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Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by rsr, May 31, 2004.
BAPTIST STANDARD ARTICLE
The Baptist college/university system is a touchy matter no matter who is involved.
Here in NC, Wake Forest University, as it became more and more liberal eventually separated from the NCBSC, and the NCBSC, at that time was "controlled" by moderates. The NCBSC let it go.
At that time the pastor of my church was Dr. C. Mark Corts. Some of you may have heard of Dr. Corts. He has served the SBC and the NCBSC in numberous capacities, including President of the FMB and the NCBSC. He was and continues to be a fairly recongizable name in conservative circles.
He stood up in the state convention that year and advocated for WFU's release. His view was and remains I suppose that each Baptist college or university was established as a missions effort, as were the hospitals. If those entities have fulfilled that purpose and can stand on their own, then they should be allowed to leave if they wish in order to continue educating. WFU has a loose affiliation with the NCBSC today. However, it is no longer a NCBSC institution.
If Houston Baptist U is an institution of the BGCT, then it should leave if push comes to shove. (I do think it is rather ironic that the moderates that run the BGCT would, if they felt disenfranchised by conservative governance of the BGCT likely not object to one of "their" colleges or universities separating from the BGCT or affiliating with them and would be the ones up in arms if the conservative were acting the way they are now...but that's another standard, I mean, story, I sure...).
If Houston Baptist separates, then it can have a relationship with whomever it wishes. IMO, that is the best way to go when these issues arise. If the colleges and universities can stand on their own and have fulfilled their missions purpose, then let them go. There's nothing to say that when they are released they cannot be replaced with new work.
Education is part of the mission of each state convention. Like the early circuit preaching riders, we should, IMO, do education missions the same way. They would come to a town, start a church, then when a pastor was called, they would move on to start a new work. Often, in NC at least, it did not matter what denomination the pastor represented. Many Baptist churches were started by Methodist and Presbyterian riders and many Methodist and Presbyterian churches were begun by Baptist riders. The point is that the missionary work reached maturity when the pastor arrived and the church stood on its own and then the rider moved on to start new work. When one reaches maturity; it should be let go on its own and another started. Not every institution will turn out the way we want it to, but that's true of the churches we start too. It really makes no difference in that respect.
I guess I agree with your statements, but that is not the issue here. HBU receives money from the BGCT AND signed an agreement to work exclusively with the BGCT. By partnering with the SBTC they violated the agreement that was in place for two years. There is a process to everything and if HBU wants to receive money from the SBTC rather then the BGCT then they need to go through the process, as long or "painful" as that might be for everyone concerned. HBU has the right, in my opinion, to do so but simply can't disregard standing agreements and processes.
That may be true. However, if HBU can indeed stand on its own, then it should nullify the agreement and move on. It's ironic that when moderate groups establish relationships with institutions in other state conventions and those state conventions cry foul, those moderates (and with the BGCT's leadership sometimes behind them) cry foul back at them saying those institutions should be free to affiliate with whomever they wish.
I am a NC Baptist, so I can't say that know all the in's and out's of the situation. However, it seems to me that HBU got into a bad agreement, an agreement that the BGCT should not have insisted upon anyway. They say on one hand they went more than the extra mile in accomodating to the HBU board when that arrangement was signed, but it screams an intent to control the institution as its property, even if less of the board members are from the BGCT.
NC avoided this with WFU. They simply let it go. The BGCT needs to simply do the same. It would be easier to simply make a plan and set a date and be done with it. It seems like the BGCT is the one with control issues in this case.
WFU still receives money from the NCBSC albeit much less than before. Surely, they can model a similar arrangement with HBU from what we have here with WFU. It's not as if this issue has never arisen before.
The difference this time is that the university seems to be "siding" with the SBCT (although I don't think that is actually the case as much as it is accomodating to all TX Baptists). The BGCT does NOT represent all Southern Baptists in TX. That is part of the problem too. How ironic that the ones that talk up their inclusiveness are now the ones being exclusive.
I find it most interesting that when I was a student at the extension campus of SWBTS. Several of us noticed in their school newspaper was written the weekly horoscope. It had as the their president then the same president that is presently there now.
What a deal, print the horoscope and join the SBT! I would have thought better things of a Southern Baptist University.
The issue isn't SBT money. At least not direct funding. If they wanted SBT money, they would have to do more than have a "fraternal relationship." And yes, it would be a long process and a legal battle for them to affiliate with the SBT. From HBU's end, a "fraternal relationship" with the SBT seems more like a move to be sure and keep getting students from SBT churches. (This observation is not a defense of their breaking the spirit of what was an apparently clear-cut agreement, though.)
But I must admit that I find the BGCT reaction in general and the Standard's editorial in particular to by ironic, if not hypocritical. Marv goes to great lengths to explain the illegality of HBU's charter change to appoint the majority of its own trustees. Why do I bet that he would be hesitant to use such language to describe what Baylor did in 1990, though LEGALLY, it amounted to the EXACT SAME THING. (Here's where we spare ourselves the nonsense about the perceived threat of a fundamentalist takeover at Baylor vs. the situation at HBU a decade later.)
