Southern Baptists’s New Annual Church Profile Form:
The New Great Commission Giving Version

August 23, 2011


By Tim Rogers, Pastor, Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, NC


8. Undesignated Giving/Gifts
9. Total Giving/Receipts
10. Cooperative Program Giving
11. Annie Armstrong Easter Offering
12. Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
13. Great Commission Giving
14. Total Missions Giving

 

The above listing is a sample of the new Annual Church Profile (ACP).  Please notice something that is still there.  “Total Missions Giving” (TMG) is a slot that we were assured, during the debate period, would be removed to make this a stronger Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) form.  The reason this would be a stronger SBC form, given from a member of the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR) Task Force, was the deletion of the “Total Missions Giving” item.  Well, we still have a “Total Missions Giving” (TMG) platform.  While, it is not what we were told, I have no serious problem with it remaining.  This is for two reasons.

The True Level of SBC Cooperation

The way the ACP is now set up one can add all of the categories together and come up with a TMG amount.  That is, if the SBC missions agencies are the only missions agencies a church donates to missions. Thus, if one adds together Cooperative Program (CP), Lottie Moon (LM), Annie Armstrong (AA), and Great Commission Giving (GCG) and that amount equals the total in the TMG, then we will see that said church distributes their missions’ dollars throughout the SBC.  This is very important for the simple reason we as Southern Baptists believe in cooperating with other Southern Baptists.  Why do we believe in this cooperation?  The SBC places together our funds for the simple reason we can do more together than we can by ourselves. It is not that a local church is not free to distribute their missions’ dollars to other denominations and fellowships outside of the SBC. The issue for Southern Baptists is cooperation. Let me say it this way. I am a Baptist because I believe the Bible teaches a Baptist theology. I am Southern Baptist because I believe the Bible teaches a Baptist Cooperative theology. In other words, I am a Southern Baptist because I believe in cooperating with others of like mind and like practice to get the gospel to the nations.

However, let us say that after adding these items together one finds there to be a difference in TMG. That difference will tell us how much the church believes in cooperating with Southern Baptists. Thus, if a church with a one-hundred thousand dollar TMG reports a giving record of fifteen thousand dollars to CP; ten thousand dollars to LM; five thousand dollars to AA; twenty thousand dollars to GCG then we see this church is only half committed to the SBC. Their commitment to getting the gospel to the world may be 10% of their million dollar budget, but they have a half-heart commitment to Southern Baptists.

Why is this such an issue? If we as Southern Baptists accept this kind of commitment in support of our churches, then we owe the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship an apology. It is this type of issue that we fought so hard for when the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) was formed. Many states began directly supporting and forming giving plans for their churches that included the CBF. With the addition of the GCG along with the inclusion of the TMG we are now seeing the tent pegs removed and the tent being enlarged enough to bring the CBF back into the fold. I do not know of any CBF churches that may desire to re-enter the SBC but the opening has now been put in place. Within our geographical region we have two states that consist of state conventions giving to the SBC. With the inclusion of TMG, this door is open wide enough to ask a simple question. Why do we need two state conventions in those states?

The True Level of Cooperative Program Giving.

While many pushed for the GCG item to be added Dr. John Waters of First Baptist Statesboro, Georgia pushed hard for the CP to remain central in our giving during the 2010 Orlando, Florida SBC meeting. Dr. Waters was, prior to the Orlando convention and remains today, a stalwart for the CP. He eloquently addressed the need for keeping the CP as our central giving unit even going through the process of being over looked once his motion received a second and never received a vote. Then he was called to the platform to discuss his amendment where he was verbally put down and even received a finger tapping in the chest by one on the platform that did not want his motion to pass. Dr. Waters remained calm and discussed his disagreement with the task force and worked toward an amended motion that the convention could leave Orlando united around and moving forward with the GCR. Because of Dr. Waters motion we have in our reporting apparatus a separate line item apart from GCG and not a part of GCG.

Because of this new report we are now able to better assess a church’s cooperation among Southern Baptist. Certainly some churches do not want to cooperate with other churches in doing ministry. That is fine let those churches give around the Cooperative Program and be as independent as they desire. However, when one now sees a church’s CP giving at 3% and their GCG at 6% one will be able to tell how cooperative the church really is in our convention. A church that gives 3% to CP and 6% to GCG tells the world I will not cooperate with you on everything but I will give to my pet projects. When this ACP report is filed we will tell very clearly who cooperates and who is merely giving in order to advance their status within the convention political system.

Conclusion

One other issue that needs to claim our attention. I was informed that here in NC when a church does not file an ACP our state office contacts that church and tries to get the information. When I found that out I was astounded. Let me say, for the sake of our readers, I do not believe North Carolina is unique in this. I believe that if NC does this, then other state conventions are doing it also. I am reporting NC because I know this happens here. They do this because, it seems, some church pastors feel the ACP is some kind of invasion upon their autonomy. I was informed that when a church does not turn in their reports they usually do not do so because of the in-depth questions that are asked. Thus, through the state office contacts the church is asked a minimal amount of questions. This state office initiative ACP report is much less than the former reports. From what I understand the only questions asked concern baptisms and budgets. I know one church was asked by the state convention about their baptisms and budgets and the church does not maintain a membership. Thus, the question that begs an answer concerns the churches that now refuse to report. To be honest, I do not know the reason the ACP was first instituted. However, I do understand today it is an act of accountability for the churches. While I do not want to see the report used as a bragging tool, neither do I want to see it abandoned on the altar of local church autonomy. Certainly we can us autonomy to hide a multitude of sins, but if a church desires to cooperate they should not be afraid of report their statistics. While I understand there is nothing that demands a SBC church to file an ACP to be Southern Baptist, I certainly do not understand a church that refuses to participate in this process. Thus, with this new form I look forward to following our leaders as they lead in the direction they are advocating we go as a convention.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Tom Parker

Tim Rogers:

It sure sounds like you are really worried about the CBF coming back to the SBC. Are you kidding. I do not think you could pay them to come back. You’re worrying over something that is not even a possibility.

