ATLANTA -- One of five major agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention will require future employes and missionaries to believe the Bible is literally true in all respects.

The policy enacted Wednesday by the Atlanta-based Home Mission Board follows the convention's policy adopted in June requiring the denomination's agencies and seminaries to hire people who share the beliefs of "most Southern Baptists."

The board, which is responsible for starting new churches in the United States and its territories as well as supervising other ministries, also voted to restrict the hiring of divorced persons and prohibit charismatics from being missionaries.

The board fields 3,637 missionaries and will increase that to 5,000 by the end of this century, according to the board president, the Rev. Larry L. Lewis. The board employs about 340 people and has an annual budget of about $74 million.

"We feel it is important that the employes {and missionaries} believe that the miracles did occur as they were recorded in the Bible and were not some natural occurrences," Lewis said.

Biblical inerrancy is one of the key issues in a decade of struggle between fundamentalists and moderates within the 14.6 million-member denomination, the nation's largest Protestant group.

At the church's annual meeting in June, a special peace committee said that the conflict could be ended if Southern Baptist agencies and seminaries hired people who share the beliefs of "most Southern Baptists." The committee said most Baptists believe the Bible is historically accurate.

A resolution endorsing the peace committee's view, and calling on the board to hire only people with literal views of the Bible passed overwhelmingly.

The recommendation for a new policy on hiring divorced persons was approved by a 48-to-20 roll-call vote. Previously, the board dealt with divorced applicants on a case-by-case basis.

The new policy said the board may now appoint only divorced persons whose marriages were ended for either of two "biblical" reasons: adultery or desertion. Under these restrictions, "divorced persons will rarely, and only under unusual circumstances, be appointed or approved," according to the statement outlining the new policy.