Antarctica Partnership?

June 12, 2007

I have been watching parts of the SBC Annual Meeting live online. There have been a few interesting items so far, such as a lenghty questioning time about what should be counted as Cooperative Program giving. SBC Executive Commitee Chairman Morris Chapman is speaking right now. A few minutes ago he made a hillarious remark about the work of Bobby Welch, who is leading the SBC's attempt to build global relationships following the SBC's unfortuate decision to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance (see previous post here about Welch and the effort). Welch has begun traveling the world in this effort. Chapman announced that in the near future Welch will be traveling to all seven continents. Really? Since there are no native peoples in Antarctica are there really any partnerships with Baptists that can be developed there? I guess they are trying to go somewhere that the BWA is not. Or perhaps the reception from other Baptist bodies has been so cold that Welch will be heading down there to warm up!


UPDATE [6-13-07]: Charles Wade, executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, brought greetings this morning to the messengers. He noted that the BGCT has ministries on all continents except Antarctica. After Welch plants the SBC flag on the South Pole, the BGCT will likely be called "liberals" for not doing any work down there.

15 comments

  1. Brian,

    How can you miss this? The SBC is taking proactive steps to prepare for the coming, inevitable consequence of global warming--a populous southernmost continent.

    This should make many moderates happy, reuniting the CBF with the SBC.

    On a more serious note, I think it has as good a shot at reuniting the two as the NewBapCov, if you organizers don't get a President Carter refutation of Rabbi Lerner's report.

    There, I got around to it again.

    :)

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  2. Brian,

    It's a surprising and generous gesture on the part of SBC planners to hear from Charles Wade, and perhaps the last time a BGCT Executive Director's welcoming SBC'ers to Texas will apply.

    Should Jimmy Carter's reported pluralist views go unrefuted, BGCT's continued role as a primary promoter of NewBapCov will sound the exit signal for SBC churches still dually aligned with the two state conventions.

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  3. Chuck: Frank Page should be commended for inviting Wade to speak. After all, the BGCT gives more money that the SBCT. That is why it was also appropriate for Page to nominate a couple of people from the BGCT. For too many years the SBC leaders were willing to take the BGCT's money but not give them a voice.

    As for your other claim, you are mistaken. The accusations against Carter have been refuted (such as by me to you). Although you have not accepted the refutations it is inaccurate to say they remain unrefuted.

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  4. Chuck: Maybe Welch will be heading down there for a concert that will be a part of Al Gore's "Live Earth" next month (see story here). The goal is to have a concert on every continent so five scientists stationed in Antarctica will be performing while their 17 colleagues form the audience. The 22 people might just double Welch's group!

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  5. Chuck8:01 PM

    Brian,

    I'm not mistaken. No offense, but you have not refuted President Carter's reported statements--(they're not accusations, as you say, but rather reports of his own conversations with Newsweek magazine and Rabbi Michael Lerner)--and cannot, since Carter himself has not. Only Jimmy Carter or the sources can refute his reported un-Baptistic views.

    You have made the point that Rabbi Lerner may or may not be reliable. That, at best, casts a hopeful "maybe" that President Carter didn't say Judaism is a legitimate path to God, and Jews should distance themselves from evangelical "Zionists" who only want to see them convert.

    Reason works against your theory, however, since it would be unlikely for the Rabbi to attribute falsely such extraordinary statements and theological views to as public a figure as the former U.S. President, who is purported to be the most well-known Baptist Sunday School teacher.

    I'll accept President Carter's refutation as soon as he makes it.

    Your accusation of my inaccuracy in saying the statements remain unrefuted is not well-taken.

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  6. Chuck8:16 PM

    Brian,

    Let me offer you a bit of education on Texas Baptist life.

    For the past ten years or so, the BGCT has been willing to receive conservative Baptist churches' Cooperative Program gifts, but not give them a voice.

    The SBC, unlike the BGCT, has retained its messenger qualification system, which still allows the possibility of a minority regaining majority status.

    The BGCT changed its messenger system in 1998, preventing that same possibility. That action marked the forming of the SBTC.

    Currently, the BGCT keeps 79% of the undesignated CP gifts for its uses, passing 21% on to CBF, SBC, or its own WorldConnex causes, depending on how the church chooses.

