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Good for Seminary

Oct. 3, 2000

Funds may be redirected toward BGCT seminaries

A preliminary measure has been approved by the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) that would redirect Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) funds toward BGCT-supported seminaries, including Baylor's George W. Truett Theological Seminary. The plan, which will be up for final approval Oct. 30 at the BGCT's annual meeting, will greatly benefit Truett and the other BGCT-supported schools by increasing funding by approximately $4 million.

If the funding measure is approved, it would mean more scholarship money for Truett students and a subsidy for some of Truett's operating costs. These costs are on the rise, and any financial assistance would be welcomed so that resources can be spent on more important matters.

Since the measure would also increase the level of scholarship funding to Truett students, they would also directly benefit by having more of their tuition paid by the BGCT's funds.

According to Dr. Dick Maples, associate director of the BGCT, the scholarship increase would be at least $50 per semester hour for Truett and other BGCT seminaries' students.

While the proposed plan would certainly help Baylor's seminary, the proposed changes come as the result of a rift between the leadership of the SBC and its largest affiliate, the BGCT. This summer, the SBC approved a rewrite of its Baptist Faith and Message and intends for it to be used as a means for doctrinal accountability at its seminaries, according to a recent Associated Baptist Press article. BGCT leaders criticized the change, claiming it was un-Baptist to use the Baptist Faith and Message as a creed, and that Texas Baptists should not be expected to fund the education of students at seminaries where the 'beliefs of Texas Baptist are not represented,' the article stated.

Regardless of the diverging ideologies between the two groups, it does seem logical that the majority of BGCT's funds should go to BGCT schools. Baptist churches across the South naturally have different values, beliefs and priorities according to each church's congregation. Thus, the affiliates are the best ones to allocate funding to local churches in their jurisdiction.

The BGCT's leadership believes its money is best spent on BGCT seminaries, rather than on SBC seminaries, and the change in funding would help ease the financial burden on Truett students, we applaud the recommendation and urge its adoption by the BGCT.