January 14, 2003
Coventry Estates Baptist Church, Independence, has voted unanimously to designate all state missions giving away from William Jewell College.
Roger Vester, pastor, said the action was taken in response to recent revelations about the apparent decline of Biblical morality on the Liberty campus. "We will send a letter with each missions check, stating that our gifts are to be used for Southern Baptist and Missouri Baptist missions causes with none of it to be distributed to William Jewell College," Vester told the Pathway.
"Our Church took the stand that we did because we believe that supporting an institution which has an administration and trustees that allows the homosexual agenda to be promoted on their campus crosses the tolerance line of what we would consider to be the biblical parameters in which we feel it is Scriptural to cooperate for mission causes."
Vester added that it is the desire of his church to continue to contribute to the "wonderful work of the SBC and MBC" while at the same time following our convictions concerning William Jewell.
"We believe, if possible, all funding should be cut off to William Jewell immediately. The way I understand it, the MBC can’t act until the next convention because we are bound by the budget that was adopted at this year’s convention," Vester said.
"Therefore, we feel that the only alternative is to designate around Jewell. Waiting until April for a report or next convention for a recommendation means that Jewell will still be receiving money from our convention. We find this unacceptable. I cannot in good conscience encourage our people to give to missions when we know that even a small part is going to support such an institution. "
The pastor said the vote was unanimous even with several Jewell alumni in the congregation.
"I believe that supporting Jewell is outside our church’s parameters of Biblical cooperation," Vester said. "Our desire is to fund the MBC and SBC causes without compromising our convictions in this area," Vester said. "We cannot knowingly allow even a small portion of our mission money to fund an institution that so blatantly goes against our values – not even for a few months."
The MBC Executive Board’s inter-agency committee is in the midst of an investigation into reported actions by William Jewell. The head of the school’s psychology department has charged that there is a pro-homosexual atmosphere among leaders at William Jewell. And a college-sanctioned performance of "The Vagina Monologues" will be presented on the Jewell campus in mid-February.
"We are confident that our leadership will deal with Jewell concerning the long term," Vester said. "However, for the short term (until the next convention), we as a local church must deal with Jewell," Vester explained.
"Our leadership’s hands are probably tied because we are between conventions, and the bottom line is that we by conviction cannot contribute to any part of the $400,000 that the school is scheduled to receive this year."