October 2003

Biblical Recorder:Baptist battles miss heart of issue, educator says

October 30 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Biblical Recorder:Baptist battles miss heart of issue, educator says

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Steve DeVane

BR Managing Editor

ROCKY MOUNT - Both sides of the Baptist controversy have missed the "genius of what it means to be Baptist," the president of a moderate seminary said.Tom Graves, president of Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, spoke at the opening service of a "Baptist Heritage Conference" Oct. 3-4 at North Rocky Mount Baptist Church.About 60 people attended the opening session that featured Graves' sermon. About 90 attended events the next day.Using Jeremiah 31 as the text, Graves talked about remembering the pathway that Baptists have traveled. He asked what should be the "guideposts" for Baptists.Graves told the group that they had probably heard a lot about what it takes to be a "real Baptist" during the controversy.One side says real Baptists believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth, the subservient role of women and strong pastoral authority, he said.The other side holds that real Baptists emphasize freedom, the priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church and the separation of church and state, he said.Graves said he wasn't making light of those issues."It seems to me something's been lost," he said. "As we battled each other, we've forgotten what it really means to be Baptist."Graves called for an emphasis on a spiritual encounter that he said is "at the heart of what it means to be Baptist.""What's important is our relationship with Jesus Christ," he said. "That's been the genius of Baptist life."Graves told of preaching trips he took while on sabbatical in Zimbabwe. He and the music minister who drove him to the churches would argue heatedly about theological issues all the way to the church, he said. After they arrived, the music minister would lead the music and Graves would preach. At times, everyone present at the service would make a decision to follow Christ, he said.Once back in the car, the theological debates would continue, Graves said. Those disagreements didn't keep the two from worshipping together, he said.Graves told about a chairman of deacons coming to his office shortly after he was called to pastor a church. The man asked Graves a number of theological questions. After Graves' answered all the questions, the man said he thought Graves was OK and left after saying, "I'm glad I got to know you."Graves said the man knew some of the knowledge that Graves had in his head, but not what was in his heart."He didn't know me," Graves said. "He knew what I believed, but he never asked about who I encountered."Graves called on Baptists to focus again on their relationship with Jesus."The focus is on the faith experience," he said.Ida Mae Hays, a retired missionary to Brazil who was called Oct. 5 as pastor of Weldon Baptist Church in Weldon, led two breakout sessions and spoke during the morning service on Oct. 4. Her message was centered on her call to missions and her ministry in Brazil.Before she retired, the International Mission Board (IMB) asked Hays to rescind her ordination and title of pastor emeritus, which were both from a Brazilian church. She refused.IMB trustees later adopted a statement saying the organization does not recognize the ordination or title.In a breakout session, Hays said she received the IMB's request to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) about three weeks before she retired. She said she wouldn't have signed.In May, the IMB fired 13 missionaries who refused the sign the document. Sixty-four others resigned or retired rather than sign.Gene Scarborough, pastor of North Rocky Mount Baptist Church, spoke at the Oct. 4 afternoon session of the conference. Using Genesis 11:26-32 as a text, Scarborough talked about how the church today is at "some significant halfway places."Scarborough talked about how Abraham's father, Terah, died at an oasis halfway to the promised land. Many people today throw up their hands in despair rather than having courage to face the future, he said.The church finds itself in the halfway place of institutionalism, Scarborough said. Some Baptist churches have turned their buildings into idols, he said.The church is also stuck at the halfway place of talking, rather than taking action, according to Scarborough."All or us are sickened by the changes in Baptist life, but how many are willing to attend conventions, speak up to our congregations about the wrongs, encourage our people to be aware of the Fundamentalism which is ruling the day?" he said. "If we are to preserve our heritage, we must do more than gripe among ourselves. We must risk some church turmoil. We must encourage discussion of the issues even if church members may disagree with one another about their beliefs."Scarborough said talk and action combine to make people grow."Talk without action only generates confusion," he said. "Do we quietly let evil reign because we might lose our retirement plan, or do we 'tell it like it is' so people realize we need to get out and vote?"The church is also stuck at the halfway place of indifference, Scarborough said."When our career goals and dreams keep us from doing anything but that which is popular we become indifferent to the truth and the need to be involved in preserving our heritage," he said.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Campbell professor serving in Iraq