But as always you have taken another opportunity to bash the CBF.

Keith Sheridan

It is becoming more and more difficult for me to read SBC Today. I am the pastor of a small SBC church in central Louisiana. We give 10% of our budget to the CP, 3% to our local association, another 3% to various SBC missions within our state (these are dorect contributions to these ministry efforts), and finally we set aside 5% of our total budget to place members of our congregation on the field with our SBC missionaries so that they can witness what God is doing through our cooperative efforts around the world. According to you since we spend more than 20% of our budget on missions giving but only 10% on the CP we are half hearted Southern Baptists.

It is disheartening that a church is to judged by leaders based solely on CP giving. Such remarks do little to draw us together as cooperating churches. I understand that your comments are not directed particularly at churches such as mine but such negative rhetoric does little to build strong relationships among sister churches.

As a young pastor (I am 40 and am praying that that may still be considered young) I am growing weary of the divisions that exist within our convention. We must begin to moderate our language and build bridges with one another.

    Tom Parker

    Keith:

    Sadly there are some in the SBC who can only be happy when they are being critical of others and looking for further ways to divide people. I’ve said it before and I will say it again the CR mindset is destroying a once great denomination.

      Bob Hadley

      Tom,

      Can you elaborate on how “the CR mindset is destroying a once great denomination.” I have not heard your thoughts on that. Perhaps a link. Unfortunately where you have people, you have differing opinions and when money is being spent, how it is used does create controversy. If people sit back and do nothing then there are a host of other problems that always come up. either way, you will have problems. I would rather address the problems and remain viable than I had sit back and not like what is going on and continue to let it happen.

      Am interested in your take on what has been going on.

      ><>’

    Bob Hadley

    Keith,

    This post is in reference to a system of reporting that allows the “big” churches to spend money where they want to spend it and then be able to show that they are spending money on missions, even though it is not just giving to the CP. I consider money given to AAEO and LM to be CP giving since it goes to those organizations. I personally do not care about what a church gives outside the CP. What I want to see are churches like yours that give to the CP when it comes to their “cooperative” giving. If a church gives 3% to the CP and then gives 5% to NAMB and then 5% to a couple seminaries then as far as I am concerned, your church is doing more than they are. That is what I see is the issue to this whole discussion. Don’t get discouraged! The SBC is worth the effort to keep it viable.

    Tim… don’t you think this disclosure is going to backfire on those who want to show their giving and still get credit? Looks to me like this is an effort to let churches by-pass the state in CP giving … there are arguments that this move will allow churches to pick and choose where they give their “GCG” funds to go and then be able to show that they are giving to the GCG? To me, CP giving is the gauge to look at and not 13. Great Commission Giving and 14. Total Missions Giving. If I am reading your post correctly, I think we are thinking along the same lines.

    Great post.

    Grateful to be in His Grip!

    ><>’

      Tim Rogers

      Brother Bob,

      You are correct the GCG line item will hurt and not help those that are trying to give around the CP.

      Blessings,
      Tim

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Kieth,

    We give 10% of our budget to the CP, 3% to our local association, another 3% to various SBC missions within our state (these are dorect contributions to these ministry efforts), and finally we set aside 5% of our total budget to place members of our congregation on the field with our SBC missionaries so that they can witness what God is doing through our cooperative efforts around the world. According to you since we spend more than 20% of our budget on missions giving but only 10% on the CP we are half hearted Southern Baptists.

    Please re-read my OP. You will find that my argument is based on a church that gives 5% of their giving budget to other missions outside of the CP, not a church that, as yours, is giving 10% of their undesignated funds to the CP.

    As far as judging a leader based on what his church gives to the CP please tell me what else there is to judge a SBC church by? We are in the SBC because we affirm and agree to the BF&M2k, thus we affirm our theology. The only thing left to affirm is our cooperation among ourselves. For example you and I can agree on every point of theology there is. However, if you are not willing to partner with me in missions, then we are not cooperative. Thus the giving level of our leaders tells us the amount of cooperation.

    Blessings,
    Tim

Bob Hadley

Correction… If a church gives 3% to the CP and then gives 5% to NAMB and then 5% to a couple seminaries then as far as I am concerned, that church is doing more than they are. That is what I see is the issue to this whole discussion. Don’t get discouraged! The SBC is worth the effort to keep it viable.

Should read… I am concerned, your church is doing more than they are. That is what I see is the issue to this whole discussion. Don’t get discouraged! The SBC is worth the effort to keep it viable.

Tim… if you can correct this do so. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

><>’

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Bob,

    I do not have “Admin” access any longer. So someone else will need to correct it for you.

