Layman to challenge for BSC presidency
July 13 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Layman to challenge for BSC presidency | Friday, July 13, 2001

Friday, July 13, 2001

Layman to challenge for BSC presidency

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor Raymond Earp (pronounced "Arp"), past president of N.C. Baptist Men, announced July 10 that he will be a candidate for president of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) at the annual meeting Nov. 12-14.

Earp will challenge Charles Page, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, for the position. Page's candidacy was announced April 26 at a meeting for "loyal Southern Baptists" organized by Conservative Carolina Baptists.

No other candidates have been announced.

Earp told the Biblical Recorder in an interview July 10 that he does not represent any political group in Baptist life but that a number of friends had encouraged him to run for office because they believed more lay leadership would benefit the BSC. The last layperson to serve as president of the BSC was Charlotte attorney William Poe, who was elected in 1985 and re-elected in 1986.

"I made a commitment that if a door opens for me to serve the Lord, I'll not be the one to shut it," Earp said. "If it's the Lord's will for me to do this job, I'll do the best I can."

Earp, who attended Mars Hill College on a basketball scholarship, is a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church in Beaufort. He and his son own and operate a nursery and landscaping business.

Earp served as president of North Carolina Baptist Men from 1996-99, a position that also put him on the Executive Committee of the BSC's General Board for that period.

He has participated in and led multiple volunteer mission trips over the past 10 years. These include 14 trips to Ukraine and mission efforts in Poland, Haiti, Honduras and South Africa, in addition to disaster relief work in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Earp said his primary goals as president would be to lead N.C. Baptists in working together and to promote wider involvement in hands-on missions.

Though Earp says he prefers the 1963 edition of the Baptist Faith and Message, he said he has no allegiance to any political group, and doesn't want to see theological issues cause division in the BSC.

"The amazing thing is that, when a group of people work together on a mission trip, those things (theological differences) don't come up," he said. "People focus on getting the job done and praising the Lord."

Earp said he would like to bring that same spirit of working together to the BSC, leading N.C. Baptists to focus on missions rather than divisive theological issues. Earp said he has enjoyed success in recruiting others from across the state to participate in mission projects, and in leading teams to work together.

Earp expressed support for the BSC's four giving plans. "I believe every church has the responsibility of deciding which groups they want to support, and should have the freedom to choose," he said.

If elected, Earp said he would work to involve conservative, moderate and non-aligned Baptists, and would also seek to include more laypersons in BSC leadership. "Involving more lay people should be an important aspect of 'shared leadership' in the BSC's future," he said.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
7/13/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
Filed under:

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.