‘Show Me’ state messengers active at SBC meeting
By Allen Palmeri
June 28, 2005
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Missouri Baptists heartily participated in the business of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention June 21-22 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tenn.
Jim Goforth, messenger, New Life Baptist Church, Florissant, succeeded in amending a resolution on educating children to “commend godly teachers and students who feel a call from God to take a stand for God in secular schools as a light shining in the darkness.”
The resolution approved by messengers calls for Southern Baptist parents and churches to research and monitor the entertainment and educational influences on children and to investigate diligently curricula in the context of Christian parents fully embracing their responsibility to prayerfully and morally educate their children.
Goforth urged messengers to affirm faithful public school evangelists like his wife, who has been a teacher for 22 years.
“We need to commend them,” he said.
Both the amendment and the resolution were overwhelmingly approved.
Roger Moran, research director, Missouri Baptist Layman’s Association, and member, SBC Executive Committee, was encouraged by the intensity of the debate but disappointed by the wording of the resolution, which refers to “community schools” instead of public schools.
“We are so afraid of offending people,” Moran said. “We are like the false, worthless prophets of old who refused to tell the truth, which could have prevented our captivity. We are becoming spiritual captives because our leaders refuse to deal with areas that we ought to be examining.”
SBC President Bobby Welch yielded the chair to First Vice President Gerald Davidson for part of the afternoon session of June 21. Davidson, co-pastor, First Baptist Church, Arnold, was presiding when he announced Welch’s re-election as president of the SBC. Registration Secretary Jim Wells, director of missions, Tri County Baptist Association, cast the ballot of the convention for Welch, whom he called “a dear friend.”
Welch’s President’s Address drew the following comment from Davidson:
“I believe Brother Bobby’s excited about evangelism, and I pray that each of us would have that same spirit.”
Wells was re-elected without opposition after he was nominated June 22 by John Marshall, pastor, Second Baptist Church, Springfield.
On the question of sole membership with the SBC which New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary was contending, Missouri Baptist messengers Gary Urich and David Tolliver stepped up to microphones June 21 in defense of the SBC’s position.
Urich, messenger, Southern Hills Baptist Church, Bolivar, reminded his fellow messengers how difficult it has been for the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) to legally regain control of five breakaway agencies. Litigation is ongoing.
“Let us make the legal ties as clear as possible and vote for sole membership,” Urich said.
Tolliver, a messenger from Pisgah Baptist Church, Excelsior Springs, and a member of the MBC’s Legal Task Force, echoed Urich’s point about strengthening any and all legal ties within the SBC.
“I am a fourth-generation Southern Baptist preacher,” Tolliver said. “I believe that there are generations that will follow me that need this motion to pass.”
It did so overwhelmingly, by 78 percent of the vote, 5,627-1,528.
Rodney Albert, messenger, Hallsville Baptist Church, offered an amendment to the SBC allocation budget that would have trimmed a quarter percent from both the International Mission Board and North American Mission Board budgets in order to increase the budgets of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission by one-half percent. The amendment was overwhelmingly defeated.
A motion by Jeff Purvis, messenger, Westport Community Church, Imperial, amending Bylaw 26B to change the way the SBC processes motions dealing with the internal operation of its entities, was referred to the SBC Executive Committee for consideration and report to the 2006 annual meeting of the SBC. Another motion by Leslie Stock, messenger, Santa Fe Trail Baptist Church, Boonville, inviting the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) to become an SBC entity was similarly advanced.
Motions submitted by Missouri Baptists concerning the reporting of financial accounting procedures within the SBC, that Southern Baptist agencies and entities respond with increasing openness to a covenant with each other, and requiring sole membership of the WMU to the SBC were ruled out of order.
Sprinkled in among the many preachers delivering messages throughout the annual meeting was Presbyterian theologian R.C. Sproul, who preached on Romans 1 at the Founders Breakfast June 21.
“Our founding fathers used to preach these kinds of messages – grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone,” Purvis said. “It is God’s Gospel. We’re the stewards of that Gospel. We need to make sure that we preach it the way the Word prints it.”