Tennessee Temple Schools to Join SBC?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    To all who have an ear:

    Tennessee Temple Schools are working with the new SBC president Johnny Hunt to come into the SBC fold.

    Read about it here:

    http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=10692

    Comments and observations welcome! Is this a blow against Fundamentalism?

    "That is all!"
     
  2. Salty

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    Not to Southern Baptists who are Fundamentalis!
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    And not to this 1981 grad of TTU who is also a Southern Baptist.

    Many of the really hard core IFB guys never really thought that TTU was a hard core IFB school.
     
  4. Mexdeaf

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    It is not a surprise to me. The writing on the wall was when Dr. Danny Lovett became president of the school.

    I think it is a good move for them. Finally people know where they stand. For too long they were either 'too IFB' or 'not IFB enough'.

    (Upon further reflection, perhaps they have gone from being the above to being 'too SBC' or 'not SBC enough'.):laugh:

    Time will tell.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    As others have indicated on this thread, this is not a great change in direction. TTU long ago marginalized itself among Fundamentalists. But it was not primarily through a SBC-bound direction. Even in the 1970s when I was there, SBC speakers often preached there. At TTU, I heard R. G. Lee preach "Payday Someday" and J. Harold Smith preach "God's Three Deadlines." (Revival broke out!)

    No, the reason TTU has marginalized itself and has been struggling with only 500-600 students for many years after a heyday of thousands of students is a lack of respect for students and graduates. I predict that even this new move, as big as it is, will take place with little communication with us alumni. (There has been none yet.) And if you ignore your alumni, you don't grow as a school, since the alumni are the source of your future students. (Duh!)

    How did this happen? I have a close friend who was called in to consult on this years ago. Temple for many years had a huge grant from a well-known Christian philanthropist in the insurance business. When things started to get difficult they began to use up the principal of the grant. Now the grant is all gone, and guess what, they have to go to us alumni with hat in hand, and since we've been ignored so long, Temple is having an uphill battle of it.

    There is now an alumni website, and they say they are developing regional alumni associations. Get the picture? It's been over 60 years and thousands of graduates since the school's founding in 1946, and they are finally getting around to having regional alumni associations. Hmm, maybe next they'll think about giving us some breaks when we visit the campus, like an actual place where alumni could stay cheap, or free meals in the dining hall! But I'm not holding my breath. :BangHead:
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Check out the TTU Alumni website at: http://alumni.tntemple.edu/

    Hmm. Let me see, what is the latest news? Oh yes, Mary Ann Barr went to Heaven. She was a dear lady, a close friend of my sister's. But that was last October--and this is listed under "Latest News." So, what other news is there? None! Nill. Nada. Nothing about TTU wanting to go SBC? Nope. Ain't there. Not a hint. The news about Mary Ann Bar is the only, sole, lonely item of news in the news link. :tonofbricks:

    Edited in: but on the website you can read the alumni newsletter--from 2006, that is. :thumbs:
     
    #6 John of Japan, Jul 3, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2008
  7. Tom Bryant

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    You are exactly right, John, about their treatment of alumni. I went to Philadelphia College of Bible for one year in 1969. I still get stuff from there even thru several moves without ever letting them know. They've even gone thru a name change and still every month I get something about the school.

    TTU does very little of the small things that are needed. Part of it is because they have been essentially directionless since Dr. Roberson left.

    Although I like the present move I don't think that the SBC will be sending many students to TTU because they would still be considered too IFB.
     
  8. John of Japan

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    Well, let's see how they do with regional alumni associations. As our beloved Dr. Roberson used to say, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." The first one is supposed to meet in Chattanooga this month. Don't know when the Asian one will start. :laugh:
    See, I wondered about this. How many in the SBC really believe they need a new school? How many SBC pastors will think TTU is a better option for their kids?

    Also, the TTU location probably still works against them, especially compared to some nice SBC school campuses. (Does the "Tennis Shoe Man" still lurk around the girls dorms?) The attraction of TTU when I went there was never the plant, it was spiritual.
     
  9. Sly Fox

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    A large percentage (likely a majority but I don't have empirical data to back it up) of the alumni are now in the SBC today anyway. So this really shouldn't be that much of a shock to them. At least now there is an SBC president who is a cheerleader for the school and I honestly believe that this move will be prove very beneficial for the school.

    As for the DeMoss family, they continue to be very generous to Liberty both financially and in leadership.

