Southern Baptist and Baptist–Is there a Difference?

Posted: April 26, 2007 in Uncategorized

I ran across an interesting article the other day on another bloggers blog that made me begin thinking about this subject. Dr. Tony Cartledge, current editor of the Biblical Recorder, pointed to a term we use here in North Carolina. That term is NC Baptist. Many times you will hear a debate on the convention floor and in that debate this term will make its way into the debate in a phrase like; “As North Carolina Baptist we…” Dr. Carteledge argues that there are more Baptist and using this term narrows the field considerably. It gives the appearance that if you are not part of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) then you are not truly Baptist. No one that I know believes that using this term draws out an elitist Baptist position. From what I can remember, the first time I remember this term being used it was by Dr. Gene Puckett, Editor Emeritus of the Biblical Recorder. Dr. Puckett, a historian in his own right, made the point as editor that the BSCNC was in existence before the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) therefore NC Baptist were different than Southern Baptist. In other words, you could be a NC Baptist without being a Southern Baptist. This reasoning added to the schism that was generated through the Conservative Resurgence and came into our State.

I want to now view this on the national level. This week there is a conference going on at Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. This conference is billed as “The Conference on the Holy Spirit”. There are many scholarly speakers and wonderful men of God speaking at this conference. An interesting side note. Many of those who are leading this conference have taken public stands against Dr. Paige Patterson’s belief that women are not supposed to be teaching men theology. However, there is not one woman delivering a scholarly address concerning this subject. The only women speaking are addressing other women. Of course I digress, and need to get back to the subject matter of the post.

Many have viewed this as a conference where Southern Baptist iron out their differences concerning the doctrinal role of the Holy Spirit. Most of the people I know on the agenda are known across the convention as Southern Baptist. For example Rev. Wade Burleson has a rich Southern Baptist heritage. His Southern Baptist roots run deep by being a 4th or 5th generation Southern Baptist preacher. One may disagree with his assessment of many things, but one cannot get past his heritage and must give ear because of it. As a matter of interest one he has referred to as a jr. pastor is now pastoring in the Burleson, Tx. area. the city of Burleson is named after Rev. Wade Burleson’s Grandfather, or Great-Grandfather, I am not certain which. Rev. Burleson was educated at Baylor University. Dr. Dwight McKissic, received his M-Div from SWBTS and began Cornerstone Baptist Church while being mentored by a pastor of a Southern Baptist Church. I am not certain, but I believe, he also received his D-Min from SWBTS also. Dr. Bart Barber was educated at Baylor and received his M-Div and PhD. from SWBTS. He pastors a church that is affiliated with SBTC and the Southern Baptist Convention. Which brings me to one that stands out like a Senior Adult Ladies Sunday School Teacher at a Tatoo and Body Peircing convention.

Dr. Sam Storms is a scholar. There is no questioning his credentials when it comes to academia. My questions center more around his credentials when it comes to being described as a Southern Baptist. Please do not misunderstand. I have never met Dr. Storms but believe him to be a humble scholar that truly desires to find truth. I am certain his walk with Christ is above reproach as is all who have been invited to speak at this conference. I am merely questioning the approach that places Dr. Storms as speaking for Southern Baptist as to the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. According to Dr. Storms biographry found here, he has not been educated in a Southern Baptist context. His only admission to being exposed to Southern Baptist was when he was being raised in Texas. According to his bio his only pastoral experience was in a Presbyterian Church and a Non-denominational church. His teaching experiences are not in Southern Baptist Seminaries, neither in State Baptist universities. While at Wheaton he became affiliated with an Anglican church in order to better minister to some of the students that were attending Wheaton. An admirable gesture. However, the only Southern Baptist experience he reveals is when he was growing up and attending a SB church with his family. I understand that while working on his ThM at Dallas Seminary he was a member at FBC Dallas, but that was while he served at Interim pastor at a Presbyterian Church, so it appears he never really was able to attend FBC. Dr. Storms, however, is now Pastor at Large for Theological Development at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid. This is a position he entered back in the fall of 2006. Dr. Storms still lives in Kansas City, some 300 miles away and his membership is in Enid, OK. I realize one of SB’s well known sons lives in Asheville, NC and has membership in FBC Dallas, Tx. However, two wrongs still does not make it right. Besides, I never have heard of a time that Dr. Billy Graham was scheduled to give the opinion of where Southern Baptist stand on a doctrine. Also, some of those leading this conference have been pushing regenerate church membership. In this push some have spoken specifically about those church members that never attend. What is the difference in having a person listed on the church roll that lives 5 miles from the church and possibly attends another fellowship, and having someone living 500 miles away and attends another fellowship?

