Events in the Southern Baptist crisis in cooperation
Part 2: 2000 to present
by Wm. Robert Johnston
updated 30 June 2003
Despite the controversy of the last two decades, Southern Baptists remain arguably the most successful cooperative force in reaching the world for Christ. Events at both national and state convention levels nonetheless show that divisions affecting this cooperation are not diminishing. This page is a (currently) sketchy listing of events and documents pertaining to what qualifies as a crisis in cooperation. While particular attention is given to SBC-BGCT relations, other issues in cooperation are included.
This document is separated into two parts:
- 2000--The SBC FMB changed the question for missionary candidates to a yes/no question: "I have read and am in agreement with the current Baptist Faith & Message." Candidates checking "no" were instructed to "cite any area of difference." Additionally, candidates were required to sign the statement "In accountability to the International Mission Board and Southern Baptists, I agree to carry out my responsibilities in accordance with and not contrary to the current Baptist Faith & Message as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention." [00a]
- 14 June 2000--The SBC in its annual convention adopted a new Baptist Faith and Message.
- 19 September 2000--The SBC Executive Committee passed a Resolution on the Cooperative Program Agreement Between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It declared the BGCT's budget plan a "unilateral breach of its 75 year partnership agreement" and appeals to the BGCT to reject it.
- 26 September 2000--The BGCT Executive Board approved a budget proposal removing 81% of support for the SBC seminaries, 95% of support for the SBC Executive Board, and all support for the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. [00b]
- 28 September 2000--SBC's Executive Committee President Morris Chapman and BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade held an unannounced meeting in Dallas to try to improve dialogue between the two conventions. They agreed to meet again on 19 October, although the two later gave different accounts of the conditions of this meeting. [00c]
- October 2000--SBC's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's President Ken Hemphill criticized the BGCT's budget proposal various forums and called for action by students. [00d]
- 2 October 2000--The SBC Executive Committee inaugurated a new web site, "Baptist 2 Baptist", specifically targeting the issues between the SBC and BGCT. At the same time, a booklet "The Truth About the SBC & Texas" was mailed to pastors of Texas churches and made available free for distribution to congregations. The booklet included an article on Cooperative Program issues which used misleading statistics. Both efforts were funded with Cooperative Program funds. [00e]
- 5 October 2000--BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade informed SBC Executive Board chairman Morris Chapman that he is unable to meet with him on 19 Oct. to engage in dialogue. [00f]
- 5 October 2000--The BGCT's Committee on Baptist Integrity criticized the new website and mailings by the SBC Executive Board. [00g]
- 10 October 2000--At SBC's Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, trustees voted to initiate budget adjustments in anticipation of a $500,000 funding shortfall due to the BGCT's proposed budget changes. [00h]
- 30 October 2000--The BGCT in its annual convention approved a budget significantly reducing support for several SBC entities.
- 31 January 2001--The SBC Baptist Press reported statements by BGCT's Financial Director Roger Hall.
- 12 June 2001--At the SBC annual convention three motions were made to amend the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. During debate SBC leadership strongly criticized the amendments--not just the particular amendments, but any effort in general to amend the BF&M. All three amendments were soundly defeated.
- October 2001--The SBTC's Southern Baptist Texan printed an article "Abstinence program linking Buckner and Planned Parenthood stirs concern in Amarillo." The article reported that the BGCT's Buckner Baptist Benevolences was among 24 co-sponsors of an abstinence education program also sponsored by Planned Parenthood.
- 30 November 2001--The BGCT in its annual convention approved the recommendations of the Seminary Study Committee. The report of the Mission Sending Agencies Study Committee was heard, but required no action. The budget was approved 74.3% to 25.7%.
- January 2002--current IMB missionaries were asked by IMB's Rankin to sign the 2000 BF&M. Robin Hadaway of the IMB's Eastern South America office told regional missionaries "I believe you will not find the changes that significant," referring to differences between the 1963 and 2000 BF&Ms. [02a]
- 25 January 2002--Date of a letter from SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Morris Chapman to James Hill regarding a proposed second state convention in Missouri. [02b]
- February 2002--Rankin stated that missionaries who do not sign the 2000 BF&M will not necessarily be fired, but that there has not been a final decision on how to deal with such a situation. [02c]
- 4 February 2002--Date of a letter from SBC Executive Committee President and CEO Morris Chapman sent directly to the leaders of individual Baptist churches in Texas. Included with the letter was a brochure which suggests churches either opt for a plan other than the BGCT budget or give through the breakaway Texas state convention, the SBTC. [02d]
- 4 February 2002--Issue date for the Baptist Standard in which Marv Knox, in an editorial, criticized Chapman's recent letter to Texas Baptist churches. [02e]
- 6 February 2002--Date of an article by SBC Vice-President for Cooperative Program David Hankins titled "On Facts and Fallacies." This article responsed to criticism of Chapman's letter to Texas Baptist churches. [02f]
- 18 February 2002--SBC President Morris Chapman gave a report to the SBC Executive Committee titled "A New Vision, New Voices, and New Victories!" [02g]
- 21 February 2002--The Texas Women's Missionary Union passed a resolution asking SBC President Chapman not to appeal directly to Texas Baptist churches for funds. [02h]
- 26 February 2002--The BGCT Executive Board passed a resolution calling on SBC leaders to "cease and desist from seeking to undermine the mission endeavors of state conventions in general and the Baptist General Convention of Texas in particular." [02i]
