>> Staff & BP Reports
BALTIMORE, Md. – More than 5,200 Messengers, including 128 from Oklahoma, to the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention gathered in Baltimore, MD, June 10-11. Here are some highlights from the meeting.
// Dilbeck elected 2nd VP,
Floyd wins SBC presidency
Oklahoma City, Quail Springs pastor Hance Dilbeck was elected second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at the SBC Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Md. He was nominated by James Merritt, pastor of Duluth, Ga., Cross Pointe.
Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas for 27 years, topped fellow nominees Maryland pastor Dennis Manpoong Kim and Kentucky pastor Jared Moore to win the SBC presidency. Floyd succeeds New Orleans pastor Fred Luter of Franklin Avenue Church, who became the first African American to lead the SBC when he was elected in 2012.
Floyd was nominated by Southern Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. In his nomination speech, Mohler said Floyd, 58, has “the Great Commission in his heart” and has been a leader “with peerless experience in the Southern Baptist Convention.”
/// Nine resolutions garner
SBC messengers’ adoption
Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a resolution on transgender identity for the first time while returning to such issues as civil rights, gambling and world hunger for further statements.
All nine resolutions offered at the SBC’s 2014 meeting gained approval by unanimous or overwhelming votes. The messengers’ actions in about 30 minutes meant a second report scheduled for Wednesday morning (June 11) was not needed.
The resolution on transgender identity came in response to recent gains in state legislatures, the federal executive branch, public schools and the wider culture by advocates for recognizing a distinction between gender and biology.
In the resolution, messengers affirmed that “gender identity is determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception.” It expressed love for transgender people and invited them to trust in Jesus.
At a news conference, Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), described it as “a very good, wise resolution and a very hopeful sign of the Southern Baptist Convention saying to the outside world, ‘We’re standing with biblical conviction, and we also are making very clear that the Gospel message goes to everybody.’”
In addressing some issues messengers had spoken to at various times in the past, the 2014 convention:
—commemorated the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act and reaffirmed the SBC’s 1965 call for “peaceful compliance with laws assuring equal rights for all.”
—Reaffirmed its “long-standing opposition to government sponsorship of gambling.”
—Urged Southern Baptists to support the newly rebranded Global Hunger Relief initiative.
The hunger resolution stemmed from the rebranding of the World Hunger Fund as Global Hunger Relief. The SBC-approved division of funds remains at 80 percent for overseas use and 20 percent for domestic use.
The other resolutions:
—condemned “predatory payday lending” and urged churches to offer financial stewardship instruction and skills training for people inside and outside their congregations.
—reaffirmed “the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell” in an apparent response to the recently released movie “Heaven Is for Real” and similar books and films.
—encouraged Southern Baptists to back the creation of Christ-centered elementary and secondary schools and Christian homeschooling systems, supported those who follow God’s direction by taking part in public schools and urged policies that “maximize parental choice.”
—affirmed “the calling of pastors who revitalize churches as needful as the calling of pastors to plant churches.”
—thanked God and all those who helped with this year’s meeting.
Twelve resolutions were submitted to the committee. Messengers defeated efforts to bring two of those resolutions to the floor for consideration.
/// SBC messengers
adopt updated qualifications
An update to the SBC constitution regarding qualifications for churches to send messengers to the annual meeting was adopted during the Executive Committee’s (EC) report to the convention.
Describing the recommendation as “small church friendly,” EC chairman Ernest Easley said the proposal to revise Article III is a response to a motion from last year’s annual meeting in Houston that requested updating messenger qualifications. It was the 16th motion in the past 35 years to call for a reevaluation of Article III.
Messengers adopted the recommendation without debate or questions from the floor. In order to officially revise Article III, the recommendation will need to be approved by messengers a second time during the 2015 annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
“The Executive Committee floated the recommendation out across the convention the last several months in order to build consensus which has really proved beneficial in the current recommendation that we have today,” Easley said just before messengers voted to adopt the revision.
Easley addressed initial concerns with the recommendation that involved the perception by some that it negatively impacted smaller churches. He noted that most of these congregations “give proportionately to the Cooperative Program” and that the recommendation now includes a reference to CP support.
Article III currently states that churches in friendly cooperation with the convention can send one additional messenger for every 250 members or for each $250 per year “paid to the work of the Convention.” The $250 amount dates back to 1888.
Under the new proposal approved by messengers, each cooperating church that contributed to convention causes during the preceding fiscal year would automatically qualify for two messengers.
According to a Feb. 19 report in Baptist Press, a cooperating church would be able to send additional messengers by one of two options, whichever allows them to send the greater number of messengers:
—One additional messenger for each full percent of the church’s undesignated receipts through any combination of gifts through the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity, the report said.
—One additional messenger for each $6,000 the church contributes in the preceding year through the same combination of the Cooperative Program, designated gifts through the Executive Committee for convention causes or to any SBC entity.
The $6,000 figure was selected by adjusting for inflation and other factors since 1888, the report said. The amount is meant to be comparable to the $250 figure adopted 126 years ago.
Look for more information about the 2014 Annual Meeting at www.sbcannualmeeting.com and in future editions of the Baptist Messenger.