October 30 2003 by Susan Welch , Campbell Communications

Biblical Recorder:Campbell professor serving in Iraq

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Susan Welch

Campbell Communications

The orphans in An Nasiriyah suffer from amoebic dysentery resulting from poor hygiene and sanitation. A dangerous stretch of gravel highway used to resupply troops must be confronted almost daily. Age-old tribal and religious differences block efforts to restore peace and provide democratic representation, and the relentless heat can reach 117 degrees in the shade.These are just some of the challenges facing Col. Michael Larsen, U.S. Army Reserves, on a routine basis. Larsen, who is assigned to Tallil Air Base and Convoy Support Center in southeastern Iraq, was ordered to leave his position as professor of biological sciences at Campbell University to become commander of the 171st Support Group last April. His unit supports British, Italian, Dutch and other multinational forces in five central provinces in Iraq and supplies food, water and fuel to about 500 combat troops in seven locations just below Baghdad.But that isn't all Larsen's unit does. They meet with local civic leaders and assist in the repair of infrastructure such as sewer, water lines, pumps and roads. They work to supply three orphanages with medicine and other necessities and help to rebuild schools and hospitals."We do what needs to be done," Larsen said. "That is why our support of multinational troops is so important. If we are able to logistically support them well and insure their success, it is more likely that more coalition partners such as Turkey, India and South Korea may join the effort. Only then will it enable the U.S. to reduce its forces in Iraq."Convoy ambushes occur daily, especially near Baghdad, Larsen said. He has been caught in mortar attacks at Hillah and Balad, as well as a small firefight in the Fallujah area west of Baghdad."Basically, the enemy, former Ba'ath party loyalists, Fedayeen and others, are terrorists fighting an unconventional war with improvised explosive devices, rocket propelled grenades, car bombs, grenades and small arms fire in ambushes," he said.Larsen's experience with the Iraqi people has been extremely positive, however. "The people and local leaders are kind, intelligent and hard-working," he said. "Many have vision that has been stifled for decades. Obviously, the impact of the Muslim religion is significant and cultural differences are sometimes a challenge to us as Americans, but overall, we have an excellent relationship with the Iraqi people of our area, and I see us and the coalition being successful."Larsen's faith in God and the prayers of family and friends have helped to strengthen his resolve. "I do see how God is working through us in this effort," he said. "Living here reminds me of how blessed we are as Americans. It also reminds me of the true costs associated with liberty. In this harsh and desolate land, I appreciate better the fragility of life and the preciousness of all humans in God's sight."Larsen predicts American forces will remain in Iraq between three and five years in order to defeat the terrorist factions that continue to threaten coalition forces and the Iraqi people, and to assist in rebuilding the economy and the nation that has already begun."Some day the people of Iraq need to be able to answer the question, 'How are we better off today compared with life under Saddam?'" he said.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Susan Welch , Campbell Communications | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:CBF-funded searchable missions database unveiled

October 30 2003 by Lance Wallace , CBF Communications

Biblical Recorder:CBF-funded searchable missions database unveiled

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Lance Wallace

CBF Communications

ATLANTA - Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary professor Todd M. Johnson introduced the World Christian Database, a user-friendly, searchable database, Oct. 9-10 on the seminary's campus in South Hamilton, Mass., as part of the 2003 Paul E. and Eva B. Toms Lectureship on the status of Global Christianity and World Missions.Funded initially by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) as a tool to help identify areas of greatest need in the world, the World Christian Database is an online version of what currently exists in print in the World Christian Encyclopedia. This new tool was created by Johnson, director of the newly established Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell, in coordination with Breuer & Co., a Boston-based data management firm. It will be maintained, updated and expanded as a part of the ongoing work of the Center."This is truly a landmark achievement in facilitating the spreading of the gospel around the world," said Daniel Vestal, CBF national coordinator. "As we seek to be the presence of Christ in the world to the most neglected, we now have better tools to assess who are the most neglected and where they are located. We are grateful for Todd Johnson and his work, and his willingness to partner with us in the continuing search for ways to answer God's call."The database will also have a subscriber-based service called Multi-Objective Decision Analysis that allows for in-depth research, such as selecting, designing and managing a wide variety of questions and queries about people groups, countries, cities and other geographic designations.The Fellowship's Global Missions initiative had prepared to develop such a resource for its own use. However, when global missions co-coordinators Barbara and Gary Baldridge along with a CBF task group learned of Johnson's work, they decided to sponsor and support Johnson's effort."The World Christian Database provides us with a relevant, user-friendly tool for sorting through Christian and secular research data for identifying the most neglected in all parts of the world and in all segments of society," Baldridge said. "Congregations will be able to discover who the most neglected are in their own communities. Missions agencies will be able to discover who the most neglected are globally, using the criteria they choose as relevant and meaningful."| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Lance Wallace , CBF Communications | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Louisiana College trustees tighten faculty hiring process

