Virginia Baptists Committed Newsletter

Vol. 9, No. 1, Fall 2007

Contact VBC newsletter editor Robert O’Brien at rjo1965(at)gmail(dot)com.

Click here to download a PDF version of this newsletter.

VBC Nominates Three Virginia Baptists for BGAV Offices

By Robert O’Brien

Virginia Baptists Committed members unanimously voted at the VBC fall meeting for a pastor and two prominent lay Baptist leaders as a slate of candidates to be nominated for statewide offices at the Baptist General Association of Virginia annual meeting, Nov. 13-14, 2007, in Richmond.

lewis.jpgJoseph T. Lewis, current BGAV 1st vice president, to succeed Boyce Brannock, an attorney from Waynesboro, as president. Lewis, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Petersburg since 1996, has served widely on BGAV and associational boards and committees. He was also pastor of Fountain Creek Baptist Church, Emporia, associate minister at Ginter Park Baptist Church, Richmond, and coordinator of Appalachian Ministries, Williamsburg, KY.

bloomer.jpgWilliam “Jeff” Bloomer of Culpeper Baptist Church to succeed Lewis as 1st vice president. A professional educator and administrator for more than 40 years in Virginia’s public schools and colleges, Bloomer has served as a deacon in five churches, deacon chairman in three churches, and in many other local church leadership positions. He has served as moderator of the Shiloh Association and as its representative to the Virginia Baptist Mission Board. He has chaired three VBMB committees and served on its executive committee and budget committee.

bloxom.jpgPatricia K. Bloxom of Mappsville Baptist Church to succeed current 2nd vice president Steve Pollard, pastor of Abingdon Baptist Church. Bloxom, a retired home health care and public health nurse, is a board member of the Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies, past chairman of the Eastern Shore Community Service Board, past president of Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia, past chairman of the BGAV’s Religious Liberty Committee, past WMU director for the Accomack Association, and a former BSU summer missionary. She has served in many other denominational and church leadership roles.

The VBC nominating process reflects:

(1) candidates who support the BGAV and its Kingdom Advance vision;

(2) the BGAV custom of alternating presidential nominations between qualified clergy and laity;

(3) the practice in recent years of nominating a successfully serving first vice president to succeed the president; and

(4) nomination of candidates who support such core Baptist values as priesthood of the believer, autonomy of the local church, soul freedom and religious liberty.

‘Politically Correct’ Baptists

gourley1.jpg By Bruce T. Gourley

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some Baptists have totally missed the point about the purpose of the New Baptist Covenant Celebration, Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, in Atlanta. They balk at meeting with other Baptist Christians because they can’t agree with them politically or theologically. Bruce Gourley of the Center for Baptist Studies puts the issue in perspective. Read about the Celebration below, and at the Celebration website You may also register for this historic celebration at the website. It is expected to draw 20,000 Baptists from some 40 Baptist organizations representing 20 million Baptists in North America.

Imagine that your local church invited a wide spectrum of well-known Baptists to speak at a conference on biblical Christianity taking the love of Jesus to the neediest people in our world, just as Jesus did when he walked the earth. The Baptists invited represented the theological spectrum of Baptists, some of which, in addition to well-known Christians, were politicians, Republicans as well as Democrats.

Now imagine that some of the Baptists you invited decided that it would hurt their image to speak at a conference on biblical Christianity. Why would it hurt their image? Because they would, horror of horrors, share the stage with fellow Baptists who happen to belong to the opposing American political party! And so, placing secular politics before the Gospel of Jesus Christ, some prominent Baptists turned down the invitation, while others backed out after having initially said they would participate.

And as if this were not bad enough, now imagine that after the politically correct Baptists shunned your church’s conference on biblical Christianity, some who shared their political ideologies attacked your church for hosting a conference on biblical Christianity that failed to represent the spectrum of Baptist life.

If this sounds too ludicrous to be true, think again. Leading Baptists in America liberal, moderate and conservative, Republican and Democrat were invited to speak at the upcoming New Baptist Covenant meeting on biblical Christianity. The Baptists who happen to be Democrats, and were invited to speak, agreed to do so. But some Baptists who are also Republicans declined right away, refusing to stand on the same platform as Baptists who are also Democrats. Another Baptist, a very prominent Republican, initially agreed to speak, then changed his mind, declaring he would not speak alongside Baptists who happen to be Democrats. After those invited Republicans declined or backed out, many among the larger Baptist public who are also Republicans, began criticizing the New Baptist Covenant meeting as a political event, and continue to do so.

