Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Mercer University and the Georgia Baptist Convention

From the AJC...Baptists vote to slash Mercer ties
(you'll need an account)

Mercer University is traditionally Baptist with longstanding ties to the Georgia Baptist Convention. However, these ties, which have become worn through the years, are about to end. According to The Christian Index, the Mercer Triangle Symposium held a "Coming Out Day" for gays and lesbians back on October 11th. Yet, according to R. Kirby Godsey, Mercer President, the Triangle Symposium was meant as a tool for dialogue and not encouraged by the university.

As of Tuesday, November 15th, the conservative force behind the Georgia Baptist Convention voted on a measure to end it's relationship with Mercer, since it cannot control the university's Board of Trustees. Therefore, if the measure is made final next year, the GBC will cease giving $3.6 million annually in scholarship money.

As a theology graduate student at the McAfee School of Theology, Mercer - Atlanta campus, I am troubled by the GBC's sharp-turn measure against the school. Is this really about a gay and lesbian organization meeting on school grounds OR is this about the lack of a conservative movement on behalf of the university? I don't think so. Therefore, at the center of the GBC's vote is the lack of control; control of what takes place at Mercer.

If one were to look at the quality of education at Mercer University, you would begin with President Godsey. In the many years of being president, he has taken this university and made it great. For example, look at enrollment or donations. Both are incredibly high. Mercer is also ranked amongst the top universities in the nation.

Now, would President Godsey jeopardize the university's fine reputation for doing something stupid? No, he wouldn't. His intentions are pure; he wants only the best for Mercer and it's students. Take my word for this: I've met President Godsey and his heart is in the right place. He encourages academic freedom while glorifying Christ. The Mercer faculty encourages the same values.

But alas, there are some things I will never understand. I will never understand a body, like the GBC, ripping it's relationship from Mercer without speaking with President Godsey first, students second. I fully support President Godsey, the faculty, and students of Mercer for their grace and love in Christ. For this measure really hurts Mercer's students the most. Students who rely on GBC's annual giving.

Listed below are the articles to "The Christian Index" and the GBC's measure.

The Christian Index

GBC Measure


Jeff said...

Seems Baptist organizations are putting their foot down. Same thing happened to Belmont up in Tennessee with the Tenn. Baptist Convention. Of course, even back at Union we knew Belmont was headed away from their Baptist background.

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