SEBTS adopts BF&M
April 13 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

SEBTS adopts BF&M | Friday, April 13, 2001
  • Approved a $16.8 million budget for the coming fiscal year beginning Aug. 1. The budget is a $2 million or 11.9 percent increase. Trustee Kent Humphreys of Oklahoma City, Okla. asked how the Baptist General Convention of Texas' decision to withdraw funding from the seminary has affected the budget.

    Ryan Hutchinson, vice president for administration, said giving through the Cooperative Program to the SBC has increased over the same time last year. If a drastic effect is noticed later, then a contingency plan will be presented to trustees as their fall meeting, he said.

  • Dedicated the renovated Johnson Dorm as Goldston Hall in honor of Jim and Agnes Goldston of Raleigh. The building, with 21 apartments housing 90 male students, was originally named for a dean of women at Wake Forest College while the school was on the campus in the town of Wake Forest. The Goldstons were recognized for their financial support of the seminary through scholarships and building fund gifts.
  • Approved the naming of the missions center now under construction in honor of Jimmy and Nancy Jacumin of Icard. He is a trustee at the seminary who has "given unbelievably" to the building project, said Paige Patterson, seminary president. The couple chose to remember their deceased parents - Roy and Muriel Simpson of Icard, and Emile and Mamie Jacumin of Rutherford College - in recommending the building be named the Jacumin-Simpson World Missions Center.

    Jimmy Jacumin said he is excited about the idea of church mission teams visiting the building before leaving on a mission trip so they can talk with the missionary serving where the team is going. That in turn gets people to see the campus, he said.

  • Heard that the seminary raised $3.3 million over the past six months. Jacumin said that amount is higher than any previous 12-month period.
  • Considered the creation of an off-campus master's degree program. Patterson said the school is getting pressure to offer a degree program off campus. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. does it, and churches where Southeastern has extension sites want it, he said.

    Accrediting agencies require a student on an off-campus degree site to get the same education as available on the main campus. Patterson said he couldn't honestly say that could occur.

    Trustee Cecil Taylor said he supports the creation of the degree program.

    Dale Thompson, a trustee from Fort Smith, Ark., said a lot of ministers are serving churches and yet don't have a seminary degree.

    Bush said the faculty's concern about the new program is they want to make sure the master of arts in biblical studies doesn't become a lighter version of the master of divinity degree, in which students must complete at least half of the 96 credit hours on the campus.

    No decision was made on the new degree program. Trustees may be polled prior to the fall meeting for a decision.

  • Approved a long-range institutional plan as part of the upcoming visits of accreditation teams from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as well as the Association of Theological Schools.
  • Agreed to spend two-thirds of the $300,000 cost for a new computer system on the campus. When the seminary sells property on U.S. 1 for a shopping center, the balance of $100,000 will be made available so the system can be installed before the fall semester. Hutchinson said the sale of land should be completed by June 30. The sale is contingent on the approval of a site plan by the Town of Wake Forest. The town board, which previously denied shopping center requests for the property, will vote May 15. The present town board is a "completely different town council" in that it is supportive of economic development, Hutchinson said.
  • Promoted Dorothy Patterson from an assistant professor to professor of women's studies. Trustee Dwight Smith of Florence, Miss. proposed the idea.

    "She's been around a long time. I think that's the right thing to do," said Smith, meeting the last time with trustees before rotating off the board.

    Bush was asked how other faculty members would react, considering the promotion would be handled differently than others. The academic dean said he sees no problem. "Everybody loves her," Bush said.

    Dorothy Patterson is the wife of the seminary president and doesn't accept pay for teaching.

  • Recognized a support group called Sunshine Seniors. The group of senior adults in the Wake County area has adopted a project of providing groceries to about 200 seminary families in need. Each month, the group donates groceries worth about $12,000.
  • Heard the president say the student body numbers 2,129, a growth rate of about 1.5-2 percent, Patterson said. That number includes the number of people who have taken classes during the school year. The actual number of full-time equivalent students for the seminary and college is 1,685, he said.
  • Heard Coy Privette, trustee chair from Kannapolis, note the change that has occurred at Southeastern since conservatives gained a majority of trustees in 1987. Although the student enrollment dropped during the years of conservative president Lewis Drummond (1988-1992), the enrollment has increased from 703 to more than 2,000 during Patterson's reign the past decade, he said.

