CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ABP) – The editor of North Carolina Baptists’ newspaper has agreed to resign his post to prevent a threatened motion to defund the publication from being made at the upcoming Baptist State Convention of North Carolina annual meeting.

Norman Jameson offered to resign his post at the Biblical Recorder prior to a regularly scheduled board meeting in Charlotte Oct. 21. Board members expected their meeting to include discussion about an announced challenge to the newspaper’s funding through the state convention when the organization holds its annual meeting Nov. 8-10.

Jameson, editor of the Recorder for just over three years, called his resignation “not required, but necessary.”

“Nobody asked me to resign,” Jameson said in a telephone interview Oct. 22. “Nobody threatened to fire me.”

Sandy Beck, director of missions in the Hendersonville-based Carolina Baptist Association, recently wrote convention leaders warning that if Jameson were not removed as editor, there would be a motion from the floor of the convention to amend the Cooperative Program unified budget to defund the Recorder.

“It seems that Mr. Jameson does not know the mindset of this predominantly biblically conservative state,” Beck wrote. “Enough is enough. If his board of directors cannot influence his lack of sensitivity, perhaps the conservative pastors and laity of this state can.”

Cooperative Program funding accounts for about 45 percent of the Biblical Recorder’s $726,500 budget in 2010.

Jameson, a Baptist journalist since 1977, said he was confident until just hours before his board meeting that the Recorder would survive such a challenge if it were to materialize. But with no such confidence expressed by the board, he offered to resign.

“It was necessary because I came to the conclusion eventually that the threat to the Recorder was real, and in the grand scheme of things I’m a pretty small fish,” he said.

Jameson, 56, has been criticized recently for continuing to cover North Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union, which is no longer recognized by the state convention but still is active in most of the convention’s churches. The paper has also continued to include stories about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a moderate breakaway group that was included in one of the state convention’s multiple budget options before they were eliminated in favor of a single plan that excluded CBF, but kept giving to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Bill Flowe, chairman of the Recorder’s board of directors, affirmed Jameson’s “many positive personal qualities and his excellent work for and dedication to the Biblical Recorder and to North Carolina Baptists.”

“The editor’s job is not only to report but also to challenge readers to think in ways they otherwise might not think,” said Flowe, a lawyer and member of First Baptist Church in Liberty, N.C.  “This duty makes the job precarious. The perception that Mr. Jameson is not a good fit as editor with the current direction of the convention resulted in the painful decision to make a change.”

News of Jameson’s resignation spread as directors and friends of Associated Baptist Press celebrated the 20th anniversary of the independent news service’s founding in reaction to censorship concerns related to the Southern Baptist Convention’s official news service, Baptist Press.

Meeting Oct. 22 in Nashville, Tenn., ABP directors unanimously went on record noting sadness about Jameson’s resignation and affirming his professionalism as a journalist.

“We believe the health and vitality of the Baptist movement and the integrity of the Baptist witness are best served by a free and unfettered flow of information,” the statement said in part. “As champions of truth and freedom, Baptists must be ever vigilant to guard the role of a free and unfettered press as an essential corollary to our historic Baptist principles of religious liberty, freedom of conscience and priesthood of the believer.”

ABP directors said Jameson’s ministry “has been marked by the utmost integrity and the highest standards of journalistic excellence” and pledged admiration and support for him and his family as he seeks new employment.

Jameson said the paper’s directors asked him to work through the end of the December and “were kind” in their severance offer.

“There is no animosity in my heart and no anger toward any person,” he said. “The meeting ended on a very positive note. The board members seemed genuinely appreciative of my work and of me as a person. It just felt that I was not part of the tribe.”

Jameson worked as executive leader for public relations for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina before moving to the editorship of the Biblical Recorder in August 2007. He succeeded Tony Cartledge, 55, who resigned to become a professor at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, N.C.

Cartledge cited discord in the state convention and threats to the paper’s independence as factors in his departure. In 2006 North Carolina Baptists defeated a bylaw change that would have given convention-related institutions such as the Biblical Recorder more influence over the appointment of trustees and directors.