    Brother Keith,

    Let me elaborate on what Brother Bob has expressed to you. Your church’s giving is the kind that we want to see our leaders doing. I honestly do not see how you could be discouraged by the OP. My OP is one that is in total agreement with the way your are doing it. My OP does reveal the area that others are trying to do it and then say it is cooperative giving.

    Blessings,
    Tim

Jason Sampler

Tim,

You wrote to Keith, “. . . tell me what else there is to judge a SBC church by? We are in the SBC because we affirm and agree to the BF&M2k, thus we affirm our theology. The only thing left to affirm is our cooperation among ourselves. For example you and I can agree on every point of theology there is. However, if you are not willing to partner with me in missions, then we are not cooperative. Thus the giving level of our leaders tells us the amount of cooperation.”

I find such a statement to be extremely short-sighted on many levels. First, to answer your question, churches should by their obedience to Christ. Churches should be judged by whether they are making disciples. Churches should be judged by their fidelity to the gospel proclamation. Churches are not judged by their cooperation with other SBC churches. Second, not all churches in the SBC affirm the BFM2000. In fact, you must agree that no church who cooperates with the SBC is required to affirm this (or any other) confession. Third, simply because an SBC church decides it wants to give to gospel causes not exclusively affiliated with the SBC does not, de facto, mean the congregation is not cooperative with the SBC. It is silly to state that if a church partners with non-SBC entities in addition to CP giving, then their CP giving is just a token gesture “in order to advance their status within the convention political system” (a direct quote from your article). How do you know what a congregation’s intent is? How can you speak with any modicum of knowledge about the motives of a church for which you are not a member?

If a church meets the requirements for membership in the convention, then that should be enough. No more, no less. If you think giving to non-SBC causes is tantamount to monetary heresy, then make a motion in New Orleans next year seeking to exclude those churches from the convention. Until then, you are simply griping about petty things that mean nothing in the grand scheme of Christ’s kingdom.

Jason Sampler

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Jason,

    Allow me to express to you my point that you seem to think is “shortsitedness”

    First, to answer your question, churches should by their obedience to Christ. Churches should be judged by whether they are making disciples. Churches should be judged by their fidelity to the gospel proclamation. Churches are not judged by their cooperation with other SBC churches.

    As to your assessment on making disciples, I could not agree with you more. However, you will find that your argument fits well with my position. Why? Go look at the new ACP form. We have removed the line items you say is important. Now, on to my position of judging the cooperative nature of a SB church by their giving. I am not the one who made this up. It is what the SBC says is how we judge the cooperative nature of a SBC church. The following is straight out of the constitution where membership in the SBC is defined.

    1. One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work. Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior. And, (2) Has been a bona fide contributor to the Convention’s work during the fiscal year preceding.

    2. One (1) additional messenger from each such church for every two hundred and fifty (250) members; or for each $250.00 paid to the work of the Convention during the fiscal year preceding the annual meeting.
    Thus, please do not pre-judge my motives. I am merely following facts. Now can you give me any other facts of how we are to judge the cooperative nature of the churches?

    Second, not all churches in the SBC affirm the BFM2000. In fact, you must agree that no church who cooperates with the SBC is required to affirm this (or any other) confession.

    Oh, really? You are correct that we do not “require” a church to affirm the BF&M2k. But, I believe you would be in a huge minority to think that churches do not assume that other SBC churches affirm the BF&M2k.

    Third, simply because an SBC church decides it wants to give to gospel causes not exclusively affiliated with the SBC does not, de facto, mean the congregation is not cooperative with the SBC. It is silly to state that if a church partners with non-SBC entities in addition to CP giving, then their CP giving is just a token gesture “in order to advance their status within the convention political system” (a direct quote from your article). No one has stated that a church cannot give to non-SBC entities. However, when a church gives 1% of their budget to the CP and 9% of their budget to the CBF, Acts 29, Samaritans Purse, etc. etc. that church is not as cooperative with other SBC churches as a church that gives 9% to the CP and 1% to non-SBC entities. It also remains true that a church that gives 1% to the CP and 2% directly to SEBTS, 2% directly to SBTS, 2% directly Acts 29, and 2% directly to Jerry Vines Ministries has chosen not to be as cooperative a SBC church as the former.

    Blessings,
    Tim

      Tim Rogers

      Brother Jason,

      My last point should look as follows:

      Third, simply because an SBC church decides it wants to give to gospel causes not exclusively affiliated with the SBC does not, de facto, mean the congregation is not cooperative with the SBC. It is silly to state that if a church partners with non-SBC entities in addition to CP giving, then their CP giving is just a token gesture “in order to advance their status within the convention political system” (a direct quote from your article).

      No one has stated that a church cannot give to non-SBC entities. However, when a church gives 1% of their budget to the CP and 9% of their budget to the CBF, Acts 29, Samaritans Purse, etc. etc. that church is not as cooperative with other SBC churches as a church that gives 9% to the CP and 1% to non-SBC entities. It also remains true that a church that gives 1% to the CP and 2% directly to SEBTS, 2% directly to SBTS, 2% directly Acts 29, and 2% directly to Jerry Vines Ministries has chosen not to be as cooperative a SBC church as the former.

      Also, after further review of our position in the blockquoted section is not exactly what I said. I merely pointed to the situation we found in many of the churches whose leaders were pushing for the GCG.

