May 2003

BSC Plan C is constitutional, committee says

May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

BSC Plan C is constitutional, committee says | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

BSC Plan C is constitutional, committee says

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

The Baptist State Convention (BSC) giving option that sends national mission funds to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) instead of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) does not violate the BSC constitution, according to a committee appointed to study the issue.

The BSC's other giving plans send national missions money to the SBC, though churches in those plans also have the option of excluding the SBC or any other budget items included in the plan.

In the closing hours of the BSC's annual meeting in 2002, messengers approved a motion instructing convention President Jerry Pereira to appoint a study committee to investigate whether Plan C is consistent with the convention's constitution. Tim Rogers of Seagrove, who made the motion, said the BSC constitution names cooperation with the SBC as one of the convention's purposes, but Plan C sends money to CBF instead, raising a question of its constitutionality.

Pereira appointed a six-member committee, equally divided between conservatives and moderates, including three attorneys who have previous experience with the BSC constitution. Charles Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, was named chair.

The committee reached its conclusions in a single meeting on April 4, but kept the much-anticipated findings confidential until they could be presented to the BSC's Executive Committee and General Board on May 20.

In its one-page report, the committee acknowledged differences in Baptist life, but said N.C. Baptists have a rich tradition of cooperating in the work of the kingdom of God in ways that transcend differences between and within the SBC and the CBF.

The report cited Article II from the BSC constitution, which says, "The purposes of the convention shall be to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission; to promote missions, evangelism, education, social services, the distribution of the Bible and sound religious literature; and to cooperate with the work of the Southern Baptist Convention." The report also cited Article III, which says the convention is "independent and sovereign in its own sphere," and "does not claim and will never attempt to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether church, auxiliary organizations, association, or convention."

The heart of the report, Page said, was the finding that "It is neither logically nor legally necessary that each action of the Baptist State Convention fulfill each purpose of the convention in order for the action to be in furtherance of the multiple purposes of the convention."

"In other words," Page told the Executive Committee, "not every thing deals with every thing."

Since Plan C giving fulfills all the purposes of the BSC with the exception of cooperation with the SBC, Page said, "the bottom line" is that "inclusion of Plan C in the budget of the Baptist State Convention does not violate the constitution."

The committee reached its conclusions "after prayer, conversation and discussion," Page said.

Board members raised no questions of the committee and approved the report with only one audible negative vote.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports

May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

General Board adopts Plan C study, hears reports

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

North Carolina Baptists continue to face budget woes that might not improve in the near future, executive director-treasurer Jim Royston told the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) General Board during a meeting on May 20-21.

Royston reported that through May 9, BSC income was $413,665, or 3.18 percent, below budget for the year and $646,411, or 4.89 percent, behind giving at the same time last year.

An updated report provided to the Recorder by BSC Comptroller Robert Simons showed giving at just over $13.5 million through May 23, nearly $938,000, or 6.5 percent, below budget needs of $14.44 million. Compared to last year, giving was down in Plans A (4.96 percent), B (10.37 percent) and C (5.45 percent), but up in Plan D (5.28 percent).

Royston said giving from the churches tends to run in patterns, with stronger offerings the first Sunday of the month and slower offerings after, "and in the summer months it tends to be a lot slower."

Royston said convention officials "are doing all we can" to hold the line on expenses. Actions include asking staff members to plan for lower expenditures and not replacing some departing staff. Deeper and more painful cuts are possible if the outlook does not improve, he said. For the first time in recent memory, the proposed budget submitted by convention staff to the budget committee is smaller than in the previous year, he said.

In an earlier meeting, Royston told a gathering of agency leaders and budget committee members that he believes four issues are contributing to the downturn.

The economic doldrums facing the nation continue to be the major reason for declining revenue, Royston said, as both individuals and churches struggle with their own finances.

Cultural shifts in religious giving are also a factor, he said, noting a recent Barna report showing that tithing as a discipline has decreased significantly.

Royston said convention politics have also impacted giving: "There has been a lot of 'wait and see-ness' about the Plan C report," he said.

Finally, Royston suggested that cooperative missions giving is no longer a given. "People are more prone to support things they want to, when they want to, the way they want to," he said.

