Friday evening I received a much welcomed call from Charles Barnes, one of our past Kentucky Baptist Convention presidents and a well-known lay leader in the KBC. Barnes called to inform me that Campbellsville University had agreed to our requests for a meeting. Saturday, at 3pm, that meeting took place.
KBC leaders present were Garnetta Smith, chairperson of the KBC Mission Board’s Agency & Institution Committee, Adam Greenway, chairman of the KBC Mission Board’s Administrative Committee, Roger Alford, who is both a KBC pastor and the Mission Board’s Director of Communications, KBC attorney James Taylor, Charles Barnes, and myself. Campbellsville was represented by President Mike Carter, Vice President John Chowning, KBC pastor and CU Board Chairman Joseph Owens, board members and KBC pastors Mike Oneil and James Jones, and CU’s attorneys.
From the outset the meeting was conciliatory and redemptive. CU leaders offered their apologies for any disparaging or divisive remarks about the KBC over the past few weeks and requested we recommit ourselves to walking together in a way that is worthy of our Lord. In Matthew 18:22, Jesus tells Peter that we should forgive “seventy times seven.” That is to say, our willingness to forgive should be limitless. Since that is the kind of forgiveness we all need and have all received, it is the kind we must extend. And we all did.
Moreover, each of us personally committed to doing what we can to help Campbellsville move forward. While the university’s future relationship with Kentucky Baptists will probably look different than the past, I truly believe we can walk forward supportive of one another and engaging in a ministry partnership that will advance the Kingdom in Kentucky and to the ends of the earth.
Pray for Campbellsville’s trustees. They have important decisions to make regarding the future of the institution. Ask God to give them wisdom and the knowledge of His will. And ask God to help each of us walk humbly before Him and seek to honor one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10). In so doing, we honor Him.