Houston Baptist University Name Change

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by govteach51, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. govteach51

    govteach51
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    It seems the board at Houston Baptist is going to change their name. The word " Baptist" is no longer PC for a college. They are hoping it seems ( This according to an alumni.) to attract more corporate sponsors.
     
  2. mandym

    mandym
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    No surprise there
     
  3. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    As the chairman of the trustees of a Baptist college, I understand the potential reaction when a school decides to make such a change. It is extremely important that the friends, supporters and alumni not get the impression that such a change is designed solely to eliminate any negatives the term Baptist might carry with it.

    Further, it is a mistake to push the idea solely as a marketing strategy, or a way to broaden its appeal for money.

    The school I serve is Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. It is Southern Baptist in every way, and quite conservative.

    It was originally called Mid-Continent Baptist Bible College. And that's basically what it was--a Bible college. But as it moved toward becoming a four-year, liberal arts college (or university), it seemed appropriate to change the name to reflect its broadened mission.

    Sure, enough, the criticism came. We're leaving our Baptist roots. We're going liberal, that kind of thing.

    Our president at the time, Dr. David Jester, listened carefully to those concerns and came up with a brilliant idea. He created to major divisions. One, the Baptist College of the Bible. (That was the core of the old Bible college). The other was the Baptist College of Arts and Sciences.

    This kept Baptist in the forefront while recognizing other realities. In addition, we strengthened our by-laws to state clearly that our world view was Christian, that all our Bible college professors must be Southern Baptist and must hold to inerrancy.

    Further, we inserted a bomb into our by-laws. It stated that if the school ever strayed from those principles, it would shut down and sold off.

    That didn't satisfy everybody, but it cooled the criticism considerably.

    I don't know the particulars about Houston Baptist University, but its motivation is critical to acceptance. Finding some way to retain its Baptist identity will go a long way.
     
  4. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
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    No surprises here considering their President is Dr Robert Sloan.

    Also, their student body is heavily Muslim (this doesn't mean their accommodationist) and are obviously seeking are broader ecumenical attraction.
     
  5. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I haven't researched the story, so I'll rely on preachinjesus and others to provide more about all this.

    Don't get me wrong. I think it's important for schools to market themselves. The critical question is, what form does that marketing take?

    A bigger issue to me than taking Baptist out of the name is the makeup of HBU's trustee board. Is it true that it wants to allow 25% of the trustees to be non-Baptist? That's code for "we're going after some of those non-Baptist dollars out there."

    A Kentucky Baptist school (Georgetown College) tried to get the same thing. The Kentucky Baptist Convention blew that idea out of the water. Georgetown still has a Baptist identity but has separated from the KBC.

    As I said, I don't know all the particulars, but I can assure you there's more to this than just a name change.
     
  6. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    I do need to clarify that taking Baptist out of a school's name is not a sign of the end of the world.

    Three Baptist universities in Tennessee (Union, Belmont, Carson-Newman) and three in Kentucky (Campbellsville, Univ of Cumberlands and Georgetown) do not have Baptist in their names.

    Neither does Baylor in Texas.
     
  7. Van

    Van
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    It seems many believe the name Baptist is a casualty of the war on Christianity. Clearly removing the name is a cultural accommodation, and an attempt to address a stereotype of folks stuck in an organ music past.
     

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