By Bob Allen
Kentucky Baptist Convention leaders said they came away satisfied after a three-hour meeting to investigate reports that Campbellsville University is getting rid of a Southern Baptist Theological Seminary-trained professor for being too conservative.
State convention and university officials issued a joint statement after the April 29 meeting assuring Kentucky Baptists “that those who believe the literal truthfulness of every word of the Bible are welcomed as students and as faculty members of the university.”
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood requested the meeting after hearing reports that Jarvis Williams, assistant professor of New Testament and Greek since 2008, was being denied tenure and told his teaching contract will not be renewed because of his beliefs. Williams received his bachelor’s degree at Boyce College in 2000 before going on to earn the M.Div., Th.M. and Ph.D. from Southern Seminary.
At the same time, bloggers claimed there are other professors who reject biblical inerrancy and affirm and teach evolution. Chitwood called that “difficult for many Kentucky Baptists to swallow,” given that the school stands to receive more than $1.2 million from the state convention’s unified budget in 2012-2013.
After the meeting, school and KBC officials said: “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.”
Campbellsville University is one of 10 agencies and institutions that receive funding from the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. The others are Clear Creek Baptist Bible College, University of the Cumberlands, Oneida Baptist Institute, Baptist Healthcare System, Sunrise Children’s Services (formerly Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children), Kentucky Baptist Foundation, Kentucky Baptist Assemblies and the Western Recorder, the state Baptist newspaper.