    It is easy to bash the school for past indiscretions in regard to how they have treated or ignored alumni. But at least now they have recognized the problem and they have begun to make an effort. For that they should be applauded.

    Both of my parents are TTU alumni and I am glad to see the once vibrant school beginning its resurgence from near extinction.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    Forgive me, but I really doubt that a "large percentage" of TTU grads are now SBC, and certainly not a majority. If I may do a quick unscientific survey, I am still in close contact with men that I did martial arts at TTU with, all dear friends, and out of five of us only one is SBC, three are IFB and one is no longer Baptist. And of the other friends and roommates I still am in contact with, none are SBC as far as I know except for one who was SBC when he went there.
    The may be true, but the original behest is gone. That's just plain fact. I have this from my friend who was called in to consult on the financial situation there. He went through all the books and recommended changes, some of which were taken and some not.
    I don't think bashing is the right word here. I would rather call it constructive criticism. I sincerely hope that someone from the school's alumni dept. is reading this and can be encouraged to help change occur. But right now I'm still skeptical. They could start with actually putting news and other things on the alumni website.

    I would be happy to be proven wrong. They've made a start to get back in touch with us alumni. Let's see how far they go. My wife's alma mater is going through the same process and she has once again started supporting it financially. We'll see what Temple does.
    I would be the last in the world to wish extinction for TTU and the seminary. I spent many happy hours in the classrooms, chapel, church, gym, etc. I was called to be a missionary there, learned so much of the Bible there (and Greek and Hebrew and history and...). I didn't spend much time in the Happy Corner since I worked 40 hours a week trying to put myself through, but still had lots of fun. And I still have relatives who teach there, though the faculty has changed greatly since the "New Day" started. :type:
     
  11. John of Japan

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    I'm still pondering this. You know, it would have been a great idea to actually poll us alumni and find out how many of us are SBC now and how many are still independent. I wish they had done that before deciding to try to go SBC.
     
  12. paidagogos

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    John, don't you think that the Don Jennings administration had a lot to do with the disconnect of the old TTU alumni? As I recall, he brought in a lot of new people who had no association with TTU. It was at this point that I noticed many TTU alumni becoming ambivalent toward their alma mater.

    Also, I agree with you that most of the TTU alumni are still IFB. It appears that they are providing the leadership for much of the IFB movement.

    Finally, how does Crown College figure into the equation? It appears that Dr. Sexton would like for Crown to be the spiritual heir of the old TTU. Can TTU reconnect to those who have wandered away to other loyalties? What do you think?
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Hi, Paid. Always nice to talk to you.

    I agree, the disconnect began with Dr. Jennings. I loved his preaching, but he was out of GARB, not the south, and at one point was in the administration of either BMM or ABWE. Nothing wrong with that, but they just weren't BIMI!

    I noticed the disconnect on furlough in 1987, I believe it was, when the lifestyle evangelism controversy was in full swing. An IFB missionary from Latin America, suspecting nothing, said in his slide presentation in training union, "We don't do this lifestyle evangelism. Everything we do is direct evangelism." Dr. Jennings hit the roof, and reamed the poor guy out in front of everyone, saying, "Everyone saved at this church is saved through lifestyle evangelism!" And at the time HPBC had a computer run random phone call evangelistic effort going!
    You may be right about Crown College. I met Dr. Sexton many years ago a couple of times at Mike Crain's camp, and have visited Crown College, but don't know much about it so I can't comment.

    However, I think Pensacola Christian College took a lot of TTU's potential students in the 1980s. They showed a remarkable growth after startup, and besides being clearly Fundamentalist they quickly built a campus that was a lot more attractive than TTU's. Plus they tapped into the home school market with A Beka. My sister is in Chattanooga, home-schooled all her kids and led a home-schooling group, but I don't remember ever hearing that TTU had tried to attract home-schooled students.
     
  14. Sly Fox

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    For the record, I think we need to make a distinction between IFB and IFBx. The latter did indeed begin abandoning TTU about the Jennings administration. And frankly they aren't coming back and have been a major thorn in the side of the school ever since. Crown has indeed become the de facto choice for IFBx folks in the region with HAC and a few smaller schools across the country springing up to fill the gap.

    As for traditional IFBs (which really includes GARBC and similar smaller affiliations) that made up a big chunk of the student body over the Roberson years, they sustained the school for much of the past few decades even though enrollment and influence in Chattanooga was on the decline. BJU, PCC, Cedarville and Liberty all experienced healthy growth cycles with the types of IFB students who likely would've gone to Tennessee Temple a generation before.