In a budget-related report, Charles Page presented the findings of the Plan C Study Committee, which he chaired. The committee concluded that Plan C does not violate the constitution, he said (see related story, p. 7), and the General Board voted to adopt the report.

In other business, the board honored Robert Stewart, the Bible Study team leader and a tireless promoter of Sunday School, who is retiring after 25 years of service to the BSC.

Don Bouldin, executive team leader for congregational services, said that with Stewart's departure, the Bible Study team will be combined with the Church Administration team, which is led by Phil Stone.

Bill Yates, vice president for pastoral care at Baptist Hospital, introduced Steve Scoggin as the new director of CareNet, a network of counseling centers. Scoggin, who previously led the Greenville office of CareNet, became known to many N.C. Baptists in the late 1990's, when he was asked to facilitate a series of conversations between conservative and moderate representatives.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Mundo Vista spruced up for summer

May 30 2003 by Laura T. Rich , BR Graphics Editor

Mundo Vista spruced up for summer | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Mundo Vista spruced up for summer

By Laura T. Rich BR Graphics Editor

Mundo Vista's resident manager Bob Navey has had a busy winter.

In addition to managing fall and winter retreats, Navey and his wife Julie have been coordinating several major improvements to the camp's facilities.

In September 2002 work was begun on a new infirmary to better handle the illnesses and injuries of summer campers.

Original plans called for the facility to be open in three years, but work has been moving at a quick pace and the Naveys hope to have the infirmary open when G.A. camp begins on June 9.

The 1,976 square foot addition is being built onto the existing activity building and will include quarters for the camp's volunteer nurses, a waiting area, examination rooms and rooms for sick or injured campers.

Pastor Pat Cronin of Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro is coordinating volunteer work on the project.

The Piedmont Baptist Association has raised funds to cover most of the $100,000 cost. The Rye Foundation of Winston-Salem also made a $17,500 donation to the project.

Campers will notice other changes in the cabins. Two hundred new cots have been installed, replacing those that had been in use since Mundo Vista opened in 1969. The old cots were donated to residents of Asheboro's housing projects and to another youth camp.

New tables and chairs fill the dining hall, giving it a seating capacity of 290, Navey said. Plumbing was replaced in the camp's kitchen and some cooking equipment was updated.

Navey also said that the camp's 30,000-gallon water tank had to be excavated and recoated this winter.

Like the rest of the state, Mundo Vista is recovering from the winter's ice storms. Navey said hundreds of trees were lost and volunteers would be needed in the fall to continue the clean up.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Laura T. Rich , BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments



Raleigh Association celebrates Mother's Day with GA camp

May 30 2003 by Laura T. Rich , BR Graphics Editor

Raleigh Association celebrates Mother's Day with GA camp | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Raleigh Association celebrates Mother's Day with GA camp

By Laura T. Rich BR Graphics Editor

Summer came early to Mundo Vista. May 9 brought sticky heat and hundreds of G.A.s to its gravel pathways, as girls and their mothers poured down the steep trail to the outdoor chapel overlooking the Uwharri Mountains.

As the group assembled, the chapel echoed with rowdy camp chants. Worship began with praise songs floating out across the valley.

Nearly 300 members of the Raleigh Baptist Association participated in its annual mother/daughter camp.

Mothers and daughters worked together on craft projects and played games in the afternoon sun. They learned about China with missionary Sue Todd and about Hispanic missions with pastor Ernesto Robledo and his wife Irma. Saturday morning saw moms guiding their daughters through Bible study and quiet time.

From late August through May, Mundo Vista's facilities are available for retreats and other events. Contact Bob Navey at (336) 625-4828 for reservations and further information.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Laura T. Rich , BR Graphics Editor | with 0 comments



Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU

May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Wiggins retires, Wallace named president at CU

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

BUIES CREEK - Norman A. Wiggins, president of Campbell University since 1967, announced his retirement May 29. Following a called meeting the same day, university trustees announced the appointment of longtime administrator Jerry M. Wallace as president. In the school's 116-year history, there were only three previous presidents.

Wallace served as acting president two years ago when Wiggins took a six-month sabbatical while fighting lymphoma.

Wiggins retires

Wiggins, 79, had given no indication of plans to retire and showed no apparent signs of illness during graduation ceremonies on May 12. Days later, however, he was taken to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, suffering from dehydration. School officials did not confirm the cause of Wiggins' current illness.

