When I was younger in my BC days, I went to a beer joint/pool hall called the “Blues Bar” along with my cousin and his friends. When daddy found out that I have been to this place, he questioned me as to my intention of doing something like that, as the bar was known for being a place where shooting guns was as common as shooting pool. I tried to dodge daddy’s questions by referencing the friends I went with were more friends of my cousin than friends of mine. Daddy responded with words that ring in my ears to this day. He said; ‘You may not be able to pick your family, but you can certainly pick your acquaintances‘. Which brings me to the point of today’s post.

During my time of sitting up with my mother at the hospital recently, while she was asleep, I would peruse the Google search engine for various items. One such item of interest to me was the connection of North Carolina Baptist with the New Baptist Covenant Celebration recently held in Atlanta. What peaked my interest was the advertising of this event in the Biblical Recorder, the state paper for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. I began this search out of curiosity and the more I searched the more I began to see connections that most NC Baptist may not be aware.

First allow me to lay some basic ground work. Before anyone tries to attack this post saying that I am presenting this from a biased perspective. I do admit my bias as to my suspicions that this celebration was not what it was billed to be. Let us look to an independent news agency for their explanation of the event. I, for one, have always stated this celebration was not about getting Baptist together for expanding the kingdom as much as it was for getting them together to expand the Democratic party base. As Naomi Schaefer Riley stated:

The New Baptist Covenant is officially apolitical. But with Mr. Gore and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on the roster of speakers at a meeting jammed last week between the Florida primary and Super Tuesday, one might be forgiven for doubting this claim.

It seems that an independent news agency such as The Wall Street Journal, would be one that is unbiased. However, it appears that Robert Parham, Editor at Ethics Daily, disagrees. He said her article had too many errors. In a response that is classic liberal smack down, he addresses her title at the Wall Street Journal in a degrading way. What Mr. Parham forgets is that an Editor for Friday’s Taste page, in the Wall Street Journal would have more readers than the Editor of Ethics Daily.

Therefore, from an independent news agency, this celebration was about politics, not Baptist politics mind you, but secular politics. Does that mean that those involved were there to promote the Democratic Party? No, that is not what I am saying. I do believe that many people involved in this event were there simply to do the various duties within their convention. This celebration was planned, with different motives other than uniting Baptist to move forward to overcome poverty, aids, global warming, promote civil rights for gays and other issues it seems that conservatives are accused of not caring for. Allow me to note two other items and then draw some connections of North Carolina Baptist that many may not be aware.

If this celebration was about bringing everyone together, where was everybody on Thursday and Friday? You see we heard about the expected 20,000 people and then the count of over 12,000 people that attended on Wednesday evening at the opening ceremony. But we have never been given any other numbers for the attendance when the other Baptist meetings closed out their conventions. It seems that most left and went back home. One example is the Al Gore luncheon. I am not going to try and argue the purposes of the the media not being allowed into his luncheon. I am not going to even try and argue how he presented our responsibility of God’s creation when he is an avowed evolutionist. But 2500 people attending a luncheon, at $35 a head mind you, does not make a grand statement to me as to the 12,000 Baptist reported at the Wednesday opening ceremony. Also, it seems that 2500 people paying $35 a head could have used that $87,000 to help feed these poor that this celebration was supposed to unite the Baptist that were present. It also seems that the food to feed 2500 people at $35 per plate was a bit extravagant. Certainly paying $35 for rubber chicken, uncooked green beans, hard dinner rolls, unsweetened tea, and carrot cake could have been better used feeding the homeless in Atlanta–where most were right outside the World Congress Center.

Also, with this celebration promoting unity among diversity, I have to ask a question. Where were the invitations for two groups? Everyone knows that the SBC was not invited. There never was an official invitation sent to the SBC. Therefore, there was no way for the SBC to decline to be involved. The SBC probably would not have accepted the invite, but the fact remains they were not invited. And you can now understand why, as you peruse the speakers manuscripts you find the the SBC was the favorite ‘whipping boy’ of many speakers. If President Carter believes this is an official representative of the SBC, then he has another thought coming.

The second group that was not invited were the Gays and Lesbians. According to this news article the diversity that the New Baptist Covenant calls for was not even allowed a voice in the arena. How pious and even hypocritical of Former President Carter in his opening talk to point to things that have divided Baptist as “He cited a laundry list of issues that have divided Baptists-the role of women in ministry and marriage, varying accounts of creation, legalized abortion, civil rights for gays, separation of church and state, and the death penalty.” This opening talk came a year after the Alliance of Baptist were not given invitations to be at the celebration. We certainly want to promote civil rights for gays but we will not allow them to be part of this celebration, because it is not politically expedient. Of course this did not seem to bother the Alliance churches because many of them already have a voice as they are connected to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The Fellowship is strongly connected with the celebration and thus, the Gays and Lesbians are represented through this group.

