BSC will work with CBF churches
May 24 2002 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

BSC will work with CBF churches | Friday, May 24, 2002

Friday, May 24, 2002

BSC will work with CBF churches

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

A Baptist State Convention (BSC) decision to deny funding for a new church in Hendersonville does not signal opposition to supporting Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) churches, the head of the BSC said.

Jim Royston, executive director-treasurer of the BSC, made his comment at the BSC General Board meeting May 21. Board members asked for more details about why church start funds were denied to the Providence Baptist Church of Hendersonville.

Glenn Phillips, pastor of First Baptist Church of Goldsboro, said he thought the church had met all the criteria for assistance.

Royston replied that the issue came down to the General Board's affirmation in January of a policy that calls for the BSC to work primarily with local associations. The policy allows for exceptions, but permits preferences of the geographic association to remain primary.

Representatives of the Carolina Association, where the church is located in Henderson County, told BSC officials that support for the church would cause disharmony in the association, which requires member churches to be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Providence Baptist has been criticized because it is aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) but not the SBC, and because its pastor, Gail Coulter, is a woman.

Speaking of BSC officials, Royston said "Nobody involved had an intent not to fund the church or be critical of the church or its pastor. This is the first time that a church identified with CBF has not been funded in the traditional way."

Royston said some have counted 14 churches affiliated with CBF that have received church start funding from the BSC, but the number is uncertain because BSC officials don't normally ask potential churches about their national affiliations. "We're not anti-CBF," he said. "We're pro-N.C. Baptist. We intend to work with N.C. Baptists of all stripes."

Royston asked "Am I disappointed that this church couldn't be funded? Yes. Am I still struggling to find ways to avoid situations like it in the future? Yes. We felt like to the best of our ability we were doing what we were asked to do. We didn't feel great about saying no to a church. If it had been critical to the survival of the church it would have been even tougher. I hope it's not a trend."

Phillips asked officials to clarify that funds were denied primarily because the local association would not support it, even though Providence is a member of another association.

Milton Hollifield, executive team leader for the Mission Growth Evangelism group, reviewed the application process, reminded board members that funding is channeled through associations, and affirmed that the Carolina Association had indicated a belief that funding Providence would impact the harmony of the association.

Hollifield said many hours of telephone calls, conversations, and prayer preceded the decision. "We had to make the best decision we could in a 'no win' situation," he said. "I want to reiterate that this does not mean the BSC is not working with CBF churches. We have and we are. We don't ask national affiliation. We're trying to start N.C. Baptist churches."

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5/24/2002 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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