IMB refuses missions gifts from 'Mainstream' group
May 25 2001 by Tim Palmer and Bill Webb , Associated Baptist Press

IMB refuses missions gifts from 'Mainstream' group | Friday, May 25, 2001

Friday, May 25, 2001

IMB refuses missions gifts from 'Mainstream' group

By Tim Palmer and Bill Webb Associated Baptist Press JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) said "no thanks" to missions gifts being routed around a conservative-led state convention.

IMB President Jerry Rankin says the Richmond, Va.,-based mission board doesn't want money from Mainstream Missouri Baptists, an organization opposed to conservatives who recently solidified control of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

After failing in repeated efforts to defend the state against a conservative takeover, Mainstream Missouri Baptists recently turned their attention to promoting alternative giving plans that support selected causes inside and outside the state while excluding others.

In a March 20 letter to Doyle Sager, president of the Mainstream group, Rankin said accepting money from alternate channels undermines the Cooperative Program unified budget that supports the SBC and state convention simultaneously.

Rankin said it is inappropriate for an SBC agency to accept money while another Cooperative Program-related entity - in this case the Missouri Baptist Convention - is excluded.

"We're committed to each other," Rankin said. "As much as we need that support, we're not interested in benefiting to the detriment of others."

Rankin said the decision is consistent with IMB policy of refusing gifts from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate group that supports its own missionaries and church programs but in earlier days also forwarded money to selected SBC ministries. "CBF, however you see it, is an alternative to our cooperation," Rankin said.

"If a church feels led of the Lord to support the IMB, I would presume they would be obedient to the Lord's leadership and find an appropriate channel to do that," Rankin said. He said no state group other than Mainstream Missouri Baptists has offered to channel funds to the IMB.

The Mainstream group includes the IMB in one of three giving plans it promotes in the state. Despite Rankin's letter, Sager said the organization would continue to honor donor wishes.

Sager called Rankin's letter "sort of a thanks, but no thanks." He added, "They preferred to receive Cooperative Program funds and not to bypass the approved channels of CP."

However, because the funds had been designated for IMB by churches, "We're seeing that it gets to the IMB," Sager said. "There are many ways to see that that happens. We're using appropriate channels." The MMB president declined to specify how the funds were being forwarded.

"Every penny that people are designating to IMB is getting there," Sager said. "Good accounting principles are being followed. We would pass any good CPA's audit.

"These are giving plans that Missouri Baptists asked us to create," Sager said. "People wanted this choice. In other words, these combinations of plans didn't show up willy-nilly."

Because of that, Sager said, the organization plans to continue to honor the designations. "The philosophy behind it was that we didn't think Jerry Rankin and his board set the giving policy for Missouri Baptists," he said.

"It is inconceivable to us that the IMB would refuse Baptist money that is trying to go to Baptist missionaries - that we would want to cut off funds to missionaries when faithful Baptists want to get funds to them," Sager said.

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5/25/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tim Palmer and Bill Webb , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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