The trustees said Wiggins will assume the title of chancellor after returning from a sabbatical that could last up to a year. School officials said his role as chancellor has yet to be defined, but will not include day-to-day operations of the school.

Under Wiggins' leadership, Campbell College grew to become a full-fledged university and the second largest private university in North Carolina, adding graduate programs in law, education, business, pharmacy and divinity. In 2002-03, Campbell's enrollment included about 4,000 students on campus, and another 6,000 students in off-campus programs at Fort Bragg, Camp Lejeune, Research Triangle Park and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Wiggins, a former Marine, also introduced and supported an award-winning ROTC program on campus.

Wiggins attended Campbell when it was still a junior college, later graduating from Wake Forest University. He worked in banking as a trust officer and studied at the Columbia School of Law before returning to Wake Forest in 1956, where he served as professor of law and general counsel.

In 1967, Wiggins was appointed the third president of Campbell College.

"It is absolutely incredible what happened down there," said Roy J. Smith, former executive director of the Baptist State Convention (BSC). "He (Wiggins) never made an apology for the school's Baptist heritage or Christian mission, and he was able to do that while pursuing the highest academic standards."

Campbell's growth and addition of graduate schools did not come without opposition, Smith said, but "He really had the ability to face strong opposition with courage and good humor."

Dwaine Greene, Campbell's provost and vice-president of academic affairs, said Wiggins' achievements are "unmatched in the history of church-related higher education."

"While the breadth of Dr. Wiggins' achievements are stunning," Greene said, "his noblest accomplishment has been his absolute and unswerving devotion to the Christian purpose of Campbell University."

Wiggins has also been an active layman, serving in many roles within the BSC and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). These include service as president of the BSC, as president of the national fellowship of Baptist Men, and as chair of the trustees for the SBC's Sunday School Board (now LifeWay Resources).

"He is without question a legendary figure among Baptists in North Carolina," said Jim Royston, current executive director-treasurer of the BSC. Royston described Wiggins as "one of the finest CEOs any institution, denominational or secular, could ever ask for... he is a true treasure."

Wayne Wike, executive director of the BSC's Council on Christian Higher Education, said "North Carolina Baptists are indebted to Dr. Norman Wiggins for his commitment to Christian higher education. Few equal his stature and desire to improve our life as Baptists through an educated clergy and laity."

Wallace named president

Wallace, 68, is a native of Rockingham. He earned an undergraduate degree at East Carolina University, two graduate degrees at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and two further degrees, including an Ed.D., from N.C. State University.

Wallace joined the Campbell faculty as an adjunct professor in 1970, and became chairman of the department of religion and philosophy and Tyner Professor of Religion in 1975. He was appointed dean of the college and director of graduate studies in 1981, and in 1984 became vice-president of academic affairs and provost, a position he held until June of 2001. Since serving as acting president during Wiggins' sabbatical two years ago, he has taught in the divinity school and served as special assistant to the president.

Greene said Wallace is a good choice. "He not only brings proven experience to the position, but he has both a comprehensive and a balanced understanding of Campbell's various operations. He carries the banner of Campbell's sterling tradition, while being a progressive and innovative administrator who no doubt will be an effective president."

Harold Wells, current chair of the Campbell University trustees, said "Jerry Wallace is a man of impeccable character, demonstrated ability, proven experience, and unswerving devotion to the Christian purposes of Campbell University. There is no individual with a better combination of qualifications."

Wallace said he was honored and humbled to be entrusted with the position. "With a reliance and trust in the care and provision of God, I am committed to upholding the purpose of Campbell University as a distinctive Christian university and in honoring and extending the unique legacy of Dr. Wiggins, with whom I have worked for more than thirty-three years," he said.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Agog at a gaggle

May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Agog at a gaggle | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Agog at a gaggle

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

If only I'd had my camera.

We were driving about a mile north of home when the traffic backed up at a busy intersection that usually flows smoothly at that time of day.

The light was green, but the line of cars remained at a standstill.

A van sat in the middle of the crossroads, turned diagonally as in the middle of a left turn, but not moving.

Had there been an accident? There was no visible damage. Had the van's engine expired in the worst possible place?

