Group plans launch of 'non-traditional' theology school

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Baptist Believer, Jul 5, 2003.

  1. Baptist Believer

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    Group plans launch of 'non-traditional' theology school

    By Ken Camp

    Texas Baptist Communications

    ARLINGTON--Citing the need for "a more effective and efficient approach to theological education in a radically changing world," a group of self-described "traditional Baptists" met June 27 in Arlington to talk about launching another school for Texas Baptists.

    Scotty Gray, retired professor and administrator at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said a "select group" of about 45 people with expertise in education, church life, administration, legal issues and financial matters gathered for the exploratory meeting. The new school would be called the Carroll Institute, named for B.H. Carroll, founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and religion professor at Baylor University in the early 20th century.

    Advocates of the Carroll Institute presented it as a non-traditional approach to theological education, with a center in North Texas and a widespread network of "teaching churches" where "mentor-teachers" would provide instruction.

    Gray identified himself as one of four directors for the new entity, but he declined to name the other three. Russell Dilday, who was fired as president of Southwestern Seminary by fundamentalist trustees in 1994, attended the meeting and has been "supportive" and "committed to the concept" of the institute, Gray said, but Dilday is not one of its directors.

    The meeting was not open to the press.

    The institute already is an incorporated legal entity and a business plan is being finalized, Gray said. Representatives from the institute have contacted the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding the Texas Education Code, as well as a major accrediting agency, and the institute "has indications of significant financial support," he added.

    Creating the institute was a reaction neither to the recently announcing hiring of Paige Patterson as president of Southwestern Seminary nor to any controversy surrounding the direction of Baylor University, Gray said.

    Patterson was one of the architects of what he calls the "conservative resurgence" in the Southern Baptist Convention and what critics have labeled a "fundamentalist takeover." Robert Sloan, president of Baylor University and former dean of Truett Seminary, has been under attack recently by alumni and others who have challenged Baylor 2012, the long-range plan for the school.

    "The exploration that led to this point preceded any recent events," Gray said. "It's not a reaction to anything at Baylor, Southwestern, Logsdon or anywhere else. It's in response to what we see as the need for a new approach to theological education in a radically changing world."

    Logsdon School of Theology at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, like Baylor's Truett Seminary, is supported by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

    The Carroll Institute will have a center in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to house offices, a library and some classes, Gray said. Staff recruitment for the center is "still being finalized."

    The institute will offer most of its instruction through distance learning, using a network of "teaching churches" and Internet-based resources, he explained.

    Gray did not specify what degrees, if any, the institute would plan to offer.

    In addition to teaching classes, professors at the center in North Texas will plan and design curricula for the institute. They also will coordinate the work of "academically qualified mentor-teachers" in teaching churches around Texas. The goal, Gray said, is for teaching churches to be identified throughout the nation and the world to create a "network concept."

    A minimal amount will be spent on buildings in the Dallas-Fort Worth center so that resources can be funneled into recruiting faculty and providing technology, he explained. Teaching churches will use available space in local church facilities that may otherwise be unused on weekdays.

    Gray predicts that the Dallas-Fort Worth center will open in January, and directors hope the first semester of classes will be offered in fall 2004.

    "The institute definitely will be Baptist in orientation, but it will not be affiliated with any organization," he said. "It will be self-sustaining, both in its governance and its finances."

    Initially, directors of the institute are recruiting individual donors to provide financial backing for the venture. They hope to secure grants from foundations once the institute achieves accreditation, Gray said.

    A press release issued after the Arlington meeting stated: "This group of traditional Baptist educators is developing the approach out of a desire to meet the urgent and growing needs in a non-traditional, non-duplicating, non-political, non-competitive way. Learning is intended to flourish in an innovative, collegial, encouraging environment with freedom of inquiry and will be biblical, scholarly, practical, widely available and affordable to a broad spectrum of Christian leaders."

