William Thornton gained his fame and fortune as the SBC Plodder. One of the strengths of that blog has been his perspective on Cooperative Program issues. He recently started a new blog, called “Cooperative Program Observer” where this article was originally published.
I have heard the Cooperative Program praised and criticized. I’ve seen it held up as if it were inscribed on stone by God’s Own Finger (not to be sinister but His left index finger, anthropomorphically speaking). I’ve heard many a Baptist offer suggestions – some outrageous, some eminently sensible. But what I have never heard anyone do is suggest or propose a workable alternative to the Cooperative Program.
There are millions of Southern Baptists. There are tens of thousands of pastors, denominational leaders, and others who understand the mechanics of our common work. Surely, something would have bubbled up if a better concept existed.
There are almost as many CP critics, some rather unstinting and strident, and such is one of Southern Baptists’ favorite sports.
Question for any and all, “What is your proposal for an alternative?” I would be the first to favor a better funding scheme if I found it.
I know of none.
Without the CP the SBC as we have known it would cease to exist. If the CP were deep-sixed the mission boards would continue right on, the seminaries would be reduced in number, perhaps to three or four. State conventions would figure out a way to survive but at a dramatically reduced level. Baptist life would change dramatically.
My guess is that I have never heard of an alternative because the CP is recognized by all as being such a sensible funding scheme. It’s not perfect but it does make good sense.
But there are thoughts I have not had, ideas I have not formed. So, if you know of an alternative, please, enlighten me.