Last Saturday, I asked for prayers as representative from both the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Campbellsville University prepared to meet for open, honest dialogue regarding concerns raised by Kentucky Baptists. God is gracious, and prayers for fruitful and honest discussion were answered.
A news release posted on the KBC website explains more:
CAMPBELLSVILLE, KY. — Leaders from the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Campbellsville University are re-affirming their partnership following a meeting on Monday.
KBC and CU leaders crafted the following statement:
“After a candid and transparent meeting between Kentucky Baptist leaders and representatives from Campbellsville University, we have received the assurance that those who believe the literal truthfulness of every word of the Bible are welcomed as students and as faculty members of the university. While, as a liberal arts university, a diverse faculty and curriculum are typical in higher education, CU affirms its desire to prioritize the integration of faith and learning. CU also commits to remaining a Kentucky Baptist institution and operating in accordance with the Covenant Agreement. We look forward to ongoing conversations about ways to strengthen the relationship between the KBC and CU.”
The dialogue addressed concerns some Kentucky Baptists had raised about the beliefs and course content presented by faculty members in Campbellsville University’s theology and science programs.
“I’m grateful for the outcome of today’s meeting,” said KBC Executive Director-Treasurer Paul Chitwood. “As a product of Christian higher education, I know personally the value. My wife, Michelle, and I are both graduates of Campbellsville University’s sister school, the University of the Cumberlands, and 33 members of our extended family have attended there,” said Chitwood.
“I believe the cause of Christian higher education that drew the support of Kentucky Baptists in the beginning is still a worthwhile cause for Kentucky Baptists,” he continued. “I look forward to further dialogue with CU leaders that will strengthen our partnership.”
KBC President Dan Summerlin, pastor of Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, echoed Chitwood’s confidence.
“I believe the open dialog helped everyone to understand the importance of our partnership,” said Summerlin.
“As a local pastor, and since we have students attending and planning to attend Campbellsville, I see the importance of higher Christian education in our state, through not only Campbellsville University but also the University of Cumberlands.”
Chitwood suggested the meeting between representatives of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and Campbellsville University after Kentucky Baptists began expressing their concerns via email, phone calls and social media. Michael Carter, president of Campbellsville University, was receptive to the idea and worked with Chitwood to identify key leaders to participate in the discussion.
Campbellsville University representatives included: Joe Owens, chair of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees and pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Lexington; Mike O’Neal, pastor of Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville; James Jones, member of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees and pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Campbellsville; Terry Black, attorney from Louisville; John Chowning, pastor of Saloma Baptist Church in Campbellsville and vice president for Church and External Relations for Campbellsville University; Frank Cheatham, vice president for Academic Affairs at Campbellsville University; Larry Noe, member of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees and member of Campbellsville Baptist Church; and David Morris, member of the Campbellsville University Board of Trustees and a member of Paint Lick Baptist Church in Warsaw.
Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort and professor of preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville; Dan Summerlin, KBC president and pastor of First Lone Oak Baptist Church in Paducah; Bill Henard, pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington; Charles Barnes, member of Hurstbourne Baptist Church in Louisville; and Paul Badgett, pastor of First Baptist Church of Pikeville; Adam Greenway, chairman of the KBC Administrative Committee; Daryl Cornett, chair of the KBC Mission Board Agencies and Institutions Committee; and Curtis Woods, KBC associate executive director for convention relations and communications, represented the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Campbellsville University is one of 10 agencies and institutions that receive funding from Kentucky Baptists through the Cooperative Program, and will receive $1,268,760 in 2012-2013. Since 1984, Kentucky Baptists have given more than $31 million to Campbellsville University through the Cooperative Program.