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.