NASHVILLE (BP) – The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee has given the District of Columbia Baptist Convention (DCBC) 90 days to “secure” the “the removal of any churches from its fellowship that have demonstrated a faith or practice affirming, approving or endorsing homosexual behavior,” according to a recommendation adopted by the EC Feb. 20.
If such churches remain in friendly cooperation with the DCBC after that period, the DCBC will lose its authorization “to receive and disburse Cooperative Program and other SBC contributions,” the EC stated during its Feb. 19-20 meetings in Nashville.
The EC also declined to recommend a study of merging the SBC’s two mission boards and adopted resolutions honoring retiring Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) executive director Anthony Jordan and EC vice chairman Shane Hall, who died Feb. 16.
D.C. Baptist Convention
The SBC’s relationship with the DCBC arose for discussion in light of a Washington church’s Jan. 2017 decision to call a legally-married lesbian couple as co-pastors. Efforts by EC leaders to help the DCBC deal with that church – Calvary Baptist Church – in a biblical manner proved “unfruitful” over the past year, the EC stated.
Calvary voted in 2012 to cease cooperation with the SBC.
Acting on behalf of the SBC, the EC gave the D.C. convention until May 20 to disfellowship Calvary, secure the congregation’s voluntary withdrawal from DCBC fellowship or help lead the church to repentance. If none of those scenarios materializes, the DCBC will lose immediately its authorization to receive and disburse CP funds.
Study of IMB-NAMB merger declined
The EC declined, with no dissenting votes, to create a committee to study the feasibility of combining the SBC’s two mission boards, opting instead to encourage the boards’ expressed desire to continue cooperating with one another.
The feasibility of merging the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and the International Mission Board (IMB) has been repeatedly studied, the EC said, and a merger was found to be unfruitful. Instead, both boards were twice restructured after studies ending in 1994 and 2010, resulting in a combined reduction of 700 staff members since the latest restructuring, the EC said.
NAMB and IMB enjoy a productive cooperative relationship, the presidents of both entities told BP.
“I am grateful to report that the working relationship between IMB and NAMB today is strong, and we want that partnership to only increase in the days ahead,” IMB President David Platt said. “At the same time, we believe that significant differences exist between IMB and NAMB in such a way that neither organization believes it is wise to merge together.”
NAMB President Kevin Ezell expressed a similar sentiment.
“We are blessed with a great partnership with IMB and we will continue to look for ways that our two entities can work together and minimize redundancy,” Ezell told BP. “With all of the downsizing both NAMB and IMB have had in recent years, we believe continued cooperation, rather than merger, will be much more beneficial to Southern Baptists.”
Anthony Jordan honored
The EC recognized Jordan as the longest serving executive director in the BGCO’s 112-year history. During his 22-year tenure, the number of Southern Baptist churches in the state increased at least 13 percent, more than 322,000 individuals were baptized and the BGCO forwarded more than $200 million in CP receipts to the SBC, the EC said in its resolution. Jordan’s Southern Baptist service has included pastorates in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Missouri, and several association and state convention leadership posts.
In other action, the EC:
- recommended SBC calendars and calendar amendments through 2022-2023.
The EC voted to recommend to the 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas the addition of National Day of Prayer the first Thursday in May to the SBC Calendar of Activities. A motion to change the name of Orphan Sunday to Orphans and Widows Sunday was also approved for recommendation to 2018 messengers in Dallas. The changes would be added to all future calendars and all previously approved future calendars, according to the EC’s recommendation.The EC rejected a proposal from the 2017 SBC annual meeting to designate an annual Sunday on the SBC calendar to honor persecuted Christians. Rather, the EC will recommend to the 2018 SBC annual meeting that the convention continue to elevate the plight of persecuted Christians in published media, the public square and in prayer.
- adopted guidelines for the EC liaison to the SBC Committee on Resolutions.
- adopted a two-page resolution on corporate bank accounts and authorized signatures.
- requested that the SBC Pastors’ Conference reimburse the EC $100,000 for use of convention facilities in advance of the June 12-13 2018 SBC annual meeting in Dallas.
- approved a 2018-2019 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget of $194,000,000 for recommendation to the SBC.The proposed budget maintains current allocations to the convention’s ministries, including 50.41 percent of receipts to the IMB and 22.79 percent to NAMB, for a total of 73.20 percent for world missions ministries.
The convention’s six seminaries will receive 22.16 percent. The seminary enrollment formula for funding will yield: Gateway Seminary, 2.02 percent; Midwestern Seminary, 3.23 percent; New Orleans Seminary, 3.63 percent; Southeastern Seminary, 3.90 percent; Southern Seminary, 5.26 percent; Southwestern Seminary, 3.88 percent; and .24 percent to the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives, a ministry overseen by the seminary presidents. (Cumulative numbers may not match the sum of individual seminary percentages due to rounding.
The budget proposal designates 1.65 percent to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. The SBC Operating Budget, the only CP-funded facilitating ministry, encompassing SBC annual meeting costs and the work of the Executive Committee, would receive 2.99 percent of the budget.
Under the formula for distributing any overage in the CP Allocation Budget, 53.4 percent would be allocated to the IMB and 0 percent to the Executive Committee and SBC Operating Budget, with the balance distributed to the other entities according to the CP Allocation Budget.
- recommended a 2018-2019 Executive Committee and SBC Operating Budget of $7,913,638.
- elected Bill Lovell and Tom Boyd to three-year terms as Southern Baptist Foundation trustees. Lovell, from Nashville, is retired from Lovell Investments. Boyd, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., is with Decker Wealth Management and is retired from Bank of America, where he served as a senior vice president.
- authorized a 2.1 percent increase in the Executive Committee salary structure for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.
Additionally, the EC was notified that Page will contract with C. Barry McCarty to serve as chief parliamentarian for this year’s annual meeting in Dallas.
The next EC meeting will be held June 11 in Dallas.