Chapman voices concern over NOBTS trustee meeting tone

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman expressed sadness and concern over the content and tenor of remarks by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley and trustees during their April 14 meeting in New Orleans.

“The substance is incorrect and considering that it was a trustee meeting of a Southern Baptist seminary, the spirit was extremely surprising,” Chapman said in a statement to Baptist Press.

“The unwarranted and unjustified characterizations that cast aspersions upon the integrity and credibility of the SBC Executive Committee is a sad day for Southern Baptists, one of the saddest since I have been at the Executive Committee,” Chapman continued. “I am grieved for Southern Baptists and the Executive Committee and earnestly pray there will be no escalation of the spirit of confrontation evident in the New Orleans seminary trustee meeting.

“The Executive Committee and its staff have endeavored for seven long years to get the New Orleans board to engage this process,” Chapman stated. “We have spent time, energy and money in an effort to help the seminary do what every other entity did years ago in acting to preserve the polity and the interests of the Southern Baptist Convention. We have demonstrated that the suspicions raised against ‘sole membership’ (that it violates Baptist polity, or will not work under Louisiana law, or that it conveys power to the Executive Committee) to be absolutely false. We have done so in a spirit of openness. The seminary trustees have received Executive Committee documents that support the concept of sole membership, but they have been unwilling to respond in kind.”

Chapman voiced appreciation that Kelley “has stated that the seminary would name the SBC as the sole member once the Convention in its annual meeting has adopted a motion requesting it. The Executive Committee is grateful for this pledge and looks forward to a decision by the Southern Baptist Convention as early as possible in order that Southern Baptists will not be distracted from fulfilling the Great Commission to the ends of the earth.”