For decades, the Kentucky Baptist Convention had appointed the board of trustees of Georgetown College—all required to be Southern Baptist—and financially supported the small liberal arts school.
But that arrangement recently ceased ...
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If, as Jarrod Lopez says, Georgetown College is currently affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, that could be the (or at least a) sticking point. This would indicate a departure from Biblical truth.
The question of this discussion is: "What Happens When Schools Cut Denominational Ties?"
This is not a bad transition to consider from a doctrinal aspect and that of theology as well. I'm sure there are a number of denominations that have argued "Why?" But let's look at it from a biblical point.
First of all, to lay aside denominational traditions and creeds in favor of sound Bible teaching makes a lot of spiritual sense. After all, what do we tell our members from the pulpit and Sunday School class? Is it biblical or man-made? Who are we pleasing?
Secondly, God does not change, nor has HE changed since before creation because HE is eternal without beginning & end. So, initially, it is we humans in our so-called self-righteousness & religiosity that wants to do things on "my own terms" instead of God's way. One church teaches one theology another church teaches another; there is no unity, no solidarity. Why do people leave our churches? They are not being fed straight from the Word!
As an alumnus of Georgetown College, I'd like to point out how many facts Mr. Ross ignored in this article. For instance, he does not mention that Georgetown College is currently affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and hosts the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky on its campus. While there has been a loosening of SBC/KBC ties, the Baptist tradition remains vibrant and prominent on campus and among students, faculty, staff, and trustees. That said, non-Baptist members of the community have been given a greater voice on campus since the renegotiated partnership in 2005, which has led to lively debates, publicly-questioned assumptions, and the examination of long-held values. These are all goods for a learning community.
Finally, if (as Mr. Ross points out within the article) it was actually the KBC that severed ties with Georgetown College, how is GC a legitimate example of a school that has cut denominational ties (as the title suggests)?
I attended Taylor University, and it was certainly an exception. Very evangelical and Christ-centered. I grew up Southern Baptist and I found the diversity of beliefs among the evangelical professors refreshing to my faith. Ultimately however, I believe much of the change we see happening with Christian colleges has to do with the reforming of denominational lines within Protestantism. We see this movement in new church plants often as well. I my city, there are several new church plants--some have denominational ties and others do not, but they all look and feel very much the same. These church plants however will have some very important decisions to make if they survive or simply reform. I was one of these church planters-- eventually however I found the Catholic narrative to be convincing and now view things from a different lens. I think in many ways the study of the ancient church and the fathers are turning everything upside down on its head in Christian colleges.
The more recent trend amongst even denominational faithful Christian schools is to shift the emphasis of educational endeavor on disciplines like nursing, psychology, education, and business. No longer is there a stressing, let alone, attention given to theological or biblical studies classes. Where there are said theological requirements, the requirements are dumbed down.
"The love of money is the root of all evil" Paul said. That tells the whole story of the sordid relationship between church and college that has gotten Christianity into the ungodly mess it is in today.
Having taught at a school that was affiliated with a denomination but not officially a part of that denomination, I would suggest that a different concern might be the lack of oversight. Moving out from under a specific denominational umbrella may provide the freedom to expand fundraising, but it also provides the freedom for the school to create its own fiefdom with little to check those in administrative control. The lack of oversight not only may lead to a loss of Christian distinctiveness but also to a loss of academic and spiritual integrity.
Of course "students repeatedly indicated a preference for a ‘more general or generic Christian identity". You would too if your parents sent you to a Kentucky Southern Baptist college. It could be more of a reaction against the highly restrictive Southern Baptist religious culture than a desire for ecumenicity. I can only imagine what science, philosophy, art, english literature and the humanities are like at an institution like that.
“But students repeatedly indicated a preference for a ‘more general or generic Christian identity . . .’” I’ve heard this argument but rarely do I hear its proponents explain WHY they have this preference. Perhaps they feel that denominational identity too often overshadows Christian identity in many colleges and churches. Unfortunately, denominational differences, including attitudes of superiority, have left a bad taste in the mouths of many believers who walked away from the church. Granted, many of those who left are just using denominational differences as an excuse. Anyhow, I wonder how God feels about the multitude of denominations within the church.
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