By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN – The board of directors of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board have been informed of a recent action by Carson-Newman University board of trustees to “incorporate the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message and the Preamble as part of the standards and regulations concerning the operations of the university.”
The directors also heard the response of their Partner Ministries Committee (PMC) which has been in dialogue with C-N officials during the past year: “The Partner Ministries Committee of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board appreciates and receives the positive response of the Carson-Newman University board of trustees toward our concerns.”
Mike Kemper of Jackson, interim pastor of Smyrna Baptist Church, Humboldt, and chairman of the PMC, said concerns about Carson-Newman were brought to the committee earlier this year.
“We received these concerns and began to share them with our board in executive session,” Kemper told the Baptist and Reflector.
No details could be released because meetings were held in executive session to insure confidentiality.
Kemper said the PMC met with the denominational relations committee of Carson-Newman and trustee chairman Harry Brooks, a member of Union Baptist Church on Washington Pike in Knoxville, in July.
Carson-Newman trustees discussed the concerns at their meeting in August and adopted the motion to incorporate the 2000 BF&M in its operational documents. The president of Carson-Newman (Randall O’Brien) will implement the policy and supervise its compliance, according to Brooks.
He added that the president will be accountable to the board of trustees on all issues related to the implementation of the policy.
Kemper said the action of the C-N trustees indicated a desire to resolve the TBMB’s concerns. “It is a step on the right direction,” he affirmed, adding that “we look forward to continuing to strengthen relationships.
“Our desire is for Carson-Newman to remain one of our valued partners,” Kemper said. “We are committed to our mutually beneficial relationship and we desire to go forward together accomplishing Kingdom objectives,” he added.
The 2017-18 budget adopted by the TBMB directors included an estimated allocation of $1,875,900 for Carson-Newman.
“The Carson-Newman University’s board of trustees’ strong affirmation and incorporation of the Baptist Faith & Message in their governing documents will serve as a strong reflection of the biblical core beliefs of Tennessee Baptists,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB.
“We greatly appreciate this action of the leadership at Carson-Newman,” Davis added.