    In addition, 100 teams the past five years have been sent to parts of the world unreached with the gospel message. And 97 percent of those have since become International Mission Board appointees. Despite those numbers, "We've got a lot of adversaries," Privette said. "In North Carolina, not all appreciate us."

    Privette said his response to people who are displeased with the conservative surge at Southeastern is to invite them to a chapel service on the campus. "You're going to be absolutely amazed at what you're going to see," he said.

  • Heard Patterson tell a story about chapel services. About three years ago, chapel attendance began to lag so the president decided to visit dorms during chapel.

    During his rounds, he found some who had just taken a shower and a couple others playing table tennis. Patterson said he "took chapel to them" by reading scripture to them.

    "I never had so much fun in my life," Patterson said.

    About the same time, Patterson wrote a strongly worded letter to students implying that he would make chapel mandatory if more didn't start attending the services, held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

  • Friday, April 13, 2001

    SEBTS adopts BF&M

    By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor New faculty members at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary will have to agree with the 2000 version of the Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M), but current faculty members won't have to sign the document.

    Trustees voted 23-1 on April 9 to require new faculty to sign the statement of faith that was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at its annual meeting last June in Orlando. The statement has been hailed by conservatives as more closely representing Southern Baptists of today, and it has been criticized by moderates for de-emphasizing the priesthood of each believer and limiting the pastorate to men only.

    "We felt it was important to send a message of cooperation and support to the Southern Baptist Convention," said Cecil Taylor, a trustee from Satsuma, Ala. who chairs the instruction committee.

    Last fall, the trustees began studying the idea of adopting the 2000 BF&M. At the SBC annual meeting a resolution was made asking SBC institutions to refrain from requiring employees to sign the faith statement.

    Taylor said the instruction committee struggled over whether to recommend the 2000 BF&M or to keep the Abstract of Principles, which the seminary has used since its founding in 1951. The committee decided to recommend both. By keeping the Abstract of Principles, the seminary is "true to the school's history," Taylor said.

    Trustee Charlie Waller was the lone voter against the proposal to have both documents.

    "In my mind we're committing institutional schizophrenia," said Waller, a Southeastern graduate who now lives in Jeffersonton, Va.

    The two faith statements are similar and requiring faculty to sign both would be like a group having two mission statements, said Waller, who noted he doesn't oppose the 2000 BF&M.

    "Our institution does not need a new confessional statement," Waller said. The problem has been with faculty honestly fulfilling the statement, not with the statement itself, he said.

    Randall Lolley, president of the seminary from 1974-88, said he didn't want to comment about Waller's description of the faculty. He did say he was saddened to learn the trustees had adopted the Baptist Faith & Message as a "creed."

    A trustee at the seminary from 1978-88 did counter Waller's comment about some previous faculty members not fulfilling the Abstract of Principles. Harold Stinson of Winston-Salem said he often visited classes while a trustee. "I never saw anything that wasn't on the up and up," Stinson said.

    Russ Bush, academic vice president and dean of the faculty, said Waller is right in that if a person with integrity signs the Abstract of Principles, then the seminary shouldn't have a problem. But he said the differences between the two faith statements are minor and having both allows the seminary to keep its roots while affirming where the Convention is today. Faculty members said they wanted to keep the Abstract, he said, noting that Southern Baptist Theological Seminary requires faculty to sign both.

    Trustee James E. Merritt of Easley, S.C. said he wanted the seminary to require the affirmation of the 2000 BF&M by faculty. "It's keeping this institution safe," he said.

    Trustee Bradley Wilcoxen of Auburn, Calif. said he understood Waller's argument but asked him to consider the implication of a less than unanimous affirmation of the new faith statement.

    Before the vote, trustee Tom Rush of Clovis, N.M., referred to the Abstract's impact on faculty while he was in the school. "The professors signed the same thing. They didn't teach by it," he said.

    By approving the 2000 BF&M, the seminary shows its solidarity with the Convention, he said.

    Waller, who as the trustee's secretary is hidden from view by people attending the meeting, said afterward he voted against the recommendation.

    Although the vote does not require present faculty to sign the 2000 BF&M, Bush said they will be invited to sign during Awards Day at the seminary at the end of the semester.

    Not more than one instructor will choose not to sign, he said. Bush described the professor as the most senior faculty member who will retire in a couple years. George W. Braswell is the only faculty member who served prior to the conservative takeover of trustees in 1987. He is distinguished professor of missions and world religions and director of the doctor of ministry program.

    In other items, trustees did the following:

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    4/13/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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