N.Y. Baptists affirm marriage & gender, increase CP
SCHROON LAKE, N.Y. (BP) -- Messengers to the Baptist Convention of New York increased giving to Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries for the second year in a row and discussed proposals to affirm the biblical definitions of marriage and gender in the convention's constitution.
Two amendments to the BCNY constitution proposed by the convention's Executive Board dealt with the topics of gender and marriage. Both amendments will be voted on at the 2017 annual meeting.
The first, which was amended by a messenger, would deem churches "not in cooperation with the Convention" if they "act to affirm, approve, [or] endorse ... same-sex marriage, or any expression of marriage, including but not limited to civil unions, other than the uniting of one biological man and one biological woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime."
The constitution already states churches are not in cooperation if they affirm, approve or endorse "homosexual behavior."
The second proposed amendment would add to the convention's affirmation of the Baptist Faith and Message the statement, "We also believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Rejection of one's biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person."
In other business, the convention adopted a 2017 budget of $2,063,400, a decrease of 0.3 percent from the current year.
Included in the 2017 budget: $745,000 in anticipated Cooperative Program giving from BCNY churches, for 36.5 percent of the budget; $1,235,000 in anticipated funding from the North American Mission Board; and $60,000 anticipated from LifeWay Christian Resources.
The convention will forward 28.5 percent of CP receipts to the SBC's national and international missions and ministries, up from 27.5 percent in 2016 and 25 percent in 2015. The budget includes no shared expenses with the SBC.
Elected as the convention's 2016-17 president was Paul Flores, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Nazaret in West New York, N.J. Also nominated was Andy Smith, associate pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Cortland, N.Y. Elected as vice president was Dan Schallmo, pastor of Summit Church in Cazenovia, N.Y. Re-elected as recording secretary was Van McClain, pastor of Grace Community Chapel in Ballston Spa, N.Y.
Daniel Lee, pastor of Compass Fellowship Church in New York City, delivered the annual sermon. Worship was led by Kevin Rogers, associate pastor of Open Arms Church in Rotterdam, N.Y.
In addition to Page and Starnes, among the meeting's guest speakers were an International Mission Board missionary who cannot be identified for security reasons; Steve Allen of NAMB; and Greg Love of GuideStone Financial Resources.
Next year's annual meeting will be Sept. 24-26 at Bible Church International in Randolph, N.J., with a theme of "make every effort" based on Philippians 3:12.