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February 25, 2014


Todd Littleton

Only a matter of time until we find a means to narrow ourselves once again.

Steve Loggins

I wish people would read the proposal before stirring the water with speculative imaginings. I am a member of the Executive Committee and the vice-chairman of the By-laws workgroup that dealt with this proposal. Never did anyone bring up a hard line stance on the BF&M or mention anything about open versus closed communion. The proposal has been released publicly for comments and suggestions - but please don't try to make it say what it does not say. The desire of the members of the Executive Committee in every discussion I heard was an interest in how to increase participation in the Convention, not decrease it. At the same time, Article III needed updating in several areas, from the 1888 financial figures to clarity on what entails "convention causes". The release of the proposal to the public is for Southern Baptists to see for themselves and give input before the next EC meeting prior to the convention. I can assure you, no one is vying to make the BF&M a requirement for service. The proposal states only that no messenger will be seated that stands in opposition to what we, as Baptists, have adopted as our statement of what we believe. Some churches follow the New Hampshire Confession of Faith, some follow the 1963 BF&M - this was said in committee. No one is trying to oust those churches, just promote the distinctives of Baptist doctrine, as opposed to those who do not believe as the vast majority of us do , but might try to have messengers seated by giving a token amount. The appointment of missionaries, the hiring of professors at Seminaries, all these are the duties of the trustees of that particular entity - not the Executive Committee - and it never even entered our radar that anyone would interpret Article III to mean anything other than what it is really about - messengers for the SBC. I hope this answers some of the questions people are asking about the proposal. I would be glad to respond to any inquiries about what the EC is doing with Article III and can be reached at njba@bellsouth.net.

Alan Cross

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective, Steve. I figured that that was the case - at least as far as the intent of the EC goes. I was not trying to say that anyone on the EC was intentionally trying to outst 50% of our churches. But, if that is the result of your action because of unintended consequences, then it is a difficult place to put us all in.

Dr. Barber was the one who mentioned Article VII of the BF&M2000 and the communion issue. He said that it never came up in your deliberations, to his knowledge. So, I completely believe you that you were not intending for this to be an issue. However, if your move in one diretion then exposes 50% of the churches who do not fully agree with Article VII in their practice, then my hope would be that that would be considered. Perhaps there could be an exemption on Article VII? I get what you are trying to do here - I am just concerned about unintended consequences.

Again, thanks for stopping by and for your thoughts on this. I will likely email you privately to discuss this more.

Jeff Phillips

Interesting read, also the comment from Steve. We practice open communion. We clearly explain that communion is for believers and offer the requisite admonition to examine ourselves before partaking. We encourage people to refuse taking communion if their heart is not right with God so as not to condemn themselves. We practice and teach baptsim by emmersion. But if I read Setev's response correctly, if this is approved we could not have a messenger seated at the convention if we do not adhere 100% to the BF&M2000, even in regards to open communion? Who are we to judge someone's heart because they come from a different tradition regarding baptism? Is it not the baptism of the Holy Spirit that matters? Isn't this a conflict with individual autonomy, which has it's issues, but allows for doagreements on non-essentials? Honestly, don't we have more pressing issues to deal with?

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