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Motions: Convention to study alcohol, BFM
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 15, 2010
4 MIN READ TIME

Motions: Convention to study alcohol, BFM

Motions: Convention to study alcohol, BFM
Norman Jameson, BR Editor
November 15, 2010

Motions approved by

messengers to the Baptist State Convention (BSC) Nov. 9 call for studies on

North Carolina Baptists’ position on alcohol and on adopting the Baptist Faith

and Message 2000 as the statement of doctrinal parameters for the Convention.

Tim Rogers, pastor of

Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, introduced the motion on alcohol

because of concerns that failure to address the issue specifically was implying

approval of moderate social drinking, when he believes abstinence is the only

appropriate stance for a Christian.

Mark Creech, a member of

Carter’s Chapel Baptist Church in Selma and executive director of the Christian

Action League in North Carolina, supported the motion, saying he is disturbed

about the “loose and even irresponsible way” the church approaches the issue of

beverage alcohol use.

“We have a whole new group

coming up that don’t have a strong biblical position on alcohol use,” Creech

said from his booth in the exhibit hall later. “They advocate moderation rather

than abstention.”

Creech said he’s seeing

“slippage in the Baptist ranks” concerning their attitudes toward social

drinking. “We need to draw a line,” he said.

Yet in his comments supporting

the motion, Creech said the motion “would do nothing to violate a person’s

personal convictions on alcohol use” but rather would develop a policy that

“requires Convention leadership and various ministries set the highest

example.”

BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle

Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trail, looks at his notes Nov. 9 before talking about his motion before the Baptist State Convention annual messengers.

Rogers’ goal is a policy

that employs, releases funds for church planting, and nominates only persons

serving on the board of the BSC, or any agency or institution, who personally

do not uses and publicly advocate total abstinence from the social use of

beverage alcohol.

Rogers was prompted to

present the motion by photographs of non-BSC church planters with alcohol, and

statements by a prominent North Carolina Baptist pastor that he would consume

alcohol if “not drinking” would be a stumbling block to winning a person to Christ.

To argue that there is any situation where not drinking “would hurt the cause

of the gospel” is a false argument, said Rogers, who found encouragement from

other pastors to present the motion, but none that would help him place it

before the Convention. Rogers said after he presented his motion, “I was

concerned that if we continued down the road we would end up affirming the

social use of beverage alcohol.”

While a motion against

beverage alcohol was approved at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention meeting

in Greensboro, it did not pass without opposition and Rogers was dismayed at

the picture offered to the public that had Baptist pastors arguing against

abstinence. He says his motion does not address a church’s position, but

“merely directs a policy to be implemented that states to the world, the

Southern Baptists that make up the North Carolina Baptist State Convention

oppose the moderate use of beverage alcohol and we will not employ anyone that

advances its use.”

Motion for BF&M

Phil Addison, pastor of

Stony Point Baptist Church in Stony Point and a member of the BSC board of

directors, asked messengers to “direct the Board of Directors to study and come

with recommendations concerning the adoption of the Baptist Faith and message

2000 as the doctrinal statement for the North Carolina Baptist State

Convention.”

Addison said it is time to

adopt “doctrinal parameters” that will be beneficial to church planting,

discipleship and church health.

“Many issues we face in the

Convention would not have been issues years ago if we’d have had doctrinal

parameters,” Addison said. “Somehow we’ve never decided we’re Southern Baptist”

and will work with the Baptist Faith and Message, he said.

“It’s time we get this mess

behind us,” he said, without detailing the “mess” to which he referred.

Adopting any creedal

statement has long been anathema to Baptists until the “conservative

resurgence” in Southern Baptist life prompted a restatement of “Baptist

beliefs.”

No statement is binding on

any autonomous church, although the arguments that result in discussion about

such statements have caused significant controversy wherever it has been

introduced.