New Mainstream leader unafraid to take a stand
May 10 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

New Mainstream leader unafraid to take a stand | Friday, May 10, 2002

Friday, May 10, 2002

New Mainstream leader unafraid to take a stand

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

The new head of Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina (MBNC) believes that more than 500 N.C. Baptist churches share the organization's views.

Colon S. Jackson Jr., a retired Navy chaplain, was elected director of MBNC by the group's steering committee April 13 in a meeting at First Baptist Church in Greensboro.

MBNC, often seen as a moderate political organization, has a few conservative members serving on its steering committee.

Jackson said the group will back a candidate for the Baptist State Convention (BSC) second vice presidency but will not challenge incumbents in the other two top BSC offices. Larry Harper, a moderate, will finish his second one-year term as second vice president in November and is not eligible for re-election.

BSC President Jerry Pereira and First Vice President Bob Foy, both conservatives, are eligible for second terms.

Conservatives have controlled at least two of the top three BSC offices for five of the last six years.

Some moderates say they fear the BSC will be taken over by fundamentalists. Some conservatives say they fear liberal influences will take hold in N.C. Baptists pulpits.

Jackson said he wants to "educate churches" about the "potential dangers" of a takeover of the BSC.

"I'm not going to try to do battle with fundamentalists," he said. "I will point out what I see as flaws in fundamentalism."

Jackson, who served two tours in Vietnam, hopes to help churches see the consequences of losing control of the BSC.

"I know what it's like to be on the front lines," he said. "I'm not going to surrender the convention."

Jackson said he is worried that some strong moderate churches may be giving up in the struggle for control of the BSC. He said BSC institutions should stay autonomous.

"Let's continue the effort," he said. "Let's not give in."

Jackson said some churches may want to concentrate only on their own ministry efforts. He said he is not against churches ministering in their communities.

"I also believe we can do better if we cooperate," he said.

Jackson said he is unafraid to make strong statements.

"I'm a tough guy, but I'm not a bad guy," he said.

Jackson said his adrenaline flows when he is involved in a cause.

"I know I've got an uphill battle, but uphill battles have never frightened me before," he said.

Jackson, who is a trustee and an adjunct professor at Campbell University, said he considers himself a "traditional Baptist." He said he believes in the inspiration of Scripture, priesthood of believers, autonomy of the church and the freedom of every believer to live his or her life under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

"We're going to hold to those principles," he said.

Jackson said he wants to bring churches together.

"My purpose it to try to unite people under the name of Jesus Christ," he said. "My conviction is there's strength in diversity."

Jackson said he is willing to meet with conservative leaders and with leaders of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina.

"Why can't we unite?" he said. "Why can't we work together?"

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5/10/2002 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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