Podcast Episode 20

January 21, 2010

Our discussion in this episode is given entirely to the topic of a potential changing of the name of the Southern Baptist Convention. Peter Lumpkins joins us as our guest to talk about his recent series of posts on the topic. This podcast is especially notable because it’s the quietest Tim has been in the history of the podcast, and if you know him, you understand the significance.

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Dave Miller

I had a feeling I’d end up in your cross-hairs this time.

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Wes Kenney

Aw, gee, Dave, we don’t have crosshairs. Our rifle doesn’t even have a scope on it…

:-)

Tim Rogers

Brother Dave,

I have read arrogant statements before, but that is the most arrogant statement I believe I have read in a long while. I know it take the cake for the most arrogant on SBC Today.

Let me at least address your concern. You presented a post that was, in your words, not the original subject you intended to write. I quote; “I was set to write on another subject, but then read a couple of posts at SBC Tomorrow about this subject and it got me thinking.” So, your article was the result of Brother Peter’s article. Brother Peter wrote his post as a result of seeing Brother JD ask a question for which he wanted an answer.

SBC Today has Brother Peter speak on the subject as he was the original voice that articulated the history of the name change question. He did an excellent joy in placing this out there and giving us the history.

So, Brother Dave, if you think we had you in the “cross-hairs” as we presented this post you are sadly mistaken.

Blessings,
Tim

Dave Miller

Wow, Tim.

Overreact much?

Dave Miller

And Tim, not to be quarrelsome, but I did not say, as you seemed to assume, that I thought the whole argument was about me. I did not.

I just meant that I knew that you folks would skewer me for expressing the views I expressed. I was not disappointed.

It would have been great if my views had been accurately represented, but I try not to expect too much.

peter lumpkins

SBC Today,

Thanks for having me on the podcast. I was humbled but pleased to be a part.

Brother Tim, you are correct. Dave sent me an email giving the “heads-up” about his post, saying he’d reference me but not as a ‘counter-point.’ I have to say I was disappointed, however. Unfortunately, if I recall correctly, Dave referenced only my “excursion”(and that without even a link!) which was, for the most part, meant as no more than a sidebar with a twist of humor which I made clear in the post. He engaged no main point in the main material I posted and contributed no additional substance to the already well worn arguments advocates for name-change have routinely publicized since the mid-20th century.

Grace to yall.

With that, I am…
Peter

peter lumpkins

Tim,

Let me encourage you, brother, and SBC Today as well: contrary to what is being suggested, the podcast did no one’s position ill whatsoever. Period. Ample opportunity has been afforded for people to defend his or her views on Dave’s blog & mine. Take a look and decide for yourself what view best stands up to cross-examination. I hope your listeners will examine the threads carefully. I remain confident what view remains standing after the dust settles.

Grace all.

With that, I am…
Peter

james

SBC Today,

I was wondering what you thought. I read the links that Peter shared on his site and alot of the information is simply historical information. The one document that was 82 pages long delt with some of the legal information that “might” affect the name change of the SBC. That information is 10 years old now. Has there been any studies done recently with more up to date legal information concerning the possiblity of name change?

Just to put my thoughts out there. What do you all think about a general poll of all SBC church churches and members concerning a names change? I think that domino’s did that and look at the out come of what happened there. We got a new and highly improved pizza that tingles the tastebuds (my opinion based on pizza tasted from domino’s prior to their pizza recipe change). It wouldnt really cost any money for the SBC to do a poll and that way they could get a general idea about what the people in the pew thought about the whole idea.

Of course there are negitives. Some churches would have pastors that are for and other would have some that are against a name change. This could cause (more than likely) a bias vote from each church. But if given internet resources and a fair view of both sides of the arguement we might get a decent view of what the SBC as a whole would like to do. Of course this is just a thought.

Both sides of the arguement have their points that make good cases. However in reading both sides there are negatives and holes (whether biases or lack of information) in their argments (that blog post would take a lifetime to type with a injured wrist). Thanks to both sides so far for their passion on the topic.

James

Tim Rogers

Brother James,

Great questions and I will venture to answer them with my perspective. I believe, as you heard from the podcast, that others will chime in with their viewpoint.

That information is 10 years old now. Has there been any studies done recently with more up to date legal information concerning the possibility of name change? While the information is 10 years old, I do not believe the non-profit laws have changed that much in Georgia. The issue, from what I understand, is not the fact that the Georgian non-profit laws are in effect but that the unique position we have as a grandfathered charter will be lost. The charter allows us to maintain our polity as to who we are as messengers. If we go under the current Georgia non-profit status, as I understand it, we will not be able to act as messengers but as members of a Board of Directors overseeing our actions. At present, I can stand on the floor of the convention and make a motion that will allow the messengers to vote on that motion. If we implement the new charter we loose that with our polity because it will have to go to the BoD. That is my very loose and non-legal opinion but that is how I understand the new charter with Georgian non-profits.

