Southern Baptist state conventions have voted overwhelmingly to keep contributing money to the denomination through its Cooperative Program budget, refusing to give equal weight to alternative or designated giving plans.
With the exception of Virginia, all state conventions that had alternative budget proposals under consideration rejected plans to make designated giving a preferred option, according to reports from Associated Baptist Press. In North Carolina, churches were given the option of taking part in an alternative giving plan but will have to specifically ask to participate.
Moderates in the 14.9-million-member denomination have established an alterative budget program based in Atlanta that allows local churches to designate which national agencies of the convention they want to support. The move is a means to protest fundamentalist domination of trustee boards of national Southern Baptist agencies and seminaries.
The Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs also fared poorly in the state conventions. At its national meeting in New Orleans in June, the Southern Baptist Convention slashed its allocation to the joint agency from $397,461 in 1989-90 to $50,000 in 1990-91, largely to protest some positions on church-state matters taken by the joint committee that vary with stands taken at recent annual meetings of the SBC.
Efforts to provide funding for the Baptist Joint Committee in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, New England and Hawaii were all voted down. Once again, Virginia was the exception, voting to provide Baptist Joint Committee funding as a budget line item.
Three state conventions passed resolutions specifically declaring their opposition to alternate giving plans. Alabama Baptists said the cooperative program is the "chief means through which the churches of Alabama . . . shall support our mission endeavors," Oklahoma Baptists discouraged "any deviant plan to the existing method of mission support," and Indiana Baptists warned that "negative designation could ultimately lead to the demise of our missions support program."