    Keep in mind at the same time period the Southern Baptist Convention went through its conservative resurgence to power. Many of the TTU-trained pastors suddenly found opportunities in SBC churches that were searching for pastors trained in Scriptural inerrancy. Then you ad in the slow decline of the GARBC influence among IFBs and that is what has contributed to the current changes in affiliation.

    Honestly Tennessee Temple really hasn't changed any positions theologically since its founding. It is just how the rest of Baptist culture has shifted around them. The acceptance of CCM and the relaxed dress code have been the lightning rods among many alumni. But frankly I know plenty of old school TTU alumni who are excited in the recent changes that are bringing the school back to relevance amongst their children, grandchildren and teens in their churches.

    But clearly the school has a long way to go before it returns to its once lofty position in the IFB landscape. Frankly with so many other quality options it will be tough to accomplish.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    While agreeing with much of what you said in this post, I really don't agree here. When I was there in the 1970's, the only GARB men I knew were young Japanese preachers out of BMM ministries over here. They then came back to Japan under BMM. I didn't know one single American student who told me they were GARB. Why? The GARB had its own approved schools--ones with good reputations for scholarship and zeal. And since the GARB churches and schools were mostly in the north, there was no need to head south for college.
     
  16. paidagogos

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    Theological change?

    Nonsense! TTU certainly has changed its position theologically. (For the Christian and the Christian organization, all matters of faith and practice are theological.) How they perceive the doctrines of Biblical separation, both in association and conduct, has changed. Thirty-five years ago, they were moving away from the SBC but they are now moving toward the SBC. They had more stringent rules on dress and deportment. Yes, the theological and cultural landscape has changed in the past twenty to thirty years, including the conservative resurgence in the SBC, but TTU has changed with it.

    In fact, we all change theologically with time. Even BJU has changed in its stance on separation--the emphasis and applications are different--although I am sure that they would deny it. What I think you intended to say was that TTU's basic (fundamental) theology has not changed. You are right that they still hold to the same fundamentalist theology but their style and application along with some of the details have changed. It is futile and ridiculous to deny that changes (i.e. The only constant is change) have occurred but it is sometimes fruitful to recognize and discuss what changes have taken place and how the changes have occurred. (Of course, you may quibble over the semantic difference between change and changes if you please.)

    Furthermore, you may want to discuss whether TTU is still in the Fundamentalist camp or if they have moved more into the Evangelical mainstream. It is, I suppose, how you define Fundamentalism. Generally, we tend to be very sloppy in our nomenclature, using words more for connotation, depending on our own theological prejudices, than an accepted and definitive meaning. IMHO, a large segment of Fundamentalism has moved from its narrowly defined limits into the broader Evangelical mainstream. This does not mean that they have become liberal or modernist because they still believe the fundamental doctrines but they are no longer circumscribed by the bounds of strict separatism and lifestyle standards (e.g. dress, movies, dancing, social drinking, etc.). What do you think?
     
    #16 paidagogos, Jul 11, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2008
  17. Sly Fox

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    I guess I should've been more precise in my description of theology. My statement was directed more at fundamental tenets of the faith. The topic of separation tends to be rather divisive when it comes to interpretation of the subject. TTU does not allowing drinking or attending dance clubs and frankly while their dress code has been relaxed from the old rules established in the '50s, it continues to be in line with modesty (but again I realize this floats a line of interpretation generally based along generational lines). I have no idea what the current rules are in regard to movies but I suspect they remain whether enforced or not. My point remains that the changes have tended to be cultural and not theological.

    And as for my mention of GARBC folks, I wan't implying that all IFBs were of that background. I was just including them alongside traditional IFBs. And I had a number of GARBC friends attend TTU in the '70s & '80s. Obviously they were in the minority. Incidentally how are those GARBC schools you mentioned from back in the '70s doing these days?
     
  18. Mexdeaf

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    Actually, John, I had a good friend at TTU who was GARB and he went to Washington State to pastor a GARB church after graduation. I'll PM you his name maybe you knew him also.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    I'm afraid I'm out of the loop about the GARB. I worked with the BMM guys in the Kanto Plain when we lived there, but we've been in Hokkaido for over ten years, and there are no BMM or ABWE missionaries on this island.
     
  20. Sly Fox

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    The GARBC has seen its numbers and influence slide dramatically over the course of the past two decades. But both of those mission boards continue to do an outstanding job.
     

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