    Keith Bruce, coordinator for institutional ministries related to the BGCT, noted, "The goals of the Carroll Institute are certainly consistent with the stated goal of the BGCT in making quality, biblically sound, practical and genuinely Baptist ministry training and theological education accessible to all Texas Baptist ministers. Quality theological education must be provided in a variety of venues using many creative methodologies. Thus the discussions held in this exploratory meeting are most commendable.

    "At the same time, we also affirm the tremendous efforts and resources that the BGCT and its partner universities and schools have committed over the past few years to create and expand a network of Baptist theological education."

    The BGCT has made "great strides" in helping to develop "an informal yet very effective system of theological education and practical ministry training" that is now in place at more than 20 locations around Texas, noted Royse Rose, director of theological education for the BGCT.

    In addition to Truett and Logsdon, the BGCT network also includes professional and doctoral degree programs, several new master's degree offerings at five Texas Baptist universities, baccalaureate programs at nine schools and "entry-level programs that continue to grow and develop, including a strong emphasis on the training of ethnic and multi-cultural leadership," Rose said.

    "These quality programs are busy providing education to almost 5,000 future ministers and deserve the full and continuing support of Texas Baptists seeking to cooperate together through the BGCT," he added.

    http://www.baptiststandard.com/postnuke/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=296
     
  2. Major B

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    I'll bet they don't teach B.H.C's theology!
     
  3. bobfrgsn

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    Why are you willing to make that bet. Do you know Scotty Gray? Or the others whose names were not mentioned?
     
  4. Baptist Believer

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    I'm sure it will be covered along with other views. I strongly suspect that it will not be a place of indoctrination, but rather a place of learning.

    I fully expect it to be a place that would honor B.H. Carroll's request to L.R. Scarborough -- "Lee, lash the Seminary to the heart of the Saviour." (Carroll was the founder of Southwestern Seminary and L.R. Scarborough succeeded him.)

    An interesting note: When Ken Hemphill took over at Southwestern after the fundamentalists fired the previous president, Russell Dilday, he was inaugurated in a grand ceremony on May 1, 1995. Sunday School Board President James T. "Jimmy" Draper Jr. gave Hemphill the charge: "Keep this institution (Southwestern) `lashed to the book' as B.H. Carroll challenged L.R. Scarborough, and keep us focused on the theology of our fathers." (see http://www.swbts.edu/about/president/article.shtm)

    Since Southwestern has ignored Carroll's charge to keep the seminary tied to "the heart of the Saviour" in favor of "the book", perhaps its time for another group to do it.
     
  5. gb93433

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    Rigid religion often leads to liberalism or something far different because the generation that follows often sees through the veneer and throws it all away. Rigid religionists want rigidity because too often their life needs those boundaries to keeep them under control. Rigid religionists are under bondage of legalism and not free under grace.

    The rules and regulations that have no scriptural basis eventually go. For example in Ecclesisates 3:4b ir says, "A time to mourn and a time to dance. When I was younger I was told religious people don't dance. Then I read in Eccl. quite the opposite. If we do not teach the next generation the truth they will find out the lie they have been told.

    For example many will say women should never preach. But in Acts 21 those were women who preached. They just didn't pastor.

    I went to SWBTS both when Dilday and Hemphill was there. Many times I worked in Dr. Dilday's home. Many times we had great discussions. Never once did I ever hear him say one negative thing about anybody. How many of us can say things like that about ourselves.

    Another thing that impressed me most was the professors I had. Being Baptist was somethung not mentioned very often. The focus was on what the scripture taught and its application. Probably the greatest thing it did for me was to see brilliant men and women of God who gave their hearts to teaching. there were times when I would hear professors answer my questions with, "I don't know." It takes humility to say those words.

    I wouldn't want B.H. Carroll's theology. He was a postmillemnialist, smoked cigars and was divorced. I want the theology scripture teaches. In spite of who we are God still uses us when we let him and are humble enough to allow Him to.

