By Scott Barkley
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Southern Baptists dealt with a variety of motions presented at the annual meeting ranging from sexual abuse care and prevention to the Baptist Faith and Message and more.
One required extended discussion by messengers. That motion, brought by Joshua Scruggs of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Jacksonville, N.C., to abolish the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, was defeated by a sizable margin. See story here.
The Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force, yet to be formed by new SBC President Bart Barber, was cited by the Committee on Order of Business to address a motion from Greg Davidson, of Trinity Church in Vacaville, Calif., that the Convention fully support the care of the sexually abused.
The following motions were determined to deal with the internal operations or ministries of Convention entities. Under SBC Bylaw 26B, these motions are automatically referred to the appropriate SBC entities for consideration and report to the 2023 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans.
• To Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a motion by Michelle Lesley, of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., that an investigation be made of a case of mishandling sexual abuse by employees of SEBTS.
• To Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a motion by Dwight McKissic, of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, to study and report on the removal of any names associated with the school, including buildings, that are connected with “chattel slavery.”
The following motions were referred to the Executive Committee for consideration and report to the 2023 annual meeting:
• Scott Smith of South Side Baptist Church in Mishawaka, Ind., moved for an internal evaluation of the SBC Executive Committee organizational structure.
• Parker Roberts of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Troy, Ala., moved to amend the Baptist Faith and Message.
• Timothy Livingston of First Baptist Church in Piedmont, Okla., moved that there be a change in the bylaws relating to the timeliness of release of resolutions and nominations.
• Bill Tackett of Deer Creek Baptist Church, in Stroud, Okla., moved that Bylaw 26B be amended.
• Scott Frady of West Hickory Baptist Church in Hickory, N.C., moved to require all churches to adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message.
• Craig Hartzog of Central Baptist Church in Warner Robins, Ga., moved that messengers be vetted at the local association for participation in SBC annual meeting at remote locations.
• Tom Rush of Liberty Baptist Church in Monroe, Ga., moved that the Executive Committee cease to use executive sessions.
• Michael Law of Arlington Baptist Church in Arlington, Va., moved that the convention amend the 6th item of article III, paragraph 1, in the SBC Constitution.
• Matt Dunn of First Baptist Church in Bates City, Mo., moved that a pro-Israel amendment be added to the BF&M.
• Samuel Gilliam of Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La., moved that trustees’ contact information be published in the Book of Reports.
• Toby Brogden of First Baptist Church in Calhoun, Tenn., moved that the EC study the use of all communication forms for communicating with all messengers.
• Nathan Stuller of Sojourn Church in Belleville, Ill., moved that the SBC Constitution be amended to add Article XV “Transparency and Accountability.”
• Sherri Martin of Rocky Bayou Baptist Church in Destin, Fla., moved that the Executive Committee study the impact of waiving attorney client privilege.
• Rob Collingsworth of Redemption Story Church in Fort Worth, Texas, moved that a work group be formed to study the editorial independence of Baptist Press.
• Mark Spence, of Mississippi Avenue Baptist Church in Aurora, Colo., moved that the Resolutions Committee be suspended.
• Jerry Watts, of New Hope Church in Foxworth, Mass., moved that a legal study be made about the polity and relationship of the larger body of messengers and the entity trustees.
• Jay Adkins, of First Baptist Church in Westwego, La., moved the removal of the position of recording secretary from the Executive Committee.
• Jason Sampler, of Mercy Hill Church in Kennesaw, Ga., moved that Bylaw 15 be amended regarding trustee selection.
• Keith Myer, of Harvest Baptist Church in Salisbury, Md., moved that a day be added to the SBC Calendar to raise awareness of “abuse of any kind.”
Several motions were ruled not in order as they direct an entity or are in conflict with the Convention’s governing documents.
Among them was a motion from Mike Haines, of Deer Creek Baptist Church in Stroud, Okla., that executive salaries from all SBC entities be disclosed.
Two motions were ruled not in order as they direct the president or make a request beyond the scope of the president’s authority.
Another motion — that the SBC boycott the Disney Corporation — was ruled not in order as it was not submitted in the form of a motion. B&R