A couple of weeks ago, I got a chance to participate in the CBF General Assembly.
Now, this was not, as some of our objectors have supposed, a political move on the part of Save OBU. I went to the assembly because I am in seminary, I am a member of a CBF church, and, because it was in Ft. Worth, my seminary paid the fees for a few of the events for Baptist Brite students. (There aren't a lot of us, but we are there!) Getting to talk with like minds about Save OBU was merely icing on the cake.
With that said, I'd like to take a post to briefly share some of my thoughts on the experience. Later this week, Jacob will share some of his thoughts on the SBC assembly.
At Save OBU, we are pushing for a split from the BGCO. We have cited many reasons why we believe the split would be beneficial for both organizations and you can click on pretty much any post in this blog to find them. But some have seen this as an argument that OBU should quit being Baptist. This is not the case at all.
Rather, we believe (and we are not alone) that the mission of the SBC and the mission of Higher Education are no longer in line. But that does not mean that OBU should not be Baptist or that we don't think Baptists care about higher education. I count myself as one such Baptist.
Being at the CBF assembly reminded me of something I have sought to say over and over on this blog. Splitting with the BGCO is not a refusal to be Baptist. It is a refusal to accept the SBC's increasingly narrow definition of what it means to be a Baptist.
I'm not arguing that OBU should join up with the CBF instead-- although I do think that OBU could benefit from partnering with organizations like the CBFO and already does many things with the two substantial CBF (I think they are both dually aligned with the SBC as well) churches in Shawnee.
No, I stand by my claim that OBU can only protect its academic inheritance if it is a free-standing body with a board of trustees, administration, faculty and staff which are loyal only to OBU and its mission. However, the existence of organizations like the CBF which has refused to allow the SBC to define what it means to be a Baptist gives me hope for OBU to stand up and do likewise.
All of this is to reiterate the point we have made all along. In order for OBU to remain both truly Baptist and an excellent institution of higher education, it must part ways with the BGCO.
For anyone who still does not see the incompatibility of the SBC and higher ed, please see Clayton's excellent post on the matter.