SBC Life Articles

State Convention Roundup

Some states stipulate "preferred items," such as annuity support for pastors, paying for them before they make the percentage cut to the Southern Baptist Convention. Since these funds do not come to the SBC for CP distribution, they are not counted as part of the national Cooperative Program.


President: Leon Ballard, pastor, York Baptist Church, York, AL

CP percentages: 42.3% / 57.7%

Resolutions: On burning of African-American Churches; opposing gambling; opposing abortion

Noteworthy: Approved a Covenant of Trust between Samford University and the Convention


President: Wally Smith, pastor, Faith Baptist Church, Fairbanks, AK

CP percentages: 33% / 67%

Resolutions: Supporting SBC boycott of the Walt Disney Company; seeking changes in building regulations to enable volunteers to serve in Alaska


President: David Johnson, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Phoenix, AZ

CP percentages: 19 % / 81%

Resolutions: In appreciation for the ASBC staff; in appreciation for retiring associational personnel


President: Rex Horne, Jr., pastor, Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, AR

CP percentages: 41.77% /58.23%

Resolutions: On sanctity of human life; opposing homosexuality; opposing pornography; alcohol and other drugs; on racial relations; affirming Christian public school teachers and administrators


President: Harry Lewis, pastor, Immanuel Southern Baptist Church, Ridgecrest, CA

CP percentages: 29.0% / 71.0%

Resolutions: On corporate policy in the public sector; affirming public prayer


President: Davis C. Cooper, pastor, University Hills Baptist Church, Denver, CO

CP Percentages: 29% / 71%


President: Garvon Golden, pastor, First Baptist Church, Williston, ND

CP percentages: 16% / 84%

Resolutions: On praying and voting; on reaching the unchurched; on representation on SBC Boards and Committees


President: Charles C. Worthy, pastor, Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, Washington, DC

CP percentages: 31% / 69%


President: Keith Thomas, pastor, First Baptist Church, West Palm Beach, FL

CP percentages: 40% / 51.75%

Preferred items: Pastoral aid (5%), Annuity (3.25%)

Resolutions: Urging broadcast media to continue rejecting liquor advertising, and FCC to prohibit such ads; opposing same sex marriages; prayer for President Bill Clinton and other elected leaders

Noteworthy: Defined parameters for churches wanting to affiliate with Florida Baptist Convention, using theology as one parameter; voted to begin negotiations with FMB and Baptists in Western Cuba to develop a relationship between Cuba churches and Florida Baptist churches


President: Frank Cox, pastor, North Metro First Baptist Church, Lawrenceville, GA

CP percentages: 44.69 / 55.31

Preferred items: 10.62

Resolutions: Calling On Kirby Godsey to reconsider his variant theological views, and for Mercer University to address these concerns


President: George Moyer, layman, Hawaii Kai Baptist Church, Honolulu, HI

CP percentages: 31.5% / 68.5 %

Resolutions: Opposing gambling; affirming heterosexual marriage; opposing euthanasia and assisted suicide


President: Eugene Gibson, pastor, Mission of Faith Baptist Church, Chicago, IL

CP percentages: 59.25% /40.75%

Resolutions: On prayer support for elected leaders; forgotten senior citizens; Christian behavior toward a sinful world


President: John Rogers, pastor, East Lake Baptist Church, Crown Point, IN

CP percentages: 32.25% / 67.75%

Resolutions: Sanctity of life, specifically denouncing the partial-birth abortion bill veto; on renewed support for SBC and its entities

Noteworthy: Partnership with Oklahoma; new bylaws approved; extended call to new women ministries/WMU director


President: John Shaull, pastor, First Baptist Church, Winterset, IA

CP percentages: 23% / 77%


President: Neal Alford, pastor, First Baptist Church, Douglass, KS

CP percentages: 30.5% / 69.5%

Resolutions: On appreciation for state convention staff and officers; on appreciation to the Covenant for a New Century Committee and commitment to support the implementation process


President: Floyd Price, pastor, Scottsville Baptist Church, Scottsville, KY

CP percentages: 35% / 65%

Noteworthy: Approved first reading of proposed constitutional change de-linking convention membership from SBC support


