MBC LawsuitsOctober 27, 2009
Many messengers at the Missouri Baptist Convention's annual meeting today voiced opposition to continuing the MBC's legal efforts, which has seen $5 million wasted over the last seven years. Efforts to end the lawsuits and prevent Cooperative Program funding of them were not successful, but there were clearly many people voicing their strong opposition. One individual declared, "In the name of Jesus, stop!" Some efforts to bring motions against the lawsuits were wrongly not allowed, which is apparently what happens when one of the main attorneys is one of the parliamentarians. An interesting development is that the messengers did approve a motion from the Convention leaders to give the Executive Board more authority during the time between annual meetings, including the power to end the lawsuits. Although the comments of MBC President Bruce McCoy were clear that he wanted to see them brought to an end (although not with a sudden messenger vote), the report from the head of the Agency Restoration Group and the MBC's lead attorney were just aggressive and combative as always. Not sure which side will prevail now that the Executive Board has more freedom in deciding the legal path. Interestingly, McCoy said he asked developer Bill Jester to drop his countersuit against the MBC since it violated Scripture. Yet, the MBC sued him first and MBC leaders continue to fight attempts by messengers to drop the lawsuits. McCoy has expressed his belief that the MBC's lawsuits are also unbiblical.
On this topic, Ethics Daily ran my latest article today, which is entitled "Patterson, Missouri Leaders Send Mixed Signals on Lawsuits." It covers the contradictions of Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson. Although Patterson publicly denounced Christians suing one another after he was sued, he privately encouraged Missouri Baptist leaders to sue five Baptist ministry organizations. The piece also covers some of the contradictory statements from MBC leaders concerning the lawsuits, especially their false denials that Cooperative Program money has not been used.