Thursday, September 08, 2005
I'm in Ft. Worth today attending a conference on religious liberty that the Center for Leadership Development at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is sponsoring. I decided to do a little opposition research to see if Southern Baptists still believe anything that they did when I went to this school in the late 1970's and early 80's.
I arrived a little early and drove to the new (to me) alumni conference center named for one of my former professors, Dr. Jack MacGorman. My hotel room at the conference center is literally across the street from where Kylene (my wife) and I lived for the three years that I worked on my master's degree. That house was torn down long ago to make room for a Baptist Book Store -- now LifeWay. Fittingly, my room in the conference center is called the "Jimmy Draper Guest Room," named after one of the takeover presidents of the SBC who became the head of the Baptist Sunday School Board which operates LifeWay.
This is the first time that I have been on campus since the day after Dr. Russell Dilday, former President of the Seminary, was fired -- sometime in the early 90's (I've forgotten the year, but remember the time well).
The most noticeable difference between those days and today is the vacant atmosphere of the campus. I expected to have difficulty finding a place to park. That was the biggest problem around campus when I was a student. It was still a problem in the early 90's. Today the parking lots are empty, and numerous parking spaces are open on every street around the campus.
I knew that enrollment was down at the Seminary, but until today the magnitude of the decline escaped me.
Truthfully, in those days it was harder to find a parking space around the Seminary on a Saturday, when classes were out, than it is to find one today when classes are in session.
Whatever else the Fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention did, it didn't do anything positive for the enrollment at Southern Baptist seminaries.
Posted by Bruce Prescott at 9:37 PM