Funding for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Reconsidered

Nov 15, 2002 03:00 AM EST

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The North Carolina Baptist messengers authorized a re-evaluation of "Plan C," one of the four giving tracks available to the state's churches, during the Nov. 11-13 convention in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Plan C, the only giving track that includes funding for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, an Atlanta-based organization, was opposed by the moderate messengers at the convention.

Tim Rogers, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Seagrove, N.C., lead the debate against plan C, asking for a the appointment of a special committee to study the consistency of the plan in accordance to the state convention's constitution.

Rogers noted that Plan C opposed the purpose of the constitution, which is "to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention." Rogers, along with other moderates believe this phrase to signify a SBC exclusive body, unsupportive of other national organizations like the CBF.

Rogers said the giving option should be re-evaluated in light of recent statements made by CBF leaders, declaring the group separate from the SBC in a bid for membership in the Baptist World Alliance.

"I believe North Carolina Baptists are Southern Baptists," Rogers told the Winston-Salem Journal.

In 2002, the CBF received about $210,000 from the North Carolina convention, compared to the $9.6 forwarded to the SBC.

State convention president Jerry Pereira, a conservative recently elected for his second term, told reporters that he supported the four giving plan financial organization, hoping that the moderates would not misunderstand this as a the first step in forcing them out of the convention.

"I think we've modeled cooperation," said Pereira, pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, N.C.

In other business, conservative candidates Jerry Pereira, Bob Foy, and David Horton gained the top three seats as officers. Jerry Pereira was re-elected as president, Bob Foy, a layman from Mooresville, won re-election as first vice president, David Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, was elected second vice president as the first unopposed non-incumbent for a convention office in at least 20 years.

The elections mark the seventh year in the last eight that conservatives have controlled at least two of the top three BSC offices.

Some conservatives complain that moderates wield too much control of the general board. An article in the Conservative Record, the newsletter of Conservative Carolina Baptists, has called for the election of only conservatives to North Carolina Baptist boards for the next three years.

Messengers also defeated a motion on the floor to reallocate funds for the Baptist state newspaper Biblical Recorder in the "Plan D" giving track to the Conservative Record. Thomas McLean, pastor of Oak View Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, made the motion, claiming the state news journal was unfair to conservatives.

Steve Hardy, editor of the Conservative Record, opposed the motion, saying that plan C is not an agency of the state convention.

Joe Babb, a member of the Recorder's board of directions exceptionally commended the paper for its fairness. "Certainly, sometimes those who read what they don't like want to kill the messenger," said Babb, a messenger from First Baptist Church in Arden, N.C.

As the convention drew to a close, the messengers overwhelmingly rejected the proposal to amend the Plan D portion of the budget, and then approved the entire $37.5 million spending plan.

Conservatives generally prefer plans A and D, which forward 32 percent of all receipts to the Southern Baptist Convention. Moderates typically opt for Plan B, which gives the SBC only 10 percent, or Plan C, which gives 10 percent to the CBF.

Giving to plans C and D has increased particularly in recent years, officials say, while popularity of Plan A has declined.

By Pauline J.
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