Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

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Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby Stephen Fox » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:47 pm

Wondering if Gourley is aware from his network among progressive Baptist Movers and Shakers what their take is on Shorter College.
In the last few days John Lanier, son of former Bull Street BC pastor and FBC Rome, Ga pastor Forrest Lanier has had a letter in the Rome News Tribune, as well as Al Mohler, several Shorter Trustees including the pastor of Fellowship BC in Rome, an opera singer grad of the school and and LA Actor, not to mention several former large contributors to the school.
The comment line to Rebecca Garrett's letter published on same day as Lanier's is particularly interesting.
I'm sure Gourley is aware. By chance is someone at Baptists Today looking closely at this matter and having on the record remarks from folks like Mercer's Underwood, and the Presidents of Samford and Carson Newman.
Would be a grand time for them to make it clear how a Baptist affiliated institution can Remain Christian without becoming fundamentalist; which it appears is the bill of goods--fundamentalism--Nelson Price and new Prez Dowles are trying to sale Shorter Nation with the help of the Art Demoss PR firm.
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Re: Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby Neil Heath » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:04 pm

It has been painful to read the letters and online posts from the Shorter community over the recent weeks. I have a family member who is a Shorter alum. When it was returned to the GBC in a court battle a few years back, she wrote to say "Now I know how you feel about Southern Seminary."

I know nothing will change the decisions made, not even the loss of large donors and much alumni support, but I'm glad people are speaking up and making the world aware of how they feel about the recent changes to a once good school. I will no longer encourage anyone to attend or support the school in any way under its current leadership.
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Re: Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby Sandy » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:17 pm

The school's affiliation with the GBC, and what is perceived by some as a "return to its true Baptist theological roots" is seen as a means of restoring the confidence of many of its donors which had stopped contributing, and a way to recruit new students and increase what was a sagging, declining enrollment.

The process of getting a college education is going through a major paradigm shift. The costs are astronomical, and there has been a sort of super inflation of tuition and fees that is disproportionate to monetary inflation. The availability of on-line and distance learning alternatives is creating competition and cutting into the recruiting of "traditional" college students. The cost of a traditional, on-campus education is driving many students to state-supported options and community college districts. So small, "church-affiliated" schools have to find a niche to appeal to students in order to keep their doors open. There are some very inexpensive options for Christians who want to attend a school that operates under a distinctively Christian philosophy of education. A lot of the small, state convention supported Baptist schools haven't been as "distinctively Christian" as their competition. If you live in Georgia, you can certainly find a distinctively Christian education from a distinctively Baptist position not too far away, at Liberty University, for about two thirds of what one of the state-convention related schools will cost. I'm sure that is at least part of what Shorter's trustees have in mind.

My alma mater, which was the only fully accredited, Christian related university in Arizona when I went to college in 1975, faced some real financial issues about a decade ago, brought on by the scandal in the Baptist Foundation of Arizona. Their trustees left the exclusive control of the state convention, and sold the school to a corporation with stock held by some of its alumni, among others. They actually broadened the school's appeal to the larger conservative, evangelical Christian community in the state, and added on line and distance learning options under a Christian philosophy of education. They are now a "for profit" business, with an enrollment that is roughly equal to the active membership of the entire Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. It is distinctively Christian, though not distinctively Baptist, but distinctively conservative evangelical. That's where a lot of state convention supported Baptist schools are going to have to go, and they'll have to be conservative enough to have broad appeal among evangelicals. They can't move to the left and hope to fill that role.
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Re: Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:59 am

Sandy wrote:The school's affiliation with the GBC, and what is perceived by some as a "return to its true Baptist theological roots" is seen as a means of restoring the confidence of many of its donors which had stopped contributing, and a way to recruit new students and increase what was a sagging, declining enrollment.


That may be how it is "seen" but that's not reality. I can only speak to Brewton-Parker College but I suspect the same is true of sister school Shorter.

Conservatives never backed BPC. They never sent their kids to BPC. BPC cleaned house some years back, replacing all the professors including my dad in the Christianity department. The Bob White fundamentalists seized complete control.

The school is barely alive. Conservatives have not sent their kids to BPC. The Georgia Baptist Convention helps fund BPC but conservative Georgia Baptist leaders have never made a commitment to the school at any point. Enrollment has always been an issue for 20 years now.

