The Baptist World Mission Constitution
WHEREAS the Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Church to evangelize the world and establish local churches according to the pattern set forth in the New Testament; and,
WHEREAS it is practical and wise to carry out this commission of Christ through the medium of Baptist mission boards who can channel funds, send missionaries, and in general, be of service to the local churches to whom they are responsible; and,
WHEREAS many factors in our time have complicated and weakened the historic missionary enterprise such as: an over-emphasis upon institutionalism to the neglect of direct evangelistic ministry; a general failure to produce self-perpetuating Baptist churches of like faith and order on mission fields; a practice on some mission fields of cooperating with councils of churches and other fellowships which include men who do not hold to the fundamentals of the faith; a practice of cooperating with evangelistic and other united endeavors in which non-fundamentalists are active; and a tendency to disparage certain important doctrinal considerations, particularly in the field of eschatology, in order to maintain an outward unity; and,
WHEREAS new trends in theological thought and ecclesiastical practice such as the “new evangelicalism” and “ecumenical evangelism” have caused division among Baptists in America, further complicating the work of missions and causing many Baptist churches to re-evaluate their missionary work; and,
WHEREAS there has been expressed both a need and demand for a Baptist missionary agency which will emphasize direct evangelism, the building of indigenous local churches, the imminent premillennial coming of Christ, and which will oppose ecumenicalism and compromise in all unbiblical forms;
WE DO THEREFORE establish this Baptist Mission to be both unashamedly fundamentalist in belief and consistent in separatist practice and to be a servant of its supporting churches in order to accomplish the urgent task of winning souls to Christ wherever they may be found.
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this organization shall be The Baptist World Mission.
ARTICLE II – PURPOSE
The purpose of this organization shall be to furnish a channel for Bible-believing Baptist churches to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord. This purpose shall be implemented through evangelism and the establishment of indigenous Baptist churches. This purpose shall be fulfilled in the receiving and disbursing of funds, in the examination and approval of candidates, in the promotional and educational tasks pertinent to the work of the organization, in the arrangements necessary for sending forth missionary workers, and to acquire property, real and personal, necessary or convenient, to be used in connection with these objectives.
The missionaries appointed by this Mission and all employees shall be characterized by settled doctrinal convictions, a life of personal separation, and zeal for souls.
ARTICLE III – DOCTRINAL STATEMENT
1. The Scripture:
We believe in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone as verbally plenarily inspired of God, without error in the original writings and the sole authority of faith and practice (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16,17).
2. The Godhead:
We believe in one God, an eternal Spirit existing in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – yet One in essence and equal in every divine perfection (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 3:13-17; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14).
3. Jesus Christ:
a. We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ Who was begotten by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, and is truly God and truly Man, one Person with two natures, divine and human (Matt. 1:18-20; John 1:1,2,14).
b. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ died as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all men according to the Scriptures, and all who receive Him are justified on the grounds of His shed blood (1 Cor. 15:3; 2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-26; Heb. 2:9; 1 Jn. 2:2).
c. We believe in the resurrection of the crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ; in His bodily ascension into Heaven; and in His present life there as High Priest for us (Matt. 28:1-10; Acts 1:9; Heb. 7:25-28).
d. We believe in the imminent return of Christ prior to the inauguration of Daniel’s seventieth week, at which time all believers in Christ will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and be kept from the promised period of divine wrath upon the Earth (Dan. 9:24-27; 1 Thes. 4:14-17; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thes. 5:9; Rom. 5:9).
4. The Holy Spirit:
a. We believe in the Holy Spirit Who is one of the three Persons of the Trinity. We believe among His ministries are the following: the restraining of evil in the world to the measure of the divine will; the conviction of the world regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment; the regeneration of all believers; the indwelling of those who are saved, and the continued filling for power, teaching and service of all among the saved who are truly yielded to Him (2 Thes. 2:7; John 3:6; 16:7-11; Rom. 8:9; Eph. 4:30; 5:18).
b. We believe some gifts of the Holy Spirit were temporary. We believe speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the filling or baptism of the Spirit. We believe God, in accord with His Own will, does hear and answer prayer for the sick and afflicted (1 Cor. 12:11, 30; 13:8; James 5:14-16).
a. We believe man was created in the image of God; he sinned and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death which is separation from God, all human beings are born with a sinful nature and in practice become sinners in thought, word and deed (Gen. 1:26, 27; 3:1-24; Rom. 5:12-21; Eph. 2:1-6).
b. We believe salvation is the gift of God, brought to all by grace and received through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose blood was shed on Calvary for the forgiveness of sins. Salvation is solely through faith in the blood of Christ apart from human merit. All those who believe are regenerated children of God (Eph. 2:8,9; John 1:12; 3:5-7).
c. We believe all the elect of God, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever (John 10:27-30; Rom. 8:31-39).
