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Recommendation of the Executive Committee of the Baptist Convention of the State of Georgia concerning Mercer

 

The below document is the resolution proposed to and approved by messengers to the 2005 Georgia Baptist Convention held Nov. 14-15. The motion will be voted on a second time at next yearís Convention meetings.

 

It is well known that there has been a long and meaningful relationship between the Georgia Baptist Convention and Mercer University. For generations, the two entities have shared common values and a mutual trust. However, it is also well known that in more recent years, a number of concerns and disagreements have caused a growing schism in the relationship, and at the present time, the relationship seems void of common values and reflects a lack of mutual trust.

In more recent years, Mercer and the Convention have each set their own course and have chosen their own way. This has precipitated a growing incompatibility reflected in a number of events and situations, some of which are mentioned below.

The Convention has been faithful with its financial support for Mercer and has been faithful to work within Mercerís trustee election process, even though the trustee process was not favored by the Convention, as Mercer is not required to meet the same qualifications as the other institutions. Many Georgia Baptists have been concerned over the years as to why Mercer would not accept the same trustee process as the other institutions that receive financial support from the Convention.

Some Georgia Baptists will remember the deep conflict caused by the publication of a book by Mercerís president, When We Talk About GodÖLetís Be Honest. The Convention censured the president and condemned the fact that a president of one of its institutions would publish a book which deviated from Biblical theology and doctrine. At the same time, the book was endorsed by Mercerís trustees.

Other Georgia Baptists recognize a concern that Mercer has no commitment to the Southern Baptist Convention, the affiliate of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Mercer, instead, has chosen to become connected with other non Southern Baptist organizations which do not support the Cooperative Program, to the detriment of its historic ties to the Cooperative Program and the Southern Baptist Convention. This lack of commitment has led many Georgia Baptists to question continuing Cooperative Program funding for Mercer.

Further, many Georgia Baptists are deeply troubled by the recent articles appearing in the Macon Telegraph and The Christian Index that exposed the Mercer Triangle Symposium. This organization, supported by certain members of Mercerís faculty, administration, and student body, met on Mercerís campus and held a ďComing Out DayĒ endorsing the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender lifestyles. More troubling was the disclosure that supporters included faculty members from Mercerís Department of Christianity.

For these and many other reasons, Georgia Baptists from around the state recognize that Mercer and the Convention have grown apart in their values and commitments. Many Georgia Baptists have expressed to the Executive Committee their desire to end the relationship.

The Executive Committee has witnessed first-hand the deterioration of the common values and mutual trust which once bound Mercer and the Convention together. The Executive Committee believes that Mercer has already moved away from the theology, doctrine and principles for which the Convention stands. Therefore, the Executive Committee believes that the time has come to begin the constitutional process that will formalize a discontinuance of the relationship.

Therefore, for the reasons mentioned herein and for other reasons, the Executive Committee moves that the Georgia Baptist Convention in its 2005 annual meeting approve the following motion:

That the relationship between the Georgia Baptist Convention and Mercer University be discontinued in accordance with the provisions of Article VII, Section 2 of the Constitution of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

That this matter again be brought before the Georgia Baptist Convention for approval at its 2006 annual meeting in accordance with Article VIII, Section 2 of the Constitution of the Georgia Baptist Convention.

That the Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention and the President of Mercer University confer and take action as necessary to provide for an orderly discontinuance of the relationship.