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Okla. Baptist resolution endorses covenant marriage

MOORE, Okla. (BP)–The 1,007 registered messengers attending the 97th annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma adopted resolutions endorsing covenant marriage while opposing a state lottery and heard reports on ministry to senior adults and a capital campaign for Falls Creek Baptist Assembly during Nov. 11-12 sessions at First Baptist Church in Moore.

In a tight presidential race, Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid and an unannounced candidate, defeated Rick Frie, pastor of First Baptist Church in Mustang.

Messengers also made history when they elected the first woman as a BGCO officer. Outgoing state WMU President Pat Wagstaff, a member of First Baptist Church in Maysville, was elected assistant recording secretary.

In other votes, Bob Bender, pastor of First Baptist Church in Ada, was elected among three nominees for first vice president, while Mike Napier, minister of education/outreach at First Baptist Church in Owasso was re-elected second vice president in a ballot with one other nominee. Recording secretary Lonnie Latham, pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church, was re-elected without opposition.

Resolutions on covenant marriage, the lottery, Internet pornography, evangelistic prayer and biblical repentance and appreciation to the host church and convention personnel were approved without change or discussion.

The covenant marriage resolution encourages the Oklahoma legislature to enact covenant marriage legislation and Oklahoma Baptist ministers to sign and champion the cause of the Oklahoma marriage covenant.

In the lottery resolution, Oklahoma Baptists went on record as opposing a state-sponsored lottery and called on Gov.-elect Brad Henry and state officials to find ways to strengthen the state’s economy and provide fair and equitable educational opportunities based on responsible budgeting combined with innovative industrial, educational and technological development rather than on the false hopes of gambling.

BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan told messengers it is one thing to vote for the lottery resolution, but another to take up the challenge to keep a lottery out of Oklahoma.

“We can defeat the lottery,” he emphasized, “but it will take everything in us to do it.”

Oklahoma Baptists will never have enough money to fight the lottery, Jordan said, but as the largest denomination in the state, “we do have strength.”

“We must be in the forefront,” he said. “Don’t just say ‘aye’ [for the resolution], but when we call and say it’s time to act, do not delay because the time will be short.”

Jordan noted that the last time the lottery came before the legislature, phones “rang off the hook at the state capitol.”

The Internet pornography resolution calls on Oklahoma Baptists to “commit ourselves to lives of sexual purity, deplore disregard for moral values and decency and total disrespect for God’s design of sexual intimacy exhibited by those who produce and convey pornography.” The resolution also asks the state’s public libraries to protect patrons from exposure to pornography and calls on government agencies to enact and enforce laws that protect homes from transmission of pornographic material over the Internet.

On evangelistic prayer and biblical repentance, Oklahoma Baptists were encouraged to continue a call to fervent, evangelistic prayer and biblical repentance and undergird the resolution with six initiatives for 2003, including a 40-day guided emphasis of prayer and repentance.

The Shades of Solid Gold Task Force, which was appointed by Jordan to gather data and meet with individuals involved in providing services to senior adults, reported three issues and three solutions.

First, the task force notes, is the funding needed for senior adult ministry, with the solution being creation of a statewide ministry to be housed within the BGCO church and family equipping team.

Second is the need for specialized staff, with the convention employing a fulltime senior adult specialist; creating a team of persons led by the specialist and including a representative of the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Baptist Retirement Centers of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Baptist University; and offering courses at OBU to help students preparing for ministry to be better equipped to serve the needs of older adults.

Third is the need for services provided to churches and associations, with the BGCO creating a ministry to provide leadership training to churches and associations, conducting regional rallies for older adults, providing customized senior adult programming in the local church, retreats and the continuation of a statewide music ministry, as well as the development of a resource library which would include resources via video, the Internet and written publications.

Messengers heard a final report on the five-year partnership with Malawi, which has officially ended, and reports on and encouragement to participate in partnerships with Arizona, Mexico, Rome and China. Messengers also heard from students who went on Oklahoma’s first “Go Students” mission trips.

Messengers viewed a video about the coming improvements at Falls Creek Baptist Assembly, and heard Jordan report that $11 million in pledges has been received from 10,000 individuals for improvements at the camp.

The $22.4 million budget, up from the current budget’s $22.1 million, will continue to be distributed 60 percent for Oklahoma missions and ministries and 40 percent for Southern Baptist Convention international and national causes.

Next year’s convention will be Nov. 10-11 at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

    About the Author

  • Dana Williamson