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Sixth and Final Report of the SBC Funding Study
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Review of NOBTS's Sole Membership Charter Amend.
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Reservations Concerning a Charter Amendment Prop.
Sole Membership - A Florida Layman’s Perspecti
A Letter to Dr. Denton Lotz
Letter from Albert W. Wardin
The Relation of the SBC to its Entities
SBC Funding Study - State of Giving
What is Sole Membership?
Sole Membership
Letter to Missouri Churches
Questions and Answers
Behind the Scenes at the SBC
Response by Morris H. Chapman to the BGCT
Does It Matter What Missionaries Believe?
Letter to the Baptist Standard
On Facts and Fallacies
Letter by SBC EC President to Dr. James L. Hill
A View from the Other Side
Carter's rift with SBC not a new development
SBTS Response to BGCT Seminary Study Committee
Response to BGCT Seminary Study Committee Report
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Exec. Comm. Interacts with BGCT Funding Proposal
The Pastor's Point of View on the BGCT
Feasibility Study for Name Change
Report of the SBC Peace Committee
Doctrine, Cooperation, and Association
Report to the Fellowship of Deacons
Too High a View of Scripture?
The Truth about the SBC and Texas
Christ, The Bible, and Human Experience
Bibliolatry — A Fraudulent Accusation
BFM - Still Thoroughly Baptist!
Texas First, Texas Only - Not the Spirit
Anti-SBC Leaders Threaten Cooperative Program
Southern Baptists and Women Pastors
The Root of the SBC Controversy
Your Church Reaching the World for Christ
Together We're Carrying Out the Great Commission
Doctrinal integrity paramount for Serminary
Have Baptists replaced Jesus with a book?
Why theology matters for the Great Commission task
A survey of the 2000 BFM
Baptists, the Bible and confessions
Southern Seminary and the Abstract of Principles
An Open Letter to Southern Baptists
A Statement About the Baptist Faith & Message
An Example of the Need to Change The BFM
Incredible Vanishing Corporations
Committee on Cooperation - Report and Findings
An Open Letter from Dr. Allen to Dr. Wade
Why Cooperate?
The Southern Baptist Convention is Alive and Well
Letter by SBCEC President to TX Church Leaders
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"There should be an 'Abstract of Principles', or careful statement of theological belief, which every professor in such an institution must sign when inaugurated, so as to guard against the rise of erroneous and injurious instruction in such a seat of sacred learning."

James P. Boyce
from "Three Changes in
Theological Institutions"
- summarized by John Broadus, 1856



Questions and Answers
by Dr. Bob Curtis
August 13, 2002

Questions and Answers
From Dr. Bob Curtis
President, Missouri Baptist Convention
August 13, 2002

1. Why did Missouri Baptists file a petition in court?
The Executive Board is trying to do what Missouri Baptists told them to do. By an overwhelming vote of church messengers at the November 2001 annual meeting, Missouri Baptists said: "take all steps necessary" to recover the five corporations that were wrongfully removed from Missouri Baptists' accountability.

2. Who are the five corporation defendants?
The five agencies include The Baptist Home, Missouri Baptist College, Missouri Baptist Foundation, Windermere Baptist Conference Center, and Word and Way newspaper.

3. What did the corporations do that was unlawful?
The five corporations are agencies of the MBC which has historically provided funding and required accountability. The five corporate charters gave Missouri Baptists the right to elect agency trustees. The corporations unlawfully changed their charters to elect their own trustees, without Missouri Baptist approval. The corporate charters are legal contracts, promising to operate under the authority of the MBC. The agencies breached their contracts when they secretly amended their charters and sought to disenfranchise Missouri Baptists.

4. Did MBC try to resolve this matter out of court?
Yes. For nearly a year, Missouri Baptist leaders have spent many hours in numerous meetings and countless phone calls, trying to get the five corporate agencies to rescind their unlawful actions, or to submit the dispute to binding arbitration before Christian persons we would mutually agree upon. All five agencies have repeatedly rejected these offers. They have clearly indicated they will never arbitrate and will not come back under Missouri Baptists' accountability. When they refused a Christian arbitrator, they were, in effect, choosing a civil judge.

5. What kind of petition has been filed in Court?
The Missouri Baptist Convention has filed a petition for declaratory judgment in the Cole County, Missouri, circuit court. The petition asks the court to declare the "rights, status and legal relations among the parties." The petition alleges that the corporate charters constitute a legal contract between the agencies and Missouri Baptists. Agencies breached the contract by changing the charters without Missouri Baptists' approval, and trying to disenfranchise the donors who have built the agencies.