October 30 2003 by Lacy Thompson and John Pierce , Associated Baptist Press

Biblical Recorder:Louisiana College trustees tighten faculty hiring process

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Lacy Thompson and John Pierce

Associated Baptist Press

PINEVILLE, La. - Louisiana College trustees adopted new policies that give trustees more direct involvement in faculty hiring and make affirmation of Southern Baptists' controversial doctrinal statement an official part of the hiring process. Since 1997, prospective faculty members have been asked informally if they would teach "in harmony" with the Baptist Faith and Message statement, school officials said. The new policy makes affirmation of the more conservative 2000 version of the statement an official policy. "This simply represents an enhancement of the process we already have, " said trustee Ed Tarpley, pastor of Alpine First Baptist Church in Pineville, La. Trustee leaders said the action, adopted during a September executive session, does not affect current faculty members and does not reflect dissatisfaction with current policy. Rather, the change was made to ensure the "Christian" character of the Pineville school, which is owned and operated by the Louisiana Baptist Convention. However, fellow trustee Wayne DuBose, pastor of First Baptist Church in Minden, La., said the changes "raise the bar a little bit" for prospective faculty. Previously, trustees have had final approval on new faculty members who were recommended by President Rory Lee and other administrators. But the new policy gives the trustees' academic affairs committee the option of a face-to-face interview with the candidate. Also prospective faculty will receive a copy of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and a letter clearly defining the college as a Christian liberal arts school "owned and operated by cooperating Southern Baptist churches in Louisiana." "Not every person who teaches at LC is required to be a Southern Baptist," the letter states, "but every teacher must reflect a certain faithfulness to teach within the doctrinal tenets of our convention." To assure that faithfulness, prospective faculty are asked to return a signed affirmation that they have read the full text of the Baptist Faith and Message, will agree to teach in harmony with and not contrary to the faith statement, and will agree to meet with the trustee's academic affairs committee for a question-and-answer session if requested. The policy change calls for a written yes or no response to the doctrinal statement and asks candidates to put in writing their personal understanding of a Christian worldview, specifically detailing their view on the sanctity of human life, the sanctity of marriage and family, and creation. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message was significantly changed from the 1963 version. The most noted changes include the removal of a statement declaring Jesus Christ as the criterion for interpreting Scripture and the addition of a prohibition against female pastors. Drafters of the new statement deny accusations that the revised document is a creed, although they define it as an "instrument of doctrinal accountability." The statement was used as a requirement for all SBC missionaries earlier this year, resulting in at least 77 resignations, retirements and terminations. | Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Lacy Thompson and John Pierce , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Religious Right groups rally as court begins new session

