News Articles

New Mo. convention requires voters to sign ‘agreement’ form

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Organizers of a breakaway Baptist convention in Missouri will require all voting participants to sign a form affirming allegiance to the new convention.

The notice was posted on the Internet site of the new Baptist General Convention of Missouri. The convention officially will be organized during an April 19-20 meeting at the St. Louis-area Fee Fee Baptist Church in Bridgeton.

“In order to register as a ‘voting participant’ each person will be required to sign a registration form affirming that he/she is in agreement with, and is committed to support, the establishment of the Baptist General Convention of Missouri under the purposes set forth in the convention’s Articles of Incorporation,” the statement noted.

Guests to the meeting also will be required to sign a registration form indicating they are not eligible to participate in the deliberations and voting. They will, however, be allowed to observe the meeting.

Kevin Quinn, team leader for communications and technology for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said that messengers to the MBC are not required to sign any affirmation forms.

“Our constitution sets out the requirements for messengers and that is not one of the requirements,” Quinn told Baptist Press.

Tom Nettles, a professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., told Baptist Press the BGCM’s decision is no different than recent actions requiring International Mission Board missionaries to affirm the Baptist Faith & Message.

Ironically, many of the leaders of the BGCM have been critical of the IMB’s decision.

“If the new convention says they want people to be in agreement with them and then say that missionaries don’t have to be in agreement with the Southern Baptist Convention, then it’s hypocritical,” Nettles said.

However, Nettles said there is nothing wrong with the BGCM requiring people to register their affirmation.

“Those who disagree with their mission should not attend,” he said. “It’s not any different than what Southern Baptists are trying to do in our missionary work. Southern Baptists have been up front on what our beliefs are.”

Nettles said he would be interested in knowing what the new Missouri convention is affirming.

“It’s not a bad thing if they will let the world know what they believe and what their mission is going to be,” he said. “They need to be clear about what kind of gospel they will be preaching, the doctrine they are supporting and their view on the nature of Scripture.”

Bill Webb, editor of the Word & Way, a newsjournal for Missouri Baptists, was critical of the BF&M issue in a recent editorial. However, he said the requirement to affirm the new Missouri convention is different.

“I’m not sure I have a strong opinion one way or another,” Webb said. “Perhaps the idea is to let people who would be open to the idea of this new convention be in a position of shaping what it would become.”

Roger Moran, research director for the Missouri Baptist Laymen’s Association, said he wanted to know what messengers would be affirming.

“In the case of the Baptist Faith and Message, at least we know what we affirmed,” Moran said. “Are they affirming their commitment to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Mainstream Baptists, the Baptist Joint Committee?”

Attempts to reach BGCM spokesman Randy Fullerton, pastor of Fee Fee Baptist Church, were unsuccessful.

In a related item, two International Mission Board missionaries listed as speakers at the BGCM meeting will not attend.

David and Robin Johnson were originally scheduled to address the organizational meeting on their ministry in Japan. Johnson was not aware of the political nature of the meeting when he accepted the invitation and has since withdrawn from the event.

The Johnsons, missionaries to Japan, are on stateside assignment and living in a missionary home provided by Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo., a church sympathetic to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. David Johnson teaches at William Jewell College.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes