Comment aside, Page to still run for presidency
August 17 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Comment aside, Page to still run for presidency | Friday, Aug. 17, 2001

Friday, Aug. 17, 2001

Comment aside, Page to still run for presidency

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor Charles Page remains a candidate for president of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) despite a comment in June about possibly withdrawing.

Page, who is pastor of First Baptist Church, Charlotte, told the steering committee of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina that he would step aside if a "strong layperson wished to run," according to a paraphrased statement in a June 19 news release from Mainstream. On July 10, Raymond Earp, a layperson from Beaufort and three-year president of N.C. Baptist Men, announced his candidacy for BSC president.

When first asked about the comment in an Aug. 15 interview, Page said he didn't say he would step aside and that he must not have carefully read the news release that Mainstream asked him to check for accuracy. Page called the Biblical Recorder office the next day, though, to say a fellow church staff member attending the Mainstream interview told him he did, in fact, make the comment.

"I made a mistake yesterday," Page said.

He said he didn't intend to make a blanket statement. First Church, Charlotte, has had three lay members - Allen Bailey, Henderson Belk and Bill Poe - serve as officers of the BSC. Page said if someone like them wanted to run, he would meet with the person and see if they had the same desires for the BSC, like bridge building. After that conversation, he said he would have no problem with stepping aside.

Page said he hasn't talked with Earp and doesn't know if he will. "Hopefully that will take place in time," Page said.

"The bottom line is I don't feel any strong feeling about withdrawing at this point in time," Page said.

Earp said he was unaware of Page's comment about possibly stepping aside when he announced his candidacy, and Earp said he would be glad to meet with Page.

In a Biblical Recorder article published July 28, Earp said he wants to lead N.C. Baptists to focus on missions rather than divisive theological issues.

Page said he has tried to stay out of denominational politics by focusing on serving as pastor and on being faithful. He wouldn't have run if Mark Corts hadn't called him to encourage his candidacy, Page said, noting that Corts is someone he respects. "The truth of the matter is I will serve the best I know how, but I'm not a bit interested in it."

Corts is the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem and a leader for conservatives in North Carolina. Page's candidacy was announced at a meeting sponsored by Carolina Conservative Baptists (CCB). In the Mainstream news release, Page is quoted as saying he agrees with much of what CCB supports but is not a member of the group.

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8/17/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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