Conservative group criticizes Recorder
October 26 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Conservative group criticizes Recorder | Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

Friday, Oct. 26, 2001

Conservative group criticizes Recorder

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor A conservative advocacy group is criticizing the Biblical Recorder's coverage of the group's Fayetteville meeting on Sept. 20 in which the speaker called for a conservative "takeover" of the Baptist State Convention (BSC). An article in Conservative Carolina Baptist's (CCB) newsletter appears designed to distance the group from comments by the speaker, Clarence Johnson, while not disavowing the remarks.

CCB leaders "know of no group or organization of conservatives whose leaders have voted to 'take over'" the BSC, according to the article. Johnson has "every right" to try to influence the direction of the BSC, it said.

"His words expose the frustration of many North Carolina Baptists who feel totally excluded from the leadership process," the article said. "Wise leaders will see that and respond compassionately before their sparks produce a flame that consumes everyone."

The article said the Recorder "has been filled with rhetoric" after the report about Johnson's comments.

"Can you find where the Biblical Recorder contacted one conservative in this state to ask if Mr. Johnson's words were his own or part of a larger movement?" the article asked. "We know of no conservative who has been contacted by the Recorder for clarification on the matter. Certainly none have been quoted. But, the Recorder contacted many others for their perspective regarding Mr. Johnson's comments."

Recorder Editor Tony W. Cartledge said there was no need to call CCB officials about comments made by a member of the CCB Executive Committee, selected by CCB to travel around the state speaking at CCB-sponsored meetings.

"We didn't call other members of Mainstream North Carolina Baptists to comment on Mainstream meetings we recently covered," Cartledge said. "Our coverage of the CCB-sponsored luncheon was exactly like dozens of other meetings we cover each year. The people we called for comment were responding to specific remarks made at the meeting, and two of them clearly identify themselves as conservatives."

Cartledge said he contacted two CCB officers regarding potential conservative candidates for the first and second vice-president's positions. One did not reply, the other said he had no information.

The CCB article called the Recorder's coverage "highly hypocritical."

"While some Baptists tout the matter of the priesthood of every believer, others take the words of one believer and apply them to everyone," the article said. "Are we seeing a new definition of this Baptist distinctive or are we just looking at raw politics?"

Cartledge said quoting a person's public comments has no relation to the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer.

"We did not suggest that Johnson has no right to interpret or promote his understanding of Baptist life," Cartledge said. "We simply reported Johnson's remarks, which were echoed by two pastors at the meeting, including one who serves as a CCB regional director."

The CCB said the Recorder needs to expose the "real takeover" of the BSC by moderates. "Do moderates dominate the General Board, the institutions, the Biblical Recorder Board and our committees?" the article asked. "Without question, the answer is 'Yes.'"

Cartledge said members of the Recorder board and other boards are selected by the BSC Nominating Committee and voted on by messengers to the BSC annual meetings.

"Like other agencies and institutions, we try to be fair in our suggestions for potential board members to support our mission, just as we try to be fair, objective and accurate in our reporting," he said.

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10/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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