      Blessings,
      Tim

Jason Sampler

Tim,

The “facts” are this: the convention, through and by it’s constitution, has laid out the requirements for what constitutes a cooperating church. They must give money and reject homosexuality. That’s it. Nothing more. What you appear to be doing is subdividing the group of ‘cooperating churches’ into ‘those that cooperate more’ and ‘those that cooperate less’ based on what percentage of their giving goes to non-SBC causes. But this is simply not feasible under the current constitution. The lauguage says that a church must have provided a ‘bona fide’ contribution in the preceeding fiscal year. Bona fide means “made in good faith” or “without intent to fraud” or “not counterfit”. Unless you (or someone else) is willing to claim a church’s giving to the SBC is fraudulent, I am unsure how you can make any claim that a church is ‘not as cooperating’ as other churches. You may not like how a church spends its money, but you are in no position to decry them as being ‘less cooperative’.

Concerning confessions, I find it neither here nor there whether I am in the extreme minority concerning what churches assume. If they are assuming, well, . . . you know. The fact is that no church in our convention is required to adopt any confession. And any church or churches that assumes something instead of believing the truth is either naive, foolish, or stupid (i.e., without knowledge).

Jason Sampler

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Jason,

    One other thing. At the next convention in Orlando, why don’t you stand up and propose that people that do not affirm the BFM2k be allowed to serve on committees at the SBC. Then you will find that your minority position is, shall we say, a minority position.

    Blessings,
    Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Jason,

Here is my point. Dr. Ken Massey just resigned from FBC Greensboro here in NC. You will read about this in ABP. He has had some physical issues regarding a surgery he had and as such has had to resign from the pastorate. FBC Greensboro gave in 2008 $491. to the CP. Now FBC Greensboro is a staunch CBF church but they still have some people that desire to give to the CP. They also receive a Lottie Moon and an Annie Armstrong Offering. Would you say that First Greensboro is a cooperating church with the SBC?

Blessings,
Tim

Jason Sampler

Tim,

If I’m not mistake, the next convention is in New Orleans, not Orlando. And I did not claim I was in the majority on this issue. I simply stated that affirming the BFM2000 was not a necessary component of membership of a congregation in the SBC. Anyone who assumes that it is, or claims that it is an unwritten rule, is ignorant of the SBC’s constitution.

And while we’re on the issue of who should do what, why don’t you stand up in New Orleans next summer and request that all SBC entitites accept contributions only from churches that have officially affirmed the BFM2000 as their only (or primary) confession. Then you will see that the SBC is more concerned with receiving money from their cooperating churches than they are in ensuring our churches affirm only the BFM2000.

Concerning the church in question, if they give to the SBC and do not affirm homosexuality, then by the definition of the SBC constitution, they are in friendly cooperation. It doesn’t matter what I think about them, it doesn’t matter what you think about them. The constitution sets forth the parameters of what comprises a cooperating church and if FBC Greensboro falls within those parameters, then the answer is yes.

Jason

    Tom Parker

    Jason:

    If the day comes that churches have to affirm the 2000 BF&M Creed to remain a part of the SBC, my prediction is the SBC will beome much smaller. But I do not believe this would bother Tim Rogers.

William Thornton

I’m guessing that Cooperative Program giving will still be the “money” stat by which a candidate for SBC office or nominee for a trusteeship will be judged. BP may favor the broader statistic of GCG but a good chunk of SBC folks pay attention to other news and opinion sources, e.g. bloggers, where folks like you and others will focus on CP giving. Nothing wrong with that.

volfan007

Jason,

While you’re right about who is considered a cooperating SB church, Tim is also right about WHO gets to serve in the SBC. If someone rejects the BFM 2K, then they will not be able to serve thru the SBC, and rightly so.

I really think Tim is trying to get everyone to understand that this new line item being added….to be able report missions giving…and the fact that its part of what you add in order to report your total missions giving….could result in churches like FBC Greensboro being looked upon as a church that gives good to missions….thus, being able to have some of its members placed in places of leadership and service in the SBC. And, this should not be, or should not ever be. I’m thinking that Tim is thinking that this is the way things are heading. Or, maybe I’m thinking too much! :)

Anyway, it does seem to be a big shift in how to report missions giving, and one has to wonder why.

David

Jason Sampler

David,

If this is what Tim is trying to say, then he should say it, but he has not. The premise of this post, as I read it, was to create a new vocabulary to label churches: those that are cooperating (read, give the majority of their monies to SBC entities through the CP) and those that are less cooperating (read, give equally toCP and non-CP causes, or more to non-CP than CP). But I am arguing that such language is indefensable since the SBC constitution sets forth no such differentiation. Either a church is in cooperation or they are not. There are no ‘levels of cooperation’.

Whether you have discovered Tim’s undisclosed intention or not is beyond me. I don’t know if there is an underlying message to his post. Regardless, just as there is no levels of cooperation in the SBC constitution, there is no restrictions for who qualify to be leaders apart from the fact that they must be members of cooperating churches. And as far as who gets voted into leadership, that’s an issue of congregational polity. If any particular convention wishes to vote for someone as president who comes from FBC Greensboro, or any other church that gives a portion of their $ to the CP and a portion to non-CP ministries, then it is the perrogotive of that convention. Who are you, or who is anybody, to say “this should not be, or should not ever be”? Let the convention speak.

