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Brewton-Parker 'unapologetically Christian, proudly Baptist'

 

David Smith

MOUNT VERNON — David, the shepherd boy who became a king, asked a probing question that has echoed across the centuries: “Is there not a cause?”

When David heard the challenge of the giant Goliath in the Valley of Elah, he was filled with righteous indignation. It was that anger of the soul within David that drove him to get involved, not only to stand tall, but also to become involved in the battle.

Seeing that the army of Israel did not share his passion to do something about the giant defying the very name of his God, David cried out in I Samuel 17: 29: “Is there not a cause?”

Brewton-Parker College trustee Tony Romans used David’s question as the launching pad for his devotional message to his peers at the trustee meeting held on the Mount Vernon campus April 15.

The trustees responded to the challenge by voting unanimously on a number of significant issues including four action items that clearly define Brewton-Parker as a Baptist, Christian institution of higher education.

The first action item pertained to a resolution on the college’s Mission Centered Curriculum. Shep Johnson, BPC trustee and pastor of First Baptist Church in Douglas, presented the resolution and explained that the faculty has thoughtfully and strategically looked at each course taught at the school to see how it can be taught from a Christian worldview.

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Tony Romans, BPC trustee and pastor of North Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta, delivers a devotional message to the college’s Board of Trustees.

BPC President David Smith explained that the Christian worldview is to be infused into all of the courses taught at Brewton-Parker and that the purpose of the resolution is to tie each course to that same Christian worldview.

The second action item unanimously adopted by the trustees underscored a Statement of Faith and Learning. The central confession of the statement reads: “As a Georgia Baptist institution of higher learning, Brewton-Parker College is firmly and unequivocally rooted in the Christian faith, adopting the central confession for its statement of faith and learning from the New Testament – ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ (Rom. 10:9).

“As a consequence, to say that ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ is to nurture a learning environment in which academic challenge, authentic spirituality, and the practice of integrity can flourish.”

The third action item heartily approved by the trustees pertained to a statement of Doctrine and Theology including the following words: “Brewton-Parker College focuses its Christian mission on the twin concepts of providing an unapologetically Christian and proudly Baptist tradition of higher education. In matters of theology and doctrine, Brewton-Parker College’s administration and trustees endorse the tenets of faith generally accepted by Southern Baptists and specifically expressed in The Baptist Faith and Message, the denomination’s doctrinal statement approved by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963 and revised in 2000.”

The fourth action item focused on a resolution of Support for the Cooperative Program. The resolution stated: “The trustees of Brewton-Parker College affirm their historic commitment to the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention. They endorse the continuation of the Cooperative Program as the primary funding mechanism for mission ministries within the Georgia Baptist Convention. The Brewton-Parker College Board of Trustees appreciates the tireless efforts of GBC Executive Director Dr. J. Robert White in advocating for the Cooperative Program, and stand with him in affirming the Cooperative Program’s dynamic success in Georgia Baptist ministries.”

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Associate Professor of Religion and Philosophy Jerry Ray, left, presents the framed documents of the resolutions that define Brewton-Parker as a Baptist, Christian institution of higher education to board chairman Cliff Morris, pastor of First Baptist Dublin. Morris accepted the presentation on behalf of J. Robert White, Georgia Baptist Convention executive director.

When President Smith addressed the trustees later he stated, “Since 1998, the GBC has provided Brewton-Parker, through scholarships, grants, direct monthly stipends, and other subsidies a total of $18 million.”

The trustees enthusiastically adopted all four action items to boldly herald the college as being “unapologetically Christian and proudly Baptist.”

Smith stated, “Some years ago the vocalist of a country and western hit sang, ‘I was country before country was cool.’ Well, Brewton-Parker College was thoroughly Baptist before being Baptist was cool in GBC higher education.

“When our sister institution’s president in Macon was writing books proclaiming a Universalist theology, BPC was purging its Bible department of CBF influence.

“When our sister institution in Rome was building strategies to disassociate with the GBC, BPC stood steadfastly in the camp of Georgia Baptists.

“When our sister institution in Cleveland was unsure of its denominational affections in the early days of this century and experienced difficult financial times,” Smith continued, “BPC offered to bring some of its programs to Cleveland to assist that institution by allowing students to remain on that campus, paying room and board and remaining there until they could accredit similar programs to serve their students.”

Smith also stated, “Our two sister colleges in Rome and Cleveland have made great strides recently to become what the Georgia Baptist Convention expects them to be. I am grateful that they are now moving toward a place where Brewton-Parker College has traditionally posted itself.”

Smith concluded his remarks by declaring, “Our faculty has unanimously affirmed a statement of faith and learning that:

Gerald Harris/Index

Left to right, First Baptist Centerville pastor Allen Hughes, BPC provost Ron Melton, Macon architect Jimmy Michael, and board chairman Cliff Morris have a moment for fellowship during a break at the BPC trustee meeting.

Stands on an inerrant, infallible, and inspired Bible, knows God as triune and omnipotent;

Understands humankind as fallen sinners, but created in the likeness and image of God;

Accepts Christ as virgin born, with divine Sonship, who accepted crucifixion for sinners, rose from the grave for the salvation of sinners, and will return to accept into eternity redeemed sinners;

Understands salvation comes only through Jesus Christ, and that through faith, provided by His grace, resulting in good works;

Recognizes that there is no other way to God or eternal life except through Jesus Christ;

And realizes that all humans are eternal in ultimate form, either residing with Christ in heaven or apart from Him in hell, forever.

We believe these statements, synthesized and framed as reminders of our commitment to God’s Kingdom and our denomination, go far beyond a one-time assignation of allegiance. We offer them as a way of life, a philosophy of teaching and as evidence of a college so thoroughly integrated into the twin realities of educational enlightenment and Christian edification that we are indeed, unapologetically Christian and proudly Baptist.”