The Southern Baptist Convention’s two mission boards and six seminaries have over $1 billion dollars in investments, cash, property and equipment.
The assets of the International Mission Board (IMB), North American Mission Board (NAMB) and six seminaries total over $1,016,000,000, according to the Baptist Center for Ethics’ conservative calculation of the figures reported in the SBC’s 2000 Book of Reports.
The IMB held investments of $387,603,000 at the end of 1999. Its property and equipment assets totaled just over $17 million.
The NAMB had $87.3 million in investments and $23.8 million in property and equipment. NAMB had cash and interest deposits of $6.5 million, third party investments of $30.7 million and mission properties of $5.8 million.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was the wealthiest of the six SBC seminaries with $193 million in cash, investments, property and equipment, compared to the second-ranked Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with $141 million.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary had $65 million and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary had $47 million.
Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary lagged far behind the other seminaries in the cumulative value of their cash, investments, property and equipment.
The report of the seminary study committee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas disclosed information that was not outlined in the financial statement in the SBC’s Book of Reports.
The study committee found that “SBC seminaries have a total endowment of roughly $186,000,000 and endowed chairs.”
A report footnote listed the 1998 endowment of each of the seminaries as follows:
(1) Golden Gate at $8.1 million
(2) Midwestern at $5.2 million
(3) New Orleans at $23.2 million
(4) Southeastern at $16.6 million
(5) Southern at $72 million
(6) Southwestern at $64.2 million
The BGCT report listed only the endowment value of seminaries, not the total investment and property value of the six seminaries.
BCE’s calculation of the $1 billion-plus figure did not include accounts receivable, student loans receivable, inventories and pledges receivable. Additionally, BCE left out of its calculation two items listed as assets: NAMB’s $127 million in church loans; and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary’s $27 million in non-current assets.
The Southern Baptist stockpile of riches may help to explain the brutal nature of the takeover of the SBC to those outside the fray and to Baptists who have sat on the fence.
Fundamentalist and moderate leaders rarely mentioned the SBC’s vault of gold during the 20-year war, although some undoubtedly knew of the convention’s wealth. They framed the conflict in terms of the Bible, local church autonomy and matters of faith and practice.
Little evidence exists that rank-and-file Southern Baptists are aware of the tremendous wealth of these entities, even though it is made public each year in the SBC’s Book of Reports.
Some denominational observers speculate about a potential downturn of giving when grass roots Baptists, many of whom give sacrificially, realize the SBC agencies’ wealth compared to its continued urgent appeals for more money.