We wondered, and we waited.

And then we knew.

Out the window to our right, we saw the parade.

It was the first marching troop of goose-steppers that I ever found appealing, because it was made up entirely of Canadian geese.

At precisely the appropriate place for crossing the road, eight adults were shepherding no less than 19 fuzzy goslings from the drugstore parking lot to more profitable feeding grounds in the grassy meadow beyond.

And the traffic stopped to let them pass.

An adult led the way, its head bobbing up and down on its long and graceful neck. Other adults scattered themselves throughout the gaggle of goslings, honking and bobbing. The young ones, ranging from six inches to a foot tall, waddled along, exploring the world, kept in line by their feathered chaperones.

The next morning, on the way to work, I saw them again, crossing from another quadrant of the intersection.

It was an enthralling scene. The lead goose ventured tentatively into the road, bobbing its head and spreading its wings like a crossing guard holding out a hand to stop the traffic.

And the traffic stopped, not the first car by, but the second.

Only then did the leader step further into the road, with its long line of charges in tow.

That goose, like the other adults, could have flown across the road without a second thought, but God gave it enough parental instinct to risk its life for the sake of the young and to walk on their level to see them safely across.

I suppose having sense enough to stay in the pasture and avoid the road is asking too much of a bird with a brain the size of a small acorn.

But loyalty to the little ones is not so much a matter of the mind as of the heart.

Would that more people had the heart of a goose.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



C is for Cooperation

May 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

C is for Cooperation | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

C is for Cooperation

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

C is for Cooperation, which is what we Baptists claim to practice. The principle is that, while we belong to congregations that differ in our approaches to ministry and even biblical interpretation, we also have much in common. In cooperation we find fellowship with sister congregations and work together toward mutual goals.

C is for Constitution, which is a document adopted by the convention to define the guidelines governing the ways in which we cooperate. When the founders of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) decided to begin this cooperative enterprise more than 170 years ago, their first order of business was to draft a constitution. They were wise, and the product of their wisdom, though often amended, has served us well.

C is for giving plan C, one of four specific budget plans that have evolved to grease the gears of cooperation among N.C. Baptists. As the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) embarked on an increasingly conservative shift during the past quarter century, some N.C. Baptists felt ever more at home with the SBC, while others felt alienated. Because the Baptist State Convention is an autonomous body whose identity is not defined by the national convention, the giving plans were developed over time as avenues for maintaining cooperation among N.C. Baptists who hold differing levels of loyalty to the SBC. Plan C, in particular, allows N.C. Baptists who feel more affinity with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to support that organization in the same way other Tar Heel Baptists support the SBC. It recognizes that both national organizations are legitimate avenues for fellowship, missions and ministry.

C is for Consternation, which is felt by some N. C. Baptists who are steadfastly loyal to the SBC in its current incarnation, and who believe the state convention should express a similar fealty. The Baptist State Convention predates the SBC, but has cooperated with it from its inception. In the mid 1920's, during the height of the "$75 million dollar campaign," the BSC added, "to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention" to the end of a lengthy sentence in the constitution that describes the convention's several purposes. Some N.C. Baptists believe this mandates an exclusive relationship with the SBC, while others hold that agreeing "to cooperate with" the SBC places no real or implied limits on cooperation with other groups, as well.

C is for Consistent, which is the subject of a question raised at the 2002 convention. Messengers approved a motion that the convention should study the issue of whether Plan C is consistent with the constitution.

C is for Committee, a blue-ribbon panel of knowledgeable Baptists that BSC president Jerry Pereira appointed to investigate the matter and answer the question. The six-member committee was comprised of both conservative and moderate members, including three attorneys who have worked extensively with the BSC constitution.

C is for "Congratulations" to the committee, which required only one meeting to conclude that "inclusion of Plan C in the budget of the Baptist State Convention does not violate the constitution." The committee expressed its reasoning impeccably: "It is neither logically nor legally necessary that each action of the Baptist State Convention fulfill each purpose of the Convention in order for the action to be in furtherance of the multiple purposes of the Convention."

C is for Concern, because there are many who fear that opponents of the Plan C option may still challenge its place in the budget, despite the committee's findings. The resulting apprehension about what lies ahead has clearly dampened enthusiasm for the BSC's cooperative missions budget, which continues to suffer through a down year.

