Contrast that with what Frank Page, nominee of the Executive Committee to be their new President, who wrote yesterday:
"I am excited about the attempt to see the Cooperative Program understood better than ever before and supported more than ever before. In other words, I do believe that one can stand and vote for this final report and be a great and ardent supporter of the Cooperative Program.”
Not only that, Page pointedly says,
"Unfortunately, we also have a tendency to demonize that which we don’t understand or agree with. I challenge Southern Baptists to cease this kind of carnal, spiritual attack upon brothers and sisters. Serious disagreements can be dealt with in the spirit of Christ. The challenges at the end of the GCR Task Force final report help us in this area. There are many persons who are speaking out of ignorance. Some of those have spoken out in a Christ-like manner yet others have done so in a carnal fashion. I pray that we would cease the demonizing of those with whom we disagree and make sure that when we disagree we do so not out of ignorance nor out of carnality but out of a true and honest difference of opinion. I believe that the challenges that are found in the GCR task force final report will encourage all of us to deepen our walk with the Lord, to treat others appropriately, and to take responsibility to see the Great Commission accomplished in our own lives, our own families, and our own churches. That is where the turnaround will occur!"
Could one find a greater contrast in a more important area between these two men than in how they see the Cooperative Program as it is handled by the GCR Task Force, Chapman casting a wistful eye to the past while Page is embracing present realities and the future?
I think not.
Recent figures from the Executive Committee show CP giving behind last year’s pace by 1.3% while designated giving is 3.82% ahead of last year. Maybe the full year’s stats will show something different, but it looks like churches are, again, saying something about how they wish to support SBC ministries.
Page is listening. Good for him.