I've noticed how GBC leaders are puffing up Truett McConnell. The school is hiring and adding degree programs. It's really hard to believe TMC's success is real. Who would be surprised if we one day find out that Emir Caner has fabricated TMC's success much like his brother Ergun fabricated his lifestory?
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Grand Job BDW

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:10 am

You are now part of the heated discussion in the Rome News Tribune. I just copied and pasted your remarks there, with a plug for your weekly blog at baps today dot O r g and your bio of Dunn. Look for sales in Floyd County Georgia to go through the roof :wink: :brick:

You may want to saymore in this comment line of the Carol Garrett letter; and if you visit there check out the fine testimony of Forrest Lanier's son and Rob Nash's column if you have yet to do so.

Still waiting on Bruce Gourley to testify there:

http://rn-t.com/pages/full_story/push?n ... d=16529098
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Calling for Annointed Review in Baps Today

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:39 pm

Here is my latest comment in the Rebecca letter in the RNT

Matthew Avery Sutton in his Review of Stephens and Giberson in Nov 15 Christian Century describe the world of Nelson Price and Don Dowles and how they were able to pull off their coup at Shorter almost to a tee.
With the several books I've recommended to confront these fundamenalists with; put this in the top tier.
The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age.
Couple cogent and poignant takes from Sutton:

Folks like Price and Dowles "build constituencies by finding themes around which to rally their followers, playing on common fears, identifying out-groups to demonize, and projecting confidence."...They play off America's innate democratic impulse for when "laypeople have to make a choice between competing claims regarding the faith of the nation's founders, the age of the Earth, and the biblical view of marriage and an assortment of other issues, it makes sense that they would turn to those who claim biblical authority, whose work is explicitly called ministry and who have a public Christian testimony."
Google the review, get hold of the print issue.
Bottom line you don't want the likes of Dowles and Price running Shorter College. It's a joke and the joke is on Rome Georgia if the wider community lets them pull it off.
Get a new batch of lawyers.
Occupy Fellowship Baptist Church, the Shorter Campus and the Floyd County Baptist Associational offices until they see the Light
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No more timely reading than this for Dowles and Price

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:17 pm

American evangelicalism often appears as a politically monolithic, textbook red-state fundamentalism that elected George W. Bush, opposes gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, and promotes apathy about global warming. Prominent public figures hold forth on these topics, speaking with great authority for millions of followers. Authors Stephens and Giberson, with roots in the evangelical tradition, argue that this popular impression understates the diversity within evangelicalism—an often insular world where serious disagreements are invisible to secular and religiously liberal media consumers. Yet, in the face of this diversity, why do so many people follow leaders with dubious credentials when they have other options? Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health?

Exploring intellectual authority within evangelicalism, the authors reveal how America’s populist ideals, anti-intellectualism, and religious free market, along with the concept of anointing—being chosen by God to speak for him like the biblical prophets—established a conservative evangelical leadership isolated from the world of secular arts and sciences.

Today, charismatic and media-savvy creationists, historians, psychologists, and biblical exegetes continue to receive more funding and airtime than their more qualified counterparts. Though a growing minority of evangelicals engage with contemporary scholarship, the community’s authority structure still encourages the “anointed” to assume positions of leadership.
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Re: No more timely reading than this for Dowles and Price

Postby Sandy » Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:23 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:
American evangelicalism often appears as a politically monolithic, textbook red-state fundamentalism that elected George W. Bush, opposes gay marriage, abortion, and evolution, and promotes apathy about global warming. Prominent public figures hold forth on these topics, speaking with great authority for millions of followers. Authors Stephens and Giberson, with roots in the evangelical tradition, argue that this popular impression understates the diversity within evangelicalism—an often insular world where serious disagreements are invisible to secular and religiously liberal media consumers. Yet, in the face of this diversity, why do so many people follow leaders with dubious credentials when they have other options? Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health?

Exploring intellectual authority within evangelicalism, the authors reveal how America’s populist ideals, anti-intellectualism, and religious free market, along with the concept of anointing—being chosen by God to speak for him like the biblical prophets—established a conservative evangelical leadership isolated from the world of secular arts and sciences.

Today, charismatic and media-savvy creationists, historians, psychologists, and biblical exegetes continue to receive more funding and airtime than their more qualified counterparts. Though a growing minority of evangelicals engage with contemporary scholarship, the community’s authority structure still encourages the “anointed” to assume positions of leadership.


Where is the link for this quote Stephen? You usually post them, but you missed this one. I'd like to read the whole thing in context.

The implication that truth comes through education of the intellect, and conversely that "intellectual authority" rests in "scholarship", and that those who follow this path are somehow "more qualified" than the bulk of evangelicals who choose not to "engage" with "contemporary scholarship" is condescending at best, and is a totally inaccurate portrayal of the situation as it exists. Christian scholarship that is distinctively Christian philosophically begins at the recognition of God as the creator and sustainer of the universe, and rests on his revelation of himself, through Christ, and through the Holy Spirit, with the Bible as the primary source of written revelation. The influence of worldly wisdom on pretentious, ivory tower academia has pushed it toward a more humanistic conclusion resting on the idea that humanity is the measure of all things. That's why they think that qualification as an "intellectual" depends on a pile of degrees from an approved educational institution.

