“Baptist General Convention of Missouri”
are its founding leaders?
In a letter to former MBC executive director Jim
Hill, Morris Chapman, president of the Executive Committee of the
Southern Baptist Convention writes in regard to Hill’s request that
the SBC declare a new proposed state convention in Missouri to be in
“friendly cooperation” with the SBC:
“It is our
understanding [that] many of those persons opposing the current
direction of the Missouri Baptist Convention are the same ones who have
been opposing the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention is recent
years and who have been attempting to dissuade churches in Missouri from
supporting our work. This
anti-SBC sentiment formerly being promulgated in the MBC was one of the
stated reasons many in Missouri worked for the changes in leadership
that have taken place.”
“The proposed Baptist
[General] Convention of Missouri plans to incorporate practices contrary
to the best interests of the Southern Baptist Convention.
It is apparent from information from your group as well as the
practice of some of the leaders in your group that you intend to create
several giving tracks, some of which do not benefit the SBC.
We have not nor do we desire to enter into new relationships that
do not see the SBC as the exclusive beneficiary of national Cooperative
Program gifts from the churches. You
also will openly welcome relationships with the Cooperative Baptist
Fellowship, a group known for actively encouraging Southern Baptist
churches to discontinue support for our convention’s work.
The Southern Baptist Convention would be harmed by these
Dr. Chapman concludes:
“Jim, yours is the first-ever request for affiliation we have
had from a group of Baptists with sentiments I would be hard-pressed to
interpret as in ‘friendly cooperation’ with the purposes and work of
the Southern Baptist Convention.”
are the leaders?
The question then arises:
Who are the leaders of the proposed new “Baptist General
Convention of Missouri?” According
to the “program” for the information/planning meeting for the
proposed new state Baptist convention, held January 17, 2002 at First
Baptist Church in Sedalia, the group’s leaders include:
Jim Hill: Former
MBC executive director Jim Hill served as the chief spokesman for the
new convention at the information and planning meeting at First Baptist
Church Sedalia. In
promoting the meeting, Hill’s open letter to Missouri Baptists,
titled, “Why would I choose to become a part of a new Baptist state
convention in Missouri,” was widely circulated across the state.
Jim Hill was also the one who contacted SBC
Executive Committee president Morris Chapman about the possibility of
the new convention being in “friendly cooperation” with the SBC.
Likewise, Chapman’s letter rejecting the request of the new
convention was directed to Jim Hill.
At the time Jim Hill was elected as executive
director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, he was pastor of South
County Baptist Church in St. Louis.
Hill was the first pastor of the new church, which had CBF in its
church budget. Interestingly,
Hill’s brother, Pete Hill, is a former member of both the national CBF
Coordinating Council and the Mainstream Missouri Baptists board of
directors. While serving as
pastor of Wornall Road Baptist Church in Kansas City, Pete Hill led the
church to sever its ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Pete Hill is now pastor of First Baptist Church in Smithville,
one of the twenty churches listed as part of the original November 17,
2001 meeting which called for the formation of the new convention and
initiated the alternative giving plans through the Missouri Baptist
Jim Hill’s dislike for conservative, pro-SBC
Missouri Baptists supportive of Project 1000 has become
increasingly clear. According
to the Sedalia Democrat, after the January 17th
meeting in Sedalia: “Dr. Hill said Project 1000 members are
‘right wing fundamentalists’ who have a ‘different agenda for our
state convention and our state institutions.’”
In the early 1990’s, Jim Hill also actively
opposed the “right wing fundamentalists” and the “conservative
resurgence at the SBC level. In
1992, Jim Hill and Doyle Sager (formerly pastor of First Baptist Church
in Sedalia and president of the now defunct Mainstream Missouri
Baptists) served together as co-chairs of an organization called
“Friends of Theological Education in the Midwest.”
This not-for-profit organization was formed to funnel money
around the increasingly conservative, pro-SBC trustees at Midwestern
Baptist Theological Seminary to the moderate president at that time, Dr.
Milton Ferguson. As
recently as the February 4, 2002 issue of the Baptist Standard,
the official news journal of the strongly pro-CBF Baptist General
Convention of Texas, Jim Hill reiterated that: “He quit [as MBC
executive director] because he no longer would work with the
fundamentalist leadership placed on the [MBC] Executive Board.”
