The Missouri Baptist Convention, meeting in Osage Beach at the Lake of the Ozarks, rejected the “Project 1000” group that organized to give the supporters of the SBC conservative resurgence control of the state convention more than a decade ago.

 This is the group led by Roger Moran. 

The convention did not go moderate, but instead supported a group of conservatives called “Save Our Convention,” led by retired pastor Gerald Davidson.  Apparently, messengers finally grew tired of having the conventions offices, board seats and executive board dictated by a single group. 

Davidson was first elected president of the MBC when I was serving a church in the state, back in 1990.  I was at the convention when he was elected.  Moran was there, and successfully led an effort to defund the Baptist Joint Committee.  That was the first time I saw one of his propaganda sheets with the “guilt by association” tactics that became so successful in convincing messengers to vote the way he told them to. 

Missouri Baptists are apparently moving back toward the center as well, at least, a few inches back from where they have been.  I think what we are seeing in Baptist life, including the SBC, is that people are tired of the influence peddling, the “kingmaker” groups, and the politics and control that have crept in since the conservative resurgence first began its efforts back in 1979.  We’re fighting for control of organizations that are supposed to be in existence for the purpose of cooperative ministry like they were corporations, or government organizations.  I’ve thought for a while now that most Baptists, who are much closer together theologically than the divisions in the various bodies would seem to indicate, would grow tired of dominant political groups and eventually throw them out.

It’s ironic that the BGCT, a moderate convention, and the MBC, a conservative one, would both make moves toward the center in the same year. 


About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

4 responses

  1. JMatthews says:

    That’s a pretty quick reversal. I guess, in Missouri, there has been growing frustration over Moran’s shenanigans. I’ve heard several conservatives call him an embarassment to the conservative resurgence. I noticed that the vote totals in Missouri did not come to 1,000 total. If Project 1000 was an effort to get that many to vote for their side, what’s happened since then?

  2. Kaylor says:

    Lee: I don’t know that this was a sign they are moving back to the center. Rather, it seemed to be a message to stop moving further to the right. We’ll have to wait and see if they make any changes to undo decisions over the past few years before this can be called a move to the center. After all, many of the SOC leaders were some of the earlier Project 1000 leaders. That being said, it is a good thing that Moran’s influence has been lessened.

  3. Lee says:

    “Center” is a relative term. The center of the Missouri Baptist Convention is certainly quite a bit to the right of where the BGCT is, for example. When I was serving a church in Missouri, “Moderates” there were few and far between, and were either dually affiliated with the CBF and SBC or were dually affiliated with the ABC-USA and SBC. When Project 1000 slammed the door down, they went separate ways. The ABC-USA folks had a place to go. The CBF churches helped to form the BGCM, but in terms of comparative size, how many churches are involved there compared to the MBC? Does the BGCM even have 100 supporting churches?

    It may be a small distinction, but I do not see Gerald Davidson as a fundamentalist. He’s a conservative with ties to the SBC conservative resurgence, but not nearly as extreme, or mean spirited, as Moran.

  4. Kaylor says:

    Lee: Yes, “center” is a very relative term (as are as “conservative,” “moderate,” and many other terms we often throw around without much grounding), which was kind of the point I was making. I do believe that Davidson is a much better option than Moran.

    It is inaccurate to say that the BGCM was formed by CBF churches. Although some churches are both CBF and BGCM, others are both BGCM and SBC, and still others are BGCM, SBC, and CBF. The BGCM is much smaller, but it would meet your number and is continuing to grow.