Let me conclude. Dr. Storms appears to be baptistic in his beliefs but let’s set the record straight. Dr. Storms does not speak for the SBC as to how we are to view the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Dr. Storms is a great man of God that deserves to be heard on this subject. However, Dr. Storms is not one that should be accentuated as speaking for Southern Baptist on this matter. Just because one is Baptist, it does not make them Southern Baptist.

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Comments
  1. Wes Kenney says:

    Tim,

    Thanks for posting on this. While I would not want to say that Dr. Storms is not a Southern Baptist, he certainly does not have that as a background, and I’ve wondered why this conference couldn’t have found a scholar of Dr. Storms’ caliber who comes from more of a Southern Baptist background to represent the continuationist view. Surely such scholars exist, right?

  2. lespuryear says:

    Tim,

    You said, “No one that I know believes that using this term [BSCNC] draws out an elitist Baptist position.” I don’t know of anyone who holds to that position either. Seems to me that Tony is reaching to make a point about an issue that doesn’t exist.

    Les

  3. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Wes,

    I agree. Dr. Storms, as I said, certainly has scholarly credentials and is very well respected throughout academia. As you said, certainly there is someone with a more in depth Southern Baptist background to represent the continualist position.

    Brother Les,

    While I said elitist, I do not mean to imply that Dr. Cartledge makes that point. However, Dr. Cartledge, as you say, does appear to call attention to something that really does not exist.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  4. Jim Champion says:

    Tim

    Unless JLG has moved from Waco, you need a bit of a geography lesson – Waco is about 1.5 hrs from burleson – by way of West, TX and the best kolaches on this planet at the Checz stop. Woe to the innocent traveler from Dallas/Ft Worth to College station who thinks they will just run in to get a nice jalepeno kolache on game day in college station !

    I also found it interesting that Bart – a big supporter of the SBTC, is married to a wonderful lady who is very involved in a BGCT disaster relief ministry! Good for her and good for the BGCT!

  5. Guy Muse says:

    As you point out, there are differences between a “North Carolina Baptist” brand of Baptist, and Southern Baptists in general. There are also many differences between Chinese Baptists, Zambian Baptists, Haitian Baptists, Peruvian Baptists, and Ecuadorian Baptists. These other “world Baptists” are NOT Southern Baptists. The Baptist work in these countries may have been started by Southern Baptists, but they are their own brand of Baptist identity with their own traditions, practices, beliefs, structures, institutions, doctrinal convictions, etc.

    A small example to show how differences exist amongst world Baptists can be illustrated with smoking. An Ecuadorian Baptist simply cannot reconcile the fact that a professing Christian, especially a Baptist, would ever smoke! Yet, I dare say there are probably a few North Carolina Baptists who smoke, and are even deacons of their Baptist churches! It may be frowned on in NC, but here they would seriously doubt your salvation. This would be totally scandolous here if it were a known fact!!!

    My point, of course, is simply to say that as a world family of Baptists, there are many definitions of what/who a Baptist is. There are many differences between us, and yet all of us call ourselves ‘Baptist’. Who amongst us has the absolute definitive definition of what a correct Baptist faith entails?

    P.S. I have never shared with our Baptist folks here that there are NC Baptists who smoke! or that NCB tobacco farmers are givers to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering! It would be too damaging to their faith and take a lot of explaining :)

  6. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Jim,

    JLG has moved. :>) Sorry, I thought everyone knew.

    Brother Guy,

    My point exactly. We are different in our beliefs. However, when a conference is promoted as a certain view given from one who is representing a arm of the convention, that person should be active in the convention. Would you not agree?

    BTW, smoking was the one thing that my Father and I were in sharp disagreement on.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  7. Jim Champion says:

    I did not know that Jeremy had gone to Burleson, makes sense if he will be working on his DMin, and I know that Waco was a tough town for him. Do you know what church he has gone to?

