Messengers kill CBF option in new giving plan
    November 12 2008 by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor and Norman Jameson, BR Editor

    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?"
    11/12/2008 10:47:00 AM by Steve DeVane, BR Managing Editor and Norman Jameson, BR Editor | with 9 comments

"Williamson said CBF does not support biblical inerrancy, nor the Southern Baptist Convention."

I just have to ask, why is there a debate about this? I don't understand.

If the CBF does not support biblical inerrancy, and they do not support the SBC, why is there even a question of our Southern Baptist Convention sending contributuions to an organization that does not believe in what we believe in? I really do not understand this.

11/18/2008 9:17:26 AM

The following comment is from Ed Beddingfield who had trouble getting his computer to post it. I am glad to help. Norman Jameson

Eric Page invokes a cartoon character as an ethical model for dealing with Christians whose point of view differs from his own – here concerning CBF pass-through contributions. Another messenger (whose name I don’t remember), speaking against the reinstatement of the WMU in the NC Missions Offering, says we need “to put Satan behind us.” Who is the “Satan” he’s talking about? The WMU? Anyone who raises a dissenting voice? The spiritual and intellectual discourse at our annual convention has reached a new level.

On the CBF question I commend C. J. Bordeaux, Steve Hardy and Ed Yount for at least voicing the Budget Committee’s desire to continue to include people like me and churches like ours. Their remarks indicate a committee process that was thoughtful and a tone that was respectful, both of which were once the norm in NC Baptist life (not to mention in the Bible!). But I guess for a proposal to be “bathed in prayer” and for a committee to feel “led of the Lord” is no longer relevant to convention messengers.

Mr. Page referred to Popeye’s famous statement, when he’s finally had enough: “I’ve had all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.” Then, after squeezing open the can of spinach and gulping down the contents, Popeye proceeds to beat the dickens out of his rival – a Christ-like example, to be sure.

So we all watched as Mr. Page literally wagged his finger at the house on Wednesday morning and shouted, “It’s time to put an end to the tolerance!” By their vote, the messengers agreed. I congratulate Mr. Page for his insight. No words were spoken during the entire three days that more eloquently and accurately describe the mood and the actions of the 2008 convention.
11/14/2008 10:50:05 AM

Jerry L. Welch
I do not usually become involved in commenting on issues. However, I feel that there were some things that were not thought out on Wednesday morning. Let me state that our church does not give to the CBF and probably never will. But as a Baptist for my entire life I understand that when we talk about autonomy we decide issues for ourselves. What disturbs me is the fact that the tone of voice used by those supporting the admenment was not showing Christian love. Will our Convention continue to grow backwards? I am not sure. But if we are to grow forward we need to have the support of everyone. My fear is that many churches who are dually aligned will make a chice to follow one group. Which group will that be? My prayer is that the supporters of CBF will be greater Christians than those who acted Wednesday and forgive and forget. Let's just go forward with doing the work of making disciples!
11/14/2008 9:44:47 AM

Tim Marsh
One thing, only 785 or so of the 2200 or so registered delegates voted on this issue. I had no idea. 900 delegates decided the fate of the giving plans. In a year when the presidential election brought the greatest turn out in voter history, only 785 voted on an issue that affected convention policy in effect for 17 years!

We should be ashamed! If attendance is declining, we should find out why. If the traditional convention system - having a three day meeting in the middle of November preceding the busiest time of the year during the week days - is not working with people's schedules, then we need to change it. If meeting every year is too much, we need to change it. If electronic voting from home is now possible, or media available to gain participation and inform others, then we need to use it.

11/13/2008 10:41:14 AM

Ron Cava
I wish to preface my comments by thanking the study committee and the convention leadership for their strong efforts to maintain the giving options for congregations that support CBF. Had these efforts and the comments of people like Ed Yount and C.J. Bordeaux come years ago we might not even have been having the discussion yesterday.

Our church has worked diligently to do what the messengers at this convention refused to do; offer respect and dignity to those who do not see all things alike, including how best to carry out missions in the today's Baptist context. We have allowed those who wanted to support SBC or CBF causes to do so, following only the leadership of God's Spirit in their hearts. We have done so through the multiple giving plans of the BSCNC. We have never accused one another of being less Christian, less Baptist, less moral, less Bible believing or less led by the Spirit because of the choices we make. But all of the above were at least implied, and some explicitly stated, yesterday by messengers regarding those who support CBF. I was highly offended for myself and for those in our congregation who support CBF.

A sad thing in all of this is the dismal lack of understanding that has been shown regarding the historical understandings of Baptists when it comes to denominational connectionalism. One messenger who spoke did not even understand that there is a real difference between "denominations" and "conventions." Kenny Byrd was correct in reminding us that the Baptist State Convention does not belong to either the SBC or CBF.

An even sadder thing is that even the most basic Christian charity was abandoned in deference to a critical, harsh, judgmental attitude from those messengers who still believe that the problems in this convention stem from the presence of those who offer dissent against the particular points of view of the majority opinion. So now that the convention is rid of WMU, rid of our colleges and universities, rid of the Retirement homes and rid of CBF there should be no problems left. Except not even the elected leadership of the convention seemed to agree with the rogue messengers who precipitated this action. Who will have to go now?

I do not know what our congregation will do now. I suspect we will be Baptists whether others see us as that or not. We will make our own decisions based on our own values and following our discernment of what the Spirit is saying. Our mission dollars will follow closely. I suspect those who understand that their 10% is not wanted by the BSCNC may decide that their 90% is not deserved by the BSCNC.
11/13/2008 9:48:35 AM

Why doesn't CBF declare itself a denomination? Wouldn't that clear up a lot of confusion?
11/13/2008 9:25:08 AM

Mike Parnell
What this does is insure that the BSCNC is the giving arm for the SBC. It will remain to be seen if the conservative churches will make up the shortfall that may come from CBF churches not giving to the BSCNC.

Don Gordon is right. The BSCNC firmly told the CBF churches that they are no longer welcome.

One thing remains to be seen is if this will affect giving that many CBF churches did to the State offering.
11/12/2008 10:17:41 PM

Don Gordon
Don Gordon
Most long-time observers of the convention knew this day would come. It was a matter of time. Churches affiliated with CBF have already been treated as second-class citizens in the state convention, evidenced by their CBF contributions not being counted as CP giving. Now there is an unequivocal declaration that CBF related churches have moved from second-class citizens in the convention to non-citizens. The voices of those speaking in favor of ridding the convention of CBF influence exuded disdain for the virtues of tolerance, cooperation, and following their own official leadership. These voices prevailed. Many cheered. Some of us grieved. Thank goodness and thank God there are other ways for Baptists in NC to cooperate for carrying out the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. One of those ways, not the only way, but one of those ways is the CBFNC.
11/12/2008 8:31:11 PM

To those who commented on the earlier version of the story, the comments were accidently deleted when we updated. Please add your insightful remarks again. I apologize for the error.
Norman Jameson, editor
11/12/2008 5:39:22 PM

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