Ga. college to require faculty assent for BFM
    January 4 2010 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    CLEVELAND, Ga. — Truett-McConnell College in northeast Georgia plans to become the first Baptist college to require its faculty to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message as revised by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000.

    Trustees of the four-year school — named after George W. Truett, the legendary pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas for 47 years, and Fernando McConnell, Truett’s cousin and the longtime pastor of Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta — voted Dec. 4 to adopt the policy intended to signal solidarity with the Georgia Baptist Convention.

    “The Georgia Baptist Convention and our churches deserve nothing less than a faculty that will abide by nothing less than the essentials of the faith,” said Truett-McConnell President Emir Caner, according to the Georgia Baptist Christian Index.

    “Institutions that do not faithfully support the theology of Southern Baptists do not deserve the faithful support of Southern Baptists,” Caner said.

    The policy runs counter to other historically Baptist colleges and universities that in recent decades have loosened or severed ties with sponsoring state conventions.

    Emir Caner, who converted from Islam to Christianity as a teenager, is best known for work, along with his brother Emir Caner, warning about purported evils of the Islamic faith.

    Most have done so to prevent pressure to force their professors to move from moderate theology to the more conservative ideology imposed upon SBC seminaries in the 1980s and 1990s. Winds of theological and political change prompted Georgia Baptists to part ways with their flagship Mercer University in 2007.

    They also opened the door for the 37-year-old Caner, founding dean of an undergraduate program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to become the youngest president in Truett-McConnell’s history in 2008.

    “The 20th century saw the degradation of sound, biblical theology,” Caner said. “But thankfully on a national level our seminaries, mission agencies, the (SBC) Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and our other agencies are now faithful to the Word of God, but we can’t say the same about all our state Baptist colleges. I will stand on the Baptist Faith and Message.”

    Southern Baptists originally adopted the Baptist Faith and Message confessional statement in 1925, largely to respond to the debate over evolution then dividing religious bodies. They updated the faith statement in 1963 to quell concerns about biblical authority.

    After a conservative faction solidified control of denominational entities in the 1990s, the convention updated the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000, adding restrictions on the roles of women and removing a key phrase citing Jesus Christ as the lens through which Scripture should be interpreted.

    Sam Pelletier, chairman of the college’s Christian studies department, said he supported the change and has been requiring new hires to affirm not only the Baptist Faith and Message, but also a statement on biblical inerrancy for eight years.

    The Christian Index also quoted Truett-McConnell mathematics professor Roy Hardy, who questioned the wisdom of the change. He said he agrees with most — but not all — of the Baptist Faith and Message and does not believe the statement is infallible.

    “I feel it goes well beyond the ‘essentials’ of the faith,” he said.

    The Christian Index reported that Caner told current faculty they would be given 18 months to decide whether or not to sign the document because he wanted to be “pastoral” in his approach.

    Caner, who was raised as a Sunni Muslim in Ohio before converting to Christianity as a teenager, is well-known in Southern Baptist circles for lectures and writings critical of Islam.

    Unveiling Islam
    , a book he co-authored in 2002 with his brother Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, was cited by former SBC President Jerry Vines as source for his controversial quote that year labeling the Prophet Muhammad a “demon-possessed pedophile.”

    Established in 1946, Truett-McConnell College sits on 288 acres in the mountain community of Cleveland, Ga., near the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River. Enrollment in the fall of 2008 totaled 451 students. 

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)
    1/4/2010 6:43:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 7 comments

Gene Scarborough

The above gets you to the Baptist Today blog which has been discussing this for a little more than a week since their locus is Georgia. It is my home so you might know I have a dog in this fight.

Imagine any one of our Baptist schools going through this drivel and anguish. It is bad enough SEBTS did it in the 1980's, but our state funds and interest did not birth these institutions.

Pay particular note to the title of the blog above. It says volumns!
1/7/2010 6:23:26 PM

Tim Rogers

You are exactly right. However, the article by Mr. Allen implies, in his critique of the book, that the book states that and it is not a "preachable phrase".


What does the BF&M say about the Periodic Table that would make one disagree?
1/6/2010 11:42:15 AM

So, do they have a Biblical Periodic Table of the Elements at Truett-McConnell or do they use the godless, liberal secular one?
1/6/2010 9:50:58 AM

Tim, I haven't read the book but it is my uninformed understanding that the quote came from Vines after reading the book; that Vines drew that conclusion and cast it in a "preachable phrase."
1/5/2010 4:39:24 PM

Thomas Kiker
I know many will have negative comments but I would dare say that Truett-McConnell is only doing what the colleges in North Carolina have done, but just the opposite way.
1/5/2010 9:43:51 AM

Tim Rogers
Norman, would you consider Mr. Allen's ascribed quote of Dr. Vines to be a valid critique of Dr. Caner's book? We all know that Dr. Vines made the statement and he cited the book as a source for his statement. But I do not remember the book stating that Muhammad was a "demon-possessed pedophile". I remember the book stating that Muhammad married a young lady at 7 and consummated the marriage at 10. It seems that the authors even questioned in the book if Muhammad was demon possessed. But the specific quote Dr. Vines made were his words after reading the book.
1/5/2010 9:09:25 AM

I can't post my response to this until I get permission from someone else.
1/4/2010 1:20:24 PM

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