Last month, The Courier published the first of this two-part series explaining the South Carolina Baptist kind of confessional cooperation. The thesis is that Baptists came confessing and Baptists came cooperating; we are a confessionally cooperative people. However, part of historic Baptist doctrine and practice emphasizes the autonomy of both local congregations and Baptist organizations. As the churches are autonomous from but joyfully cooperative with one another, so are local associations, state and national conventions, and other Baptist auxiliaries and ministry partners. All Baptist bodies are free to set their parameters for cooperation, including the role of the confession in that cooperation. In this way, the South Carolina Baptist Convention is distinct from, while joyfully cooperative with, the Southern Baptist Convention. Technically, a “convention” is simply a convening, in existence only between its opening and closing gavels. The SCBC is not a membership of perpetually affiliated congregations, a concept with which the SBC presently seems to be wrestling. Article III of our Articles of Incorporation articulates our position succinctly: “The corporation has no members.” Rather than a body of affiliated/member churches, the SCBC is a two-day annual gathering of messengers from cooperating S.C. Baptist churches. Here’s what that looks like.