Allow me to now make come connections that should cause NC Baptist to pay attention. As you look to the committees that were structured for the planning of this celebration you will notice some very well connected NC Baptist. First I want to point your attention to the Program Committee and you will not that Dr. Bill Leonard is a member of this committee. Dr. Leonard is the Dean of the Divinity School at Wake Forest University. You will remember that this is the divinity school that would not take a stand against receiving Gay and Lesbian Students to study for the ministry. It is not about the students themselves, but the fact that we have a Divinity School that does not support the scripture as speaking to the issue of homosexuality. Second, I want to point your attention to the Finance Committee. You will note that Dr. Mike Queen, Pastor of First Baptist Wilmington being involved in that committee. Dr. Queen, you will remember is a former President of the Executive Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. While this does not really concern me as Dr. Queen is a pastor of an autonomous church, it would concern me if he were serving in a leadership position within our state convention at present. Third, there are 2 other NC Baptist connections serving on the Communications Committee that does concern me. One is Mrs. Ruby Fulbright. Mrs. Fulbright, as you know, is the Executive Director of WMU-NC. The same WMU-NC that recently left moved out from under the umbrella of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina because they wanted to ‘do missions with other groups’. It seems that Mrs. Fulbright may have found another source of funding outside of NC Baptist by taking part in this celebration. Also, it concerns me to find Dr. Tony Cartledge listed as a member of this committee. It does not surprise me, but it does concern me that we have a professor teaching in a NC Baptist college/divinity school that will attend a celebration that puts down bible believing Baptist as being some fundamentalist idiots. Why does it concern me? Campbell University has a desire to still have access to the students in NC Baptist churches. These NC Baptist churches have repeatedly voted to align ourselves more fully with the Southern Baptist Convention, and we are sending our students to a school whose professors, at least one, openly plan a meeting to speak against the very rallying cry of the SBC.

I know that some may try to point out that Richard Brunson was a presenter in a break out session as reported by the Biblical Recorder. (The Recorder’s coverage of this event is another subject for another post. Suffice it to say when a state paper gives more coverage to an out of state meeting that the BSCNC was not participating, than to the Ex.Com. meeting going on the same week, it seems a little out of kilter.) As I understand it, the Baptist Men of North Carolina Director was invited to express to those that wanted to know, how we involve ourselves in Disaster Relief.

Which brings me back to my opening story. As NC Baptist we may not be able to choose those that God leads to become part of our fellowship. We certainly need to hold high the blood stained banner while lovingly and firmly communicating that we will not allow anything to compromise our doctrine in that banner. But we also need to remember we can choose those with whom we associate.

Comments
  1. preacher man says:

    Brother Tim,

    I hope none of this surprises you! All of these individuals mentioned have been liberal in their theology and beliefs for a long time. The Biblical Recorder just picked up where Cartledge left off–a liberal slant on Baptist life. The Biblical Recorder might as well be the CBF newspaper of North Carolina. North Carolina has been one of the most liberal states for years. The first woman pastor was ordained in NC. For many, many years the liberals almost choked the life out of this convention until the ship was righted in the last 15 years. Don’t be surprised to see Campbell Divinity School go the same way Wake Forest did. I just thank God that Godly men stepped up and saved the NC state convention because it was headed for disaster just like the SBC was. If you want a clear picture of what the SBC would have looked like, go in an Episcopal or Lutheran church today. We were headed down that slippery slope as fast as the liberals could take us. This New Covenant was nothing but a liberal Baptist democratic party get together that accomplished nothing. If Jimmy Carter was the most “conservative” Baptist there, we are in trouble.

  2. Tim G says:

    Now you have done it – you are saying we do not need to include everybody! :)
    Nice job! Trust your mom is improving and that you have found the guy she saw who looked like you – we need to get rid of him before he gets a pink shirt.

    God bless!

