Home | The Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) | BGAV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

BGAV Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

BGAV Budget Information
The Treasurer can provide information and answers to questions regarding the BGAV Budget and Cooperative Missions.

Denominational Questions
For information on denominational questions, contact the Office of the Executive Director.

Churches Seeking BGAV Affiliation
The Office of the Executive Director can provide information and materials for churches seeking affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

SBC Annual Convention Registration Cards
The Office of the Executive Director can supply registration cards and housing information for the SBC annual convention.

BGAV Speakers/Representatives
The Office of the Executive Director can help connect churches and BGAV speakers for short-term speaking assignments.

Specific Questions

Why does the BGAV exist?

The BGAV exists to “furnish the Baptist churches of Virginia a medium of cooperation for the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and for the advancement of the Redeemer’s Kingdom by all methods in accord with the Word of God.”

A channel to advance God’s Kingdom – that was the purpose of the BGAV in 1823. It still is.

My church wants to give to the Cooperative Program, but there is more than one option. Why?

Because the churches asked for options. BGAV churches value the autonomy of the local church and freedom. In a series of budget hearings across Virginia, Baptists asked to have more say in how their mission gifts were distributed. So the BGAV voted to give churches several options.

What are my church’s giving options?

There are four to choose from:

    • Option 1: Your gifts beyond Virginia go to ministries selected by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
    • Option 2: Your gifts include Virginia, national, and international ministries.
  • Option 3: Your gifts beyond Virginia go to ministries selected by the Kingdom Advance New Mission Initiatives budget.
  • Option 4: Allows a church to design its own church giving plan and the Treasurer’s Office follows the church’s written directions for distribution.

Why did the BGAV change its constitution to count only the Virginia portion of the Cooperative Program toward messenger representation?

In one word: fairness. Messengers approved this change in its annual meeting by more than a two-thirds vote. They felt churches that deliberately bypassed Virginia mission work in their Cooperative Program giving should not have the same voting strength as those who remain loyal to Virginia causes. No churches were shut out. In fact, churches in the three basic Cooperative Program options had an increase in messenger representation under the constitution change.

Is the BGAV trying to cut its ties with the SBC and its agencies?

Absolutely not. Serving in the Commonwealth are 50 missionaries who are appointed cooperatively by the BGAV, local associations and the North American Mission Board. The BGAV has mission partnerships with Panama and Slovakia through the International Mission Board. The BGAV also has a contract with the Annuity Board to assist pastors and church staff with their retirement and insurance.

Last year, in fact, the BGAV channeled more than $10 million to Southern Baptist causes at the request of its churches.

No church ever has to choose between being related to BGAV and the SBC.

I’ve heard my church’s gifts to the BGAV go to pay for abortions at Baptist Hospital in Lynchburg?

Absolutely not. The BGAV severed its agency relationship with Virginia Baptist Hospital in 1981. At that time the BGAV decided to give limited support to the School of Pastoral Care at the hospital, a program of the chaplain’s office that trains ministers to do a better job of caring for people. Not a penny goes to pay for abortions.

What is the BGAV’s position on abortion?

In November 1997, and again in November 2014, the BGAV reaffirmed its opposition to abortion.

Resolution on Abortion

On the 20th anniversary of Virginia Baptists’ definitive statements on abortion, the Christian Life Committee recommends that the messengers to the 1997 Baptist General Association of Virginia affirm the following position:

Whereas, Southern Baptists have historically held a biblical view of the sanctity of human life, and

Whereas, abortion is a very serious moral and spiritual problem of continuing concern to the American people, and

Whereas, Christians have a responsibility to deal with all moral and spiritual issues which affect society, including problems of abortion, and

Whereas, the practice of abortion for selfish non-therapeutic reasons only destroys fetal life, dulls our society’s moral sensitivity, and leads to a cheapening of all human life,

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the messengers to the 174th Baptist General Association of Virginia meeting in Roanoke in November, 1997, reaffirm the biblical sacredness and dignity of all human life, including fetal life, and

Be it further Resolved, that in the best interest of our society, we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view, and

Be it further Resolved, that we also affirm our conviction about the limited role of government in dealing with matters relating to abortion, and support the right of expectant mothers to the full range of medical services and personal counseling for the preservation of life and health.

Why doesn’t the BGAV take a stand opposing homosexual behavior?

It has. In 1993 messengers at the BGAV annual meeting adopted the following resolution on homosexual behavior:

Resolution on Homosexual Behavior

Recognizing that the autonomy of the local congregation historically has been affirmed in Baptist life, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board makes the following statement:

We believe that homosexual behavior is one of many sins listed by the Scriptures, and that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God. For the Bible says: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God?” (1Corinthians 6:9-10).

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was met” (Romans 1:27).

We affirm the biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful and unacceptable for Christians. Therefore, we do not endorse elevating those who practice it to positions of leadership.

We make this statement in the spirit of the grace of the Lord Jesus, confessing our own sinfulness: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We seek to bring all people to a loving and redeeming Savior who alone will judge between the redeemed and the lost.

What is the BGAV’s position on marriage?

In 1998, the BGAV adopted the following resolution on the sanctity of Marriage:

Resolution Affirming the Sanctity of Marriage

The sanctity of marriage continues to face attacks from a variety of cultural attitudes and moral lapses, including those of public and religious leaders. Recent occurrences greatly heighten our awareness of the need to reclaim the moral authority of Biblical principles in marriage and family relationships. The world hungers for models that demonstrate the joy of family love and the rewards of marital fidelity. Today, as never before, believers need strongly to affirm and exemplify Biblical ideals in marriage and family.

God created man and woman in His own image. He established a covenant in marriage between them: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). Families grow as husbands and wives follow God’s command to: “…be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” (Gen. 1:28). Mutual fidelity, respect and unselfish love characterize the marriage relationship God intends (Eph. 5:21-23).

God created the marriage covenant as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman (Matt. 5:27-32). He judges and holds accountable those who break the covenant. He provides grace and the opportunity for reconciliation (Rom. 3:21-26). The Scriptures repeatedly bear witness to God’s love toward persons who sin. They also bear witness to God’s offer of pardon to all who seek His forgiveness through repentance and contrition (Lk. 18:9-30).

The Virginia Baptist Mission Board emphatically reaffirms the Biblical principles that undergird the sanctity of marriage, recognizes the Biblical call to accountability, and challenges all persons of faith to live out this ideal.

This Affirmation on the Sanctity of Marriage was approved by the Virginia Baptist Mission Board on October 14, 1998, and recommended for adoption by the Baptist General Association of Virginia.

What is the relationship between Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia and the BGAV?

WMU of Virginia is an auxiliary of the BGAV, and this partnership is funded by the Virginia portion of Cooperative Program and the Alma Hunt Offering for Virginia Missions promoted annually in September. The president of Virginia WMU serves as a board member of the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.

How does the BGAV view the ordination of women as deacons or pastors?

The ordination of women is a local church matter.

I want someone to come to my church to answer questions like these for our congregation. Would the BGAV send someone?

Absolutely. Please call the Baptist General Association of Virginia and ask to speak to the Executive Director’s Office. Our number is 1-800-255-BGAV or 1-804-915-5000. Call today!