What do you all think about a general poll of all SBC church churches and members concerning a names change? From what I can tell by the comments coming over at SBC Impact that really doesn’t matter. Why? Brother Peter has presented a great case for stopping the name change issue, but it has now been opined that the legal team was biased. If I understand the purpose of retaining legal advice, which I believe I do, it is for the purpose of allowing the organization that retained them to keep from placing themselves in a position that is against their legal documents. It isn’t for making any decision the organization desires and then getting the lawyers to keep us out of trouble.

Thus, we can take any poll one desires, the question should be answered the reason for desiring a name change. The only desire that seems to permeate all of the reasons for changing the name has to do with the negative connotation surrounding the name “Southern Baptist Convention”.

Blessings,
Tim

peter

James,

I appreciate you taking the time to follow the links. Too few follow up as you have done.

Two things if I may. First, you mentioned “The one document that was 82 pages long delt with some of the legal information that “might” affect the name change of the SBC.”. I’m unsure what part to which you refer, but it is hardly accurate to suggest the legal hurdles classify as simple “mights”.

The opinion reads: “If the Southern Baptist Convention changes its name the Convention would come under the present Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code which would require the Convention to substantially alter its instruments and practices, its governance structure, and perhaps its polity” (p. 100). The only phrase which might qualify for “might” is the final phrase, “and perhaps its polity.”

Even more importantly, in the attorneys’ briefing in the main part of the letter, the language is even more direct:
“If the Convention desires to change its name, that would be accomplished by an amendment to the Convention’s charter…pursuant to the Georgia Nonprofit Corporation Code…[and]…would cause the corporation to become regulated by that law…[Hence] the law would
introduce governmental regulation of the Convention which does not presently exist” (p.100)

The legal briefing goes on to say such a change in status “requires” the Convention have a board of directors among other “requirements.”
In addition, the way the SBC presently does its business “would become regulated in a number of other ways.”

Therefore, there is no uncertainty–or as you indicated, “might”–in their briefing. If the SBC changed their name, the SBC must amend their charter. And if the SBC amends their charter, the SBC will become regulated by Georgia law code for non-profit corporations. And becoming regulated by Georgia law code for non-profit corporations will necessarily introduce major changes into the legal/organizational structure of the SBC.

One final quick word: you mentioned, James, that much of the material in the documents I cited was “simply historical information.” I’m unsure what you mean by that. If you mean, as your next statement may indicate, the info is dated because it’s a decade old, that’s a reasonable question. My own queries into the question have led me to believe that since no laws have significantly changed, the conclusions have not either. And a quick call to Nashville could settle it for you, it seems.

On the other hand, if you mean by “simply historical information” that the material bears little fruit because it’s “just historical” data I’d have to profoundly dissent. What we have is valuable context of the name-change conflict going back to at least the mid-1950’s, the reasons proposed for a name-change, studies reflecting where the SBC stood, reasons why, after extensive study–sometimes seemingly exhaustive study–the SBC remained the SBC, votes taken, hard criteria developed, etc etc etc. The material at SBC.NET potentially seals the window shut for those who’ll take the time to digest it.

Grace, James. May our Lord continue to bless.

With that, I am…
Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother Dave,

Not to be quarrelsome back, but, I had a feeling I’d end up in your cross-hairs this time. is a statement of intent on our part, not yours.

Also, if you meant as you say; I just meant that I knew that you folks would skewer me for expressing the views I expressed. then we would have spoken about all of your objectives, not just one. We only spoke of one objective that you expressed and it seemed others agreed that the name “southern” was being defended because we wanted to be deceptive. Which to me is an asinine argument. It is utterly foolish to believe we are arguing to keep “southern” because we want to deceive others.

This podcast was not about you as it is clear in Brother Peter’s description of the reason he originally wrote his post. However, because you decided to come over here and arrogantly state we had you in our cross-hairs, it does seem the comment stream is about you.

Blessings,
Tim

P.S. This is not an over reaction.

james

SBC,

Thank you for your commments. Yes peter has put forward a case for a non name change. The legal ramifications do seems straight forward. I did have one thing that maybe no one has thought about. Why do we have to go with a non-profit in Georgia. Is there the possiblity of going to another state to get the charter and non-profit? I think everyone needs to think through things fully, big picture, before any one comes to a full definitive conclusion.

The “might”, Peter, was because of this thinking and the fact that lawyers are very good and know their way with the law. They know ropes that could possibly change the name and keep the x-name the same as the SBC. I am not arguing against the report you linked for us to read. Even though it appreciate you posting all the quotes you did. But, Peter even you states that “The opinion reads..”. THe last time i checked an opinion is just that, an opinion. Maybe more opinions are needed in the legal matters.