Hill quit while moderates still had a voting majority on the MBC
Executive Board and received a severance package of approximately
$150,000, allowing him the financial ability to devote his time and
attention to the formation of a new state convention.
Drew Hill: Another brother of Jim Hill, Drew Hill is pastor of First
Baptist Church in Sedalia (formerly pastored Doyle Sager, president of
Mainstream Missouri Baptists) and served as host pastor for both the
November 17, 2001 organizational meeting and the January 17, 2002
information/planning meeting for the new convention.
Drew and his brother Jim have been in the forefront of the effort
and the chief organizers of the new convention.
Drew Hill served on the search committee that ultimately called
his brother Jim as Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist
Convention. Drew was
also the unsuccessful Mainstream Missouri Baptists-endorsed candidate
for first vice president of the MBC in 2000.
Dr. John Hughes: Dr. Hughes was listed as one of the “workgroup” leaders
for the information/planning meeting.
Dr. Hughes, a former MBC president, served as a board member of
Mainstream Missouri Baptists and until recently served on the national
CBF Coordinating Council.
Kirtes Calvery: Rev.
Calvery is pastor of Swope Park Baptist Church in Kansas City and was
listed as a “workgroup” leader for the information/planning meeting
for the new convention. In
an article appearing in the October 2000 issue of the Baptist Voice,
published by Mainstream Missouri Baptists and titled “Why I am
supporting Mainstream Missouri Baptists,” Rev. Calvery writes:
“If Fundamentalists have their way, churches like ours, who
currently allow for giving through organizations like the Cooperative
Baptist Fellowship will not be allowed in the Missouri Baptist
Convention.” He further writes: “If
the MBC patterns after the SBC, the test of a Christian’s genuineness
will not have anything to do with love, kindness, personal piety or
personal evangelism. It
will be determined by what you believe about abortion, homosexuality or
some other hot issue…”
Rev. Lionberger is pastor of First Baptist Church Savannah and
was listed as a “workgroup” leader for the information/planning
meeting for the new convention. Rev.
Lionberger was the unsuccessful Mainstream Missouri Baptists-endorsed
candidate for second vice president of the MBC in 2000.
After the 2000 Missouri Baptist Convention, Lionberger led his
church to reduce their Cooperative Program giving from 10% to 5% and to
start allowing members to give to CBF and Mainstream Missouri Baptists
through the church. (Baptist
Voice, March 2001 )
Rev. Taylor is pastor of Manchester Baptist Church in St. Louis
and was listed as a “workgroup” leader for the information/planning
meeting for the new convention. Rev.
Taylor served on the board of The Baptist Home when its trustees voted
to become a self-perpetuating board.
He also serves on the board of Missouri Baptist College and voted
for that MBC institution to also become a self-perpetuating board.
Rev. Bunch is pastor of First Baptist Church in Eldon and was a
“workgroup” leader for the information/planning meeting for the new
convention. Rev. Bunch
serves on the board of Missouri Baptist College and voted to become a
Dr. Randy Fullerton:
Dr. Fullerton is pastor of Fee Fee Baptist Church in St. Louis
and was one of three individuals giving a “testimony” titled: “Why I would consider becoming a part of a new Baptist
state convention.” Dr.
Fullerton is chairman of the board of Missouri Baptist College and led
the effort to make the college board self-perpetuating.
While serving as chairman of the board at Missouri Baptist
College, Fullerton also served as chairman of the administrative
committee of the Executive Board of the Missouri Baptist Convention .
Fullerton’s church has members serving on the boards of all
five “stolen” MBC agencies. Fullerton
will host the founding meeting for the new convention in mid April at
Dr. Bill Miller: Dr. Miller is pastor of First Baptist Church in Farmington and
was one of three individuals giving a “testimony” titled: “Why I would consider becoming a part of a new Baptist
state convention.” Dr.
Miller was the unsuccessful moderate candidate for MBC president in
1998, the first year of Project 1000.