    For the longest time my beef has been that we have men and women leaving theological school that don't have a clue how to disciple others. People that know how to disciple others and are pastoring are often frustrated by what congregations expect.
     
  6. Mark Osgatharp

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    Anyone who fails to comprehend that "the book" is the "heart of the Savior" is no Baptist. This point is the very crux of the issue between the Christian Baptists and the "other Baptists" who Dr. Bob won't let me call "anti-Christ" Baptists in this forum.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  7. Baptist Believer

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    Anyone who fails to comprehend that "the book" is the "heart of the Savior" is no Baptist.</font>[/QUOTE]The scriptures are God's written revelation to humankind, but religious people often turn the Bible into a book of rules instead of letting it speak to them as literature revealing the heart of God.

    The “book” is not the heart of the Savior, but does reveal the heart of God. My point was that there is a misplaced focus in Southern Baptist life today – focused on the Bible instead of Christ through the Bible.

    As for the “anyone who fails to comprehend… is not Baptist” allegation – those who hold to historic Baptist distinctives are indeed Baptists whether you want to admit it or not.

    I’d be careful about blaspheming the Lord Jesus by calling His followers anti-Christ without a biblical basis to do so. As it has been pointed out to you before, there are some very clear biblical standards regarding who is of anti-Christ. If you actually believe the Bible, you have no business alleging that I am anti-Christ.
     
  8. Hardsheller

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    I'm sure it will be covered along with other views. I strongly suspect that it will not be a place of indoctrination, but rather a place of learning.

    I fully expect it to be a place that would honor B.H. Carroll's request to L.R. Scarborough -- "Lee, lash the Seminary to the heart of the Saviour." (Carroll was the founder of Southwestern Seminary and L.R. Scarborough succeeded him.)

    An interesting note: When Ken Hemphill took over at Southwestern after the fundamentalists fired the previous president, Russell Dilday, he was inaugurated in a grand ceremony on May 1, 1995. Sunday School Board President James T. "Jimmy" Draper Jr. gave Hemphill the charge: "Keep this institution (Southwestern) `lashed to the book' as B.H. Carroll challenged L.R. Scarborough, and keep us focused on the theology of our fathers." (see http://www.swbts.edu/about/president/article.shtm)

    Since Southwestern has ignored Carroll's charge to keep the seminary tied to "the heart of the Saviour" in favor of "the book", perhaps its time for another group to do it.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Baptist Believer,

    Pray tell me how anyone can stay tied to the heart of the savior without being lashed to "the Bible?"

    What do we know of Jesus that we do not find substantiated in "the book?"
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    That’s not the point I was making… When Hemphill was inaugurated, Draper deliberately/accidentally misquoted Carroll and changed the focus of Carroll’s admonition.

    Certainly you can see that there is a difference between focusing on the Bible and focusing on Christ through the scriptures and a living faith experience apart from the scriptures. (Note, I’m not advocating that our faith experience is divorced from the teachings of the Bible, but I am making a distinction between someone who knows about Jesus from the scriptures and the person who knows Jesus experientially with or without the aid of the scriptures.)

    The faith that we have which is experientially distinct from the scripture will not contradict the presentation of Christ found in the scriptures.
     
  10. Hardsheller

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    We Agree.
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    :D [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm very pleased to hear it. I doesn't happen often.
     
  12. Speedpass

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    Since this new endeavor involves distance learning, I wonder if math teachers in Arkansas can participate?!? :D [​IMG]
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    I'm sure they'll set up a whole system of checks and balances to keep Arkansas math teachers and other riff-raff out. [​IMG]
     
  14. Major B

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    Oh, my, such horrors, to be lashed to the Bible, which the Holy Spirit breathed into the men who wrote it down. Carrol could make that request without mentioning the book because in his day, those folks accepted that lashed to the Savior and lashed to the book ARE THE SAME THING.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    1.) I was pointed out the misquote as an example of a misplaced focus on scripture instead of “the heart of the Saviour”.
    2.) I was not saying (as you seem to be alleging) that devotion to the teachings of the Bible is somehow a bad thing.