And finally, do not disparage a congregation of Christ followers such as FBC Greensboro by describing them as a congregation that only appears to be a ‘church that gives good to missions’. You might mean that you don’t believe they give a high enough percentage of their overall giving to CP ministries, but none of us are in a position to say they don’t ‘give good to missions.’

Jason Sampler

Tim Rogers

Brother Jason,

The FBC Greensboro is a red herring for you. FBC Greensboro openly acknowledges they do not cooperate with the SBC. They allow those within their membership to give it if they desire but as a church they are not cooperative with the SBC. Thus, any church giving like FBC Greensboro, regardless of what they say, are in fact not cooperating in the SBC.

That is the point. You are doing nothing but twisting the words and arguments to make this a mess. Remember this is a “simplistic” piece. You are now trying to make it more complicated than it is.

Blessings,
Tim

Jason Sampler

First, if FBC Greensboro is a red herring, then you have yourself to thank. You are the one that first mentioned them. I simply stayed on point by using your example. Second, as far as the SBC constitution is rightly applied to their situation, they are a cooperating church. They may not wish to state their situation in those words, but that is neither here nor there. Third, Tim, do not accuse me of ‘twisting the words and arguments to make a mess’ without substantiation. You brought this upon yourself by making silly claims (the means by which SBC churches should be judged, that financial giving is the definition of cooperation in the SBC, a new terminology that categorizes churches into [at least] two groups of ‘cooperating’ and ‘less cooperating’)that simply do not stand up. When I called you on it, you had no legitimate defense. You are correct about one aspect; this is a simplistic piece that betrays no forethought on your part for how ‘what you want the convention to do’ and ‘what the convention is bound to do because of its constitution’ would ever be co-terminus.

Jason Sampler

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Jason,

    Please stop arguing long enough to read. I did not say that you brought in the red herring I said I placed it there for you. Your argument is that anyone that gives anything, regardless of how much more they give to others is a cooperative SBC church. I say it is not.

    Your first point was that we do not worry about the money but we focus on the main doctrine. I pointed out that I was only doing what the constitution spelled out. You then came back with the money and how anyone that gives anything is a cooperative SB church. I responded with the FBC Greensboro example.

    Look, you evidently do not want to discuss this issue. You clearly are trying to paint me as some divisive person that wants to kick everyone out that is not like me. I am sorry you feel that way about me and so I will allow you to continue with your blinders.

    Blessings,
    Tim

Jason Sampler

Tim,

I’m not sure I need your admonition to read the post. I think my academic credentials demonstrate that I have a fairly high level of reading comprehension. If you need further evidence, you can inquire from Dr. Lemke, who I had for at least one PhD seminar. Additionally, if i didn’t want to discuss the issue, i wouldn’t be logging back in to respond. Third, if I wanted to paint you as divisive (which is not my intent, but thanks for trying), why would I do it on a website that you used to co-own and now are a frequent contributor (and potential assistant editor; i have no idea since Lemke hasn’t [to my knowlege] explained the leadership structure of this blog)? Such an agenda (if I had one) would be a failed effort in this context, since I would be singing to your choir and not my own.

As to the red herring, I misread the intent of your statement to me. You wrote, “The FBC Greensboro is a red herring for you” and I read that as if you had written “. . . red herring from you”. I would have better understood your intent had you written something more like “. . . a red herring I placed for you.” Now I understand what you were trying to communicate.

As to what constitutes a cooperating church, and take no offense at what I say next, I could give a flying rip about what you “say” (i.e., “I say it is not”). The SBC constitution defines any church, even FBC Greensboro, that gives money to the CP and does not affirm homosexuality, as a cooperating church. You can’t make the constitution say anything other than what is written (either by adding to, or subtracting from). Whether you like it or not, FBC Greensboro qualifies as (and is, until the SBC constitution changes) a cooperating church.

Not that you asked, but my intent in commenting was to wipe away your effort to create a false bifercation between ‘cooperating churches’ and ‘less cooperating churches.’ And I’ll work on my the speck in my eye (or, as you call it, blinders) as soon as you take the log out of your own eye.

Jason Sampler

Bob Hadley

Jason,

You wrote: “If this is what Tim is trying to say, then he should say it, but he has not. The premise of this post, as I read it, was to create a new vocabulary to label churches: those that are cooperating (read, give the majority of their monies to SBC entities through the CP) and those that are less cooperating (read, give equally toCP and non-CP causes, or more to non-CP than CP). But I am arguing that such language is indefensable since the SBC constitution sets forth no such differentiation. Either a church is in cooperation or they are not. There are no ‘levels of cooperation’.”

Tim’s article is about “The True Level of SBC Cooperation” as demonstrated by “The True Level of Cooperative Program Giving”. He is not as you suggest, speaking of who is or is not a cooperating SB Church. How would you like to pastor a church that had a number of its members designating where their tithes and offerings were to go… and then not even to church ministries but to Binny Hinn or Billy Graham and wanted them listed as “church giving”.

I really do believe that you are a lot smarter than you appear to be in these posts.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

><>’

    Tom Parker

    Bob:

    You said to Jason:”I really do believe that you are a lot smarter than you appear to be in these posts. ”

    Was that really nice of you? I only saw Jason raising legitimate questions.

      Bob Hadley

      Tom,

      I am very sure that he is smarter than the posts… not so sure about your assessment of his ‘legitimate concerns.”

