SBC leaders urged to 'cease and desist'
March 1 2002 by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard

SBC leaders urged to 'cease and desist' | Friday, March 1, 2002

Friday, March 1, 2002

SBC leaders urged to 'cease and desist'

By Mark Wingfield Texas Baptist Standard

DALLAS, Texas - Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders have been urged to "cease and desist from seeking to undermine the mission endeavors of state conventions in general and the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) in particular."

That was the message conveyed in a resolution of the BGCT Executive Board Feb. 26.

Wesley Shotwell, pastor of Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle, Texas, presented the resolution, adopted by the 220-member board with three dissenting votes. It expressed "dismay and offense" over a letter written by Morris Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee to pastors and lay leaders of Texas Baptist churches. That letter, the resolution states, attempted to "persuade Baptist churches in Texas to redirect Cooperative Program giving away from the BGCT budget."

The resolution notes that Baptists historically have cooperated together in associations, conventions and fellowships for the common purpose of fostering missions. It also notes that the BGCT last year forwarded $36.5 million in contributions to the SBC.

Earlier in the Executive Board meeting, BGCT Executive Director Charles Wade spoke about Chapman's Feb. 4 letter, which urged Texas Baptist churches to reduce their funding for the BGCT, consider dividing their missions money evenly between the BGCT and the SBC or start giving through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Last year, "in spite of the distractions, in spite of a rebel convention siphoning off support from our cause," the BGCT contributed 46 percent of total offering receipts to Southern Baptist causes, Wade said.

But Chapman didn't mention those facts in his letter, Wade said.

"Such an attack on the integrity of our Texas Baptist adopted budget was improper, mean-spirited and ungrateful," he said. "To add to the wrong, a four-color promotional piece was included in the letter touting the competing convention in Texas.

"And all this was paid for out of Cooperative Program funds which our own Texas Baptist churches had helped to give."

Just five days before the Executive Board meeting, the executive board of Texas Woman's Missionary Union took a similar stand, voting to ask Chapman to refrain from appealing directly for funds from churches affiliated with the BGCT.

In addition to adopting Shotwell's resolution, the Executive Board adopted a statement reaffirming its commitment to the Bible as "truth without any mixture of error."

This action was taken in response to a motion made at the fall Executive Board meeting by a pastor who since has resigned from the board and led his church to uniquely align with the competing state convention. He had asked the Executive Board to affirm the "inerrancy" of the Bible's original manuscripts.

The response approved by the Executive Board notes that messengers to BGCT annual sessions in 1980 and 1999 affirmed the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith & Message and its section on Scripture.

"Texas Baptists have not changed our high view of the divinely inspired Scripture, and there is no need to say any more than has been said in earlier affirmations," the board said.

Wade also addressed this matter in his executive director's report.

"Let no one doubt the joyful gratitude we express to God for his written word. ... Let no one doubt our adoration and praise to the Son of God, our Savior, who is the Living Word of God," he said.

"We celebrate with reverence the gift of God to us in the inspired Scriptures. We believe the book that is in our hands. We believe it so much that we need no man-made summaries to take its place."

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3/1/2002 12:00:00 AM by Mark Wingfield , Texas Baptist Standard | with 0 comments
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