  3. Norman says:

    Mercy, Tim! I’ve never seen so much conjecture and motive bashing by people who did not attend an event as I’ve seen by critics of the New Baptist Covenant. I could probably draw lines of association among your church members and paint a picture of a congregation you wouldn’t recognize! That’s certainly what I see in all the speculating on motives by people who weren’t there.
    At the Biblical Recorder I’m operating on the basis of taking people at face value, trusting that what they say is what they mean. I’ll get burned, I’m sure at some point, but that’s the basis I’m going to operate under. The New Baptist Covenant was not any of the negative things you speculated about. Whether or not Southern Baptists as a convention were there is irrelevant to its importance as a voice lifted up to say, “Let’s be about the business that Jesus expressed the most concern about.” That’s all. Because of the size of the event, speakers and experts could be attracted that a local or regional meeting cannot bring in. If some people left before the closing bell it’s because they had been there for two-three days involved in their denominational meetings before the NBC even started. I’m also avoiding using labels on people because labeling people discounts their opinions and prompts them simply to be shelved. And those who disagree might be missing the opportunity to gain a real insight. For instance, Bill Clinton cautioned us all to listen to those with whom we disagree, because “they might be right.”
    I suspect those who believe the Biblical Recorder has a liberal slant on Baptist life are like those who criticize the NBC without having attended. Do I think the NBC was in important event? Yes. I covered it as did news outlets from all over the country and even other countries. Many people have expressed appreciation for the coverage not because we somehow validated the event because we covered it, but because we carried news and insights about what platform and special interest session people had to say to us. Our coverage provided valuable insights they can use in life and ministry. I’ll apologize for quoting people who don’t always bow toward Nashville when you tell me every author in your library is a Southern Baptist seminary graduate!
    New topic. I hope your church is among the 750 who have already committed to conducting an Operation Inasmuch event in your community April 19. That is going to be a great day in North Carolina Baptist life.

  4. volfan007 says:

    norman,

    i didnt attend the nbcc….nor did i want to. i knew what it’d be. and, sadly, i’ve read enough to make me glad that i did not attend. it was liberal hogwash from many of the speakers. from jimmy “jews dont need to be saved” carter to john “bible believers are narrow minded bigots” grisham to al “it’s getting warm in here” gore to bill “homosexuals should be welcome and included in the baptist family” clinton. how can you honestly say that it wasnt a very liberal meeting?

    david

    btw, did bill clinton ask you for any cigars?

  5. Dave Miller says:

    Why are we devoting time to the NBCC? John said “they went out from us because they were not of us.” No one who understands SBC life and wants to be a part of it will want to be a part of the NBC. It is just not who we are.

    If anyone joins the NBC they were not really part of the SBC. That is a vision so different from that of the conservatives of the SBC, even those like myself who would like to see some reform.

    As Gamaliel told the Sanhedrin – dont’ worry about it. If it is of God, you shouldn’t oppose it. If it is not, it will fail.

    This one – its pretty clear to me.

  6. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Norman,

    Good to see that you have kept up with my blog. Your concern for my conjecture is amazing seeing that I quoted an independent news agency. While I did not personally attend, I certainly can read. The transcripts of the speeches are made available. Allow me to address your seemingly disagreements with my post.

    First, feel free to associate my members. I believe you will find that once my members find out the Biblical Recorder actively promoted and covered this event they will make certain that the Biblical Recorder is one item that will be negatively designated. However, not to worry, I will stand firm that we do not need to do such a thing.

    Second, you said; “The New Baptist Covenant was not any of the negative things you speculated about.” Well let us look no farther than one of the first guest speakers. A great novelist he is, but it does appear to be negative against NC Baptist that believe the Bible is true when he satirically says, ““In the Baptist church of my youth we were taught that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant Word of God — every word is divinely inspired and it is to be read literally,” Grisham said. “It just dropped out of heaven. Five thousand years ago God made the earth in six days, 144 hours. Then He rested on the Sabbath, which is really on Saturday but we’re not going to start that debate. Methuselah lived to be a [thousand], and when Paul wrote that women should be submissive, that was the literal interpretation. You may say that it is not a back-handed smack down. However, Mr. Grisham said that churches that held to these beliefs were intollerant and harmful to the cause of Christ. I believe you would have to agree that would be something that is negative. What about when President Clinton imposed his shameless attack on the late Dr. Adrian Rogers by presenting again the lie that President Carter manifested against Dr. Rogers when he visited the Oval Office. Dr. Rogers met with President Carter to straighten that lie out before his death. Yet President Carter included it in his book and when confronted with the truth, he agreed not to publish it in new runs. But President Clinton did not see a need to say anything about that. But that seems to get a pass from the Baptist media even when he castigated Dr. Ed Young as to some statement he supposedly made, trying to make anyone that believes the literal miracles of the Bible took place to be some buffoon.

    As to the attendance. Let me see how the Biblical Recorder reported the attendance numbers. According to the BR Feb., 4 coverage as reported by Marv Knox here are the words; “Fifteen thousand participants in the New Baptist Covenant convocation arrived in Atlanta Jan. 30 seeking unity in Christ and departed Feb. 1 wondering where their quest will lead.” So, according to this report 15,000 were at the opening meeting and all 15,000 stayed through the end. Classic coverage of an event that everyone knows those convention meeting in joint session were only for Wednesday evening.