C is for "Can we get past this?" The question has been answered. The BSC constitution allows for cooperation on different levels and with different organizations. Can we agree to disagree on some issues and continue working together in service to God's kingdom? Can we treat each other as Christian siblings, all sinners saved by grace, who will put differences aside for the sake of a higher cause - of the highest call?

C is for Choice. Which path will we choose?

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation

May 30 2003 by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 7:24-29

Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Formations lesson for June 15: Building a Firm Foundation

By Tommy Bratton Matthew 7:24-29

The great Christian thinker C.S. Lewis once wrote that when a person loses control and lashes out in anger, they are tempted to justify themselves by saying, "That is so unlike me. If I had not been provoked, I would have never said such a horrible thing. That circumstance just got the better of me!" However, Lewis believed we should look within rather than blaming the forces that rage against us. For most of us, situations do not suddenly transform us into a different person; rather they expose our true character.

Wise and foolish builders

Our text comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the longest discourse and most famous of Jesus' teachings. As He comes to the conclusion of His teaching, Jesus challenges His hearers to take His teachings to heart and to live them out.

Eugene Peterson's Bible translation, The Message, says it this way: "These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on."

Jesus is speaking to two types of people who claim to be His followers. Both groups know the teachings of Jesus. On the surface, it would be nearly impossible to tell the two types apart. If they were in our church, they may even share the same pew.

Jesus tells them a parable. The wise builder built his house on a rock foundation, the foolish builder on the sand. In outward appearance, both houses appeared solid. The parable, however, does not speak to the construction but to the foundation. Appearances can be deceiving.

When the storms come

When storms come, and they eventually come, the foundation's strength is tested. By speaking through a parable, Jesus can be vague on the nature of the storms to be faced. As hearers, we can insert the difficult situations that may impact us - family problems, job stresses, death, illness, persecution, worry. The point is not the nature of the storm but the ability to remain strong in the midst of whatever we face. According to Jesus' metaphor, the only way to stand firm is to build on a strong foundation, i.e. acting on the words of Jesus.

Storms do not discriminate. What makes the builders wise and foolish has nothing to do with the storms. The house of the wise builder is not spared from the wind and rain any more that the house built on the sand. Many Christians hope that following Christ will prevent difficulties from coming along. Yet we cannot prevent the storms of life; we can only rely on the strength of a solid foundation to help us endure.

Living the message

The difference between the wise and foolish builders is one of action. Both are in the crowd of followers listening to the words of Jesus, but only the wise act on them. The challenge of these words of Jesus is for us to be doers, not merely hearers who only deceive ourselves (James 1:22).

After hearing the words of Jesus, the crowd was amazed because, as the scripture tells us, "He taught them as one having authority" (Matt. 7:29). I think the authority came from the fact that Jesus was living the message He taught. When Jesus proclaimed, "Blessed are the poor," it became a reality. When Jesus taught, "You have heard it said ... But I say to you ... ", His power to proclaim the fulfillment of God's law was accepted as authentic. Jesus had authority because His words of love and grace paralleled the way He lived His life.

Is your life grounded in the study of scripture? Do you love as Christ taught? When storms come, what is revealed in your character?

May we stand on Christ, the solid rock. All other ground is sinking sand.

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tommy Bratton , Matthew 7:24-29 | with 0 comments



Family Bible Study lesson for June 15: The Church: Ministering to Needs

May 30 2003 by Kim D. Shaver , Romans12:4-8

Family Bible Study lesson for June 15: The Church: Ministering to Needs | Friday, May 30, 2003

Friday, May 30, 2003

Family Bible Study lesson for June 15: The Church: Ministering to Needs

By Kim D. Shaver Romans12:4-8

Ephesians 4:11-16

1 Peter 4:10-11

In a world that exalts individualism, most people are self-absorbed with their own needs. One of the greatest freedoms offered by Jesus Christ is the freedom to move beyond our own needs and to minister to the needs of others. As the church becomes more like Jesus, we will become less self-centered and more others-centered.

As Jesus walked on this earth, He was always attracted to people with needs, not irritated or repulsed by them. He knew those needs gave an opening for Him to enter and bless lives.

As we grow in the grace of God, we too will be drawn to others with needs and seek to meet those needs in the spirit and love of Christ.

