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Monday, November 03, 2008

Florida Baptist Giving in Freefall



As bad as the 2.5 Million (or 7.8%) decline in total giving for the first six months of 2008 is; many fear that the financial outlook for the Florida Baptist Convention is going to get much worse in the months ahead. Knowing that the economic downturn has gotten much worse than it was during the first six months of 2008, I think one can safely assume that the Florida Baptist Convention is in for some very hard times ahead.

If giving stays at the current level the Florida Baptist Convention could see its total giving shrink by an astonishing 5-Million by the end of the year. However, considering the shape of the economy I think everyone is expecting the finial shortfall to be well over the 5-Million mark.

But is all the blame for this dramatic downturn in the churches support for the Florida Baptist Convention solely due to a poor economy? I think not!

Under the Fundamentalist leadership of John Sullivan the Florida Baptist Convention has offended and alienated scores of Baptist Churches in Florida who, while some have cut giving through the Florida Baptist Convention out altogether, many are now deciding that during hard times the Florida Baptist Convention is not a top priority for them.

When the chips are down you find out who your friends are and the Florida Baptist Convention and John Sullivan are finding out that they do not have as many friends in Florida as they believed, or even as they once had in years past.

While not solely responsible for this historic downturn in lack of support for the Florida Baptist Convention, the continued sport of “Calvinist Bashing” by high level executives of the Florida Baptist Convention and the personal hobby of “Narrowing the Parameters of Cooperation” by John Sullivan have, in my opinion, played a significant role.

Grace Always

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Brother GREG,
IF THEY CONTINUE IN THEIR CALVINIST BASHING, WHY THEN, SUPPORT THEM.

INSTEAD OF STAYING IN THE CONVENTION, STOP COMPLAINING, AND COME OUT OF IT.

Greg Alford said...

Anonymous,

I think more and more Baptist Churches in the State of Florida are strongly considering doing just that…

It is not widely known, but there are more Baptist Churches in the State of Florida that do NOT cooperate with the Florida Baptist Convention than there are those who do.

There are over 16 million people living in the State of Florida, yet there are only about 2 thousand Baptist Churches that cooperate with the Florida Baptist Convention in the state. In comparison, there are only about 5 million people living in the State of Alabama however the last time I checked there were over 4,500 Baptist Churches that cooperate with their State Baptist Convention.

Anyone care to explain why?

Anonymous said...

Looks like those six-figure benefit packages for MOST Florida Baptist Convention staff (administrative & clerical staff excepted) will need to undergo some serious adjustments if they plan to weather this financial crisis. Or they could do everyone a favor and just shut the whole operation down....I really don't think many people would notice their absence.

stevenruff said...

Bro Greg,

How did you arrive at your number of two thousand as the number of churches coopersting with the FBC?

Steven

Greg Alford said...

Anonymous,

I agree… I do not think very many churches or people in the state of Florida would even notice if the Florida Baptist Convention closed its doors…

Then again, perhaps the Churches would notice the absence of Florida Baptist Convention as they would have millions of dollars they have been foolishly sending the Florida Baptist Convention that they could then spend on actually doing ministry in the State of Florida.


Steven,

I believe the number is from the Florida Baptist Conventions annual report… Do you have a different number?

stevenruff said...

Bro Greg,

You said in your post, "the continued sport of “Calvinist Bashing” by high level executives of the Florida Baptist Convention"
Don't you think this is an extreme statement?

Can you name specific cases where Dr Sullivan has practiced this
"sport of bashing Calvinists"? Are you also saying that other FBC execs did the same thing. I find this to be a far stretch.

Steven

Greg Alford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Alford said...

Steven,

Come on tell the truth; you work for the Florida Baptist Convention don’t you? Is it your job to monitor the blogs for any negative comments about the FBC?

Regardless Steven if you are indeed a pastor in the state of Florida surely you know about the infamous CD’s mailed out, by none other than John Sullivan, last year to every pastor in the state of Florida bashing/attacking Calvinism. Here is more information on this case of “Calvinist Bashing”:

Florida Pastors sent anti-Calvinist propaganda

As far as other FBC execs bashing Calvinism how about Cecil Seagle, Director, Missions Division… Well here is just one example of his “Calvinist Bashing”:

Denominational integrity and controversy in the Florida Baptist Convention

Steven, I wish it was otherwise… but the truth is both John Sullivan and his execs are guilty of “Calvinist Bashing”. The above are just two examples that are easily verified and known to the public, there are many more that have not been published. No matter how much you esteem John Sullivan or Cecil Seagle, the truth is both these men have blood on their hands.

stevenruff said...

Bro Greg,

I do not work for the Florida Baptist Convention and I am a pastor here in the state of Florida. It is obvious we have differing views here, since you are a Calvininst and I am not. I received the CD's sent from the FBC. I have no problem with those coming to the church. Keep in mind, there were four CD's in that set, it was not just the CD on Calvinism. I had not heard of the case involving Cecil Seagle.

I certainly did not comment or ask the question I did with any ulterior motive, just for own knowledge. If you prefer I don't comment here again, please let me know.

Steven

Greg Alford said...

Steven,

I was just “ribbing you” a little bit with the working for the Florida Baptist Convention thing… I hope you were not offended… that was not my intent.

If you had received 4 CD’s in the mail addressing problems in the SBC and one of them was “Steven’s Theology” would you not be offended?

Did you know that Tom Ascol ask John Sullivan to send out a set of CD’s as a Calvinist response to those by Jerry Vines and John Sullivan said NO? What a nice guy! He uses the resources made available to him as the Executive Director of the Florida Baptist Convention to “Bash Calvinism” and when the Calvinist say hey how about an opportunity to defend ourselves, he says NO!

Here is a little more on the heavy handed “Calvinist Bashing” by Cecil Seagle and the open war on Calvinism in the State of Florida by the Florida Baptist Convention… I bet you did not know about this one either, it come from Bill Lollar, a former employee of the FBC.


Cecil Seagle is another story! He just about choked on his food when the subject came up between John Sullivan and myself at my final interview at dinner. He's the real bully of the Florida Baptist Convention, determined to stamp out Calvinism throughout the state. Four years ago, he invited Wiley Richards (author of "Why I'm Not a Calvinist") to address Directors of Missions at their annual state-convention-funded retreat on the subject of how to deal with Calvinism in their associations. When I heard about it, I contacted Seagle and raised the objection that Richards would not be presenting an objective perspective and that he would certainly bring along cases of his books to share with the DOM's. He assured me that that would NOT happen, but it did and he got away with it.


So we have, at the direction of Cecil Seagle, Wiley Richards addressing the DOM’s of the local Baptist Associations in the State of Florida on “how to deal with Calvinism in their associations”. And this is what really upsets me; not a single Baptist Church or Baptist Pastor in the State of Florida knew anything about this until Bill Lollar broke the “code of silence” four years latter. Is this the way God’s men are supposed to do God’s Work… in Secret, Behind our Backs? All the while we are blindly sending our C.P. dollars every month.

Also, when, and how, did the FBC acquire the authority to direct the DOM’s of local Baptist Associations on any matter of doctrine? The local Baptist Associations are not “their” associations… and the DOM’s are not “their” DOM’s. How can this have happened without the Churches being made aware?

Steven, you may be ok with the FBC coming after the Calvinist… but what, or who, will they come after next? And as I said, by what authority are they doing so?

Steven, I trust you when you say that you comment here with “no ulterior motive”… please feel free to comment anytime.