By Tim Chapman and Norm Miller
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews)--The entire faculty of Truett-McConnell College sets a precedent Oct. 27 by signing the Baptist Faith and Message, thus demonstrating their individual and corporate commitment to, and belief in the statement as adopted in 2000 by the Southern Baptist Convention.
Previously scheduled for Aug. 18, the BF&M signing will occur Oct. 27.
Paige Patterson -- president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas --will keynote the 9.30 A.M. event in TMC's athletic center.
Patterson was president of the SBC when the BF&M was adopted; and his wife, Dorothy, served on the committee that revised the statement. Baptist Press reported at the time that more than 90 percent of messengers attending the SBC in Salt Lake City, Utah, approved the measure.
Among other revisions, the BF&M, as adopted in 2000, cemented Southern Baptists' founding and continuing stance on the veracity and inerrancy of the Holy Bible.
"We will be the first Southern Baptist College to require a signature to affirm the Baptist Faith and Message in a public forum," said TMC President Emir Caner in 2009, when TMC trustees voted unanimously to require all faculty members to sign the BF&M.
Caner -- who was not available for immediate comment as he was on a TMC mission trip in Chiang Mai, Thailand -- told the Georgia Baptist Christian Index almost two years ago: "The Georgia Baptist Convention and our churches deserve nothing less than a faculty who will abide by nothing less than the essentials of the faith. ... Institutions that do not faithfully support the theology of Southern Baptists do not deserve the faithful support of Southern Baptists."
TMC's president cited BF&M Article XII on Education when saying, "In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college or seminary is limited by the pre-eminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists."
"The Baptist Faith and Message is a summary of what Southern Baptists believe," added Brad Reynolds, vice president for academic services. "The statement we all will sign embodies the doctrines we hold precious, and they are essential to our historic Baptist faith and practice."
Regarding Patterson's participation, Daniel Moosbrugger -- TMC's vice president for institutional advancement -- said, "Truett-McConnell College is honored and privileged to have Dr. Patterson be our keynote speaker. Without his leadership in the SBC during the years of theological controversy, the possibility looms large that our college may not exist. There are untold multitudes of Southern Baptists who owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Patterson. Truett-McConnell College is among their number."