President: Michael Claunch, pastor, First Baptist Church, Slidell, LA

CP percentages: 35% / 65%

Resolutions: Appreciation of Mark Short; Louisiana Moral & Civic Foundation; gambling; morality in the media; sanctity of human life; drugs and alcohol abuse; sexual purity; appreciation of Robert Lynn; religious liberty


President: Gary Glanville, pastor, Northwest Baptist Church, Reisterstown, MD

CP percentages: 41% / 59%

Preferred items: Pastor's annuity

Resolutions: Opposing partial birth abortion; gambling


President: Ray Shelton, pastor, Friendship Baptist Church, Lincoln Park, MI

CP percentages: To be determined in special called meeting 1/30/97

Resolutions: Appreciation to Convention staff and officers; call to pray and fast during the period between Good Friday (March 28, 1997) and the National Day of Prayer (May 1, 1997); denouncing assisted suicide, calling for prosecution of physicians or others who practice it; abortion; appreciation to George Bulson; appreciation to Dr. James Williams and the Brotherhood Commission


President: Glen Land, pastor, Valley Baptist Church, Appleton, WI

CP percentages: 26% / 74%

Resolutions: Affirming "Hand in Hand" emphasis; prayer for Kathy Gariety, Yemen ministry; voter registration; appreciation to Leah Smith; appreciation and support for Dr. Tinsley and Convention staff; appreciation for Bobby Graham


President: Jimmy Porter, pastor, First Baptist Church, McComb, MS

CP percentages: 35.97% / 64.03%

Resolutions: Support for the building of WMU Lodge; gambling on inland waterways; appreciation and encouragement of our institutions Noteworthy: Adopted a "Covenant of Cooperation" with the agencies and institutions of the state


President: Arthur L. Mallory, layman, First Baptist Church, Springfield, MO

CP percentages: 35.75% / 58.25 (joint SBC / MBC 6%)

Resolutions: Partial birth abortion; Christian civic responsibility; Missouri Baptist Foundation; Word & Way; appreciation for Donald V. Wideman


President: James Shaver, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Great Falls, MT

CP percentages: 22% / 78%

Resolutions: Prayer for and information on "2×2000"


President: Joe Taylor, pastor, South Reno Baptist Church, Reno, NV

CP percentages: 26.5% / 73.5%


President: Richard Wright, pastor, Faith Baptist Church, Warwick, RI

CP percentages: 21% /79%

Preferred items: Church annuity

Resolutions: For life, and against suicide, euthanasia, and partial birth abortion; three resolutions of appreciation


President: Timothy M. Marrow, Sr., pastor, Taylor Ranch Baptist Church, Albuquerque, NM

CP percentages: 305% / 69.5%

Preferred items: Retirees' insurance and ministers retirement

Resolutions: Gratitude for state convention leaders; MV. Summers; gambling; advertising restrictions on alcoholic beverages; sanctity of human life; regeneration through the Gospel of Jesus Christ; supporting the decision of the State Board of Education


President: James Guenther, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Niskayuna, NY

CP percentages: 24% / 76%

Resolutions: Appreciation for Dr. Larry L. Lewis; appreciation for Dr. & Mrs. Quinn Pugh; appreciation for Liz Pearson


President: Gregory T. Mathis, pastor, Mud Creek Baptist Church, Hendersonville, NC

CP percentages: 32% / 68%

Resolutions: Hurricanes Bertha and Fran; burning of churches


President: Terry Little, pastor, Crossover Baptist Church, Spokane, WA

CP percentages: 27.4% / 72.6%

Preferred items: Building debt repayment; Golden Gate Seminary

Resolutions: Appreciation for volunteers in construction of Northwest Baptist Center; Bill Peters; urging Northwest Baptists to re-instill hope, courage and integrity in our society and to pray for elected leaders


President: Steve Hopkins, pastor, Whitehall Baptist Church, Columbus, OH

CP percentages: 40% / 60%

Resolutions: Appreciation and thanks to the Ohio governor and other state leaders for opposing to casino gambling; prayer for state leaders and their continued moral leadership; partial birth abortion


President: Ted Kersh, pastor, Village Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, OK