Miller was defeated by Gary Taylor, pastor of First Baptist
Church in O’Fallon. Interestingly,
Dr. Miller continues to serve on the Executive Board of the Missouri
Baptist Convention even as he is working to form another competing state
convention. Two other
members of Miller’s church serve on the boards of “stolen” MBC
agencies, including associate pastor Rocky Good, who was also a
“workgroup” leaders at the information/planning meeting.
Good was elected to serve on the Windermere board by its
Dr. H. K. Neely:
Dr. Neely is vice president for denominational relations at
Southwest Baptist University at Bolivar (which receives well over $1
million annually from the MBC) and was one of the three individuals
giving a “testimony” titled: “Why
I would consider becoming a part of a new Baptist state convention.”
Dr. Neely is increasingly best-known for his termination of
conservative pastor Michael Knight, pastor of First Baptist Church,
Viburnum, as an adjunct professor at Southwest Baptist University at
Salem. Knight’s replacement was Dr. Robert Johnston, pastor of the
strongly moderate First Baptist Church in Rolla.
Johnston, who serves on the board of
Word & Way, led the effort as chairman of the board to
make Word & Way the fifth agency to be “stolen” from
Missouri Baptists. Johnston
also serves on the board of Missouri Baptist College, where he also
voted to “steal” that agency from Missouri Baptists.
First Baptist Rolla was one of the original 20 churches
represented at the November 17, 2001 meeting in Sedalia which called for
the formation of the new convention and initiated the alternative giving
plans through the Missouri Baptist Foundation.
Dr. Jimmy Albright:
Dr. Albright is pastor of Wyatt Park Baptist Church in St. Joseph
and was the key-note speaker at the information/planning meeting for the
new convention. Dr.
Albright was the unsuccessful Mainstream Missouri Baptists-endorsed
candidate for president of the MBC in 1999.
In an interview with the Kansas City Star after his failed
presidential election, Dr Albright announced that if pro-SBC
conservative Missouri Baptists continue to win MBC elections, his church
“would have to make a decision as to who we’d like to align with.”
(Kansas City Star, October
27, 1999, pg. B8)
W. B. Tichenor:
According to the February 4, 2002 issue of the Texas Baptist
Standard, the legal work for the new convention is being done by W.
B. Tichenor, a former moderator for the Missouri CBF and a long-time
board member of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Americans United, which was funded by the MBC for over thirty
years, has been on the
cutting edge of pro-abortion/pro-homosexual activism for the last
decade. Former Missouri CBF
moderator Cynthia Holmes has served on Americans United’s 14 member
board of trustees for the past few years.
This past year, both Holmes and Tichenor have served on the board
of the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs, who chose as the
preacher for its 2001 “Religious Liberty Sunday Sermon,” Dr. Rev.
James C. Miller. The previous year, Dr. Miller was given the “Walter
Cronkite Faith and Freedom Award” by The Interfaith Alliance for his
efforts to keep homosexuals in the Boy Scouts.
Interestingly, the executive director of The Interfaith Alliance
is Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, a recent past president of Americans United, and
a recent past member of the national CBF Coordinating Council. Dr. David Currie, who leads the National Mainstream Network,
of which Mainstream Missouri Baptists was a part, also serves on the
board of The Interfaith Alliance, along with two openly lesbian
religious-left activists. Dr.
Currie, a significant leader in the strongly pro-CBF Baptist General
Convention of Texas, also serves on the board of the Baptist Joint
Committee on Public Affairs.
Other interesting MBC moderates attending the
January 17, 2002 meeting include: Dr. Doyle Sager, president of the
now defunct Mainstream Missouri Baptists;
Harold Phillips, coordinator of the Missouri CBF and long-time
staff/member of Second Baptist Church in Liberty;
Barry Pennington, pastor of Susquehanna Baptist Church in
Independence and former moderator of the Missouri CBF; Keith Herron,
pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church, a CBF church that has pulled out of
the SBC; and Dr. Rudy Pulido, pastor of Southwest Baptist Church in St.
Louis. (Pulido is long-time
president of the St. Louis Chapter of Americans United for Separation of
Church and State. Dr.
Pulido stated in his November 2001 church newsletter that the current
conservative, pro-SBC leadership of the MBC represent the “American
version of the taliban.”)