I'd be willing to bet that the level of scholarship, and the accompanying level of achievement, among those who pursue education in a distinctively Christian environment is higher than it is in the ivory tower world, but of course, they are also the ones who determine how to measure their own accomplishments. A Christian university has no business advertising itself as such if it recognizes worldly, academic credentials over God's revelation. And I think that is probably the bottom line with regard to what is happening at Shorter, and at other Baptist related schools which are being taken back by conservatives.
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Christian Century and Harvard for Sandy

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:12 am

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php? ... 0674048188

And November 15 print issue of Christian Century has grand review of The Anointed as well.

You state your case well.

The thing with Shorter is the History of the players are a big factor, Nelson Price being the key, as well as recent history of Georgia Baptist Convention which I think BDW did a grand job of in his testimony about Brewton Parker and the situation at T McConnell.

Marilynne Robinson was at both Furman and Duke wiithin the last three months. And four years ago she had a two day stint in Bham which included a day at Samford.

I don't see the likes of Union in Jackson, Tn; nor Shorter engaging the conversation you suggest. And unless somehow the students and faculty at Shorter force Dowles and Price into an invitation of Rachel Held Evans of Evolvling in Monkeytown I don't see Price and his fundamentalist trustee board having her on campus anytime soon.
Get your hands on the book soon as you can. I'm gonna call the Rome Barnes and Noble and encourage them to order ten copies right away. I think they can sell em. Put em next to Ann Beatties new work on Pat Nixon new arrivals shelf when you walk in the door; or special section that says ofInterest to Shorter; maybe with the greatflicks soon to be in the Criterion section: The White Ribbon and a Better World. :wink: :)

And Sandy, do check in at RN-t.com and click on opinion and letters to see how it is playing on the ground in Rome, Georgia.

Another great read for you if you are interested in the truth of this matter rather than just scoring debating points--didn't mean that as a thumb in your eye, just for reference for others who come along to read these exchanges--I can recommend no better than my friend Jeff Rogers grand essays in the Helwys publication What Really Matters; a presentation at Furman in 94 or so as Furman was reviewing what had happened in its big scrare with S.C. Baps.
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Furthermore

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:20 am

I agree with you a good Baptist kid who comes to a campus that has a historical affiliation with Baptists in America should not be in a world that is alienating to him. If he comes from a church where the Preacher loves the Scripture and preaches right living and has insight into the stories, then that is a rich intellectual tradition and world of imagination that should set him up for greatness in the humanities.
As an example my late hero Marshall Frady--some say the greatest social justice journalist in last half of the 20th Century; and my Pen Faulkner nominee friend Ron Rash--see my interview in the June 2010 Baptists Today.

But Pressler and Patterson's gunk about the science and history of the first 11 chapters of Genesis, and Jerry Vines sermon of 1987 in St. Louis--and don't forget Vines was twice pastor of West Rome BC, about a mile, if that, from the Shorter Campus--well ain't much of a liberal arts education coming from that mess. Perfect examples of what it looks like Giberson and Stephens are gettin at; which in a nutshell is the bogusnes of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC.
Erskine College in Due West, S.C. went through similar anxiety couple years ago with Reformed Presbyterians.

Main point, Inerrancy want scour in a good liberal arts scene; and Shorter is being taken over by rogue group, pretty much stolen from Baptists who were the major funding trajectory over the last 100 years. Again, BDW and Jeff Rogers cement my point.
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Re: Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby Sandy » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:27 pm

From the Shorter University website and catalog wrote:Shorter University is a Christ-centered liberal arts university dedicated to academic excellence within the context of a biblical worldview. As a Christian university, Shorter is committed to keeping an emphasis upon a biblically sound, integrated, faith-based education that promotes a zeal for academic, spiritual, and professional growth. The educational process of teaching and learning involves the whole person, and Shorter is committed to the principle that all truth comes from God and finds its fullest expression in the person of Jesus Christ. Shorter University deeply cares about the academic and spiritual development of its students and believes that students should be challenged academically and spiritually to impact culture. By providing an educational process intent on transforming lives through Jesus Christ, Shorter University seeks to glorify God through students equipped for lifelong servant leadership.

Our organizational brand and educational philosophy are reflective of and permeated by the timeless truths of Jesus Christ. Shorter University is committed to a broad based liberal arts education, believing it is not only a task, but a calling to seek truth and apply that truth in the marketplace of life. Christ-centered scholarship has its foundation in the biblical command to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength, and mind (Mark 12:30) and must be pursued in every field of study.