HBU's charter change was driven by the same thing that drove the change at Baylor--control. Each institution wanted more control over its governing board and therefore more control over the future direction of the institution. The major difference is that the BGCT and Standard don't like the direction HBU is heading. I'm not saying they should...but they should spare us the moral high ground drivel.
I would think that the spirit of the law is in the BGCT's favor on this one considering the agreement the two entities made two years ago. But they don't give us enough credit to see that and so we get a ridiculous editorial with numerous obligatory references to "the threat of fundamentalism." THAT tactic always has the potential of backfiring and making HBU supporters out of people who might otherwise have been inclined to see this one the BGCT's way.
Put me in that camp. I think HBU erred. But the rather blatant Double Standard (pun intended) of the response and the editorial in light of similar events in recent history have me hoping HBU "wins" this one in the battle of popular opinion.
You're reading my mind.
2 for 2. Batting 1.000
One difference might be that if HBU were wanting to go in the direction of WFU, many of these same people would be expalining to the rest of us why we need to support that in the name of "academic freedom," "autonomy," and "soul competency."
Uh oh. They don't much like it when people point out that in practice they do the same things as their "Fundamentalist" counterparts. That, or they don't much like it when people realize it. Or both. Probably both.
Try this one on...excluding people from exhibit space at a convention meeting is bad and anti-Baptist when the SBC or a more conservative state convention does it. Turn the situation around, and all of a sudden we're just looking out for our own best interests by including only those exhibitors who are fully supportive of our efforts. The double standards by both groups really run on ad nauseum...
Part of the problem here is that each of the schools affiliated with the BGCT became joined to the state convention at different times, under different circumstances, and all eight have different relationships with the BGCT.
Baylor's charter goes back to 1845, long before there was a BGCT or even an SBC. The authority to change its relationships or affiliations is vested in its trustees. HBU's board of trustees, because it is the newest of the eight schools affiliated with the BGCT, doesn't have that authority.
HBU is also much more dependent on the money it receives from the BGCT. Along with that, several of its major donors in the past few years, during its expansive building program, have also been heavily involved in moderate Baptist organizations, and have been key in keeping the BGCT from bowing to pressure from the SBC. I don't think it could survive financially with those cash streams cut off. It is trying to accomodate all Texas Baptists, and not just the BGCT, but comparing the financial power of the two state conventions, if HBU is wise, it will stay away from the SBCT, which can provide it with only a fraction of what it now receives from the BGCT and its constituency.
There is some confusion, HBU doesn't want to "free" it wants money from both sides of street (as it where). If HBU wanted to be free my guess that the other Texas schools would support the action, because that would mean more money for their school. Not allowing exibit space is a red herring in this case and not that unusal in baptist life.
There is no SBT money involved with a "fraternal relationship." Sure there is tuition money involved since HBU wants students from SBT churches as well as BGCT churches, but I don't think that's what you were referring to.
I know the exhibit space issue has nothing to do with HBU, I only use it to illustrate the hypocrisy that permeates the mess we have in Texas.
There isn't any money involved now....(other shoe dropping) but that would come, guarantee! I don't think that we have a mess in Texas, you have the historic baptist's on one side and the neo-baptists on the other to quote a fella "chose this day". Of course these are my terms but it should be pretty easy to see where I am!
"Mess" was the least pejorative term I could think of at that particular moment. Perhaps you would prefer "ego-driven, Christ-dishonoring, kingdom-dividing, money-grabbing, ******* match?"
I know that the so-called leaders on both sides of the "divide" (like that better?) in Texas like to couch things in really flowery language and speak of being "traditional" vs. "fundamentalist" on the one hand or "conservative" vs. "liberal" on the other, but none of that really hides the fact that for the most part they're all serving their ego needs (and those of their brethren) first. Kingdom building comes second. A far, far distant second.
That may sound cynical, but their actions betray them.
Perhaps. Such would involved a "unique afilliation" though. The legal battle involved would be costly. The end result would be a wash at best as far as their ability to recruit and attract students from all points within the spectrum. And there is no guarnatee the state convention funds would be as good.
Doesn't seem like the wisest long-term decision for HBU. But then...nobody around this great big self-centered state seems to be thinking long term these days.
For the record, I don't think you're cynical, you seem to be expressing an attitude that many within Texas baptist life have, fed up with the whole thing. HBU recieves $550,000 directly from the BGCT and another $200,000 (est.) for students preparing for ministry. I don't know what the overall budget of HBU is but in the big scheme of things that doesn't seem like enough to cause this much fuss. Enough to create a dent in the budget however. Overall it just seems to be a bad idea to try and mix two groups that are so philosophically different. HBU needs to be a BGCT school only, a SBTC school only or independent of both. It is possible to be baptist without being attached to some bigger organization.
To be blunt...the President of a university is the man in charge of finding funds to boost the endowment of a university. Any president worth his salt will be able to compensate for that much money. I graduated from an NCBSC university myself and know a couple good candidates if the HBU president thinks that much money would be a "problem." In the grand scheme of things, that's not that much money. Non-profit institutions with staffs of only ten people, with only one person doing the fundraising bring that in all the time.
HBU needs to simply separate and let the two Baptist bodies do as they wish with their funding. The difference should be compensated for by more aggressive fundraising efforts on the part of the university. It's done all the time in secular institutions as well. This is not that big a deal from the financial standpoint.