CP percentages: 40% / 60%

Resolutions: Affirmation of BGCO staff; parental choice, public education and goals 2000; casino gambling; same sex marriages; partial birth abortions; spiritual reformation


President: George Sanders, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Altoona, PA

CP percentages: 23.25% / 76.75%

Resolutions: Gambling; appreciation to Concanaugh-Nally Association; Harold Price at his retirement


President: Michael Hamlet, pastor, First Baptist Church, Spartanburg, SC

CP percentages: 40% / 60%

Preferred items: Expanded church annuity plan as shared item with 40%-SBC and 60%-SC funds

Resolutions: Affirmation of the marriage covenant as established by God; sanctity of human life; homosexuality


President: Herbert Higdon, pastor, Cross Roads Baptist Church, Jackson, TN

CP percentages: 36.2% / 63.8%

Preferred items: Church Annuity Plan "A"

Resolutions: Gambling; homosexuality; Johnnie Hall; on gratitude


President: Charles Wade, pastor, First Baptist Church, Arlington, TX

CP percentages: 33% /67%

Resolutions: Gambling; human needs; church and minister relations

Noteworthy: Messenger Seating Study Committee Report affirming status quo


President: Steve Best, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Boise, ID

CP percentages: 21% / 79%

Resolutions: Prayer; 1998 SBC annual meeting at Salt Lake City; Kentucky partnership appreciation


President: Mary Wilson, layperson, Columbia Baptist Church, Falls Church, VA

CP percentages: 36% / 64% Resolutions: Appreciation; prayer for national leaders; regrets over formation of new convention


President: Terry Harper, pastor, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Colonial Heights, VA

CP percentages: 50% / 50%

Resolutions: Sanctity of human life; homosexuality; in support of SBC seminaries; appreciation for T.C. Pinckney and the Baptist Banner

Noteworthy: Approved the formation of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia as a fully cooperating Southern Baptist state convention


President: Mark McClung, pastor, Southern Baptist Fellowship, Summersville, WV

CP percentages: 35% / 65%

Resolutions: Commitment to work, pray, and give to African-American churches destroyed by fire; gambling; prayer for political candidates

Noteworthy: Entered into 3-year partnership with South Carolina Convention


President: Edger Bryan, pastor, First Southern Baptist Church, Powell, WY

CP percentages: 29% / 71%

Resolutions: Condemning same sex marriages; opposing partial birth and all abortion; gambling



Florida Convention Expects 'Cooperating Churches' to Affirm Beliefs
by Barbara Denman

After animated discussion and denying an attempt to refer the recommendation for further study, messengers to the Florida Baptist Convention approved changes that define criteria for churches wanting to affiliate with the state convention.

John Sullivan, convention executive director-treasurer, says the document, which revised the convention's bylaws, offered theological standards as a "yardstick to measure cooperation."

The parameters require that churches requesting "at-large status," without affiliating through a local association, first must agree with a statement of faith consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message. That document states that the Bible is "truth, without any mixture of error."

"We must identify who we are as Baptists. You cannot be a Baptist and believe anything you want to believe," said Sullivan, to amens and applause.

Dan Southerland, president of the state board of missions, which presented the revision, said the bylaw is needed because there is no definition of a cooperating church or association. Prior to the move, any church is considered part of the Florida Baptist Convention if it donated $250 to the Cooperative Program.

Not everyone was happy with the move. Don Walton, director of missions for the Pasco Baptist Association, opposed the revision, saying the bylaw change erodes a historic Baptist principle of freedom. He asked, "Once we have given the state convention the power to define what is a cooperating church, what is to prevent the state from drawing more lines in the sand and further limit our freedoms?"



Defeated Kevorkian Prosecutor Undefeated in Fight for Life
by Daniel W. Guido

When pastor Robert Galey heard Richard Thompson's story, he knew Michigan Baptists needed to support the Oakland County prosecutor in his solitary battle against physician-assisted suicide.

Thompson's grandparents, aunts, and uncles were murdered for refusing to denounce their Christian faith shortly after the turn of the century in Armenia. When Thompson considered what his ancestors sacrificed for the sanctity of life, he determined he, too, would make a sacrifice to fight for life.

