Ky. Baptists delay cutting Georgetown ties

Southern Baptists in Kentucky are going to wait a year before deciding whether to end a partnership with Georgetown College, a historically Baptist liberal-arts college chartered in 1829.

By Bob Allen

The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s mission board voted unanimously and without discussion Nov. 12 to approve an administrative committee recommendation to postpone by one year a vote on the convention’s future with Georgetown College.

A motion to terminate a partnership agreement struck in 2005, when Georgetown changed its governance to recruit one fourth of its trustees from outside the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated state convention, appeared in the 2012 KBC book of reports but was withdrawn at the state convention’s 175th annual meeting Nov. 13 in Lexington, Ky.

KBC President Adam Greenway, assistant professor of evangelism and applied apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, told messengers that convention leaders felt that with the recently announced retirement of Georgetown College President William Crouch next June, the selection of his successor might open the door for renewed cooperation between the two parties.

A state convention study committee that proposed ending ties with Georgetown cited factors including a recent decision by the school’s trustees to drop the requirement that 75 percent of the board members be Kentucky Baptists.

Another was a revision of Georgetown’s identity statement from sectarian Baptist to one “built on a Baptist foundation” in pursuit of “a knowledge of and commitment to the Christian faith.”

Also mentioned was the 2010 relocation to Georgetown’s campus of the Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner.

The motion to terminate the relationship cited “limited resources and a more focused ministry assignment,” and a desire by Kentucky Baptists “to invest Christian education resources, energies and attention on our institutions that are in covenant agreement with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.”

If approved, the motion would have made scholarship funds for Georgetown available to students at the University of the Cumberlands, Campbellsville University and Clear Creek Baptist Bible College.