New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, whose president Dr. Chuck Kelley, found herself some years back in opposition with the Executive Committee’s organizational interpretation. The reason for such opposition was the interpretation of polity in the SBC. Each entity is autonomous and as such make their own decisions. Add to that legal matters and the involvement of lawyers interpretations of various state laws and you have a recipe for separation plain and simple. However, we did not separate. This matter was resolved the Southern Baptist way. At the annual meting the Executive Committee presented its argument and NOBTS, through Dr. Kelley, presented its argument. Dr. Kelley asked the convention to allow him to present an alternative plan and at the following convention a plan was presented by NOBTS. After these debates New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary’s trustees voted on sole membership as the convention directed.
When the NOBTS trustees were gathering information concerning their position Dr. Kelley was asked to give them historical information. The historical background for NOBTS’s position was placed in a paper that clearly defines the polity that we as Southern Baptist operate within. The Baptist Way: A Personal Perspective is the paper presented to the trustees for their consideration. It is a fifteen page document that contains an excellent review of Southern Baptist history concerning the doctrine of autonomy. One thing Dr. Kelley says that rings loud concerns the Priesthood of Believers. Dr. Kelley laments the brevity of the paper concerning the omission of this important doctrine.
Enjoy the paper, it certainly is something worthy of all Southern Baptists attention.