Raised in a small Wisconsin farming community, Jameson graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University and worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph before being named feature editor of Baptist Press in 1977.

He entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982, where he finished his degree while working as associate editor of the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger. He then became communications director for Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina in 1987, a position he held for 12 years.

Jameson and his wife, Sue Ellen, have three adult children and are members of Hayes Barton Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.


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is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

Full text of statement from Associated Baptist Press follows.

The Board of Directors of Associated Baptist Press, at its semi-annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 22, adopted the following statement:

We are dismayed to learn of the resignation of Norman Jameson as editor of the Biblical Recorder of North Carolina, one of Baptists’ historic and most respected newspapers.

Ironically, this news came to us on the same day that the Board of Directors gathered with other friends of ABP to honor those Baptist state paper editors and founding board members who stepped forward 20 years ago to establish and lead ABP as a free and autonomous news service for Baptists and other Christians worldwide.

We believe the health and vitality of the Baptist movement and the integrity of the Baptist witness are best served by a free and unfettered flow of information.  As champions of truth and freedom, Baptists must be ever vigilant to guard the role of a free and unfettered press as an essential corollary to our historic Baptist principles of religious liberty, freedom of conscience and priesthood of the believer.

Norman Jameson’s ministry among Baptists has been marked by the utmost integrity and the highest standards of journalistic excellence.  We are grateful for Norman’s principled leadership of the Biblical Recorder, his commitment to providing accurate and reliable information to North Carolina Baptists, and his fair-minded and insightful editorials on matters of faith and current issues.

For Norman, serving as editor of the Biblical Recorder was the fulfillment of a dream and a glad response to the calling of God.  Now, at this unfortunate and unanticipated juncture in their lives, we wish to assure Norman and his wife Sue Ellen of our prayers, our admiration and our continued support as they prayerfully contemplate a new direction in life and ministry.


What an Awful Nasty Deed is done in NC!
written by Gene,
October 23, 2010

On the way to look at a Tree Surgery job in Durham on Thursday, I called the Biblical Recorder to see if Norman was in. I was told he was at the Board Meeting in Charlotte. Until this morning I had no clue what was taking place.

I note the Board Member / Lawyer is from “Liberty, NC.” What a misnomer for a man trying to be sure the liberty of our Editor and state paper has a limit! When the current leaders in this state speak of “widening the tent,” they obviously have a steel plate for the center wall and are extending the right side of the tent to please SEBTS and the Conservative Resurgence movement here.

A few weeks ago Norman did a great article on M.O. Owens, he has been kindly quoted and noted on the SBC-run blogs as well. What could be such a problem that a man taking no sides and making sure to recognize the realities of a state taken over, would not be good enough not to get the threat of de funding if he didn’t leave???? (aren’t they sweet)

The same was done to the DOM of the N. Roanoke Association. He was a former missionary to Brazil / suffered terribly at the hands of the fundies in his former Association / thought he had found another haven of rest and ministry here / but the fundy pastor who wanted the position and didn’t get it worked tirelessly to make his life miserable.

What is it with this SBC change?

When is enough enough?

I hope the next Editor (poor soul that he be) gets a clear list of tails he must kiss and plenty of practice before he assumes a post obviously under intended total control by the current leadership. Maybe a clothes pen for his nose is an essential piece of office equipment.

For me, “job well and intelligently done” is nowhere near enough the right thing to say. “Sorry” is never enough to console one ripped from a job he obviously loved. I have been there = molested by the same evil and mean spirited people. It hurt, but God has always provided!

Norman deserves our every pray for peace. Right now, the gulls ae waking on the Pamlico River. They sound like mourning over mistreatment of a good and wise man to me. The “mourning” doves will resume this day of sorrow later as they come to feed on my sunflower seed.

written by ConcernedAmerican,
October 23, 2010

Bruce says: Objective journalists do not write what they are told to write

reply: Very true. Objectivity is the job of the journalist and the historian. Also objective journalists does not equal moderate/liberal journalism. Moderates or not any more objective than the conservative journalists.

