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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