Monday, November 17, 2008

Pro Tongue And Cheek Article On CBF

Squandered Missions
Published: November 16, 2008

Those darned moderates. Just when the conservatives at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina must have thought they'd routed them all, the moderates came tiptoeing back last week. At the convention's annual meeting in Greensboro, the moderates mounted serious opposition to a motion to remove the progressive Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as a giving option for member churches, and tried to reinstate funding for the Woman's Missionary Union of North Carolina, which has had the gall to assert more autonomy over its operations.

The moderates ultimately lost out, and more of the last holdouts will almost surely now leave the convention. But the convention is the real loser, because it could reach a lot more people through missions with the CBF and the Woman's Missionary Union. Yes, the convention does a lot of good missions work, but it could do so much more.

As it is now, churches that like CBF and the Woman's Missionary Union and are unhappy with the state convention may well support those groups instead of the convention.

Some conservatives in the convention probably voted to keep up the CBF option, realizing that they would lose moderate churches if they didn't. But, true to form, most of the conservatives in the convention left no room for compromise. After all, the CBF is willing to work with churches that put gay Christians into leadership positions. And the organization doesn't require a belief in biblical inerrancy. "If we don't take a stand, this is tolerance," Eric Page of Victory Baptist Church in Columbus said at the meeting, according to the News & Record of Greensboro.

Heaven forbid that a Christian organization would show tolerance.

Draw the line in the sand instead, even if that means losing the opportunity to maximize mission-work opportunities -- and even if it means declining attendance at the annual meetings of the convention. Attendance last week was down an estimated 1,000 delegates from the last couple of years.

"Don't ever forget a Baptist will only do one thing because you tell him to, and that's to stay home," Vic Ramsey of Moyock Baptist Church in Currituck County said at the meeting. "Looking at these seats, a lot of us have taken the hint. To be that broad convention, we need lots of people."

Nah. All they need is a relatively small group of committed conservatives, even if the convention has strayed from the key historical Baptist principles of autonomy of local churches and the right of all believers to interpret and follow Scriptures as they see fit, not as they're told to do. That's moderate talk, anyway.

After last week, more of the last remaining moderates will probably give up on the convention and give their money to other Baptist organizations. So be it. Why would the convention want to preach to the masses when it can preach to the choir?

See more on the SBC here: Is This the Future of the BSCNC? and here: MAINSTREAM BAPTIST: Second Wave or Last Gasp.

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