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Tom Ascol

Tom Ascol’s Half-Measure Strategy

Last week Tom Ascol wrote an article with a renewed strategy to save that Southern Baptist Convention, after the Conservative Resurgence 2.0 was handily defeated. However, since Tom Ascol published his article titled “How SBC Churches May Discriminately Support Convention Causes” much news has happened regarding Ed Litton. His sermon on homosexuality was exposed. Moreover, it was widely exposed that he rehashed JD Greear’s infamous sermon. And the man with a team of eight sermon writers appears to habitually steal other people’s sermons.

It’s therefore safe to conclude that Ed Litton’s chances of not being reelected have increased, however minimal they started out as. At this rate he will not last his term. However, it is most likely people would forget by SBC22. But I am saying there’s a chance to unseat Ed Litton.

Tom Ascol has a strategy to strategically utilize cooperative giving to optimize the number of messengers a church can send to the annual convention. S instead of pouring more money into the Cooperative Program, Ascol advocates using this same money to fund messengers to the convention. He explains:

A church in that situation would do better to consider stewarding their financial resources like this (for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume this is Third Baptist Church I described above): Instead of giving $10,000 to convention causes this year (or giving nothing), they could give $6000. That would qualify the church to send eight messengers (the two that every cooperating church gets plus six more—one for each percentage of undesignated receipts that is given to a convention cause). The other $4000 could be used to send those eight messengers to the annual meeting. Better to be eligible to send only eight messengers and to actually send them than to be eligible to send twelve and not send any.

Objection 1: Too Many Moving Parts

Baptist church polity would dictate that a significant budgetary item would need to be approved by the congregation because this would be a change to the annual budget. This is not something you would implement immediately after the annual convention. In theory a church would have to wait until near the fiscal year end to enact this strategy. On top of this, this strategy would need enough churches to invest in messengers in order to succeed. The lack of control an individual church has to succeed in this quest should concern the congregants.

Objection 2: A Bad Sales Pitch

If you are sitting in the pews thinking that you are sending money to missions, you will be surprised to here that the proponents of this strategy will claim that the Cooperative Program is ineffective use of money that we need to fund messengers instead. So $10000 that you thought were going to real missions were going to fake missions. So Tom Ascol is proposing to continue to spend $6000 on fake missions and $4000 on messengers to play high stakes national Baptist politics. The sales pitch is dependent convincing people that the Cooperative Program can be restored. But it also must be implemented for years in order to restore the Cooperative Program becuase it will take years to replace bad personnel. This is a bad sales pitch.

Objective 3: The Great Commission is too important

I closed with this fact in my open letter to the Conservative Baptist Network. To spend good money to redeem bad money, to save the SBC, is a sunk cost fallacy. The $10000 is better spent on real missions that a local church can oversee. The opportunity cost is great because the Great Commission is greater.


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