Use spiritual gifts

Romans 12:4-8

People have a variety of needs. These include spiritual needs and emotional, practical, social, material, intellectual and health-related needs. Each of these needs is ultimately fulfilled through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, who is "all-in-all."

Jesus Christ, the all-in-all, apportions a variety of spiritual gifts to members of His body in order to meet the needs of the body. Those gifted in teaching meet the spiritual needs of others, while those gifted with encouragement and mercy meet emotional needs. Those gifted in generosity meet material needs and those gifted in serving meet practical needs, and so on.

God's design is not for our gifts to be used in self-centered ways for our own personal success, but for our gifts to be used in building up the body of Christ.

Work together to attain

Christ's fullness

Ephesians 4:11-16

How can we "grow up" spiritually, attaining "the whole measure of the fullness of Christ?" Alone, this would be impossible. But God forms us into Christ's body - a group of uniquely gifted individuals united in holy purposes and in their love for one another and for God. As each one serves and uses their spiritual gifts, the body attains "unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and becomes mature."

The body "builds itself up in love as each part does its work." Love is the mortar of the temple, the supporting ligaments of the body. Without love, a group of gifted people becomes competitive and prideful. But when love is the motive for serving, the body attains the fullness of Christ's character and purpose.

Glorify God through service

1 Peter 4:10-11

The Dead Sea is stagnant and lifeless because rivers feed into it, but no water flows out of it.

God's purpose in gifting us is that we find the secret of abundant living by "pouring out" our gifts on others through service. And as we serve and help others, we point them to Christ.

As Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matt. 5:16). Meeting others' needs in the name of Christ points them to God, the "great need meeter" who is "all-in-all."

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5/30/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kim D. Shaver , Romans12:4-8 | with 0 comments



Plan C is consistent with constitution, says committee

May 22 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Plan C is consistent with constitution, says committee | Thursday, May 22, 2003

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Plan C is consistent with constitution, says committee

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

The Baptist State Convention (BSC) giving option that sends national mission funds to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) instead of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) does not violate the BSC constitution, according to a committee appointed to study the issue.

The BSC's other three giving plans send national missions money to the SBC, though churches in those plans also have the option of excluding the SBC or any other budget items included in the plan.

In the closing hours of the BSC's annual meeting in 2002, messengers approved a motion instructing convention President Jerry Pereira to appoint a study committee to investigate whether Plan C is consistent with the convention's constitution. Tim Rogers of Seagrove, who made the motion, said the BSC constitution names cooperation with the SBC as one of the convention's purposes, but Plan C sends money to CBF instead, raising a question of its constitutionality.

Pereira appointed a six-member committee, equally divided between conservatives and moderates, that includes three attorneys who have previous experience with the BSC constitution. Charles Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, was named chair.

The committee reached its conclusions in a single meeting on April 4, but kept the much-anticipated findings confidential until they could be presented to the BSC's executive committee and General Board on May 20.

In its one-page report, the committee acknowledged differences in Baptist life, but said N.C. Baptists have a rich tradition of cooperating in the work of the Kingdom of God in ways that transcend differences between and within the SBC and the CBF.

The report cited Article II from the BSC constitution, which says, "The purposes of the convention shall be to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission; to promote missions, evangelism, education, social services, the distribution of the Bible and sound religious literature; and to cooperate with the work of the Southern Baptist Convention." The report also cited Article III, which says the convention is "independent and sovereign in its own sphere," and "does not claim and will never attempt to exercise any authority over any other Baptist body, whether church, auxiliary organizations, association, or convention."

The heart of the report, Page said, was the finding that, "It is neither logically nor legally necessary that each action of the Baptist State Convention fulfill each purpose of the convention in order for the action to be in furtherance of the multiple purposes of the convention."

"In other words," Page told the Executive Committee, "not every thing deals with every thing."

Since Plan C giving fulfills all the purposes of the BSC with the exception of cooperation with the SBC, Page said, "the bottom line" is that "inclusion of Plan C in the budget of the Baptist State Convention does not violate the constitution."

The committee reached its conclusions "after prayer, conversation and discussion," Page said.

Board members raised no questions of the committee and approved the report with only one audible negative vote.

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5/22/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



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