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TBC adopts amended budget, backs marriage amendment

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP)–Tennessee Baptist Convention messengers approved an amended budget of $35,554,851 and elected Knoxville pastor Mike Boyd as convention president during their annual meeting at West Jackson Baptist Church.

Messengers at the TBC’s 129th annual meeting approved resolutions supporting the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment and the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

In addition to the budget and election of officers, messengers voted to accept the slate of nominees as presented by the convention’s Committee on Committees and Committee on Boards, turning down several amendments to the slate.

The Nov. 11-12 sessions, with the theme of “Together We Respond With Grace,” drew 1,948 messengers, up considerably from the 1,652 who attended last year’s convention at First Baptist Church in Franklin. The messenger count, however, was lower than the 2,155 in attendance when the convention was last held at West Jackson Baptist Church in 1997.

The budget for 2003-04 was presented during the TBC Executive Board’s report on Tuesday morning.

Immediately after presenting the budget printed in the Book of Reports, James Viar, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Cookeville and chairman of the TBC Executive Board’s Budget and Program Committee, offered an amended budget. He acknowledged that “it is unusual to bring a budget, then bring an amendment.”

Viar noted that after the board approved the budget in September, the committee met again and reviewed the budget in light of conerns expressed by the educational institutions that suffered the largest decreases (15.5 percent each) in the original budget.

“We re-evaluated our process and sought a solution to address fixed items and attempt to equalize the pain in our reductions,” Viar told messengers.

There are three fixed items in the TBC budget (associational supplements, the church annuity plan and TBC audits) that must be fully funded, Viar explained.

The committee chose to “build a budget based on actual receipts” for the past fiscal year which ended Oct. 31. Final receipts totaled $34,602,195.

With the added money needed to fully fund the fixed items and the corresponding increase to Southern Baptist Convention causes (created when the budget is increased), the amended budget of $35,554,851 was $354,851 more than the budget approved in September.

Southern Baptist Convention causes receive 37.5 percent of budget receipts while 62.5 percent goes to fund missions and ministry needs in Tennessee.

“We believe our amended budget is an attainable goal,” Viar said.

The budget, which was adopted with no discussion the next day, is $1,637,056, or 4.4 percent, below the 2002-03 budget, but is $952,656, or 2.8 percent, below actual receipts this year.

Messengers elected Mike Boyd, pastor of Wallace Memorial Baptist Church in Knoxville, as convention president over Randy Davis, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sevierville. Boyd received 737 votes (52.9 percent) while Davis received 656 votes (47.1 percent).

Ken Story, retired pastor of Germantown Baptist Church who is now pastor at First Baptist Church in Counce, nominated Boyd. Ray Newcomb, pastor of First Baptist Church in Millington, nominated Davis.

Story noted Boyd has led his church to give more than 10 percent of its offerings to the Cooperative Program for a total of $206,289 last year. The church also gave $100,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering of the International Mission Board.

Story said of Boyd, “He’s one of us,” noting Boyd had not “received the endorsement of any group. “He’s a biblical conservative in philosophy and theology.”

Newcomb noted Davis has led the Sevierville church to give 10 percent of its offerings to the Cooperative Program. He added the church has given $300,000 to missions during the past year and $108,000 to the Lottie Moon Offering.

Davis believes the Bible is without error, Newcomb said.

“He’ll lead us together for the glory of God,” he stated.

Elected first vice president without opposition was Robert Tyson, director of missions for the Robertson County Baptist Association, based in Springfield.

Elected second vice president was Steve Flockhart, pastor of Crosspointe Baptist Church in Millington, over Michael Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro. Flockhart received 57 percent of the vote (565 votes) and Smith received 43 percent (427 votes).

Davis and Flockhart were endorsed in a “2003 TBC Conservative Voters Guide” produced by Concerned Tennessee Baptists. The guide was made available to messengers at the Tuesday morning session.

Elected without opposition were TBC staff members Barbara Owen as recording and statistical secretary and Dan Ferrell as registration secretary.

Tennessee Baptist messengers affirmed the work of their Committee on Committees and Committees on Boards by approving each of their reports.

Seven of the 10 open positions were challenged by amendments supported by Concerned Tennessee Baptists.

The conservative voters guide given to messengers on the first day of the convention also listed the positions available on the Committee on Boards and Committee on Committees along with a candidate for each.

After considerable discussion, ballot votes were taken on each of the amendments. When all the vote totals were tallied, each of the amendments were defeated by a margin ranging from 56 percent to 67 percent.

Two resolutions were presented on the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment along with another resolution on human sexuality. The three were combined into one resolution, according to Ed Anderson of First Baptist Church in Church Hill, a member of the Resolutions Committee.

The resolution noted that God created both male and female and established the institution of marriage as exclusively between a man and woman.

The resolution also stated that “the Bible clearly condemns all sexual behavior outside the bounds of marriage as immoral and sinful” and that “such unChristian lifestyles are a matter of choice” and are “not genetic in origin.”

Citing a recent court case in Texas which declared a Texas law against sodomy unconstitutional, the resolution observed that “the only effective means in which Christians can stop this judicial movement to destroy the moral foundation of the family and the moral fabric of our society is a constitutional amendment.”

It resolved that messengers to the 129th annual TBC messengers “do hereby affirm our support for said “federal marriage amendment” and that Tennessee Baptists resolve “to pray for our president, members of Congress and the judiciary of the United States to work to preserve and to protect the God-ordained institution of marriage between one man and one woman.”

The resolution on the phrase “under God” took note of the June 2002 ruling of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California which declared the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States of America to be unconstitutional because of the two words “under God.”

The resolution noted that the United States “was founded by our forefathers based upon the principles of religious freedom and the existence of God” and that those “principles are present” in the Declaration of Independence.

Messengers resolved to “affirm our support for keeping the phrase ‘under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance” and to “stand against the element of the judicial branch of our government that seeks to remove the phrase” and to pray “for our president, members of Congress, and the judiciary of the United States that they will work to preserve and protect our country ‘as one nation under God.'”

Both resolutions asked that copies be sent to all Tennessee congressional representatives and senators and to President George W. Bush.

Next year’s annual meeting will be Nov. 9-10 at First Baptist Church in Sevierville.

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