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Okla. Baptists OK $34 million to renovate conference center

OKLAHOMA CITY (BP)–Oklahoma Baptists approved a $34 million master plan for Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center and affirmed the Baptist Faith and Message, including the family life amendment, during their Nov. 15-16 annual meeting.
Messengers also passed a record $20.2 million budget and passed resolutions supporting state government, strengthening marriages and calling for prayer.
The $34 million renovation plan, which includes a new $16.66 million tabernacle designed for year-round use, was the focus of the Monday evening session, held at the Myriad Convention Center in downtown Oklahoma City.
An estimated 6,000 people attended the session. There were 1,559 registered messengers at the convention.
The following morning, messengers voted on the plan. After an attempt to take the vote by secret ballot failed 419-264, messengers overwhelmingly approved the plan. A fund-raising drive will seek to raise the funds over the next two years.
After the vote, BGCO Executive Director-Treasurer Anthony Jordan announced that an anonymous donor has already given $1 million to the drive.
Later, a love offering from messengers added $3,060 to the fund.
Messengers passed six resolutions during the convention. One of the resolutions affirmed the Baptist Faith and Message as amended in 1998 and called on Oklahoma Baptists to pray for a BFM study committee named during the 1999 SBC annual meeting.
. In 1998, messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City adopted a marriage and family amendment to the 1963 statement that included a call to Christian wives “to submit graciously to the servant leadership” of their husbands who are to love their wives as Christ loved the church.
Jordan was chairman of the committee that proposed the amendment, which was also supported by messengers to the 1998 BGCO meeting.
At the 1999 SBC in Atlanta, messengers authorized President Paige Patterson to appoint a committee to study the overall confessional statement and make recommendations.
Another resolution affirmed a decision by the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee to require science textbooks to point out that evolution is only a theory and not a proven fact.
Messenger Jim Huff, from Southern Hills Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, spoke against the resolution, because “creationism is not science, but a statement of faith. We should not put ourselves in that particular arena.” Huff is an officer with the Oklahoma chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which has threatened to file a lawsuit over the committee’s decision.
Resolution author Bob Green, pastor of Arrow Heights Baptist Church in Broken Arrow, said evolution is also not scientific at all and said it “could be one of the worst tools to cause young people to disbelieve other areas of Scripture.”
Messengers overwhelmingly approved the resolution.
Messengers also approved four other resolutions:
— Calling on churches to commit themselves to prayer, including four Wednesdays during 2000 devoted entirely to prayer.
— Urging churches to offering counseling and marriage enrichment courses to lower the state’s divorce rate.
— Making a covenant to pray daily for the state’s elected officials.
— Expressing appreciation to the City of Oklahoma, the Myriad Convention Center and area churches that helped with the convention.
Messengers also heard reports from existing partnerships with Indiana and Malawi, and from a partnership with Phoenix, Ariz., that begins Jan. 1.
They also overwhelmingly passed the 2000 budget of $20.2 million — up from the 1999 record budget of $19.6 million — of which 40 percent goes to Southern Baptist Convention causes and 60 percent to Oklahoma causes. That percentage is unchanged from previous years.
Convention officers elected by acclamation were James Robinson, pastor of First Baptist Church of Durant, president; Rick Frie, pastor of First Baptist Church of Mustang, first vice president; Monty Hale, pastor of Eastern Heights Baptist Church of Bartlesville, second vice president; and retired director of missions David Freeman, recording secretary.
Marlin Hawkins, BGCO controller, was elected historical secretary. He replaces retired Baptist Messenger associate editor Bob Mathews, who did not seek re-election.

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  • Dave Parker