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MOTIONS WRAP-UP Among 38 motions at SBC

ATLANTA (BP)–“You folks were in a motion-making mood this afternoon. You surely were,” Southern Baptist Convention President Paige Patterson told messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention.
In all, 38 motions were brought to the convention floor at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome during the June 15-16 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. This compares with 26 motions presented during the 1998 SBC annual meeting. Motions are requests by messengers for specific action by the SBC or its entities.
Only two of the motions were brought to the floor for a vote:
— In a 54-46 percent vote, SBC messengers approved a motion calling for the appointment of a committee to study its Baptist Faith and Message statement and bring a report to the SBC’s annual meeting in 2000 in Orlando, Fla.
The ballot vote was 2,327-1,963.
Speaking in support of his motion, T.C. Pinckney, of Good News Baptist Church, Alexandria, Va., acknowledged the 1998 addition of an article on the family to the Baptist Faith and Message but noted the document was adopted in 1963.
“The intervening 36 years have been momentous ones for the Southern Baptist Convention,” stated Pinckney, who is editor of the Baptist Banner, a Virginia-based conservative journal. “I believe it is appropriate at this time that the Baptist Faith and Message be reviewed and that it be made consistent with the current stand of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
— Messengers “overwhelmingly” defeated, in the words of SBC President Paige Patterson, by a show of hands holding ballots a motion by Blaine Barber, a messenger from Agape Baptist Church, Petoskey, Mich., to take a non-binding “straw poll” to gauge interest in changing the name of the SBC to the International Baptist Convention, which would better reflect the denomination’s global focus.
James McCullen, First Baptist Church, Mountain View, Mo., had offered an amendment to Barber’s straw poll motion, that the name be changed to Scriptural Baptist Convention to avoid the necessity of changing the well-known “SBC” acronym. The amendment failed.
In speaking for his proposal, Barber said a name change would open doors, facilitate racial reconciliation and be consistent with Scripture. “The name change will open doors to church planting and building healthy churches that will bring in a new era in our denomination,” Barber said.
Jeff Johnson, Central Baptist Church, Grants, N.M. spoke against a name change. “Southern Baptist is a term for a theology, not a term for a location,” Johnson said. “It is a term we’ve come to respect.”
A day earlier, in its pre-convention meeting, the SBC Executive Committee had turned down a motion by Barber to recommend a name change be included in its report to the convention. In February, the Executive Committee had adopted a report that found “no compelling rationale” for a name change. That action was in response to a 1998 motion that called for a feasibility study of a possible name change.
Two motions, both presented by Wiley Drake, Buena Park, Calif., were withdrawn by Drake after conversation with Order of Business Committee officials because they related to resolutions that messengers had already passed.
In one motion, Drake had proposed that SBC President Patterson communicate to U.S. President Bill Clinton the SBC’s disapproval of Clinton’s support of homosexuality. This motion related to SBC Resolution 4, which denounced Clinton’s endorsement of gay and lesbian pride month.
Drake’s second motion had requested that Patterson send a letter to the America Psychological Association about a recent report in its journal on sexual abuse. This motion related to SBC Resolution 5, which “repudiated and denounced” articles about reports “which attempt to normalize or legitimize immoral behavior, including ‘adult-child sex.'”
In accordance with SBC Bylaw 26(2), 34 motions were referred to the convention’s boards and agencies. That bylaw states: “Motions made by messengers dealing with internal operations or ministries of an entity shall be referred to the elected board of the entity for consideration and report to the constituency and to the next annual meeting of the Convention.”
Three motions were referred to more than one agency.
— That SBC entities utilize current technology such as video conferencing and the Internet to decrease travel costs and time for meetings, made by David Roberts of Brushton, N.Y., referred to all SBC entities.
— That no SBC annual meeting-related meetings be held during Crossover events, by John Thompson, Plymouth, Fla., referred to all SBC entities.
— That the SBC provide financial assistance for small churches and bivocational pastors to receive training in FAITH, by Richard Boswell, Fort Worth, Texas, referred to NAMB and LifeWay Christian Resources.
Thirteen motions were referred to the Executive Committee:
— That a study be made of the use of Cooperative Program funds to cooperate with groups whose beliefs conflict with the historical distinctives and witness of Southern Baptists, by Jerry Moser, Theriot, La.
— That the Executive Committee list pastors and churches by state and town in the SBC Annual, by Jack Barrett, Forest, Va.
— That Christian and American Flags be placed on the platform at the SBC annual meeting, by Wayne Key, Cherryville, N.C.
–That a committee be appointed to study ways including a name change “to make the mission focus of the Cooperative Program inescapably clear,” by Kent Cochran, Raytown, Mo.
— That the seating arrangement for handicapped messengers be re-evaluated because of background noise, by Debra Kepler, Winter Beach, Fla.
— That the text of the SBC president’s report and convention sermon be published in future SBC annuals, by Russell Moore, LaGrange, Ky.
— That SBC meeting dates be reconsidered, by Eddie Hatcher, Flemington, N.J.
— That the SBC annual meeting take place in a northern city, by James Jones, Clarkston, Mich. He specified New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit or Cleveland in his motion.
— That an offering be collected at each SBC annual meeting for the lost and needy of the host city, by Joe Waldorff, Glenwood, Ala.
— That the Executive Committee study the adoption of term limits for the SBC’s future elected officers, by Rick Henson, Lecompte, La.
— That the SBC constitution be amended so “the term of office for the presidency be unlimited and a president be eligible for re-election at the end of each year of service,” by Joe Moran, Wilmore, Ky.
— That the Executive Committee study the impact and influence on Southern Baptist life of SBC churches involved in unbiblical worship practices, by Mike Everson, Douglasville, Ga.
— That the SBC Constitution be amended with respect to how messenger representation is determined, by Mark Long , Perkinston, Miss.
Five motions were referred to the North American Mission Board:
— That NAMB increase efforts to promote growth in declining churches, by Everett Anthony, Marietta, Ga.
— That the SBC consider more Christian gospel television advertising, by Michael T. “Tim” Walsh, Medina, Texas.
— That a luncheon/conference be provided at the annual meeting of the SBC for teenagers and college students of ministers, by Melody Fain, Selma, Ala.
— That NAMB produce materials contrasting the Bible and Freemasonry, by Russ Kaemmerling, DeSoto, Texas.
— That NAMB establish a billboard campaign for Crossover Orlando directed at homosexuals, by Wiley Drake, Buena Park, Calif.
Three motions were referred to LifeWay Christian Resources:
— That LifeWay provide Sunday school materials for sight-impaired persons of all ages, by Jerry Henry, Selma, Ala.
— That LifeWay use the same Scripture passages in its adult and youth Sunday school materials, by Ellis Parson, Summerfield, Texas.
— That LifeWay permanently identify Ridgecrest and Glorieta conference centers and its bookstores as Southern Baptist on signage and in promotional materials, by Jack Kennedy, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Two motions were referred to the Annuity Board:
— That the SBC appoint a committee to study and recommend how the Annuity Board might more effectively serve Southern Baptists, by Joe Mack, Columbia, S.C.
— That the Annuity Board permit certain church school employees to be eligible to participate in Annuity Board programs, “seeing that day school teachers are as much a part of the church as is the office or custodial staff,” by Herman Meister, Tampa, Fla.
Three motions were referred to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission:
— That a group be appointed to study the biblical compatibility of organizing religious bodies as tax-exempt corporations, by Wiley Drake, Buena Park, Calif.
— That more information be provided local churches on legislative issues, by Randall Craft, Mount Olive, Miss.
— That ERLC give greater emphasis on Christian persecution, by Alvin J. Rowe III, Earlysville,Va.
One motion calling for all six Southern Baptist seminaries to fund qualified professional sign language interpreters for all deaf students was referred to the six seminaries. The motion was proposed by Scott Hamtilton Rogers, Tampa, Fla.
Four motions were ruled out of order:
— That Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark., discipline one of its members, U.S. President Bill Clinton, or the SBC at the 2000 annual meeting would withdraw fellowship with the church, by Tommy Dye, Morristown, Tenn.
— That the Southern Baptist Convention disassociate itself from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, “including disassociation by the Annuity Board,” by Robert Philbeck, Mill Spring, N.C.
— That the SBC respectfully request Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark. to state whether it agrees or disagrees with the pro-homosexual stance of President Bill Clinton, by C.B. Scott, Roxboro, N.C.
— That the SBC convey strong support for Israel’s prime minister, by Raymond Edge, Bastrop, Texas.