GREENSBORO, N.C. (ABP)—North Carolina Baptist churches in the not-too-distant future won’t be able to support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship through the state convention, messengers decided at their annual meeting.
The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina voted to kill that option in a new giving plan that becomes effective in 2010.
Messengers rejected a single giving plan with options proposed by a study committee by a vote of 431-354. The proposal would have allowed churches to designate 10 percent of their gifts to ministries of the breakaway moderate group.
The committee proposal was a conscious effort to make a way for North Carolina Baptist churches with an appreciation for the work of CBF to remain involved in the state convention.
“The Giving Plan Study Committee made a proposal to the convention as we felt led of the Lord,” said Ed Yount, committee chairman. “It was approved without opposition by the board of directors. The great thing about being Baptists is our autonomy, and the messengers have spoken. My prayer is we can move forward in Christ.”
Multi-track giving plan
North Carolina adopted a multi-track giving plan in the 1990s. It allowed churches not supportive of the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention to shift a portion of their mission gifts to mission and ministry programs of the CBF. The moderate group formed in 1991 over differences with SBC leaders on issues such as biblical inerrancy and the role of women in ministry.
While some of the state’s Baptists said the approach respects local-church autonomy, others said it is divisive and undermines a unified Baptist witness.
The vote will end the BSC’s four giving plans in 2010, after 19 years of multiple options. One of the current options—Plan C—sends 10 percent to national CBF.
The study committee’s recommendation would have allowed churches to support CBF by checking a box on the remittance form churches use to send their money to the state convention.
North Carolina Baptist churches have been among CBF’s strongest supporters. In the past few years, many churches that have historically supported CBF through the North Carolina convention have started sending funds directly through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.
The motion to remove the option of giving to CBF through the state convention came from the floor. Matt Williamson, pastor of Oak Forest Baptist Church in Fletcher, said he opposed sending money to CBF because the group does not support biblical inerrancy or the SBC’s leadership.
“That does not seem to be good discipleship,” he said.
Eric Page, pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Columbus, said refusing to take a strong stand would promote “tolerance” of a group with which most North Carolina Baptists disagree.
Put an end to tolerance
Page illustrated his point by saying the cartoon character Popeye took abuse only so long before he “popped out” a can of spinach and put an end to it.
“It’s time for us to pop out a can of spinach and put an end to tolerance,” he said.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship issued a statement expressing gratitude for past partnership with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
“We affirm the right of the convention to make this decision to no longer allow funding to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship through convention channels, but we regret the loss of this partnership,” CBF leaders said.
“We look forward to continuing and growing our ministries and partnerships among the churches in North Carolina as together we are the presence of Christ in the world.”
–Bob Allen contributed to this story.