If Texas Baptists follow through with a proposal to reduce funding to Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) seminaries and other selected agencies, the SBC is prepared to appeal directly to the state's churches in an effort to recoup lost funds. The SBC Executive Committee adopted a resolution in mid-September urging messengers at the Baptist General Convention of Texas, meeting this month, to reject a plan to reallocate about $4.3 million that now goes to the SBC seminaries. The resolution proposes that the monies go instead to three theological schools in Texas (Truett, Logsdon, and Hispanic Baptist). The move by Texas Baptists and the sharp response by SBC leadership is the latest flare-up in the long-standing clash between Southern Baptist moderates and conservatives.The Executive Committee resolution calls the Texas proposal "a unilateral breach of a 75-year partnership agreement" with the SBC's collecting agent, saying it would "effectively destroy the Cooperative Program process."In 1925, Southern Baptists launched a unified giving plan called the Cooperative Program to handle ministry financing. The Texas Baptist proposal would virtually cut off Texas funding for five of the six SBC seminaries, eliminate all funds for the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and include only token funding for the Executive Committee. Texas Baptist convention leaders said that they expected the SBC to launch a campaign such as this and have already begun visiting a campaign in the local churches to bring out the votes for their side. The dispute is likely to climax at the October meeting of the state convention.Copyright © 2000 Associated Baptist Press

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Finance: SBC Funding Imperiled
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October 23, 2000

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