We believe sanctification is presented in three senses in Scriptures; (1) every saved person has been sanctified through the death of Christ; (2) is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit; (3) and will be completely sanctified at his glorification. Every believer has two natures, old and new, and the old cannot be eradicated during this life (Heb. 10:10; John 17:17; Eph. 5:25-27; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:18-25).
We believe in the biblical doctrine of separation which encompasses: (1) separation of the local church from all affiliation and fellowship with those who deny the verities of the Christian faith and from those who are content to walk in fellowship with unbelief and inclusivism; (2) separation of the individual believer from all worldly practices dishonoring the Savior; and (3) separation of church and state (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 12:1-2; 14:13; 1 John 2:15-17; 2 John 9-11; Matt. 22:21).
8. The Church:
We believe in the Church – a living, spiritual body of which Christ is the Head; and of which all regenerated people in this age are a part. We believe the Church is a body peculiar to the age of grace and entirely distinct from the nation, Israel. We believe a local church is a company of believers in Jesus Christ, immersed upon a credible confession of faith and associated for worship, work and fellowship. We believe the local church is autonomous, the center of God’s program for this age, and that every Christian is bound by Scripture to give his unhindered cooperation to the ministry of his local church (Matt. 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 12:12-17; Acts 2:42-47; 1 Tim. 3:15-16).
9. The Ordinances:
We believe there are two ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water and is properly called “believer’s baptism.” It sets forth in a beautiful and solemn way our identification with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection and the resultant responsibility to “walk in the newness of life.” Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership. The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration of the Lord’s death until He comes, is a reminder of our continual fellowship with Him and should be preceded by careful self-examination (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 8:36-39; Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 11:23-32).
10. The Great Commission:
We believe the Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned us to take the Gospel to the world, and evangelism and church-planting at home and abroad should be primary in the program of the local church, which includes the baptism and instruction of believers (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8).
11. Last Things:
We believe in the imminent rapture of the church to Heaven followed by a seven year period of tribulation upon all the Earth. At the end of this period of tribulation, Jesus Christ shall come back to Earth in power and glory with His Church to establish the promised Davidic Kingdom. He shall reign for one thousand years, during which time peace and righteousness will cover the earth, Satan will be bound, and Israel shall be established in her own land. At the end of this glorious reign, Satan shall lead a rebellion against Christ, shall be defeated, and shall be forever banished to the Lake of Fire.
The wicked dead shall be judged at the Great White Throne and shall be condemned to everlasting conscious punishment in the Lake of Fire. The righteous shall be in eternal conscious blessedness in the presence of the Lord (John 14:3; Matt. 24:21; Rev. 19:11-16; 21:1-15; Ezek. 39:25-29; 1 Thes. 4:17).
ARTICLE IV – ORGANIZATION
1. Organization of the Board:
The Board of Trustees shall be comprised of not less than twenty-four (24) but not more than thirty-two (32) members. This Board shall have complete charge over all the affairs of the Corporation, as directed by this Constitution and such By-Laws of Principles and Policies as may be adopted from time to time.
2. Qualifications of Trustees and Officers:
Persons elected to serve as Trustees and Officers shall be regenerated believers in the Lord Jesus Christ who maintain a life of consistent separation unto God. Further, they shall be members of separatist Baptist churches, practicing tithers, and shall hold such convictions as expressed in the By-Laws or Principles and Policies. A member of the staff shall not hold a position on the Board of Trustees.
3. Election of Officers:
A Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be annually elected by vote of the Board of Trustees and shall serve as Officers of the Corporation. They may serve six consecutive terms in office, after which they shall retire from office for one year before being elected to office or appointed to a committee chairmanship. An Executive Director and such Assistant Directors as deemed necessary shall be elected by the Board of Trustees as needed. They shall serve as ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees without voting privileges.
4. Election of Trustees:
One-fourth of the Trustees shall be elected at each Annual Meeting for a four-year term. Unexpired vacancies shall be filled by the Board of Trustees. Trustees may be re-elected to office after their terms expire.
5. Expenses of Trustees:
Expenses of Trustees incurred in traveling to and from board sessions shall be defrayed by the Mission to the extent of sixty percent (60%) of said actual cost, as funds are available. Other expenses of Board sessions shall be borne by the Mission.
6. Executive Director:
The Executive Director shall supervise and coordinate all activities of this Corporation. He shall serve as the chief executive officer for all legal and official business of the corporation and shall supervise the Mission office and publications. He shall be responsible for the safekeeping of official records of all board and committee actions. He shall supervise the examination of new fields, the distribution of prayer requests and promotional materials of the Mission and its missionary workers, and administrate the needs and affairs of personnel on fields being served as directed and authorized by the Board. He shall submit regular reports to the Board of Trustees.
7. Assistant Directors:
The Assistant Directors shall have such duties and titles as delineated by the Executive Director and approved by the Board. They shall be responsible to the Executive Director and shall submit regular reports of their work to the Board of Trustees.