Bruce says: while fundamentalists do not tolerate those who exercise objectivity.

reply: Which fundamentalist? Those like like the guy in Florida burning the Quran or those like Bruce Prescott? I think to often neither side is very tolerant.

written by ConcernedAmerican,
October 23, 2010

Should say in first reply: Also objective journalistism does not equal moderate/liberal journalism. Moderates are not any more objective than conservative journalists.

A further correction – Bruce
written by ConcernedAmerican,
October 24, 2010

I know I should not post late at night. I know late at night for me is not as late as it is for some of you.

“objective journalism” not journalistism whatever that may be.

written by ConcernedAmerican,
October 25, 2010

Slick says: Suppression of the complete truth smacks of the Taliban and Nazi Germany.

reply: I agree with you. All sides need to be given the opportunity to be heard. In reporting a story, the story needs to be told objectively.

slick says: The continued attempts by the radical right to limit what readers are allowed to hear is sickening and little more than an effort to control the minds of others to their position. I cannot beleive that the Lord can be pleased with this.

reply: Slick it is not just the right that does this. Even ABP is guilty of this. When it is your own view that is being done this way it is easy to see but when it is the other view it is not as easliy seen.

slick says: Thankfully ABP still covers multiple aspects of Baptist life to include the radical fundamentalists and thos not nof that stripe.

reply: Not really. What is a “radical fundamentalists?” To often it is simply someone who doesn’t agree with the “moderate/liberal” line. Who is a “mildly fundamentalists” and what would be a mild fundamentalists position?

slick says: Thankfully ABP offers an opportunity for readers to comment with almost no restriction.

reply: I really appreciate this forum. It is a difficult one at times. People will get “salty” sometimes with comments. We all should say thanks to the staff of ABP for this forum.

slick says: Report it all and let me decide. Once again, ultra-radical right wing fuindamentalist are after mind control.

reply: Yes that should be what happens. But it is not that way. Report and leave out adjectives. The writers here don’t do that. Let me decide if they are right wing fundamentalists or left wing fundamentalists. Yes left wing fundmentalists as well. Depends of the definition of fundamentalism being used. There are many left wing fundamentalists.

The right is no more about mind control than the left. This is a matter of perspective.

slick, I appreciate your comments and thoughts. We may not always agree but it can be kept civil.

written by ConcernedAmerican,
October 25, 2010

Hebrews11:13 it would be helpful if you would have someone read over your post before you comment. It is hard to follow your thoughts since your English is so poor.

Example sentence one: I think in times past have reported that between the two of them they have read a total of two books of about 20 on the Fundamentalist takeover of the SBC on the BX 6400 shelf of any decent library.

I should not really call this a sentence. This is so poor. I wonder if it was written by a 3rd grader.

hebrews rambles: Nor page 51 of Diarmand MacCulloch’s Christianity on the History of the Book of Genesis. Saturday I had a conversation with two sons of the threesome, Crapps Flanders and Smith who wrote People of the Covenant that enraged Judge Pressler and he turned it into his advantage for the TExas Regulars and what was left of the White Citizens council morphed into various Ralph Reed and Karl Rove constituencies.

reply: It is hard to comment on this mess. Hebrews did you finish grammar school?

hebrews says: Point being Concerned American and Keach are by reputation illiterate on matters they think they know something about; and when it comes to North Carolina, Jesse Helms and his machine of the 80?s live on and Bill Friday knew what he was talking about when he told Cecil Sherman Helms and Pressler were on the march when they tookoever SEBTS in 87

reply: I don’t think anyone can get your point. This is such a mess. It does appear that you are an angry man. I would be hesitant to call anyone illiterate if I wrote and rambled like you do. Do everyone a favor and quit posting.

To those who post and are of the moderate persuasion, I don’t think hebrews represents you. He is an embarrassment to himself and to himself alone.