Employees not required to sign BF&M, BSC leaders say
April 12 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Employees not required to sign BF&M, BSC leaders say | Friday, April 12, 2002

Friday, April 12, 2002

Employees not required to sign BF&M, BSC leaders say

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A recommendation from the Steering Committee of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) received a mixed response from the General Board's Executive Committee on April 11.

The MBNC asked the Executive Committee to "adopt a resolution affirming that no full time employee of the General Board and no 'joint employee' of the General Board will be required to sign any statement of 'Faith and Message.'"

Employees of the Baptist State Convention are not currently required to sign any version of the Baptist Faith and Message.

On a recommendation from the administration, the Executive Committee responded by reaffirming an earlier statement on hiring practices that was approved by the committee on Sept. 26, 2000. The statement, as adopted by the Executive Committee, said, "We affirm our past and present practice of trusting Convention leaders to deal with issues of personal faith and practice through careful interviews with potential employees rather than defining acceptability for employment by specific doctrinal statements such as the Baptist Faith and Message."

The General Board approved the statement the following day, after amending it to read, "We affirm our past and present practice of trusting Convention leaders to deal with issues of personal faith and practice through careful interviews with potential employees."

The MBNC recommendation also asked the Executive Committee to "seek ways and means within our Convention giving plans to provide funds for a 'safety net' for those missionaries who have ties with our state and cannot in good conscience sign the 2000 Southern Baptist Convention Baptist Faith and Message," and that a procedure be established to receive gifts from churches wishing to contribute to such a fund.

The Executive Committee voted to refer that request to the convention's Budget Study Committee.

The MBNC recommendation came in the form of a letter from Roy J. Smith, chair of the MBNC Steering Committee and former Executive Director-Treasurer of the BSC, and Kathryn Hamrick, secretary of the Steering Committee and former officer of the General Board.

The request was made "in light of the recent actions of the International Mission Board (IMB) and the North American Mission Board (NAMB)," according to the letter.

In January, IMB president Jerry Rankin requested that all IMB missionaries sign an affirmation of the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) as revised in 2000, indicate any areas of disagreement with the statement, and pledge that they would work within its doctrinal guidelines. Soon afterward, NAMB officials announced that its 59 "national missionaries," those fully funded by NAMB, were being asked to sign a similar affirmation. Personnel jointly hired prior to the 2000 BF&M are not affected by the request, but current and future joint hires will be expected to affirm the new BF&M, according to a letter from NAMB president Robert E. Reccord to state executive directors.

When contacted at home, Smith said he was gratified that the Executive Committee reaffirmed the current hiring policies but concerned that the issue of jointly hired staff may not have been fully addressed by the action.

He also expressed gratitude that the request for a "safety net" would receive further study.

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4/12/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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