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Southern Baptists End Investigation of Theology Professors at Kentucky University

(UPDATED) State leaders conclude that theologically conservative professors are welcome at Campbellsville University, but ERLC president Russell Moore isn't so sure.

Update (June 4): Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), is still "very disturbed" despite the resolution between the school and the Kentucky Baptist Convention, reports World Magazine's Thomas Kidd. He writes:

Russell Moore, however, says that the college's response to Williams' situation spouts "vague pieties about wholesome Christian education," while they force out "even the most token representation of conservative evangelical scholarship." He is concerned that Campbellsville may want a "liberal faculty but conservative students and dollars."

Campbellsville president Michael Carter offers his take on the controversy on the school's website.


Southern Baptist leaders in Kentucky have reaffirmed their partnership with Campbellsville University after investigating rumors that the school dismissed a professor for, as critics alleged, "being too conservative" in his theology.

In April, Campbellsville informed Jarvis Williams, an associate professor of New Testament and Greek, that his contract would not be renewed beyond the school year. Supporters of Jarvis protested that contracts of other faculty who allegedly reject biblical inerrancy were being extended. The decision prompted blogger Patrick Schreiner to suggest that school officials "jettisoned their convictions."

Several days later, the executive director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention (KBC), Paul Chitwood, said the group would investigate the claims that Campbellsville "retains other professors in the school of theology who reject biblical authority and professors in other disciplines who affirm evolution."

School officials and KBC leaders met on April 29. Baptist Press reported yesterday that representatives released a joint statement saying "they had received assurance that those who believe the literal truthfulness of every word of the Bible are welcomed as students and as faculty members."

Disputes over theology at Christian schools are not uncommon. Cedarville University also recently dismissed one theologian, Michael Pahl, after administrators deemed that he was unable to concur with every tenet of the school's doctrinal statement. The dispute over the Baptist school's doctrine then prompted the resignations of several administrators. Similar debates also arose at Milligan College, Calvin College, Northwestern College, and Shorter University in recent years.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this post misspelled Jarvis Williams' name.

Related Topics:Higher Education
Posted:May 8, 2013 at 11:27AM
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