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24 motions at SBC stretch from missionary training to tax policy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Messengers proposed 24 motions during the opening day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting on such topics as theological training for missionaries, Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and ministry to people seeking to overcome “same-sex” attractions.

Russ Bush, a messenger from Bay Leaf Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C., moved that the SBC’s International Mission Board bring to the convention in 2006 a plan that supports “theologically conservative” educational institutions and that “clearly explains and reaffirms the [IMB’s] intent to continue to require theological training in a Baptist seminary for all full-time missions personnel.”

Bush’s motion was referred to the IMB, to report back to the 2006 convention to be held in Greensboro, N.C.

Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church of Buena Park, Calif., moved that the SBC president “appoint a study committee to evaluate and make recommendations to the SBC in 2006” on whether it is biblically correct for a church to be organized pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Section 501(c)(3) provides that the property and income of nonprofit corporations are exempt from taxation and that contributions made to Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations are tax-deductible. However, Section 501(c)(3) prohibits nonprofit corporations from engaging in political campaigns.

Wiley’s motion was referred to the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).

Bob Stith from Carroll Baptist Church in Southlake, Texas, moved that “the SBC establish as quickly as possible a liaison position to coordinate and enhance the ministry of the convention’s task force on ministry to homosexuals and those who struggle with unwanted ‘same-sex’ attraction.”

The motion was referred to LifeWay Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board and the ERLC.

Tim VanLandingham, a messenger from New Bethel Baptist Church in Valdosta, Ga., moved that LifeWay make available to all “willing local, hometown Christian bookstores, including LifeWay Christian Bookstores, any undated LifeWay and convention study curriculum and any dated and undated Vacation Bible School materials at the same prices as with LifeWay, with the same opportunities for returns for credit as with LifeWay.”

VanLandingham said that his motion grew out of concerns that Southern Baptist churches in communities far from a LifeWay store either have to pay “large shipping and handling charges” to obtain VBS materials through a catalog, or else elect to “visit their local Christian bookstore where they will find a variety of VBS materials from various publishers, but not LifeWay.”

The motion was referred to LifeWay.

Seven motions were referred to the Executive Committee:

— that the SBC annual meetings no longer meet on the week following Father’s Day, submitted by Robert Wensil from Pearl Baptist Church in Iron Station, N.C.

— that the SBC recognize and fund the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship as a “formal evangelistic mission entity” to Jewish people worldwide, submitted by Connie Saffle from New Life Community Baptist Church in Wichita, Kan.

— that the SBC invite the Woman’s Missionary Union to become an SBC entity, submitted by Leslie Stock, a messenger from Santa Fe Trail Baptist Church in Boonville, Mo.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the WMU is neither owned nor operated by the SBC. As the sole auxiliary to the SBC, WMU cooperates closely with IMB and NAMB to encourage churches to give generously to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

— that at least one woman be appointed to the committees of every SBC entity, submitted by Sharon Luke, a messenger from East Leesville Baptist Church in Louisiana.

— that the SBC’s bylaws be amended to allow for resolutions to be brought to the Resolutions Committee for review as early as April 15 or in the beginning of the afternoon session of the first day of the annual meeting, submitted by Wiley Drake.

— that the Executive Committee ask for a “good faith accounting from state conventions who (sic) are in cooperation with the SBC as to when they will reach the original goal of a 50/50 split of Cooperative Program funds between the SBC and state conventions,” submitted by Ron Wilson, a messenger from the First Baptist Church in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

— that SBC Bylaw 26 be amended by changing the words “with the exception that” to read “unless,” and that the words “may be” be amended to read “is,” submitted by Jeff Purvis from Westport Community Church in St. Louis. Bylaw 26 allows messengers to direct the Committee on Order of Business to facilitate immediate consideration by messengers of motions dealing with internal operations or ministries of SBC entities.

Two motions were referred to all 11 SBC entities:

— that all SBC entities review all aspects of their areas of ministry as they impact or serve single parents and their children, and remove any barriers to effective ministry to single parents and their children, submitted by Gerald Dominy, a messenger from Springfield First Baptist Church in Rogersville, Ala.

— that GuideStone Financial Resources become the primary insurance provider for all employees of SBC entities and agencies, submitted by James Salles from West End Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas.

Salles’ motion was mirrored by Charles Edwards from the First Baptist Church in Immokalee, Fla. Edwards moved that the SBC or Executive Committee “require” GuideStone to bring a report “to justify” why their “rates for health coverages (sic) are so far out of line with other [insurance] companies.”

Edwards’ motion was ruled out of order by the chair because one SBC entity cannot be required to direct another SBC entity to take any action.

Eight other motions were ruled out of order:

— that a 10 percent “tithe” of this year’s budget for the ERLC be allocated to the Center for Reclaiming America Ministries of Coral Ridge Ministries in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to support efforts to “reestablish the rights to acknowledge God in America” and “to correct the major American problem of federal judges making laws rather than interpreting laws.”

— that the SBC encourage all affiliated churches “not to remove the name ‘Southern Baptist’ or ‘Baptist’ from their church signs.”

— that all SBC entities to “respond to a covenant with Southern Baptists … to go the extra mile” in their business, ethics and public financial disclosure practices.

— that LifeWay and NAMB study how single adults are being ministered to by the SBC.

— that WMU amend its charter to make the SBC its sole member.

— that the Executive Committee publish “line-item expenditures and receipts in all financial areas from every reporting entity,” including salaries, bonuses, benefits and claimed expense account amounts for all reporting entity personnel.

— that LifeWay examine the Disney movie “America’s Heart and Soul” and the accompanying study guide for biblical soundness, and make the movie and guide available to all Southern Baptists in the event they are found biblically sound.

— that the SBC president send a letter to the Disney corporation telling them that the SBC will end its boycott of Disney on June 22, 2005.

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  • Brent Thompson