According to the Florida Baptist Witness (printed edition) 703 out of 2759, or an incredible 25% of all, Florida Baptist Churches gave absolutely nothing, zero, zip, not-a, to the C.P. in 2007. Clearly these churches that the Florida Baptist Convention claims as cooperating churches are not cooperating… at lest they are not cooperating with the Florida Baptist Convention.
Regardless of the spin coming from Jacksonville fewer and fewer Baptist Churches in the state of Florida are actually cooperating with the Florida Baptist Convention in any real or meaningful way? Two possibilities come to mind for The Florida Baptist Conventions own report showing that a full 25% of its churches contribute $0 to the C.P.
The first possibility is that the Florida Baptist Convention is simply doing what most Baptist Churches do… once you get your name on the roll they keep counting you no matter what, even if you’re dead, or in this case have not given a dime in years.
The second possibility is that at least a few of these churches were offended by the conduct of Dr. Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention, in 2007 (click here to read some articles about Dr. Sullivan’s conduct this year) and have chosen to send their missions dollars elsewhere. In all fairness some of these churches did not given anything in 2006 either, so they are probably in the first category or were already offended before Dr. Sullivan arbitrarily decided who was “Holy” and “Pure” and who was not. However, others gave quite a bit in 2006 and have made the decision to stop giving to the C.P. this year, so something has caused them to jump ship.
When you combine the IMB’s narrowing the parameters of cooperation to exclude those who speak in a private prayer language and those who were not baptized properly (in a Baptist Church that believes in eternal security and by a Baptist Preacher) with the decision of John Sullivan to narrow the parameters of cooperation in Florida to exclude those who do not agree with him that drinking a glass of wine with your evening meal is a sin, and his ongoing campaign in the state of Florida against Calvinist, it is predictable that this trend of Baptist Churches in Florida of opting out of the Cooperative Program will continue to increase in the coming years as more and more Baptist Churches in Florida are disillusioned with the conduct of both the IMB and the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention.
Those who love the SBC and care deeply about the work of Missions supported by the Cooperative Program should also be deeply concerned about the impact of the decisions of those in Leadership upon giving to the Cooperative Program.