Thus, Thompson defied the will of the majority of the electorate in this upper-class Detroit suburb and twice prosecuted suicide doctor Jack Kevorkian. Though unsuccessful, Thompson was prepared to try Kevorkian again on a 20-count warrant in the deaths of six women and two men.

Thompson paid for his decision to go against the current of public opinion when he lost the Republican primary for another term as Oakland County prosecutor. Thompson was unsure if his successor — who ran on a promise he would not waste taxpayer's money by prosecuting Kevorkian — would continue the prosecution or move to drop the charges when Thompson's term expires. As Thompson, feared charges had, in fact, been dropped.

Such courage to go it alone impressed Galey, who invited Thompson to lunch with him and another Southern Baptist pastor, Herb Harbaugh. After hearing Thompson's story, Galey decided to recommend Michigan Baptists honor Thompson's stand for life, which they did at their Nov. 5-7 annual meeting.

"You don't often find elected officials who are willing to lose an election to take a stand for life," said Galey, pastor of Oakland Woods Baptist Church, Clarkston. "We had to do something to recognize Mr. Thompson's courage and faith."

Galey gave a special "President's Presentation" to Thompson at the meeting. The convention's executive board also issued a plaque honoring Thompson. Unable to attend the presentation due to court conflicts, Thompson provided a videotaped response to the honor, stating he is "very grateful to Michigan Southern Baptists for standing behind me at such a time."

Messengers approved a resolution 'vigorously denounce(ing) assisted suicide as an appropriate means of treating suffering," and called on government officials "to prosecute under the law physicians or others who practice assisted suicide."

The resolution noted Western medicine has followed both Judeo-Christian tradition and, for more than 2,500 years, the "Hippocratic tradition forbidding physicians to assist in the death of their patients." The resolution stated, "the Bible teaches that God created human life in His own image and declares human life to be sacred from conception until natural death," and the Bible "likewise teaches that murder, including self-murder, is immoral."

Thompson, who is sending out resumes, hopes to find a job as a law school professor or with a firm which litigates issues that concern evangelical Christians and those with similar morals. "I hope to find work with something like the American Center for Law and Justice or the Rutherford Institute," said Thompson, who is a member of an independent Baptist church.

Though others might consider his stand heroic, Thompson said he was lust doing his job. Under Michigan law, assisted suicide is illegal, and I intended on fulfilling my oath to enforce the law."

But in recent public opinion polls, from 60 to 75 percent of Michigan citizens favor physician-assisted suicide when a patient is terminally ill and in severe pain. "It doesn't seem to matter, however, that the majority of the people Kevorkian has assisted were not terminally ill and did not suffer from excruciating pain," Thompson said. "Most of the folks he has helped to kill were clinically depressed, and very treatable. Studies show that people who are treated for clinical depression say they want to live, not die. But we have a very spotty record in this country of providing good, effective counseling to cure depression," Thompson said.

In his effort to convict Kevorkian, Thompson said he has been labeled a "right-wing religious nut," by left-leaning opposition. "If you're against euthanasia, you're labeled another anti-abortion weirdo, who is not to be trusted," Thompson said.

It is ironic to Thompson and Galey that projections made by pro-life forces 20-plus years ago have come true. Pro-lifers warned that government-sanctioned abortion would eventually lead to euthanasia, eventually leading to the wholesale killing of anyone not deemed to enjoy a high quality of life.

In the Netherlands, hundreds of elderly, retarded, and comatose patients are killed annually by doctors acting on their own or family members' opinions that a relative's life is not worth living. "Unless we American's wake up, we'll see the same sort of thing begin happening all over this nation in the next few years," Thompson said. "I, for one, did not want my grandkids asking me what I did to defeat euthanasia when it is rampant across our society," he said.

Thompson maintained that the public would rethink the euthanasia question, if medical ethicists did a better job of educating the public that it is depression, not disease or the pain it causes, that leads to suicide. Better pain management is needed, but it is a practice many doctors seem not to know much about, he said. "If doctors would learn how to better alleviate pain, we would also see a downturn in those who fall into depression."

Looking back, Thompson said he would do it all over again, and lose his job, to fight for the sanctity of life. "This is too important an issue not to fight," he said.

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