      ><>’

Bob Hadley

Tim,

When you wrote, However, when one now sees a church’s CP giving at 3% and their GCG at 6% one will be able to tell how cooperative the church really is in our convention. A church that gives 3% to CP and 6% to GCG tells the world I will not cooperate with you on everything but I will give to my pet projects. When this ACP report is filed we will tell very clearly who cooperates and who is merely giving in order to advance their status within the convention political system.”

Perhaps that might be restated to say that “When this ACP report is filed we will tell very clearly who values the importance of the CP/ and who is merely giving in order to advance their status within the convention political system.”

One of the problems with the discussion in Orlando as I saw it was, the perception that some of the people encouraging everyone else to give to and support the CP but they themselves were only giving 3-5% to the CP but wanted everyone to know that they were missions giving churches. I think our leaders need to lead by example as opposed to a “do as I say not as I do” example.

Grateful to be in His Grip!

    volfan007

    Bob,

    Amen.

    David

Jason Sampler

Bob,

While your revision of Tim’s statement makes it less inflamatory, the issue he is addressing is based on a false premise. What false premise would that be? That an outsider can know/judge/evaluate the intentions of a congregation simply by analyzing their ACP report. And a correlary false premise is that a church that gives to things other than CP-related entities is giving (my words, but Tim’s thoughts) alms to the CP and thus is “less cooperating”. There are a host of reasons why a congregation might choose to give to non-SBC ministries and Tim (and you) seem to interpret those churches as giving to the SBC only “to advance their status within the convention political system.”

Jason Sampler

    Tim Rogers

    Brother Jason,

    Here is the problem with your reply to Brother Bob. You assess my premise as;

    …a church that gives to things other than CP-related entities is giving (my words, but Tim’s thoughts) alms to the CP and thus is “less cooperating”.

    That is not what I am saying. Your premise is that my thoughts are that any church that gives to anything other than SBC entities is not cooperative. I have not said that. As a matter of fact my church is currently planning shoe boxes that we will be donating to Samaritans Purse along with a donation. So I would be an idiot to say something like you suggest.

    What I am saying, however, is that any church that gives the majority of their missions dollars outside of the CP, LM, AA, local association is not as cooperative within the SBC as a church that gives the majority of their missions dollars through the CP, LM, AA, and local association. (The first heading of my OP) While any church as an autonomous congregation can give to any place they desire, they are not genuine in their public appeal to, or advancement of, the CP if the majority of their missions dollars is not given through this giving apparatus. (The second heading of my OP)

    Blessings,
    Tim

    Tom Parker

    Jason:

    Some just simply want to stand in judgment of others by using what they believe are black and white standards. There is just something about being the judge, jury, and executioner than some folks just can not resist, but they would scream bloody murder if someone treated them this way.

      Bob Hadley

      I know you guys have a better understanding of what is being said here than you are admitting to. Churches can give to WHO they want to give to and that is fine with me. This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with trying to tell people where to give their money. They have the right to do with it what they want to do…. ok… hope that is clear enough for you to understand.

      The issue is the centrality of the Cooperative Program and the ability to do things together as a convention that we cannot do by ourselves. Everyone in Orlando advocated increased giving to the CP because it has been and still needs to be the backbone of what we do as a convention. Without the CP… as far as I am concerned, then there is no real reason to be a SB in the first place. That is the primary reason I am a part of the convention.

      The problem is the leadership… if the CP is soooooooo important then GIVE TO IT and don’t just tell others to give to it and then do what you want to with your giving. Percentages tell the REAL story of a church’s giving and not the dollar amount.

      David you are correct. That is my point. We don’t need “do as I say and not as I do” leadership. My question is, why hire someone to lead a program that they didn’t support financially as a pastor?

      It is time for more changes than just in Washington!

      Grateful to be in His Grip!

      ><>’

volfan007

You know, this whole GCG thing was done…in my opinion…so that churches that gave very little….very, very little…to the CP, would not look like they were not supportive, SB Churches. If they could count all their mission giving on the ACP, and count it as giving to SB causes, then it would MAKE THEM LOOK BETTER.

And yet, Tim is right. Is a Church really a cooperating SB church, if the majority of thier missions giving goes to personal, pet projects; rather than the CP? Can SBC leaders cry out for us to give more to the CP, if they led their own churches to give more to their own, personal projects, rather than to increase giving to the CP?

Listen, I hear many appeals right now…in my state paper and in Bapt. Press….to increase CP giving….to get on board….give sacrificially. Well, where were some of these fellas when their churches were giving 3% ,or less, to the CP….while pouring the majority of thier money into their own, personal, mission trips and such?

Now, let me say….HALLELUJAH for all the mission work being done! Praise the Lord that people and Churches were doing missions….and giving to missions….AMEN AND AMEN AND AMEN!

But, it does make you scratch your head, whenever you’re being asked by these same people to increase your CP giving…and your Lottie giving….and your Annie giving….when they didnt do it….

What changed?

David

    Bob Hadley

    Amen brother… I almost feel like takin up an offerin… (can’t give an invitation)… Are you in TN??? I am actually coming to W TN this weekend; my mom is outside Jackson.

    Hope the Vols surprise some folks this year… like the Gators… will be in the stadium for that one!

    ><>’

      volfan007

      Bob,

      I believe the Vols are gonna be a whole better this year. Maybe we’ll win 7 or 8 games…..

      Your Mom lives near Jackson? Where does she live? I live in Greenfield, TN…about 50 miles north of Jackson.

