I have written many an article questioning the decisions and actions of those in leadership in our convention. I think it is one of blogging’s purposes and, if done rightly, a way that our big ol’ blogging mouths can serve the convention well. It is also important that we note leaders who lead well.
Dr. Paul Chitwood is one of those leaders. He is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention and is demonstrating repeatedly that he should and can be an important leader for our denomination’s future. Last year, he sponsored a conference on Calvinism that attempted to bridge the gap and bring some positive discussion on that incendiary topic. Video of that conference is available, and is in my opinion well worth the time to watch.
There have been some disturbing stories from colleges related to Southern Baptists at one level or another. The fiasco at Louisiana College has been pretty well documented. Some confusing things have happened at Cedarville University. In the last week or so, there have been some disturbing reports about the goings-on at another SBC-related school, one supported by the missions gifts of Kentucky Baptists.
If you read blogs, you’ve likely heard the story. Campbellsville University in Kentucky has denied tenure to and cancelled the contract of a professor, Dr. Jarvis Williams, an associate professor of NT and Greek. He is by all accounts a bright young scholar, one who teaches (and believes) in line with the BF&M 2000. Disturbing reports indicate that the reason he is being released is that he is considered too conservative by other professors at Campbellsville.
And article by Patrick Shreiner summarizes the facts of the situation.
I know about Campbellsville only what I have read in the last week or so. I am not aware of the exact relationship between KBC and Campbellsville. And it is not my focus here to speculate on the facts of the Williams situation. I can say that he has received the highest endorsements from some of our best scholars.
I wish to focus on Dr. Chitwood’s response.
Dr. Chitwood leads as a convention leader ought to lead. You can read his response here, and article called, “Campbellsville University and the Churches of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.” It is measured, direct, and redemptive.
- He has scheduled talks with the leadership of Campbellsville to assess the situation. Get the facts first before he makes his response!
- He recognizes both the problem and the seriousness of the problem. No polishing the rotten apple! He is meeting the issue head on.
- He publicly announces the talks, but reminds us that such talks will be carried out in private. A balance between necessary confidentiality and transparency.
- His response is measured and calm. Not jumping to conclusions or shooting from the hip.
We have some great (if imperfect) men leading our institutions and entities. But Dr. Paul Chitwood has impressed me with his principled, irenic and visionary leadership. The Kentucky Baptist Convention is well served by a man like this.