WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (ABP) — Messengers to the annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina voted Nov. 16 to keep the convention's four giving plans. But a move to eliminate the plan favored by moderates still looms as a possibility.
Ted Stone, an anti-drug and anti-alcohol activist from Durham, N.C., made a motion to abolish the alternate plans, which let churches pick which organizations to support. His motion called for the state convention to go back to a single plan, with money being divided between North Carolina and the Southern Baptist Convention, deleting money for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other moderate causes.
Stone's motion, which would have gone into effect with the 2006-07 budget, failed by at least a two-to-one margin on a show of ballots, according to convention officials.
Currently churches giving to the state convention can choose one of four giving plans. In Plan A, the state convention keeps 68 percent of the money and sends 32 percent to the Southern Baptist Convention.
In Plan B, the state convention retains 68 percent and sends 10 percent to the SBC, with the remaining money going to missions partnerships, theological education and other causes. Plan C is similar to Plan B except the 10 percent is sent to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship rather than the SBC. Plans B and C also fund four independent Baptist ministries popular with moderates — Baptist World Alliance, Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, Associated Baptist Press and Baptist Center for Ethics.
Under Plan D, the state convention keeps 50 percent and sends 32 percent to the SBC. The other 18 percent goes to the conservative Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute, church-planting efforts and missions partnerships.
During debate, J. D. Greear, pastor of Summit Church in Durham, said that if Stone's motion failed he would like messengers to consider doing away with only Plan C during consideration of the budget Nov. 17, eliminating funding for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
“Whenever we have diversity in action, we are not united and we are not as strong as we could be,” he said.
Stone said all neighboring state conventions give a higher percentage of money to the SBC than the North Carolina convention. “It means we are not stepping up to the plate when it comes to supporting missionaries around the world,” said Stone, a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, an SBC seminary.
LeRoy Burke, chairman of the convention's budget committee, said that while he personally supports going back to one plan, 80 percent of the input the committee received was in favor of the alternate giving plans. “I rise today to ask the convention to vote against this at this time,” he said.
Jim Royston, the convention's executive director, also spoke against the motion. He said passing it might ultimately divide the state convention.
Paul Berry, of Grainger Baptist Church in Kinston, said the two groups involved in the Baptist controversy have different theologies. He asked how the state convention can continue to have integrity as long as it is composed of such groups.
Greear said the CBF and the newer divinity schools formed in opposition to the Southern Baptist Convention because of differing stands on issues such as inerrancy, the exclusivity of the gospel, and the soundness of heterosexual marriage. “There just came a point when we could no longer work together,” he said.
Mark Olson, pastor of Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville, said churches should respect each other's decisions to give through the various plans. North Carolina Baptists should unite around the gospel of Jesus Christ, he said. “That's what unifies us, not giving plans.”
In other business, conservative David Horton, pastor of Gate City Baptist Church in Greensboro, was re-elected convention president without opposition for a second one-year term. Elections of two vice presidents were scheduled for Nov. 17.
Messengers passed several measures paving the way to incorporation of the state convention. Previously the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina existed as an unincorporated association, while its assets were held by three trustees.