A first took place today for the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec (CBOQ), a Baptist denomination affiliated with Canadian Baptist Ministries that has over 100 churches in the named territory in Canada. Because Hebrews tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, denominational organizations often have built into their constitutions clauses that say meetings must be in person, and do not allow for the technological advances of instantaneous communication for situations like we have been under since March of 2020 with COVID-19.
The CBOQ met through a giant Zoom call today, under a special legally granted dispensation to vote to amend their “Bylaw No. 5,” for a vote to include the phrase “…’, by telephonic and/or other electronic means’ ” after the words, “…on behalf of Local Churches or Associations in person” so as to allow for convention body votes to take place in future over the phone or the internet.
That’s right, beloved church, we can now vote through email at the convention level, and not just at the church level like has been going on since the late 1990s. I suppose nobody thought about taking advantage of this? And it took a so-called pandemic for somebody in CBOQ to figure it out? Well, I guess it shows our legalistic natures – “It isn’t my job!” Or something like, “We’ve never done it that way before!” You know what I mean.
As I sat in my basement office, I sat through the incredibly boring test run of the polling system and the dry example of who brews the best coffe, although the results were amusing, in that 34% pf the delegates said their house had the best brewed coffee, choosing that option over both Starbucks and Tim Horton’s coffee. That included me, who really does have the best brewed coffee, at least in my opinion.
The meeting had a single-item agenda – to pass the resolution to allow for other means than just in-person meetings. There was some interesting discussion on the issue, however. One delegate brought up the Biblical pattern of Jesus wanting delicate matters to be handled face-to-face, and cited how Paul confronted Peter publicly face-to-face. The objections were centred around limitations to the power that some wished to be required and the duration and occasion under which these non-face-to-face powers should be granted and used, with special amendments for the handicapped. The CBOQ brass assured that the preferred method of meeting will ALWAYS be in person and that is simply the default preference.
Of course the motion carried by an 87% vote with 1% abstaining (and in a feat of math I’m not sure even Albert Einstein could explain with his special theory of relativity, there were 16% for the no vote, which totals 104%). Nice math. It took 25 minutes to accomplish that.
This paves the way for a full online convention on October 22 of this year. Please pray for that time, because that is where the real issue will be discussed – about whether of not the church should allow its members who are in open sin ascend to church membership – with a special application from the sodomite community and their supporters, who are looking to overthrow the government of the denomination. As much as you good Bereans out there know what the Lord says in His word concerning unrepentant homosexuality and how it is included in the lists of sins that disqualify such individuals from both church leadership and citizenship in the kingdom of God, this debate is just now reaching fever pitch in Baptist congregations in Canada.
Long live the ability to avoid the topic of church discipline. Yay.