  8. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Jim,

    As I understand, Brother Jeremy is at a church in a neighboring city of Burleson.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  9. volfan007 says:

    tim,

    i agree with your post and also wonder why dr. storms would be asked to speak at it.

    also, your point about no women being asked to speak at this conf. is priceless…..very ironic; aint it?

    david

  10. lespuryear says:

    Tim,

    I didn’t know that Jeremy had moved. It was my understanding that he was planting a church in Waco. What happened?

    Well, I guess his move explains why his blog has been a “cut and paste” of news items recently.

    Les

  11. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Les,

    All I know is that he has moved. Anything other than that, you will have to ask Brother Jeremy. With so many asking about this, I am now wondering if I have opened my mouth too soon. I thought everyone knew.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  12. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother David,

    In all fairness to Dr. Storms, I am now getting reports that the majority of his speaking engagements are in SB churches. I do not know this personally, I am being told this by one close to the situation. As I have said before, that is not the appearance one gets when reading the information on his website. Also, until he joined Emmanuel Baptist, his last SB church membership was held at FBC Dallas in 1977. According to his bio, that was the year he graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. I do not deny Dr. Storms credentials as he is very educated and astute in his presentation of the material. I question if there were not someone else more closely tied to the SBC to give the continualist view. He is giving a view that is said to be representative of a section of the convention. However, has not been part of the convention or even associated with the convention until this debate became prominent. He also has said that he joined Emmanuel because he felt for him to argue this point this would be the best place for him to be instead of in a SB church in Kansas.

    Also, Brother David, do some archive research on some of the blogs and notice the statements made by some of those leading in the conference about women teaching men. Then ask yourself, why was there not a woman in a prominent place on the conference? Also, why was Dr. Klouda not asked to present her views on this subject? She is a theologian.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  13. Tim: I did not see you there and truly believe you had to be there in order to critique the conference. You are already giving your opinion on something that is just now ending and did not experience first hand. Wait. I have not yet formed my thoughts but I arrived home last night and had a positive experience. I know I am not the same. I may even answer some of your questions to the best of my ability.

  14. Bart Barber says:

    Tim,

    Allow me to add to the conversation at a point or two. First, cf. Guy, your point regarding Dr. Storms seems not to be that he has a pedigree of affiliation with other kinds of Baptist churches, but that he has a pedigree of participation for quite some time in virtually everything but a Baptist church. Tim, you might want to refine your point to make clear that you are questioning not his Southern Baptistness, but his Baptistness. Having met him in the flesh, I can tell you that he is everything you have imagined him to be: bright, capable, compassionate, and gifted.

    Second, it is my understanding that an equally bright, capable, compassionate, and gifted woman was invited to present at the conference but declined.

    Third, Jim might be delighted to learn that Texas Baptist Men is affiliated with both the BGCT and the SBTC. TBM is not a BGCT disaster relief ministry. TBM is independent and cooperates with more than one convention.

    Finally, Jeremy Green is in Joshua, TX, after a move that has been in the works for quite some time. Good for him. Let us pray for Second Baptist Church of Waco, a haven for conservative Baptists in Waco.

  15. Alan Cross says:

    Were you saying that Jeremy Green was in Burleson, Texas earlier? The irony of that move would have been beyond belief! I’m glad that he’s Converged in Joshua. He will probably feel more comfortable there than in Burleson (is there a Burleson, TX, or was that a mistake?). Funny!

  16. Bart Barber says:

    There is a Burleson, TX. It is named after an ancestor of Wade Burleson.

  17. Tim Wade says:

    As I read this post and the comments I can not help but wonder how old every is. In addition I can not help but wonder if any of you know of the similar history North Carolina Baptists share with Texas Baptists. Does anyone have a passion for the way things in the SBC used to be before the Fundamentalist takeover. Yes, it was a takeover by Fundamentalists. I challenge anyone to show me in scripture support for the reasons the behind the takeover. There is a whole world out there in which Baptists live who remember what it used to mean to be Southern Baptist. Today, however, to be Southern Baptist is to be something no one would have ever dreamed of thirty years ago. It is a world that it seems most of you do not know nor understand. I personally woke up one day and realized that there was never going to be a return to the faith of my youth in the denomination I was loved with a passion. Today I am Baptist, but by no means Southern Baptist. For many in the state convention this is the position most preferable in a Christian world that is most unhospitiable.