Single alignment passes with ease
By Allen Palmeri
November 1, 2005
SPRINGFIELD– Single alignment, the series of interdependent changes to the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Constitution, was passed overwhelmingly after less than one hour of debate by messengers Oct. 25 during the 171st annual meeting of the MBC.
Two separate votes on the changes passed with little opposition from messengers in the sanctuary at Second Baptist Church, Springfield. The first vote was called in the affirmative by MBC President Mitchell Jackson. The second vote appeared to be a little closer, so Jackson called for a ballot vote. It wound up 976-217, or 82 percent in favor. A two-thirds majority was required for passage.
“I think the messengers saw this as the natural outgrowth of the conflict that has gone on,” said Roger Moran, research director, Missouri Baptist Layman’s Association.
Two amendments that could have delayed the final approval of single alignment were offered. Both were overwhelmingly defeated by the conservative majority. MBC Executive Board members Paul Callahan, Charlie Burnett and Wayne Malone were among the hundreds in the majority who opted to shorten the debate by successfully “calling for the question” and seconding motions so that hundreds of unified messengers could have the final say.
Mike Haynes, director of missions, Greene County Baptist Association, complained that the single alignment proposal was divisive and unnecessary. He went on to threaten the convention should the MBC’s Committee on Continuing Review ever take action against a church in Haynes’ association. Haynes never did say what action he might try should the committee act.
John Holstein, chairman, Committee on Continuing Review, responded that single alignment will promote an orderly, prayerful process that will successfully determine whether a church is theologically in step with the Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Baptist Convention, as opposed to other more theologically liberal denominations/fellowships.
David Baker, messenger, First Baptist Church, Belton, and a member of the MBC Executive Board, remembered what happened in 1992, when the credentials of his church were challenged on the basis of Baker being disloyal. It took two and a half days for Baker to be affirmed as a loyal Missouri Baptist, and the church’s messengers finally were seated for the final 20 minutes of the annual meeting.
“I’m relieved that another church will not have to do it through that same process,” Baker said.
The contextual sequence of the single alignment language is found on pages 19-21 of the Oct. 25 edition of The Pathway.