    As to the Biblical Recorder’s liberal slant. Please show me where I have said that or even insinuated it has a liberal slant. As to your decision to cover the event, that is something you need to answer to your Board of Trustees. You will never hear me address you in that way. However, you must admit that coverage of the New Baptist Covenant receiving more stories and broader coverage than the Ex.Com. meeting does seem a little overkill for NC Baptist.

    As to the issue that may have caused you to say “Mercy Tim” let me once again state it clearly. Place before the messengers at the BSC this November whether we want to partner with this New Baptist Covenant and I believe your tune will change.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  7. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother Dave Miller,

    I believe if you will look at the committees you will find names of people that want to retain ties to the BSCNC which has definetly spoken in the past elections that we are a part of the SBC.

    That is what Brother Norman is in a lather over, I have exposed these connections.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  8. Tim,

    You haven’t exposed anything. Expose implies that said information was a secret. I don’t see any secrets being exposed.

    I’m curious to know if you’re going to the John 3:16 conference. I notice it costs $115! The NBC was FREE and the Al Gore meal cost $35 (the price the World Congress Center charged). What do you get with your $115? Two meals! Conferences cost money. And food at conferences ain’t cheap.

    Come on, your remarks about the Al Gore luncheon being pricey show just how petty this post truly is….

    And David Volfan,

    Cigars? That’s a gutter comment. You should be ashamed. Pretty dirty humor for a preacherman, you sick @#$%

  9. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    I have not decided about the John 3:16 conference yet. However, if I do decide to go, I will gladly pay the $115 conference fee. I will have no concern at all as to the amount, or guilt about paying the amount. Why? Because the John 3:16 conference is not billing itself as a conference to come together in order to feed the poor. The NBC held firmly and yelled loudly that one of the planks of their platform was to feed the poor. They then have a meal and charge $35 a head to hear the inventor of the internet speak. I wonder how many in that room would consider him/herself poor?

    As to your concern about my petty post. I imagine Robert Parham’s back handed smack down of the Wall Street Journal’s reporter was proper and above board.

    As to your concern that I have not exposed anything. What do you think the good people of North Carolina would have done if they had known that Mrs. Fulbright was on the Communications Committee when the listening session were going on? I can tell you, there would have never been any need for the information sessions had this information been available.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  10. volfan007 says:

    big daddy,

    just what did you mean by the “sick @#$%?” are you trying to call me something dirty? you bad boy.

    david :)

  11. I don’t know, Tim.

    I do know that during the Grisham speech, I sat a seat down from Mrs. Fulbright’s daughter who is regarded as one of the best and most promising up-and-coming pulpiteers in young Baptist life.

    I hope I didn’t expose anything there!

  12. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    No you have not exposed that Mrs. Fulbright does not believe the Scripture when it comes to qualification for the role of Pastor we all know that. What surprises me is that Mrs. Fulbright, while being ordained, does not use the title Rev. I wonder why? Do not know but she is a very articulate and likable person. I have enjoyed conversation with her and she is very nice to be around. However, that is not what this is all about. It seems that is the part that is so hard for me. We certainly do have many nice people.

    Blessings,
    Tim

  13. No, let me clear something up. I think you misread what I wrote.

    To my knowledge, Ruby Fulbright is not ordained. Her daughter is an ordained minister who lives in Austin, belongs to FBC Austin and graduated I believe from the Presbyterian Seminary in Austin. She is best friends with my girlfriend.

  14. Tim Rogers says:

    Brother BDW,

    Are you telling me that Mrs. Ruby Fulbright is not ordained?

    Blessings,
    Tim

  15. I’m telling you that Amelia Fulbright, Ruby’s daughter is an ordained minister.

    Ruby Fulbright was a long-time missionary turned WMU leader. Never a pastor and never ordained.

  16. Scott says:

    Excellent treatment. This is one of the few honest discussions about the political connections involved. I predicted this before the meeting (see my post at: http://throughtheveil.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/a-new-baptist-covenant%e2%80%99/)

    You pointed out about the independent view:

    I, for one, have always stated this celebration was not about getting Baptist together for expanding the kingdom as much as it was for getting them together to expand the Democratic party base. As Naomi Schaefer Riley stated:

    The New Baptist Covenant is officially apolitical. But with Mr. Gore and former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on the roster of speakers at a meeting jammed last week between the Florida primary and Super Tuesday, one might be forgiven for doubting this claim.and have been quietly waiting and observing without any hope that others would see it as well.

    Let’s not be swayed by the “religion of politics” cloaked in the “politics of religion.”