October 30 2003 by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press

Biblical Recorder:Religious Right groups rally as court begins new session

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Robert Marus

Associated Baptist Press

WASHINGTON - As about 200 protestors rallied outside the Supreme Court demanding government support for religious displays, inside the justices began their annual term with at least one major church-state case on the docket.The protesters displayed a replica of the Ten Commandments monument recently removed from the Alabama judicial building in Montgomery. Meanwhile, the high court opened its 2003-2004 session Oct. 6 by sidestepping one church-state case and remaining silent on another. Only one church-state case so far - involving government funding of a religious college - is scheduled to get the court's attention this year.The justices declined to review a ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed a Bible club in Washington state to meet in a high school during school hours. A lower court had ruled against Tausha Prince, who as a sophomore at Spanaway Lake High School sued for the right to form the World Changers club.The school allows students time during the school day to do homework, be tutored or take part in school-approved clubs. The clubs can make announcements over the school's public-address system and apply for use of a pool of funds shared by the clubs.At the time, there were no religious clubs. Prince applied to start the club and was rejected by the school because of the group's religious nature. She then filed a lawsuit, saying the school was violating her First Amendment right to free expression of religion.The 9th Circuit ultimately agreed. The Supreme Court, in declining to review that decision, has again avoided speaking on the issue of whether such clubs can operate during school hours. The case is Jacoby vs. Prince.The court also did not reveal whether it would hear arguments in another controversial case from the 9th Circuit. That court caused great controversy last year when it declared the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in a California public school unconstitutional because the oath contains the words "under God." In that case, United States vs. Newdow, atheist father Michael Newdow sued his daughter's Sacramento-area school district to end their practice of teacher-led recitation of the pledge.The court has already agreed to hear another Washington state case involving religion and schools. In December, justices will hear oral arguments in Locke vs. Davey - also a case from the 9th Circuit. The question before the court is whether states are required to fund religious programs - in this case a Bible college - on an equal basis with secular programs even if the state constitution contains an explicit bar on indirect government funding of religion.The protesters who provided the backdrop for the Supreme Court's opening session were attending the culminating event of the "Save the Commandments Caravan," calling attention to the Ten Commandments monument erected by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore but removed by court order. Supporters say they will appeal the federal court ruling that banned the monument. But it is not known if the case will make it to the U.S. Supreme Court this year.The caravan, organized by the groups Faith in Action and Grassfire.net, left Montgomery, Ala., Sept. 28 and stopped in Atlanta; Columbia, S.C.; Raleigh; Lynchburg, Va.; and Fredericksburg, Va., before concluding their rally in Washington.Organizers and participants touted a grab-bag of Religious Right causes - including denouncements of abortion, homosexuality and the separation of church and state - and assailed Supreme Court decisions the activists believe support each.Protestors directed their harshest criticism at two targets - the six Supreme Court justices who in June issued the landmark decision legalizing gay sex in all 50 states and the federal district judge who ruled the Ten Commandments display in Alabama unconstitutional."Impeach the Sodomy Six and Myron Thompson" read the protesters' signs.Rally organizer Rob Schenck said the group would "hold the Supreme Court in contempt of the court of Almighty God" for the rulings. Referring specifically to the sodomy decision and five others on church-state issues or abortion, Schenck told rally participants, "We no longer hold these decisions relevant or binding on us, on our children or on our nation."One man at the rally said he was there to "rebuke" the Supreme Court for past decisions and to support government display of the Ten Commandments and other religious monuments. "It's always been a part of the landscape - the forefathers acknowledged God, right?" said Gregory Pembo, pastor of Vieux Carre Assembly Church in New Orleans. "Why all of the sudden, after 300 years, we are saying, 'Wait a minute, this is wrong?'"But a lone counter-protestor said she was there to provide a silent witness for the rights of religious minorities. "When you put one particular religion's monument inside of a government building, it gives the appearance that the government is promoting that particular religion - which, of course, is unconstitutional," said Sandra Van Maren, Illinois state director of American Atheists."As soon as you start moving religion into the government, you end up with, at the extreme, the Taliban, the Iranian government, all the governments we say we despise," she said. Van Maren held up a sign that said, "Thou shalt not turn a republic into a theocracy."| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Robert Marus , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:BCH teen killed by train

October 30 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Biblical Recorder:BCH teen killed by train