- 26 February 2002--The BGCT Executive Board established a transitional fund to financially assist SBC IMB missionaries who resign or are fired for declining to affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Members of the BGCT's Missions Review and Initiatives Committee indicated that 60 IMB missionary couples have contacted the committee confidentially indicating that they cannot affirm the new BF&M. [02j]
- 28 February 2002--A Baptist Press article quoted Cox of the SBC IMB criticizing the BGCT's and Baptist Standard's treatment of the IMB/BF&M issue. Regarding the BGCT's action on 25 Feb., he said "We regret that activists in the Baptist General Convention of Texas have chosen to misrepresent what is happening between Southern Baptist missionaries and their leadership... They are manufacturing a crisis where none exists." Cox also criticized the Baptist Standard for not reporting the SBC's side of the story. [02k]
- 11 March 2002--Issue date of Baptist Standard article which discussed comments from SBC IMB missionaries concerned about the new requirement to endorse the 2000 BF&M. [02l]
- 15 March 2002--Trustees of the SBC's International Mission Board accepted resignations from 31 missionaries. Rankin told reporters that only one resignation appeared directly related to the new requirement for missionaries to affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Trustees also voted to endorse Rankin's requirement. [02m]
- 25 March 2002--BGCT director of chaplaincy relations Bobby Smith met with the U.S. Armed Forces Chaplaincy Board to formally request that the BGCT be approved as a chaplain-endorsing agency. If successful, similar recognition by other entities such as hospitals should be straighforward. Smith told the Baptist Standard "The Baptist General Convention of Texas is answering the requests of Baptist chaplains to have a chaplaincy endorsement program that affirms the authority of Scripture and states that the Bible is God's truth without any mixture of error--without the necessity of signing a creedal statement... These chaplains want to make a conservative statement of their faith that affirms God and the Holy Bible while maintaining their beliefs in the priesthood of the believer and the religious freedom of each believer and local church." The move reflected part of the outcome of a chaplain study group that reported to the BGCT Executive Board. [02n]
- 26 March 2002--The Baptist Press reported that Paul Pressler will be nominated as first vice president of the SBC at the 11-12 June convention. Pressler is a retired appeals court judge, a member of First BC Houston, and played an instrumental role in initiating the changes in the SBC beginning in 1979. In addition, pastor Jack Graham of Prestonwood BC Plano will be nominated as SBC president. [02o]
- 26 March 2002--Date of Associated Baptist Press article by Tony Cartledge discussing the SBC's new Bible translation. SBC's LifeWay introduced the Holman Christian Standard Bible (CSB) in 1999. The review indicated that the CSB incorporated more contemporary language to the extent of producing a more gender neutral version that traditional translations. Examples: Revelation 1:4 in the King James reads "him which is, and which was, and which is to come" becomes in the CSB "the One who is, who was, and who is coming." Similarly, Romans 9:12 in the NIV reads "him who calls" is instead "the One who calls" in the CSB. [02p]
00a. Wingfield, Mark, "Has IMB changed requirements? Past and present leaders disagree," Baptist Standard, 11 March 2002. (Link)
00b. Wingfield, Mark, "Executive Board approves changes in funding for eight SBC agencies," Baptist Standard, 2 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00c. Wingfield, Mark, "Chapman and Wade differ over breakdown of last-minute talks," Baptist Standard, 16 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00d. Knox, Marv, "Hemphill urges students to be messengers to BGCT and vote," Baptist Standard, 9 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00e. "Integrity Committee assails SBC mailing and website as biased," Baptist Standard, 9 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00f. Wingfield, Mark, "Chapman and Wade differ over breakdown of last-minute talks," Baptist Standard, 16 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00g. "Integrity Committee assails SBC mailing and website as biased," Baptist Standard, 9 Oct. 2000. (Link)
00h. "Golden Gate plans budget cut," Baptist Standard, 16 Oct 2000. (Link)
02a. Allen, Bob, "Rankin reverses course; IMB missionaries must sign," Baptist Standard, 4 Feb. 2002. (Link)
02b. Chapman, Morris H., "Letter by SBC Executive Committee President & CEO Morris H. Chapman to Dr. James L. Hill," 25 Jan. 2002, Baptist2Baptist, on line. (Link)
02c. Wingfield, Mark, "Has IMB changed requirements? Past and present leaders disagree," Baptist Standard, 11 March 2002. (Link)
02d. Baptist2Baptist, on line. (Link)
02e. Knox, Marv, "Baptists deserve decisions based on fact, not fallacy," Baptist Standard, 4 Feb. 2002. (Link)
02f. Baptist2Baptist, on line. (Link)
02g. Baptist2Baptist, on line. (Link)
02h. Wingfield, Mark, "BGCT Executive Board tells SBC leaders to 'cease and desist'," Baptist Standard, 25 Feb. 2002. (Link)
02i. Wingfield, Mark, "BGCT Executive Board tells SBC leaders to 'cease and desist'," Baptist Standard, 25 Feb. 2002. (Link)
02j. Knox, Marv, "BGCT establishes transitional fund for IMB missionaries who won't sign," Baptist Standard, 4 March 2002. (Link)
02k. Wingfield, Mark, "IMB says BGCT is 'manufacturing crisis'," Baptist Standard, 4 March 2002. (Link)
02l. Martin, Dan, "Missionaries express concern in e-mails," Baptist Standard, 11 March 2002. (Link)
02m. Allen, Bob, "Rankin expects most missionaries to sign; trustees commend Rankin," Baptist Standard, 25 March 2002. (Link)
02n. Camp, Ken, Baptist Standard, 1 Apr 2002. (Link)
02o. Wingfield, Mark, "Pressler will be nominated as SBC's 1st vice president at annual meeting," Baptist Standard, 1 April 2002. (Link)
02p. Cartledge, Tony, "Southern Baptist-published Bible also uses gender-neutral approach," 26 March 2002, Associated Baptist Press, on line [http://www.abpnews.com/abpnews/story.cfm?newsId=3142]. (Link)
© 2002, 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 30 June 2003.
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