      David

        Bob Hadley

        Henderson. Actually My wife and I are leaving in the morning headed to W Tn. for the week. I know exactly where Greenfield is.

        Go Vols!

        ><>’

peter lumpkins

Jason,

The premise of Tim’s post was to “create a new vocabulary”? Hardly, Jason. Not the way I read this piece, at least. Indeed Tim appears to only be reflecting the reality of what is and has been the case concerning cooperative giving.

Nor do I see your assertion that “If a church meets the requirements for membership in the convention, then that should be enough. No more, no less” to be either helpful or even workable in the SBC, especially in light of the way cooperation has actually operated in our sub-culture.

I know I know. You are only quoting the constitution. Granted. But merely quoting a lexical definition of cooperation may not, in fact, entirely do the job (i.e., say all that needs saying) when a contextual definition is required as well.

To put some teeth into what I’m attempting to say, try standing up at the next convention and nominating a person for such and such an office by characterizing his or her contributions to SBC life with something like this:

“Brothers & Sisters, I nominate Dr. Jay Doe to be our next executive. He is a man of worth beyond measure to SBC causes. His church is a fully cooperating SBC church, tirelessly affirming and cooperating with Southern Baptist causes over his entire ministry. They surely don’t affirm homosexuals and faithfully give $250.00 to the Cooperative Program! I’m sure you agree with me, Dr. Doe loves Southern Baptists and SBC causes. Vote for Dr. Doe as our next executive.”

Now, Jason, you can argue till the proverbial cows come home to gorge, that since Doe and his church “meet the requirements for membership in the convention, then that should be enough. No more, no less”; but I’d bet a week’s worth of Starbucks, no one would buy into your lexical brilliance. Why? Because however lexically sound you may be in defining a “cooperating church,” prima facie Dr. Doe doesn’t come across as a cooperating candidate.

One might say, well, what’s the use in having a lexical definition? That’s a good question and an important question. My own view is, perhaps the lexical definition primarily serves our convention as a door-keeper not for defining what necessarily is a cooperating entity but for defining what definitively is not a cooperating entity. Surely that is the reason the homosexual clause was placed in the constitution–to keep those entities out which affirm homosexuality.

In addition, this is surely the way we’ve employed the cooperating clause in our past. That is, we have not used it the way you appear to be using it–a bare-bones, rock-bottom, in-by-the-skin-of-their-teeth principle by which to judge cooperation. The truth is, Tim is not suggesting anything that hasn’t been suggested since 1925 when the CP came into existence, namely: we must all commit our selves to the CP, for it is the best means available to reach the globe for Christ. And, he surely is not “creating a new vocabulary”.

Come to think of it, Jason, it may be your language that is completely out-of-step with the way Southern Baptists have viewed cooperation, for we have never made it a habit to employ a lexical definition such as you’ve done to promote missions giving. The reason is obvious: how absurd to promote doing just enough–not affirming homosexuals and giving $250–to remain an officially, constitutionally protected “cooperating” SBC church.

Even more frightening, suppose your lexical definition became the contextual definition SBC churches in general adopted. I do not think it too much to say the entire infrastructure of the SBC would collapse overnight. Oh, but we’d have 46K, lexically defined accurately and fully constitutionally-approved cooperating churches banned together to reach the world for Christ. That is, as fully cooperating churches, they’d be banning homosexuals and giving a whopping $250 a piece!

For my part, I don’t think I’ll be using the lexical definition in judging positive cooperativeness in the SBC any time soon.

With that, I am…
Peter

Jason Sampler

Peter,

I’ll sleep better tonight knowing you won’t be using the lexical definition of judging positive cooperativeness in the SBC anytime soon. But really, i’m not concerned at all at how you judge cooperation. By means of the polity of our convention, any person being a member in good standing of a cooperating church meets the qualifications for participating in a leadership role in our convention. That comes, as I’m sure you’re aware, either through a general election or appointment by those who were elected. And even those who are appointed can be challenged on their appointment. Therefore, those of you (Tim, David, Peter, . . .) who wish to differentiate between cooperating and ‘less cooperating churches’ should vocally oppose any person who is elected or selected for office that doesn’t come from a church that fits your criteria for what (per your unwritten rules) constitutes a cooperating church.

The convention affirmed both the GCR and the opportunity for churches to count certain missions funds as GC giving. If you guys don’t like it, then stand up year after year and oppose it. Until then, you’re just peeing into the wind on a blog that suits those of your own ilk. If you want to change this, go take your argument to those that oppose your position and see how convincing you can be.

Jason Sampler

    Tom Parker

    But, Jason “they” are just not happy with people not being the “type” of Baptist that they are.

    I just do not see any National jobs for Tim, David, or, Peter in the SBC.

    They’ve burned too many bridges.

      Tim Rogers

      Tom Parker,

      I just do not see any National jobs for Tim, David, or, Peter in the SBC.

      Your statement is fundamentally flawed. I am not speaking for Brothers David and Peter, but I do believe they would affirm what I am about to say. Many bloggers are in this because this is a way to gain the attention of the National leaders they would not otherwise gain. That is not the case for me. I could care less if I get a “National job”. I am not in it for cheap advancement. God called me to pastor and I am as happy as a pig in slops doing what God called me to do. You see Tom, when one is doing the will of God one can openly and without fear express his/her convictions knowing they are based on Scripture.

