Roxboro church withdraws from Beulah Association
November 9 2001 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

Roxboro church withdraws from Beulah Association | Friday, Nov 9, 2001

Friday, Nov 9, 2001

Roxboro church withdraws from Beulah Association

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor ROXBORO - Lamberth Memorial Baptist Church in Roxboro voted to withdraw from the Beulah Baptist Association shortly after a surprise motion to align the association more closely with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) narrowly failed during its Oct. 15-16 annual meeting. The church has faced criticism within the association because it supports the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF), and because pastor Jeff Raymond's wife, LeJeanna, is ordained and serves as associate pastor.

John Heskett, pastor of Ca-Vel Baptist Church in Roxboro, presented a motion calling for the association to amend its constitution so that the statement "The churches shall be cooperating missionary Baptist churches in faith and practice" would be changed to read "Southern Baptist" instead of "missionary Baptist." It also would have added a section stating, "The Association affirms the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God and it is the sole authority for faith and practice," and adopting the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as the doctrinal statement of the association.

In a vote taken on Oct. 16 at Roxboro Baptist Church, messengers favored the motion by a margin of 78 to 41, just two votes short of the two-thirds required to change the constitution.

Heskett said associations have historically adopted confessions of faith, and he thought it would be appropriate for the Beulah association to have a doctrinal guideline. The statement about the Bible being inerrant and authoritative was included to make it clear that the Bible, not the confession of faith, is the final authority for believers, he said.

Heskett said clearer identification with the SBC would be a good move for the association. "I don't see how a state convention or association can be dually aligned," he said.

Prior to the annual meeting, Heskett's wife, Lorene, had mailed a package of information critical of the CBF to all pastors in the association. Heskett said she had been asked by the association's WMU Executive Council to talk about differences between the SBC and the CBF at a WMU leadership conference on Aug. 15. Support for her comments was overwhelming, she said. After several pastors asked for copies and invited her to speak in their churches, she decided to send a copy of her presentation to all pastors in the association. The mailing included articles from Baptist Press, a copy of the program from the 2001 Baptist Women in Ministry worship service held prior to the national CBF meeting, and information for ordering materials cited in Heskett's speech.

"As I studied the material, in my conscience before God, I could not be silent," Heskett said.

Raymond, pastor of Lamberth Memorial, said the decision to withdraw had been discussed for some time. Church members had decided to wait until after the association's annual meeting to make a decision, he said. In a church conference shortly after the association meeting, the church voted to withdraw, with only one dissenting vote. That person "preferred to be kicked out than to withdraw," Raymond said.

"When we pulled out it was not a vote against the Beulah Association," Raymond said, "but an acknowledgment that the association has moved away from what we believe are traditional Baptist values.

"Our presence was hindering the association because other churches were concerning themselves with us. By withdrawing, it frees us up to do what we want to do, and it frees the association to do what it wants to do."

Raymond acknowledged that the decision was difficult because of Lamberth Memorial's close ties with other churches in the association. "There were a lot of tears," he said, "but we felt God leading us to do what we did."

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11/9/2001 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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