About the Book
What does it mean to be a Christian university in the Baptist tradition? The inherited definition of Baylor as a Christian university was based on the atmospheric model, a view of the Christian university defined largely by its student life, placing emphasis on a highly moral and religious kind of campus culture as its major ingredient. A common way of expressing Baylor's purpose, under this model, was to say that Baylor offered an excellent education in a Christian environment.
The large question left unanswered by the atmospheric model was the relationship of the Christian faith to the central part of the university, its intellectual life. It was not until the 1990s, however, that the integration model began to supplement, if not supplant, the atmospheric model. The integration model holds that it is a necessary condition of a Christian university that it bring the resources of the Christian faith to bear on the essence of what a university is namely, its entire intellectual life and discourse. The presumption is that the Christian faith in its scripture, traditions, and theology contains essential knowledge and wisdom that bring enlightenment and understanding to all other forms of learning. A Christian atmosphere is important, but atmosphere alone does not make a university a Christian university in the most basic and relevant sense.
This volume includes six major essays, five with responses, that constituted the core lectures of the colloquy in April of 2003 titled 'The Baptist and Christian Character of Baylor.' The colloquy was important because there was then and is now a widespread desire to come together as a community to speak openly and freely about what it means to be a Christian university in the Baptist tradition and to think about what the future of Baylor ought to be.