Peter, when i stated that they were “simply historical”, That is what i meant. It is imformation that happened in the past. Nothing negative, just historical documentations of past events that happened within the SBC. Let me clarify quickly. The data collected 3 or 4 or 5 or even 50 years ago could have changed since then. Just because historically the name change committee has been voted down does not mean that history is going to repeat itself. A vote that has been historically close, in terms of percentages, could swing in either direction in any given year. I didnt mean it negatively toward the historical accuracy of the information i just stated that the information you gave us was historical.

I think if it came up again at the SBC convention for a committee to look into a name change we could possibly get a close vote again. History shows that this is a possiblity but we cannot be for sure which side the vote would lean toward in 2010, 11, 12.

I have digested the information and have not come to a conclusion. I have heard argements about the negative of the name “Southern Baptist Convention”. I myself have had several negative encounters with the name as well. One coming three weeks ago with a neighbor. I understand that argument personally. However, at the same time in understand the arguments for keeping it SBC. What I do know is that our world is constently changing. The social environment is in a flux and ministries sometimes have to find ways of changing without harm to the Gospel and its message. This could potentially be one of those changes that is warranted. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Thanks again for all your comments and opinions.

James

Tim Rogers

Brother James,

You are correct an opinion is just that, an opinion. You and I lose nothing by stating our opinion. As you know, when a legal group states an opinion they have their legal license on the line. I am not sure you can find many legal groups that would disagree with the “opinion”.

I know you may remember when all of the entities changed their charter to “sole membership”. If you remember, NOBTS was the last and they put up a great deal of debate to keep from doing such. There we had two different legal opinions. What was the difference? NOBTS was relying on legal opinions of lawyers from La. The EC was relying on legal opinions from lawyers based in Tn. The tipping of the scales was the legal agencies the EC was relying had legal license in La. and Tn. Thus the convention went with the opinion of the legal team for the EC.

Of course this trip down memory lane brings up another objective for cost. Since all of the entities are “sole members” of the SBC tied to the original charter, care to guess the legal fees involved with changing all of the entities “sole membership” status if the SBC has to change charters? I don’t even want to think about those legal fees.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother James,

One other item. You said; “History shows that this is a possiblity but we cannot be for sure which side the vote would lean toward in 2010, 11, 12.” If this is the case you can rest assured that I will amend any recommendation with the caveat, “this elected committee bring back the cost analysis of said study committee concerning every entity”.

Blessings,
Tim

peter lumpkins

James,

Thank you. It’s exchange such as you exude which makes for good conversation about an issue like this. Too many times facts are dismissed outright or even ignored. That you took the time to look at what other have based their conclusions upon is significant, I assure.

If I may, I offer a response and you, brother, may have the last word in this comment exchange if you wish (unless you have a question for me).

First, scouting for states which may have lesser, more relaxed non-profit laws is undoubtedly an exercise in futility as a simple google search demonstrates. Check it out yourself. Type in “apply for non-profit ________” In the blank goes the state. Inevitably what you will find is, non-profit corporation code is non-profit corporation code is non-profit corporation code, especially when it comes to regulation.

And regulation is one of the most significant factors to consider. This is where LAW DICTATES to the SBC what it will be and what it will not be; how members are involved and how members are not involved; what constitutes the percentages adequate enough to petition the state (whichever state it is) to dismiss the board of directors, a board which is defined by the state not Southern Baptists. Does any Southern Baptist leader really want their legacy to be “I helped the SBC become entangled with and defined by the state of _____?” I think not.

Second, thanks for clarifying your phrase on “historical.” It’s helpful. My only comment is, rather than just show “what was” the case, the historical context revealed is highly significant, demonstrating the opposite of what many name-change advocates asserts: Southern Baptists do not want to change their name because they are afraid of change, they are backward, they are insensitive or a number of other condemnatory remarks which the facts dispute. In deed since the 1950s SB have entertained the possibility so seriously, major studies were sought and produced.

Recall W.A. Criswell was a name-change agent, and was appointed to a committee to study how to change the name. However, after extensive study, he, along with other eminent Southern Baptists voted not to recommend the name-change. Nor was pressure on them to kill the recommendation. To the contrary, with Criswell as name-change advocate on the committee, coupled with a sizable constituency of Southern Baptists committed to name-change, the pressure would have been just the opposite–to bring forth a positive recommendation to change the name of the SBC.

Finally, if the 51% majority did vote for a name-change–which, if Bart Barber is correct, this may be highly presumptuous–the facts will not change. The legal complications, not to mention all the other incredible hurdles, would remain nonetheless. Nor would it necessarily be a good decision any more than when a church decides to sell out and move when they should have stayed (or vice versa). It only means an honorable, “free church” decision has been made. And, know, I can live with that.

The unfortunate irony is, if those wise Southern Baptists who’ve already tested the waters on this issue are correct, Southern Baptists will have voted out their precious free-church heritage–a heritage through which name-change advocates got what they wanted, a name-change…Indeed thoroughly washed down the sink would be the very pristine polity that gained us the right to vote out our original, 1845 charter.

Grace to you, James. May be continue to look to our Lord in all.

With that, I am…
Peter

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