    The SBTC keeps 46% for Texas causes, sending 54% on to the SBC.

    All elected BGCT leaders are solidly in the CBF/Mainstream Baptists fold.

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  7. Chuck: Just because you do not accept my refutation does not mean there has not been one. You are using one third-hand source that includes someone who has admitted to making stuff up. That is contrasted with Carter's own writings that clearly show he that believes that Jesus is the only way. When faced with two opposing claims we must judge source credibility and that clearly lies with Carter. Additionally, it is important to remember that the Bible requires two witnesses. With that in mind I find the Rabbi's claims to come up one short.

    I know you will continue to cling to the Rabbi's remark since it seems to confirm your own beliefs. That is fine, but that does not mean there has not been a refutation; you may find it to be a weak refutation but it is a refutation nonetheless.

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  8. Chuck: Thanks for the comment. I haven't followed all issues related to the differences in Texas. However, I do not think you are correct that the BGCT's messenger status keeps the minority from taking it over. My understanding is that the change made it so they used the amount of money given to the BGCT and not the amount given to the SBC as the number to be used for deciding how many messengers a church gets. Thus, if the minority gave money and got messengers they could still come back and take it over.

    Although you are correct that the SBCT passes more money onto the SBC, that number does not tell the whole story. After all, the BGCT gives money to a lot more Baptist ministries in Texas and beyond, which should be commended.

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  9. Brian,

    Have you ever known someone to change their views, or more elaborately reveal their views?

    In the past month and a half--not 10 years or 1 year ago--Newsweek Magazine (actual interview transcript) and Rabbi Michael Lerner have reported President Carter's answers or comments which indicate pluralistic views, which you believe are incompatible with what you he has written in the past (probably one-to-ten years ago).

    The current/recent trumps the past (since people do tend to change their views, or reveal their views more completely), so rather than refuting the reports, you have called into question the veracity of the reports.

    I am saying that the questions you raise need to be answered, if you believe pluralism violates a "traditional Baptist value" and intend, with integrity, to continue promoting the "New Baptist Covenant" Atlanta meeting which President Carter has called, and at which he will deliver the keynote address.

    You, a Christian journalist, should investigate the truthfulness of reports, not hope and trust they're false.

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  10. Brian,

    I don't want to belabor this minor point, but let me clarify the BGCT messenger policy:

    In 1998, the BGCT adopted a messenger qualifying system which requires that a church BOTH be a certain size AND give a certain amount of money DURING THE PREVIOUS FISCAL YEAR. (Previously, money had not been a part of the formula, only membership size.)

    This newer system gives BGCT leadership nearly a year's warning, allowing the BGCT majority to actually calculate the maximum messenger force any perceived minority could muster to the late October/early November annual meeting.

    In the SBC, any "bona fide" contributing church--(which requires a minimal gift, perhaps $250, I'm not certain)--is allowed up to the maximum 10 messengers based on EITHER its membership size OR its contribution amount.

    Thus, a SBC minority could muster a force and totally surprise an SBC annual meeting. (Hotel reservations might be the only warning sign! But that could be cleverly worked around.)

    So, which Convention is really inclusive in its polity?

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  11. Brian,

    You said:

    ". . . When faced with two opposing claims we must judge source credibility . . ."

    There are not two opposing claims. Rabbi Lerner wrote of his meeting with President Carter, and Carter has claimed nothing to the contrary regarding the Rabbi's report.

    My email inquiry of more than a week ago to The Carter Center has received no reply, either.

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  12. Chuck: Wow! I never thought a little post making a joke about an odd statement could lead to all of this.

    Although both of us hope a more clarifying statement will come, we obviously have different opinions about the level of credibility the Rabbi's remarks should be given. I still think we need more before it should be given much weight. Although Carter has not spoken to the Rabbi's claim (as far as I know) his written record and statements to others stand in stark contrast to the Rabbi's claims.

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  13. Brian,

    I set us up for all of this by "getting around to it again" in my first comment.

    Maybe we should email regularly.

    By the way, happy anniversary to you and your wife.

    :)

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  14. Chuck: Thanks!

    Feel free to email me at bkaylor@baptistgcm.org

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