6. What is a Declaratory Judgment petition? Is it like a normal damages lawsuit?
A declaratory judgment petition is different from a normal lawsuit for injury or damages. It asks a court to apply the law to the facts in a dispute in order to declare who is right and who is wrong about the law. The agencies claim they acted lawfully. MBC lawyers say the boards acted unlawfully. We simply need a third party to read the corporate statutes and read the charters and decide whether the action was unlawful.

7. What does Jesus teach about such cases?
In Matthew 18:17, Jesus says a wrongdoer should be confronted, first in private, then with witnesses. "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector." In other words, since the agencies have rejected the collective authority of Missouri Baptist churches and they will not consider Christian arbitration, it is proper to appeal to the civil authority regarding violations of civil and criminal law, the same as would be done for unbelievers.

8. Is it biblical to file a lawsuit against a religious corporation?
Yes. Christian author Larry Burkett writes in his book, Business by the Book:

"Since there were no corporations in existence when the Bible was written, the best we can do is relate the principle to the closest parallel of that time: a government agency. (Acts 16:37) …"A corporation or business is also an entity, not a person. Although the entity may be controlled and often is solely owned by a person, it appears that a corporation or business has no rights under biblical guidelines, except the rights of prevailing law. Therefore, to sue a corporation in order to require that it meet its legal responsibilities is not unbiblical."

Thus, Mr. Burkett reasons, a Christian may "go to law" regarding a corporation's legal duties, even a religious non-profit corporation. Non-personal complaints about violations of corporate statutes are in Caesar's jurisdiction, and it is not wrong to render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's. We are not asking the secular court to interpret John 3:16,but to interpret and apply the secular laws like Section 355.066, which makes MBC the sole member of these agencies, with the right to approve charter amendments. As stewards for Missouri Baptists being served by these agencies, MBC has a duty to require accountability for the spiritual content of each ministry. As stewards of donated dollars, MBC has a duty to require financial accountability; we must speak for the donors who cannot speak for themselves. Justice demands that we not cover up or ignore corporate law-breaking, but submit the matter to the civil authorities.

9. Did MBC go to court first?
No. One agency secretly went to court in 2001 to change its charter without MBC approval. Now MBC must go back to the same court, asking the judge to set aside his earlier order, and to restore MBC's lawful right to elect trustees. Other agencies "went to law" when they went secretly to the Secretary of State and filed their unauthorized amendments, disenfranchising Missouri Baptists. Now the MBC must get a court order so the Secretary of State can correct the record and restore Missouri Baptist accountability over these donated dollars.

10. Is MBC suing individual Christians?
No. The MBC petition names only the five corporations as defendants, and the Office of Secretary of State as official custodian of corporate records

11. Is the MBC seeking money damages from individuals?
No. We are seeking a decision about the law, and about ownership. The petition alleges legal damages in a manner required by court rules, but this is not about money. In this case we do not seek to collect one penny of any individual's money or property. We seek to recover the agencies that are lawfully Missouri Baptists'.

12. Why did the MBC vote to "escrow" funds in the 2001-2002 budget year?
The MBC governing documents required it: "The Board shall have general oversight over all educational and benevolent institutions which shall place themselves under its supervision and accept the conditions set for the in the bylaws of the Board….The Board shall not extend any financial or other assistance to any of such institutions whose property and funds are not safeguarded to the Baptist denomination." (Articles of Executive Board of MBC, Section 10.)

13. Is the MBC spending the "escrowed funds" for legal fees?
No. The money is being held in an interest bearing account, until the agencies rescind their unlawful actions, or until the MBC messengers reallocate the funds to other ministry purposes in October 2002.

14. Will MBC escrow funds in the 2002-2003 budget year, too?
No. The Executive Board recommended a budget that puts ministry dollars to work immediately in agencies accountable to the MBC.

15. What will happen to the $2.2 million dollars that was escrowed in the 2001-2002 budget year?
That is up to the Convention at the annual meeting. It is anticipated that the escrowed funds may be re-allocated among loyal organizations. If the court restores the agencies to Missouri Baptist accountability, it is expected that the Convention would once again include the agencies in the MBC budget.

16. What is the "covenant relationship" proposed by the agencies?
The agencies have proposed that they enter a "covenant relationship" with the MBC, whereby MBC will not contest the unlawfulness of the agency actions, but will agree to fund the agencies but without legal accountability that defined our previous relationship. Missouri Baptists have a covenant relationship, which the agencies should honor. The Executive Board has no right to discuss such a covenant relationship with the agencies, since that would be directly contrary to what the Convention told us to do: restore the agencies to their former relationship of accountability to Missouri Baptists.

View PETITION FOR DECLARATORY JUDGMENT, DAMAGES FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT, AND FOR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

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