Giving to the SBC
through the BGCT
This letter was sent to Southern Baptist pastors
in Texas by Dr. Morris H. Chapman, President, Executive Committee
of the Southern Baptist Convention.
January 15, 2001
Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am writing to provide my perspective and hopefully helpful insights
to the recent decision by the messengers of the Baptist General
Convention of Texas to defund specified SBC entities. Please understand
that while I have experienced many emotions before, during, and
after the action, I am convinced God's desire for the Southern Baptist
Convention is for Southern Baptists to devote our attention, energies,
and strategies to the preaching of the Gospel and witnessing to
the unsaved at home and on foreign fields.
In my mind and heart, the action taken by the November
2000 annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas to
defund the seminaries, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission,
and the SBC Operating Budget cannot be characterized as positive
in any way, and, even if it doesn't damage the SBC financially,
is certainly detrimental to the ongoing witness of the BGCT, the
SBC, and most of all, the Kingdom of God. The cooperative spirit
that has been the hallmark of relationships among Southern Baptists
has eroded between the BGCT and the SBC, and the Cooperative Program
methodology that has served our conventions so well has been imperiled.
These challenges come at a time when the Southern
Baptist Convention is poised for unparalleled advance into the new
millennium. In my opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention did what
it had to do in establishing, hopefully once for all, what Southern
Baptists believe about the authority of God's Holy Word. The conviction
to stand unequivocally upon the absolutes of God's Word is critical
to our efforts in missions and evangelism around the world. As has
been said often, "Our zeal for missions will not exceed our
zeal for God's Word." The critical importance of our readiness
to "stand in the gap" communicating to this nation the
Bible's answers to the moral and ethical dilemmas of our day cannot
As we enter the 21st century, my hope and prayer
for Southern Baptists is that God will show us the way through the
wilderness. The sun is setting in America spiritually, morally,
and ethically. We do not know the time remaining to bear witness
to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Although we are experiencing
an explosion of information and our knowledge of the things of the
world is greater than ever, our hearts are empty. People are filled
with loneliness and often desperation. They are searching for answers.
Only the Christian has the answer. If we fail to be faithful, to
go to the Lord with thanksgiving for His blessings and a burden
for souls, this moment in history will be gone and countless individuals
shall be lost through all eternity.
I personally do not want the Southern Baptist Convention
to be a stumbling block to whatever the BGCT chooses to do apart
from the SBC that glorifies the Lord. I do intensely pray that God
will raise up Southern Baptists everywhere as the mightiest force
for righteousness this world has ever known. I do pray that Southern
Baptist churches will not be distracted from focusing upon getting
the world on their hearts and a vision to stand for righteousness
in a land and among a wayward generation of people pursuing all
sorts of worldly remedies for the "sin that doth so easily
beset us." We cannot rest in Zion. We cannot allow ourselves
to boast about past accomplishments. We cannot take pride in being
the largest non-Catholic denomination in the world. Jesus shed His
blood for all peoples. We are compelled to make a difference for
Christ's sake. We must ask the question, "Is my church making
a difference in my community and beyond, or have we grown deaf to
the cries of those with spiritual and material needs?"
I know Southern Baptists pray, as I do, for the
strength and courage to "run with patience (endurance) the
race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher
of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2). And I believe Southern Baptist
churches in Texas want to continue the strong partnership in the
gospel with their fellow Baptists through the Cooperative Program.
I have enclosed materials designed to aid your church
as you decide how you will respond to the missions giving options
before you. We want to assist you in your continued generous support
of the effective, far-reaching missions and ministries of the Southern
Baptist Convention. Feel free to contact us with questions and comments.
Please know that I, along with the staff and members of the Executive
Committee, and the staff and trustees of all our SBC entities, are
praying for God to give you clear direction for the future of your
church, the Southern Baptist Convention, and God's Kingdom. May
God bless you "exceeding abundantly above all you ask or think."
In Jesus' Name,
Morris H. Chapman