to direct the newly elected president of the

    convention to send a letter of “thanksgiving and praise to God” for Texas Gov.

    Rick Perry for his leadership in calling America to a day of prayer and fasting

    Aug. 6.

  • A motion, also from Wiley Drake, to direct the newly elected president of the

    convention to send a letter to President Barack Obama “requesting, that as a

    professing Christian, he as president call the United States of America to a

    special day of solemn assembly and prayer for our nation,” as Perry had done.

Wiley Drake also made a motion directing the Ethics & Religious Liberty

Commission to investigate and report back to the convention the use of Social

Security money under Title 4D (Child Support) and Title 4E (Child Protective

Services), originally intended “for the welfare of children and now which has

become child abuse, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Federal Appeals.”

This motion was ruled out of order because the work of an SBC entity is

directed only by its board of trustees.

According to SBC bylaws, “Any motion which seeks to have the Convention

exercise authority of an entity’s board is not in order. Messengers may offer

motions which request, but not direct, that an entity take an action.” Drake

later returned to the microphone and offered the same motion, but striking the

word “direct” and replacing it with the word “request.” That motion was

referred to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Kent Cochran, messenger from Calvary Baptist Church in Republic, Mo., called for

the SBC to create a special “Unity Committee” to review, evaluate and make

recommendations about the perception and realities of the impact and

implementation of the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force’s recommendations

during the past year by SBC entities, state conventions and related

organizations and networks. Cochran, in the same motion, called for the

proposed committee, comprised of 21 presidential appointees, to make their

findings public for all Southern Baptists no later than 12 months after the

committee provides its findings to the SBC.

That motion, however, was ruled out of order because a motion is not in order

when it requests a new committee to fulfill the assignments of a standing

committee. The 2010 convention assigned portions of the GCR report to the SBC

Executive Committee.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Tomlin is a writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.)