Motion for persecuted church gets SBC prayer
BALTIMORE (BP) -- Messengers proposed 17 motions during the Southern Baptist Convention's June 10-11 annual meeting, six of which were referred to SBC entities for consideration.
The only motion acted on by the convention, adopted by unanimous consent, challenged churches to "pray passionately and regularly for persecuted Christians."
The motion, brought by Victor Vaughn, a messenger from Agape Community Baptist Church in Poway, Calif., also urged churches to remember the 200-300 Nigerian girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram. Vaughn moved "that we pray for them as our sisters and that we also remember their persecutors to see the light."
In the spirit of the motion, David Smith, chairman of the SBC Committee on Order of Business, led the convention in prayer.
Two motions were referred to the six Southern Baptist seminaries:
-- that fees associated with online seminary classes be removed for students enrolled online, brought by Jerome Taylor of Eastgate Baptist Church in Burton, Mich.
-- that seminaries survey the views of their faculties and students on tithing and "ensure that our future leaders are taught that the tithe belongs to the Lord," brought by Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind.
One motion was referred to the North American Mission Board for study:
-- that the SBC Executive Committee and Southern Baptist entities study how churches can be revitalized from plateau or decline, brought by Steven Owensby of First Baptist Church in Enoree, S.C.
One motion was referred to LifeWay Christian Resources:
-- that LifeWay reconsider its decision to use the 2011 NIV translation of the Bible in its Sunday School curriculum, brought by Bob Lilly of First Baptist Church in Richland, Mo.
One motion was referred to the SBC Committee on Order of Business:
-- that music leadership, style and song selection at future SBC annual meetings express the convention's ethnic diversity, brought by Kristopher Burns of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.
Smith said during his report that the Committee on Order of Business' recommendations of leaders for the 2015 annual meeting would be in keeping with this motion. The committee later recommended Julio Arriola, global worship pastor at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, to serve as music director for the 2015 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
One motion was referred to the Southern Baptist Executive Committee:
-- that the SBC president appoint a task force to report on the convention's progress in pursuing biblical racial reconciliation, and recommend how Southern Baptists "may better reach, make disciples, and raise up leadership from and among diverse racial and ethnic groups in North America," brought by Alan Cross of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ala.
Ten motions submitted by messengers were ruled out of order by President Fred Luter acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Order of Business.
Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif., presented three motions that were ruled out of order because they would direct officers of convention to act outside the scope of their duties, as established by the SBC constitution and bylaws:
-- that the SBC's newly elected officers consider discipline for a Southern Baptist church and pastor in La Mirada, Calif., for affirming same-sex lifestyles.
-- that the SBC's officers consider leading the convention to be part of "Operation American Spring," an effort to impeach President Barack Obama.
-- that the convention's officers consider joining an event to celebrate racial reconciliation on July 4, 2014, in Gettysburg, Pa.
Two motions were ruled out of order because they would change the convention's rules and must be brought as an amendment to the constitution or bylaws:
-- that a time and place be established for messengers to ask questions of nominees for SBC president, from Todd Burgess of First Baptist Church in Eagle River, Alaska.
-- that those nominating candidates for SBC president should state the percentage, rather than the amount, that the nominee's church gives through the Cooperative Program, from Steven Bailey of Calvary Baptist Church in Osceola, Ark.
Two motions were ruled out of order because they would direct, rather than request, a convention entity to take a specific action:
-- that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary report why they admitted a student of another faith, from Mike Scott of Faith Baptist Church in Iron Station, N.C.
-- that LifeWay Christian Resources cease selling the book "Heaven is for Real" in its stores and online.
Two motions were ruled out of order because they do not follow the convention's rules for support of outside causes:
-- that the SBC endorse youth organizations Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls, brought by Daniel Sigler of North Park Baptist Church in Evansville, Ind.
-- that messengers encourage their churches to pray for and consider becoming part of My Hope with Billy Graham.
A motion from Brad Atkins of First Baptist Church in Powdersville, S.C., was ruled out of order because it would violate the convention's business and financial plan:
-- that seminary presidents and trustees consider allocating 1 percentage point of their Cooperative Program allocation to the International Mission Board as a way of honoring outgoing President Tom Elliff.
Meredith Flynn is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.