      Blessings,
      Tim

        volfan007

        Tim,

        Amen, Brother. You’ve said what I would’ve said. I’m not looking for any national job. I’m not smart enough, nor am I sophisticated enough to get one anyway!!

        I’m happy doing God’s will for my life.

        David

Tim Rogers

Tom Parker,

My wife just allowed me to add to my former statement. She wanted me to tell you the following. I am not in this to get the recognition of man. The only promotion I want to hear is “well done good and faithful servant.” Those are the only words that I long to hear. Being that I am in this to please God, neither yours, nor any other person’s words of degradation bother me. Remember they spoke against Jesus for speaking Truth.

My wife approved this statement.

Blessings,
Tim

peter lumpkins

Dear Jason,

Since you’d already made it clear to Tim that you “could [not] give a flying rip” about what he says, it offers no surprise for me to learn your “not concerned at all at how [I] judge cooperation.” I think that’s just swell. What is surprising is your contentedness in accepting such a colossal waste of time personally exchanging on a blog with guys who are only, to borrow your mundane image, “peeing into the wind.” Though I realize, just as you were “not concerned at all at how [I] judge cooperation” you, and perhaps remain even more unconcerned about what I may further log here, I do wonder if you have even the slightest concern about how Southern Baptists themselves have historically judged cooperation.

Earlier I made an observation, based on the way the SBC has judged cooperation in the past–not the stale, lexical kind that you continue mooing about, but the pragmatic kind, the week-in, week-out…year-in, year-out kind, the kind that is voiced whenever we want to either promote cooperativeness among the 46K churches or the kind we use to promote the virtues of a candidate for a high-level position–that Southern Baptists have virtually always judged cooperation by a more-less cooperation formula. Nor we may judge that inconsistent on their part, and it would be if all we were concerned about was being lexical. Even so, that’s the way it is. It is not too much to say, no convention, when considering positive cooperation, has ever, ever promoted your lexical insistence. It’s not only non-existent, it’s absurd–not to mention counterproductive– as I took the time to explain above.

Finally, Jason, I see no moral demand which necessitates those of us who express a strong historical precedent for higher giving to the CP that we find in the convention–and expressing it on a website–to, according to you, “vocally oppose any person who is elected or selected for office that doesn’t come from a church that fits your criteria for what (per your unwritten rules) constitutes a cooperating church”…to, in your words, “take your argument to those that oppose your position and see how convincing you can be.”

First (and ironically), we are taking our argument to those who oppose our position. Contrary to your chiding (mundane) remark that “you’re just peeing into the wind on a blog that suits those of your own ilk,” I take it you are not of our “own ilk.” And while I hold no optimism you’ll be coming around to the position presented here, perhaps others may be persuaded.

Second, I’m afraid you slung a blade which cuts both ways. On the one hand, I challenged you or anyone else to stand up at the next SBC and nominate a potential candidate for any office with one stipulation–you must employ your lexical definition as the sole means of promoting just how cooperative the candidate is in the SBC. Care to take a little bet on how the turnout will go?

On the other hand, it is you, Jason, who is flat ignoring how Southern Baptists actually operate in the public sphere. Notwithstanding the lexical jargon, they function on a more pragmatic trajectory with levels of positive cooperativeness. Now you may not like that, agree with that, or whatever. So be it–at least for now (for it could change, you know). Hence, I suspect it is you, Jason, who needs to zip up your fly, not us.

Now, moo till your heart’s content. I be history on this thread.

With that, I am…
Peter

Jason Sampler

Peter,

I couldn’t be any less like “your ilk” if I tried, which I would not. Second, if giving money is the means by which the SBC judges cooperation, then I guess no one was cooperating with anyone before 1925. Third, if giving is the means by which the SBC determines cooperation when selecting its leaders, I suspect we all went on a mental vacation during the CR when many of the presidents who were elected came from churches with extremely poor givings record to the CP. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, it wasn’t until around 1996 (when Johnny Hunt was considered the front-runner for the next president) that CP % became a big deal (since his church gave about 3%. I believe he declared he wasn’t going to run, Ronnie Floyd stepped in, firetruck baptistry fiasco, and ergo the election of Frank Page. One of Page’s strong points was that his church gave 10% to the CP. But before that, the good old boys network didn’t (as we say mundanely in Oklahoma) didn’t give hide nor hair of CP giving. They were electing charasmatic preachers from mega-churches, not strong CP givers. Fourth, if you think the majority of people who read your blog, or this one for that matter, are people that “oppose your position”, then you must have a large following that never comment, for the supermajority of commenters are not much more than bootlickers.

Jason Sampler

P.S. I checked my fly. It was already closed. Guess that means I wasn’t the one peeing.

    Tom Parker

    Jason:

    I’ve never really known what Tim Rogers and Peter’s positions are as they are constantly in opposition to other “cooperating” SB.

Jason Sampler

Correction: 2006, not 1996.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Read Next

Distinctive Baptist Beliefs:
Nine Marks that Separate Baptists from Presbyterians
Distinctive Baptist Belief #1—
Soul Competency, the Priesthood of Believers, and Religious Liberty

By Dr. Lemke, Provost, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics, occupying the McFarland Chair of Theology, Director of the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry, and Editor of the Journal for Baptist Theology and Ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Calvinists, Arminians, and Baptists Together for the Evangelical Gospel All ...