I am not kidding. There are some Baptists whose identity is so tied to a certain political party that they refuse the opportunity to give witness to biblical Christianity, because in so doing they would be associated with Baptists who happen to be members of a different political party. Such shameful behavior places politics before faith.

Yet the political correctness works both ways. Some theologically moderate Baptists, some of whom may also be Democrats, are criticizing the New Baptist Covenant for not including the most liberal Baptists on the speakers’ stage.

Despite the political correctness and captivity of some Baptists, the upcoming New Baptist Covenant Celebration ( may well be the most diverse gathering of Baptists in America since the Triennial Convention meetings of the early 19th century, drawing from a wide variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds throughout America.

How marvelous and wonderful it would be for the most liberal and most fundamentalist of Baptists to be able to join hands in preaching the Gospel! Yet, sadly, this is not going to happen anytime soon. But at the least, at the very least, those from the broad middle of Baptist life, all but the most fundamentalist and most liberal, should be able to set aside their political and ideological differences to come together in witness to the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a world that desperately needs the love of God.

Do I hear an Amen?

Reprinted from the September 2007 issue of the Baptist Studies Bulletin with permission.


One of the sessions at the New Baptist Covenant Celebration will explore this topic: “Religious Pluralism is growing in communities and countries. What do we need to understand about basic beliefs of other faith groups? How can we relate to and be neighbors with persons of other faiths while still holding firm to our basic belief in the redeeming power of Jesus Christ?” Let’s hope that recalcitrant Baptists of all political and theological stripes will attend the Celebration and also learn how to get along with each other. Unity and mutual understanding begin at home.

-Robert O’Brien

Virginia Baptists Support New Baptist Covenant Celebration

norman.jpgby Timothy K. Norman

The New Baptist Covenant Celebration excites me. It represents an unprecedented opportunity for 20,000 Baptists from all over North America, representing some 40 Baptist organizations, to launch a whole new era of cooperation and collaborative ministry.

For a few days in Atlanta, Jan. 30-Feb 1, we will experience what Baptist Christianity could be like every day as we put aside political, theological, racial, and geographical differences and focus on just being “historic Baptists” and on our common interests.

This gathering may very well be the foundation of a new movement of God’s spirit upon His people. It’s worth rearranging personal plans and investing time and resources to be a part of this historic event. Hundreds of Virginia Baptist friends will attend, and Virginia Baptist executive director John Upton has urged us to participate. We’re standing with him and our brothers and sisters in Christ all across the continent.

Timothy K. Norman is VBC co-chair and pastor of Glen Allen Baptist Church.


News of Note …

VBC Breakfast at the BGAV, Nov. 14. See below and this page on our website.

Virginia Baptists Committed Spring Meeting, Thursday, April 17, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Madison Heights Baptist Church. Call the church at 434-846-5914 or email to register for lunch at a modest price.

For the latest news and announcements by email, register to receive new posts via email. At the top right hand corner of this webpage, a box says: “If you want to receive new posts via email…Enter your email address.” Follow the directions. You will receive email confirmation that will activate your email subscription. Afterwards, anytime a new article is posted on the VBC website, you will receive it via email.

deweese1.jpgCharles Deweese, executive director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society, and member of the Mainstream Baptist Network Hall of Fame, suffers from lymphoma in the abdomen and pelvic regions. Charles asks for prayer that God will “keep me focused on healing, hope, and wholeness. I have a career to finish, grandchildren to love, and a wife to take on trips.” The BH&HS recently relocated to Atlanta, Ga. Read more about it at

Kent Parks, a former Virginia Baptist and 20-year veteran of Baptist missions in Southeast Asia, has become international director of Missions for Unreached Peoples. Kent and Erika will set up a Dallas office for the expanding interdenominational agency. Read more about it on this page of our website.

Virginia Baptists Committed BGAV Breakfast Meeting

November 14, 2007, 7:00 AM
Marriott Richmond, 500 East Broad Street
Guest Speaker: Dr. Jimmy Allen
Former SBC President; Program Chair for New Baptist Covenant Celebration


Scrambled Eggs, Country Sausage, Pan-fried Potatoes, Seasonal Fruit
With an assortment of fresh pastries, orange juice, regular and decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas

$20.00 / person