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