    I certainly think that Carroll and Scarborough were savvy enough to understand the difference. :rolleyes: German scholasticism and higher criticism were already well known in this country and certainly those two men would be very familiar with all the “fundamentalist/modernist” controversies that took place in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

    As stated in a previous post, there is a difference between the focus on the Bible and a focus on the Savior through the Bible.

    In any case, Draper’s misquote (whether intentional or unintentional) I believe perfectly characterizes the primary theological problem in the SBC today.
     
  16. neal4christ

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    Agreed.

    But you can't get a correct focus on the Savior without acknowledging what Scriptures teach and obeying it. The SBC is nothing like the German scholars of previous years. That is a very silly comparison. Many moderates and liberals are much more like the German critics than the SBC. The SBC upholds God's Word, not pick it apart and dismiss clear teachings of it.

    In Christ our Savior,
    Neal
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    Agreed. </font>[/QUOTE]Glad you agree.

    I did not intend to make that comparison.

    But in one aspect, the comparison has some validity.

    When Bible-believing Christians at the end of the 19th century were responding to the modernist critics of Christianity they took that same rationalist tools of the modernists and constructed a rational defense of the historical Christian faith. (In my opinion, what they did was necessary, helpful and constructive.) Unfortunately, most of the fundamentalists did not recognize that they had become very similar to their anti-Christian opponents because they absorbed the modernist perspective (a rational series of tenets or proofs that builds theology like a house of cards).

    Over the years, this modernist perspective because the only acceptable standard to the fundamentalists and the focus was taken off service to Christ and the call of the Kingdom and onto building theological fences to distinguish themselves from the “liberals” (that is, anyone who did not embrace the latest rationalist theological house-of-cards construction). Non-adherence to any precept of these rationalist structures would cause the whole theological house-of-cards to crumble giving rise to the “slippery slope” argument against any deviance from fundamentalist theological norms. Within these rational theological constructions, there is little room for faith and mystery since fundamentalism is consumed by the quest for “certainty”.

    As our society enters the post-modern age (an age characterized by disillusionment with emptiness of secular and religious rationalism), theological systems that demand a modernist approach yet reject any scientific evidence in contradiction of those rigid systems (not necessarily the Bible) make about as much sense to modern people as someone demanding that a person become an Aztec to experience Christ.
     
  18. neal4christ

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    I am sorry that you see it that way. I do not.

    Then it would fail to be a modernist system. You seem to contradict yourself here. Also, I am not sure of the scientific evidence is that you are talking about. As to date, I know of no true science that contradicts the Scriptures. However, I do know of science filtered through other worldviews that seem to contradict Scriptures.

    In the Lord Jesus,
    Neal
     
  19. computerjunkie

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    Baptist Believer, I had previously seen this article and I have a few questions about what this is all about.

    First of all, what are "traditional Baptists"? Are they fundamentalists?

    What do they mean by a "non-traditional approach to theological education"? Does that mean the "distance-learning" setup?

    I'm not familiar with Scotty Gray. Who is he?

    I know the article indicates "they" say it has nothing to do with Patterson or Baylor, but what do you think? Do you think this is a "protest", so to speak?

    Do you think Texas needs another school for Baptists?

    Honestly seeking your opinion here as I really am not at all sure what is behind this. (Born and raised Baptist, I am really sad about what is happening to our denomination.)

    Thanks,
    cj
     
  20. Baptist Believer

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    Then it would fail to be a modernist system. You seem to contradict yourself here. </font>[/QUOTE]I’m using the term “modernism” in more of a philosophical sense. That is, the epistemology of modernism is an emphasis on reason and a question for certainty. I am not using the term in the sense of Modernism vs. Fundamentalism.

    Looking back on what I wrote, it is not surprising that you couldn’t read my mind. [​IMG]

    Had I taken the time to communicate clearly, it probably would have made much more sense.

    Sorry about the confusion!
     

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