Friday, May 28, 2010

Can we at least be honest about cooperative vs societal giving?

There seems to be a lot of either ignorance or dishonesty in discussions about the SBC's Cooperative Program, Great Commission Giving, and designated giving.

Critics of the GCRTF's recommendation that we collect a new statistic, "Great Commission Giving," that would be a sum of all of a church's direct giving to SBC entities (Lottie, Annie, association, etc) decry a move back to societal giving. They claim that such a move would hasten the death of the CP and that churches would be encouraged to (gasp!) designate their denominational giving.

Oh, please.

Failing to note that this has always been the case is either dishonest or ignorant, two qualities not unknown in SBC life. I'd like to think that such would be ignorant rather than dishonest but denominational employees and pastors who blog on this stuff are nothing if not familiar with these things. So one is almost forced to conclude that it has to be a mild form of dishonesty.

Jerry Rankin put it succinctly in his blog back in April:

...many churches received letters of appeal from seminary Development Departments and were recipients of significant designated giving. Almost half of NAMB missionaries were Mission Service Corps volunteers who raised their own funds for support. LifeWay was engaged in a campaign at the time called “A Defining Moment” in an attempt to raise $29 million, much of which was to be used to train pastors in Kenya, print Bibles for China and promote True Love Waits in Africa. Even Guidestone’s appeal to churches to “Adopt an Annuitant” was an expression of direct funding appeals. More recently even the Executive Committee has appealed to churches to underwrite and sponsor conferences overseas as a part of its Global Evangelical Relations program. Do churches not also get special appeals from Baptist colleges, children’s homes and other local needs?

The reality is that we have already succumbed to societal methods both internally and externally. We need to recognize why this has such an appeal to our churches and a contemporary generation.

Ah, the ultimate SBC heresy: recognizing the facts on the ground and asking why. What could Jerry Rankin possibly be thinking by doing this?

Criticize the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force for many things but not for failing to recognize the facts. Maybe others should do the same.

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