Tuesday, May 1, 2007
But Some of the CP Money Is Ours!
In the present debates over SBC matters and in past debates during the Conservative Resurgence and before, one popular argument against SBC standards-setting has suggested that, since some of the money given through the Cooperative Program comes from people who disagree with SBC decisions, the SBC has an obligation either not to make such decisions, not to abide by its decisions, or not to accept any CP money from those who disagree. I think this will be quite simple to explain: The SBC works exactly the same way that your church works (if it practices Congregationalism). Your church freely receives contributions from any member (and probably some other people) who wish to give it. Your church receives that money with no strings attached. Your church fairly makes decisions regarding how that money will be spent. Every member has an opportunity to voice an opinion in that process of making decisions. Not every member has equal influence in your church (because the congregation gives more credence to the opinions of some), but every member has equal opportunity to influence your church. At the end of that process, the result of the decision-making process solely determines how the money will be spent. The fact that a person contributed part of the money to the budget does not mean that the final decision must accommodate that person's desires. I cannot come to church and say, "Our Sunday School class wanted nine-foot ceilings instead of eight-foot ceilings. Although the majority of the new building may have eight-foot ceilings, some portion of the facility must have nine-foot ceilings to respect our wishes, since, after all, some of that money came from us." No, we don't receive money that way and we don't make decisions that way in our churches. Neither do we do so in our conventions. Your church probably has a lot of members who would not be eligible for the various employed positions of the church. You may even have entire Sunday School classes or Bible study groups without a single qualified member. Yet your church still receives the offerings of those people and does not in the least consider itself to be violating the rights of those members to do so. The SBC is not a church, but in this particular case it operates just as churches do. If it is fair for our churches to operate this way, why not the SBC?