SOC members’ influence ripples through MBC
KEARNEY—Roger Moran, research director of the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association (MBLA), came to the Save Our Convention (SOC) meeting June 26 at First Baptist Church here but had very little to say.
Rules worked against him. He was told to ask questions into a microphone, not “debate.” He also had to be sensitive to the concerns of several other people who also wanted to speak in the short span of only about 30 minutes. The whole thing clearly left him frustrated.
“The more I listen to the rhetoric coming from the SOC leaders, the more they are sounding like a group of angry preachers in search of a cause, convinced of their central concern that they deserve more power and influence than they think they have,” said Moran on June 28, summarizing his many concerns with an organization that seems intent on demonizing him as a “legalistic Pharisee” who is bent on “political power-brokering.”
Five laity make up the MBLA. There are 11 leaders of SOC, who this year hold (counting the service of their church members) a total of 22 seats on Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) boards, agencies and committees, according to official Convention data.
Three SOC leaders currently serve on the MBC Executive Board (Wayne Isgriggs, Tom Willoughby and Wes Hammond); two serve on MBC university boards (David Sheppard on Missouri Baptist University and David McAlpin on Southwest Baptist University); one serves on the Missouri Baptist Foundation board (Dwight Blankenship) and one serves on the Board of the Baptist Home (Mitch Jackson).
One SOC leader serves on both the MBC and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Nominating Committee (Willoughby) and the associate pastor of another (Jackson) also serves on the MBC Nominating Committee. McAlpin was appointed to serve on the Theological Study Committee by the current MBC president, Mike Green. The wife of one SOC leader (Kenny Qualls) serves on the board of the Missouri Baptist Children’s Home and the wife of another (Jackson) rotated off the Executive Board last October. The son of another (Isgriggs) resigned from the Word & Way board last year, a term that would have expired in 2008. Two of the 11 SOC leaders can’t serve because their churches already have the maximum number of people that can serve on MBC boards and agencies (Qualls and Lee Sanders).
Another member from McAlpin’s church served on the Executive Board but resigned under pressure from her pastor before the April board meeting (she is an MBLA board member). Two of the 11 SOC leaders have served as both first vice president and president of the Convention. And SOC leaders also hold positions at the SBC level.
“If we went back into the 1990s as the SOC leaders did in their effort to discredit MBLA, the number of positions held by the SOC leaders would be considerably higher,” Moran said. “Yet, it is my opinion that none of this should matter because all these were legitimate nominees and appointments. In the eyes of the SOC leaders, it’s clearly good that they are serving, because they represent the ‘center.’ But those they disagree with about issues they have failed to identify should not be serving, because such Missouri Baptists are ‘legalistic Pharisees’ and ‘political power-brokers.’
“Their argument that SOC leaders have somehow been ‘excluded’ is not only ridiculous, but such deceitfulness is easily documented.”
To read how Moran has responded in the past to similar accusations, go to the MBLA’s Web site at www.mbla.org.