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Steve DeVane

BR Managing Editor

A 16-year-old living at a Baptist Children's Homes (BCH) of North Carolina facility was killed Oct. 14 when he was hit by a train.Joshua James Willis was riding his bike to BCH's Mills Home in Thomasville when an Amtrak passenger train struck him at about 7:40 p.m. Willis had left a YMCA where he volunteered a short while earlier.Witnesses reportedly told police that Willis went around the railroad crossing arms at the Norfolk-Southern Railway tracks. Norfolk-Southern officials told the Thomasville Times that the train was going about 70 mph.Brenda B. Gray, BCH's executive vice president for development and communications, said police have indicated that Willis probably tried to beat the train as he crossed the tracks."I'm sure he saw the lights and thought he could make it," Gray said. "He just misjudged."Gray said Willis, who was called "Josh" by his friends, had been with BCH for about two and a half years. He had "turned his life around" and was baptized Sept. 28, she said.When BCH officials went to Willis' room after the accident, they found his Bible open on a table next to his bed where he had left it after his morning devotions."He was a very special young man," Gray said.Willis loved to play basketball and had learned how to play the guitar."He was a very outgoing young man," Gray said. "He loved life."Willis had a great sense of humor and liked to volunteer, Gray said. "He liked being busy," she said.Gray said Willis had a "great day at school" the day he died. His grades had been improving and his teacher allowed him to bring his guitar and play that day as a reward.At the YMCA, Willis did whatever task he was told to do, Gray said."He was a young man who liked to help," she said.BCH officials planned to hold a memorial service the evening of Oct. 19. The funeral was scheduled for Oct. 17 in Danville, Va.Willis was one of about 80 children at Mills Home. The others and the staff members are grieving his loss, Gray said. BCH brought in counselors to help them."They're hurting, which is to be expected," she said. "We have a very close family here. We've all offered comfort and support to each other."Gray said the BCH family asks for the continued prayers of N.C. Baptists."We have felt the power of prayer and the power that comes from a Christian community," she said. "Our hearts go out to his family as they grieve."Willis' death is the first for a BCH child in recent memory, Gray said. He is the third N.C. Baptist to die in a train accident in recent months.Ned Christy, pastor of New Home Baptist Church in Peachland, and his wife, Priscilla, were killed Aug. 22 when their car was hit by a train in Marshville.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Herschel Hobbs not 'duped,' successor says

October 30 2003 by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press

Biblical Recorder:Herschel Hobbs not 'duped,' successor says

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Mark Wingfield

Associated Baptist Press

SHAWNEE, Okla. - The primary author of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) BF&M 12&34 & & abc&&&def | Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:Baptist teacher in China murdered

October 30 2003 by Todd Starnes , Baptist Press

Biblical Recorder:Baptist teacher in China murdered

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Todd Starnes

Baptist Press

BEIJING - A Southern Baptist teacher working for a nondenominational ministry in the central Chinese city of Wuhan was stabbed to death inside a church just before the start of a worship service.Bruce Emerson Morrison, formerly of New Orleans, was stabbed in the abdomen by a Chinese Protestant, identified as Gong Zhili, before the service at the church on Feb. 3.Morrison, 37, had been an English teacher at the Hubei Industrial Institute since 1993, an official at the Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee of Protestant Churches of Wuhan told a French news agency.Morrison's parents are members of Suburban Baptist Church in New Orleans. He was raised as a Southern Baptist.He lived in Wuhan, in Hubei province with his wife, Valori, 34, and six daughters. His wife is pregnant with the couple's seventh child, the church official said.Following the stabbing, Morrison was rushed to a local hospital but efforts to save him failed.Gong was soon apprehended by police and an investigation into the incident was continuing, the official said.The motive for the murder has not been determined, but the official at the Chinese committee said Gong suffered from mental illness and as a result might have been oversensitive about his friendship with Morrison. Morrison and Gong had known each other since 1999 and would socialize at church, the church official said."Gong has mental problems. They had frequent contacts at church initially. But later Morrison said maybe he did not want to talk to him as often as before, so their friendship was estranged," the official said.He said Gong walked into the church around 1:45 p.m. on Feb. 3, shouted "Teacher Mo" - Morrison's name and title in Wuhan - and then stabbed him."Because of mental illness, he thinks the teacher no longer likes him, no longer cares about him," the official said.The official said Gong's parents have requested a chance to meet Morrison's family to express their regret.Gong, 34, was a former music teacher who stopped working a few years ago and lived on disability benefits after he became emotionally unstable, the committee official said.U.S. Embassy officials are providing Morrison's family with assistance but they refused to comment on the case.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Todd Starnes , Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:BSC candidates hold various views

October 30 2003 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Biblical Recorder:BSC candidates hold various views

