The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention announced in June that it would sever financial ties with the District of Columbia Baptist Convention in 2003 over moral and theological differences. The decision could cost the DCBC $476,000 of its $1.5 million budget.
Robert Reccord, president of NAMB, told Christianity Today that the district convention has flouted the denomination's core beliefs by participating in interfaith gatherings.
"A number of speakers held vastly different views than what the SBC has clearly delineated that it holds," Reccord says. Reccord cited DCBC's speaking invitation to Welton Gaddy of the liberal Interfaith Alliance as one example.
"[Reccord has] described us as being unequally yoked," responds Jeffrey Haggray, executive director of the DCBC. "It's a statement about control and power—not theological purity."
In March district leaders rejected an NAMB proposal requiring greater oversight of the funds, which pay for evangelism and missionary salaries. The DCBC, unusual among other state-level SBC affiliates, is also aligned with the American Baptist and Progressive National Baptist conventions (ct, Feb. 4, p. 20).
Walter Shurden, executive director of the Center for Baptist Studies at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, was a member of the first steering committee of the moderate Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. "The North American Mission Board has created a Presbyterian-type polity that connects state conventions to the sbc in such a way that if state conventions get out of hand, the sbc has a way of discouraging them," Shurden says.
Reccord says he is disappointed that D.C. officials did not suggest any alternatives to NAMB's proposal to provide an administrator to oversee ...1