Single alignment positioned for approval at ’05 meeting
By Allen Palmeri
November 9, 2004
RAYTOWN – Single alignment will be a requirement for membership to the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) if a report approved by messengers of the 2004 annual meeting at First Baptist Church, Raytown, is left unchanged and approved at the 2005 annual meeting in Springfield.
After vigorous debate Oct. 26 and Oct. 27 and one failed amendment, messengers voted to approve the report as is, meaning that a possible final acceptance vote of the several interdependent changes to the MBC Constitution could occur at next year’s convention at Second Baptist Church, Springfield.
Single alignment, in general, will require an MBC church to be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. For a more detailed explanation read the proposed changes to the MBC Constitution that involve Article IV, Article V, Article X and Article VI. They are printed on pages 41-44 of the MBC’s Bulletin Program & Book of Reports. On page 43, changes that would make the Credentials Committee a standing committee of the MBC are detailed.
“I strongly encourage Missouri Baptists who have questions and concerns to be in communication with the Committee on Continuing Review,” said James Freeman, chairman of the committee who was on the platform during the convention debate to explain the committee’s work.
David Krueger, messenger, First Baptist Church, Linn, offered an amendment under “Credentials Committee – Rules and Procedures” pertaining to confessional statements of faith. His amendment failed, meaning the report, as printed in the Book of Reports, stands unchanged.
Some messengers to the convention who are also members of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) or Baptist General Convention of Missouri (BGCM) objected to the report, calling it confusing and divisive. MBC President David Tolliver listened to their concerns as the Oct. 26 debate ran past the intended time. He called for a halt to the discussion until the following morning.
“I think we just about got you wore out,” Tolliver said. “We will come back to it after we get some rest.”
The Oct. 27 debate featured members of the CBF raising points of order as they attempted to table the report. Tolliver ruled that a motion to table the report was out of order, explaining at one point that “we’re simply voting to receive a report.” In the end, CBF members could not muster enough votes to successfully pass an amendment to the report. Therefore, if nothing is changed in committee between now and the start of the 2005 annual meeting, the proposed changes to the constitution will be approved or rejected by messengers at the Second Springfield convention.
Perhaps 50 messengers voted not to receive the report Oct. 27 as the majority voted overwhelmingly to affirm the work of the committee.
“It’s a statement about who we are as Missouri Baptists,” said Roger Moran, research director, Missouri Baptist Layman’s Association. “It’s not good when you have people who are working within the state convention to constantly undermine everything that we would like to see happen. I think single alignment’s going to put those things to rest, and I think that is good.”
Messengers also accepted in the report a change that would allow the president of the convention to be elected for two consecutive terms of office. Depending on when, or if, this change is approved, this could lead to the current president of the convention, Mitch Jackson, being eligible to run for a second term in 2005.