ARTICLE V – MEETINGS
1. Meeting of the Board:
The Board of Trustees shall normally have at least two meetings annually, one of which shall be designated as the Annual Meeting. Special business meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chairman or the Executive Committee, providing a ten-day written notice is given to the individual Board members with the particulars of the meetings stated. Nine members of the Board of Trustees shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
2. Rules of Order:
All meetings of the Mission shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, except where the Constitution may specifically provide otherwise.
ARTICLE VI – STANDING COMMITTEES
1. Chairmen of the Standing Committees:
The chairmen of each standing committee shall be appointed for a one-year term. They may be appointed to six consecutive terms, after which they shall retire for one year before being appointed to the chairmanship of a committee or elected to an office.
2. Executive Committee:
The Executive Committee shall be composed of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Mission, the chairman of each of the standing committees of the Mission, and retiring Chairman of the Board who shall serve in an ex-officio capacity for one year; and in ex-officio capacity without voting rights, the Executive Director and the Assistant Directors. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary of the Mission shall serve as officers of the Committee.
The Executive Committee shall function to execute such business as may be committed to it by the Board of Trustees. It shall be responsible for a program of missionary education, recommending the agenda for Board sessions and acting upon all business (except the appointment of missionaries) pertaining to the work of the Mission which may arise and demand attention between regular meetings of the Board of Trustees.
3. Finance Committee:
The Finance Committee shall be composed of at least five Trustees, one of whom shall be the Treasurer of the Corporation. They shall be appointed, as shall the chairman, by the Chairman of the Board. These appointments shall be subject to ratification by the Board. It shall annually prepare a budget for the Mission and submit it to the Board for adoption and be responsible for supervision of the same. It shall counsel with the Treasurer regarding all investments of the Corporation, consider all matters pertaining to the finances of the Corporation, and perform such other duties as may be designated by the Board. It shall pass upon the bond given the Corporation Treasurer. Unless otherwise ordered by the Board, all loans made by the Mission shall be subject to the approval and administration of the Finance Committee.
4. Fields Committee:
The Fields Committee shall be composed of at least five Trustees. They shall be appointed, as shall their chairman, by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. These appointments shall be subject to ratification by the Board. The number of this Committee shall be increased, and the Committee shall be divided into sub-committees accordingly as the number of mission fields and their detailed concerns may require. It shall be considered desirable to involve as many Trustees as possible in Fields Committee interests. The Committee, as a unit or through its sub-committees, shall study the needs of the fields, review the work of each missionary on furlough and make studied recommendations to the Board. The Committee shall take full advantage of counsel with the Assistant Directors and Executive Director.
5. Candidate Committee:
The Candidate Committee shall be composed of at least five Trustees. They shall be appointed, as shall their chairman, by the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. These appointments shall be subject to ratification by the Board. This Committee shall be responsible for soliciting and reviewing missionary applications; providing such information regarding field requirements and personnel qualifications as may be requested; interviewing and screening candidates under the direction of the Board; and recommending qualified personnel for Board consideration.
6. Nominating Committee:
The Nominating Committee, composed of five Trustees, shall be appointed by the Chairman of the Board, as shall their chairman. These appointments shall be subject to ratification by the Board.
This Committee shall present a slate of Officers and Trustees who shall be qualified as outlined in Article IV, who would be available to serve the Lord and the Mission as desired, if elected. All persons nominated shall be contacted prior to elections to assure their agreement to serve, if elected.
The report of the Nominating Committee relative to Officers and Trustees shall be made to the members of the Board whose terms of office have not expired, and after opportunity is given for further nominations from the floor, an election shall be held by ballot.
The Nominating Committee shall be responsible as a unit or through designated persons of its number, to investigate and guarantee qualifications of nominees in all elections.
7. Deputation Committee:
The Deputation Committee shall be composed of at least five Trustees, who shall be appointed by the Chairman, as shall their chairman. These appointments shall be ratified by the Board. The number of this Committee shall be increased, and the Committee shall be divided into sub-committees according as the number of mission fields and their detailed concerns may require. It shall be considered desirable to involve as many Trustees as possible in Deputation Committee interests. The Committee shall take full advantage of counsel with the Assistant Directors and Executive Director. This committee shall review the work of the missionaries under appointment who have not yet gone to the field and shall work with the appointees at the request of the Administration of the Mission. The committee shall, as a unit or through its sub-committees, study the needs of the fields and make appropriate policy recommendations to the Board.
ARTICLE VII – AMENDMENTS
This Constitution may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the members present and voting, provided the proposed amendment has been presented at a previous meeting, the minutes of which shall have been sent to all members of the Board.
This Constitution was adopted by a two-thirds majority vote of the members present and voting at a duly-called meeting of the Board of Directors/Trustees in which a quorum was present on April 18, 1995. This Constitution supersedes any other constitutions of Baptist World Mission. It is hereby understood and expressed that this constitution is, in its totality, a complete substitution and replacement of any former articles or constitution that may or may not have been formulated in full or in part by the Board of Directors/Trustees of Baptist World Mission.