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Steve DeVane

BR Managing Editor

The six candidates for the Baptist State Convention's (BSC) top three offices share some similarities, but also have differences, according to their responses to a series of written questions asked by the Biblical Recorder.The candidates were asked to answer eight questions, each in 100 words or less. The full responses of the candidates will be printed in the Nov. 1 issue of the Recorder and in a special edition that will be available at the BSC annual meeting in Winston-Salem next month.All six say they will in some way try to work with people on the other side of the theological aisle.Two of the candidates, David Horton and Brian Davis, indicated in their responses that they consider themselves conservatives. David Hughes, Raymond Earp and Ken Massey said they are moderates.Phyllis Foy did not indicate whether she considers herself a conservative or a moderate, but she has been endorsed by Conservative Carolina Baptists.Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, decided to run for BSC president rather than seeking a second term as BSC second vice president. He said he thinks it would do the BSC good to "see some fresh faces alongside those who have served the convention so faithfully.""North Carolina Baptists know my track record in working with other Baptists who are different than me," Horton said. "I will work with other officers and committees to see that a variety of Baptists are represented who desire to carry on the purposes of the BSC in a manner that honors Christ."David Hughes, pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and a candidate for BSC president, said he worked for the passage of the "shared leadership" proposal several years ago and remains committed to the idea that conservatives and moderates can work together."As convention president, I will seek a balance in 'moderates' and 'conservatives' appointed for leadership," he said. "I will seek through word and deed to cultivate an environment of mutual respect and fairness."Earp, who is running for first vice president, said he was disappointed that the shared leadership plan failed."I feel that for the sake of the convention both groups must work together to listen and to respect each other," he said. "I will work toward that goal."Foy, who is also seeking the office of first vice president that is now held by her husband, said she is for unity."I am for anything that will bring us together, that will not cause us to take our eyes off the Lord's leadership," she said. "I believe we can accomplish far greater service together."Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in East Flat Rock, said he would take steps to ensure "that the most qualified and cooperative men and women in Baptist life would have opportunities to serve our convention." He also said he'd like to see younger people involved.Massey said he'd like to see people nominated based on their maturity and their track record of commitment to the BSC and Christ."I believe we should elect persons who are willing to work across 'party lines,'" he said.In responses that might surprise some, all three conservative candidates indicated some level of support for Plan C, the only one of the BSC's four giving options that sends money to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Two of the moderate candidates, Hughes and Massey, indicated they would favor changes to the current system. Earp said the plans are important.Hughes said that even thought he has supported the giving plans in the past, the BSC's current financial crisis shows that the BSC's budget system is broken."Whether in multiple plans or in one unified plan, our budget must allocate adequate funds for our state convention to address the growing needs of North Carolina Baptists and protect the right of North Carolina Baptists to give to the SBC or CBF as they choose."Horton said his stance on Plan C is best reflected by the report of a study committee that found that Plan C does not violate the BSC constitution. The committee's report was in response to a motion from last year's BSC meeting.Foy said she wishes N.C. Baptists could agree on a unified plan. "But if the four giving plans that we presently have, including Plan C, will keep us together, then I am for and will support them," she said.Earp said each church has the freedom of choice in the current system.Massey said that no matter how many giving plans the BSC has, its financial future will never be stronger that the trust and fairness of its polity. He said he supports the institutions that receive funding through plans B and C."I also support a renewed emphasis on unified giving for mission and ministry," he said. "I believe a prayerful reduction to two plans, and possibly one, could strengthen our common work and honor our diverse convictions."Davis said the churches he has served have supported the BSC through plans A and D, which both send money to the SBC."I have respected the decisions of the messengers to previous conventions to establish additional giving plans and will continue to respect what the messengers of future conventions decide concerning all of the plans," he said.When asked what recent BSC officer most closely resembles the way they would hope to serve, three candidates - two conservatives and a moderate - mentioned Greg Mathis. Mathis, who began a streak of conservative BSC presidents when he was elected in 1995, strongly supported the shared leadership plan that was designed to make it near certain that conservatives and moderates would have equal power.Horton, Davis and Hughes included Mathis in their response to the question.Horton and Davis also mentioned Mac Brunson, Mike Cummings and Jerry Pereira, the three conservative presidents elected since Mathis.Hughes also mentioned Mike Queen, who served as BSC General Board president while Mathis was BSC president. Their efforts to cooperate became known as the "Greg and Mike Show."Earp and Massey both named Queen as an officer who resembles the way they hope to serve. Earp also included Cummings, who was also known for his cooperative spirit.Foy said, "I would have to say my husband, Bob Foy, because I know his heart and we share the same desire to get our convention refocused on missions and discipleship and unity."The candidates also shared why they decided to run, what they see as the BSC biggest challenges, the reasons they think the BSC is great and the ministries they feel are "mission-critical" for the BSC.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments



Biblical Recorder:2004 budget reflects reality, priorities

October 30 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Biblical Recorder:2004 budget reflects reality, priorities

| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life | NewsFriday, Oct. 31, 2003

By Tony W. Cartledge

BR Editor

When a decline in contributions to and through the Baptist State Convention (BSC) led to a series of cost-cutting moves that included the elimination of 24 staff positions as of Aug. 31, Executive Director/Treasurer Jim Royston announced that decisions were based on what was most "mission critical" to the BSC. He later qualified the statement by telling the General Board that all of the convention's ministries are crucial to its mission. Cuts were made in areas whose work could most easily be absorbed by others, he said.Those staff reductions are reflected in the new BSC budget proposal for 2004, approved Oct. 1 by the General Board. The proposed budget is 6.3 percent below the 2003 budget, and in line with actual anticipated income for 2003. The 2003 budget called for income of $37.55 million, but the 2004 version drops to $35.18 million, the lowest total since 2000, when the budget was $34 million. Following new policies approved at last year's annual meeting, the Board also approved a budget for 2005. That budget is fractionally larger at $35.68 million, though still below the 2001 budget of $35.75 million.The N.C. Ministries portion of the budget falls almost $2 million in 2004, from $26.27 million to $24.34 million, a drop of 7.37 percent. N.C. Ministries should also receive a slightly smaller percentage of total budget income, falling from 69.97 to 69.19 percent. The N.C. Ministries budget consists of the BSC's 68 percent share from Plans A, B and C and its 50 percent share from Plan D, plus partnership missions funds designated in Plans B, C and D. An analysis of budget changes for 2004 reveals economic realities, as well as some shifts in "mission critical" priorities, most of them reflecting personnel cuts that have already been made. While 2003 budget figures are presented here for comparison, the amount actually received and available for distribution in 2003 will almost certainly be less than the budgeted amount. Contributions at the end of September were running 7.79 percent under budget for the first nine months of the year. If giving for either year should surpass budget expectations, all entities would receive additional funds in line with the budget formula.Among the BSC's affiliated agencies and institutions, budgeted expenditures for Christian Higher Education are expected to drop 6.67 percent in 2004, from $5.25 million to $4.9 million, while funding for Christian Social Services falls 6.67 percent, from $3.62 million to $3.38 million, and BSC support for convention agencies declines 5.6 percent, from $555,000 to $523,875. Although incoming dollars may decline, the designated percentage for those entities varies only slightly from the current budget.The "General Board Groups" category, which includes most of the BSC's staff and program money, falls 13.5 percent, from $10.61 million to $9.18 million. The budget's "Convention Special" section, which includes funds for the Ministers' Emergency Reserve, scholarships for N.C. Baptist students attending N.C. Baptist colleges and universities, the Christian Action League, and the Baptist World Alliance, drops 12.6 percent, from $1.59 million to $1.39 million.Two budget categories grew, both as a result of rising benefits costs. Expanded annuity funds for participating staff members in BSC churches and on the General Board staff will rise from $1.55 million to $1.73 million, or 11.75 percent. The increase is due to growth in the number of participants, along with an expected decrease in matching funds from the Southern Baptist Annuity Board.The "Convention and General Board Operations" budget, used largely to cover meeting costs, employee benefits, contingencies and base funding for Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, is set to grow 4.9 percent, from $3.1 million to $3.23 million. Some specific items decline, but the cost of employee benefits is expected to rise $305,000 despite the elimination of 24 staff positions, mainly due to increased health insurance premiums. Many retirees, including nine staff members whose positions were recently eliminated, continue to receive health insurance benefits from the BSC. The North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) goal for 2004 falls to $2.3 million, from $2.6 million in 2004. The drop has a direct impact on N.C. Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) and Baptist Men, both of which are funded from the NCMO offering. N.C. WMU's 2003 budget of $880,641 falls 13.2 percent, to $764,465. Budgeted income for Baptist Men drops 17.5 percent, from $699,217 to $576,898. The decrease for WMU and Baptist Men is based not only on a lower NCMO goal, but also on decreased percentages. WMU's percentage of the NCMO offering goes from 34.01 to 33.08 percent, while Baptist Men drops from 27.01 percent to 24.96 percent. The decrease reflects the loss of two staff positions each in WMU and Baptist Men. The vacant position of medical/dental bus coordinator had previously been moved from Partnership Missions to Baptist Men. It was not officially eliminated, but no additional funding was provided for it.A portion of the NCMO budget designated for Congregational Services will drop from $98,350 to $67,600. Most of that reappears in a new $40,000 item for "Pursuing Vital Ministries" (PVM). PVM uses trained coaches to assist "a congregation's spiritual and strategic journey to discern and reach its full kingdom potential," according to information on the www.pursuingvitalministries.com Web site. The initiative, which Royston has promoted heavily as a means of assisting plateaued churches, also appears as a new item in the budget for "Administration-Convention Relationships and Budget." That section grows from $1.47 to $1.52 million, thanks mainly to a $210,700 new item for PVM. Some of the PVM funds are new, while others are being transferred from the Congregational Services group.The operating budget for the Hollifield Leadership Center falls 22.4 percent, from $353,286 to $273,978. When convention officials promoted the purchase of the Hollifield Center in 2000, they expressed hope that it would become self-supporting within three to five years. The 2005 budget calls for an additional 22.2 percent decline in BSC support, to $212,378. George Bullard, former director of the Hollifield Leadership Center and current associate executive director, said "this keeps Hollifield on target to require only the basic supplement provided to Caswell and Caraway conference centers by the end of 2006, its fifth full year of operation."BSC funding for the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Caswell and Caraway Conference Center are set to fall 25 percent in 2004, from $100,000 to $75,000 each. Funding for Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, the Council on Christian Higher Education (CCHE), and Woman's Missionary Union is listed in the budget under convention relationships. Income for Fruitland is expected to increase 2.5 percent due to the continued popularity of Plan D, which designates five percent to the school. Fruitland provides ministerial training for persons who do not have a college education. Its funding is expected to grow from $1.15 million to $1.17 million. Following the elimination of its paid staff, the CCHE budget falls 65.25 percent. Most of the council's program funds remain intact, however, falling from $65,250 to $59,750, or 8.43 percent.Among other General Board Groups, Business Services falls 8.38 percent, from $1.52 million to $1.39 million. Resource Development and Promotion declines 16.77 percent, from $1.15 million to $956,262, but picks up an additional $180,000 from a 0.006 deduction from all funded entities, to be used for Cooperative Giving promotion. With the excision of its executive leadership layer and some shifting of responsibilities, funding for the Strategic Initiatives and Planning group falls 26.62 percent, from $616,780 to $452,574. Remaining staff members have been assigned to work with other groups but the funding, mostly related to information technology and services, remains separate for budget purposes.Congregational Services dropped 13.1 percent, from $2.35 million to $2.05 million, with the biggest change coming on the Bible Teaching Reaching team, which goes from $845,407 in 2003 to $589,827 in 2004. The $285,580 drop reflects staff reductions and the shifting of some staff and program funds to the Discipleship Team. The Council on Christian Life and Public Affairs, which functions under the Congregational Services umbrella, dropped 15.2 percent, from $604,757 to $513,087, due mainly to the layoff of its executive director.Mission Growth Evangelism, the largest of the convention's groups, loses the most dollars for 2004, falling 19.6 percent, from $3.5 million to $2.82 million. The brunt of the losses are being felt by Campus Ministry, which falls 28.2 percent, from $1.32 million to $949,444; Church Planting, down 18.1 percent, from $1.02 million to $832,825; and Partnership Missions, dropping 16.9 percent, from $503,651 to $418,533.Most of the reductions reflect staff cuts that have already taken place.Funding for the Evangelism and Church Growth team declines 3.4 percent, from $491,278 to $474,389. Anticipated expenditures for the team actually increase for the year, but increased revenues from the North American Mission Board and from conference fees hold the BSC share to slightly less than the previous year. The budget proposal, though approved by the General Board, must still be affirmed or amended by messengers attending the Convention's annual meeting in Winston-Salem. Budget discussions are scheduled for Wednesday morning, Nov. 12.| Home | NewsOpinion | Baptist Life |

10/30/2003 11:00:00 PM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments



Displaying results 21-30 (of 124)
 |<  <  1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10  >  >|