The Baptist General Association of Virginia became the second Baptist state convention in recent days to tell any of its affiliated congregations that want to support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship they should mail their checks directly to the Fellowship.
In response to a recent change in the CBF hiring policy that opens some jobs to LGBT individuals, the BGAV Executive Board voted Feb. 26 to take action to “have all of BGAV’s CBF contributing churches send their CBF gifts directly to the CBF national office as soon as this is feasible.”
Six days earlier, the Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board voted to revise its contribution form to delete CBF as a Cooperative Program giving option and remove CBF Global Missions as a recognized designated offering.
Affects about 200 Virginia Baptist churches
Previously, the Virginia Baptist giving plan allowed churches to direct contributions through the BGAV to the CBF. About 200 of the 1,400 affiliated with the BGAV previously sent their financial gifts to CBF through the state convention.
“The BGAV remains committed to respecting, welcoming and loving all persons in the name of Christ while affirming an orthodox view of marriage between a man and a woman,” a statement approved by the BGAV board said.
The board statement noted the Virginia Baptist general association respected CBF’s right to change its hiring policy, but its decision “had a direct impact on the BGAV.”
“The executive board has sought to respond in the most prayerful and prudent way to the effects of this impact,” the Virginia Baptist statement said.
CBF leader responds
Suzii Paynter, CBF executive coordinator, said she was disappointed in the change the BGAV board made. However, she noted, a trend among CBF-affiliated congregations.
“More and more, churches have been giving directly to CBF rather than giving through Baptist state conventions like Texas and Virginia,” Paynter said.
“We are grateful for our partner congregations in Virginia that support CBF missionaries bearing witness to Jesus Christ in 30 countries and our ministries that form healthy churches and nurture young Baptists.”
The CBF governing board Feb. 9 approved a revised hiring policy and implementation procedure that allows LGBT applicants to be considered for some staff positions. It continues to require candidates for ministry leadership posts and missions field personnel to practice a “traditional Christian sexual ethic of celibacy in singleness or faithfulness in marriage between a woman and a man.”
The CBF board adopted its new policy and implementation procedure at the recommendation of its Illumination Project Committee.