Our quality education is reflective of our founders’ vision for developing young scholars who will impact the global community as valuable servants of the Lord. As a Christ-centered institution, Shorter affirms its affiliation with and commitment to the Georgia Baptist Convention.


That's a pretty good articulation of a basic philosophy of Christian education. Seeing that this is what is in place now, put there by the current leadership of the school, with the affirmation of commitment to the Georgia Baptist Convention, I have to ask what was different about Shorter University's philosophy of education under the direction of the "Baptists who were the major funding trajectory over the past 100 years."

There are some notable examples in Southern Baptist circles of higher education in recent years where professors and administrators of schools similarly committed to state Baptist conventions of various geographical locations let their scholarship drift away from "Christ-centerered" focus to a reliance on their own scholarship, and that of others who do not operate from a Christ-centered, Biblical perspective, to the point where they have concluded, either publicly, or through their teaching, that some of the Bible's history and science can't possibly square up with human reasoning. So then, they concluded, the college has to loosen its ties to a Baptist group that keeps them from intellectual "excellence" measured from a purely human (and thus inherently flawed) perspective. They succeeded in doing this, and in keeping others employed who felt the same, as long as the state convention chose the trustees they needed to protect their jobs. And so, when the Georgia Baptist Convention leadership took note, they elected and sent trustees who were committed to keeping the school lashed to a distinctively Christian philosophy of education, and they chose administrations who would make sure that the faculty was supportive of such.

I only see a few people, mostly the few Baptists who were once privileged elite in state convention structures, and those who were planning their friendships in order to become the privileged elite, complaining about this. I don't know much about either the Georgia Baptist Convention or its related universities except what I've read about them here, or in the Baptist media. From a distance, it appears that a state convention which is seeing its conservative turn applauded and welcomed by a considerable majority of its churches, is taking action through its constitutional and organizational process, to reclaim its educational institutions back into a Christ-centered educational philosophy, and that only those with a prior vested interest are complaining about it.

If the Baptists who financially supported Shorter, or Brewton-Parker or Truett-McConnell, for "100 years," feel that the schools have been taken over by "foreign" interests, then they have the same opportunity to pack up messengers to the convention, reclaim the majority, and elect trustees who will move the schools back to where they wanted them.
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RNT's answer to Sandy

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:47 pm

Pierre Noth, lead editorial writer for the Rome News Tribune had prophetic response for you Sandy 23 days ago in the RNT:

Just for openers, that lengthy and specific faith statement starts off with: “We believe the Bible, consisting of the Old and New Testaments, is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.”

OK, that means no Jews allowed to teach (Old Testament only) nor any Mormons (they’ve got a third they believe trumps the other two). The “inerrant and infallible” erases a bunch of mainstream Christian denominations and, if actually followed, would result in some really weird dietary concoctions being served up in the Shorter cafeteria. Not to mention any number of biblical oddities that Georgia Baptists currently totally ignore.

The problem with that “infallible” thing is that one can’t really pick and choose. It’s either all or nothing and most Christians — most religions, actually — prefer to view their fundamental guiding stories as allegorical, not literal; as leading along a path and not requiring jumping off a cliff.

IN ALL FAIRNESS, it must be pointed out that cults and the narrow-minded alike are allowed freedom equal to all other Americans. So are free thinkers, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, Buddhists and Wiccans. And some of the most accepting of this situation are the real Southern Baptists who no longer and in growing numbers won’t support the Georgia Baptist Convention’s rigid view of things, including some of Floyd County’s largest churches and the one that actually founded Shorter way back in 1873.

Baptists also helped shape many of the pro-freedom principles of the American Constitution and don’t deserve to be viewed as having closed minds — firm beliefs, yes; closed minds, no.

To large extent, the Shorter trustees have mostly victimized themselves by making it appear they have entered cult territory, hence marginalizing their particular worldview.

In the process they have also made into victims all those faculty/staff who cannot or will not go along with this new loyalty oath. That’s a condition in which students now enrolled will soon find themselves. At least those now attending will have time to “get out of Dodge” before the Georgia Baptist sheriff arrives. The faculty members were gunned down from ambush while just walking across campus.



Read more: RN-T.com - COLUMN New Shorter ‘loyalty oath’ will force many off the Hill


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Re: Bruce Gourley and Mercer's Underwood on Shorter?

Postby William Thornton » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:55 pm

Big Daddy Weaver wrote: I've noticed how GBC leaders are puffing up Truett McConnell. The school is hiring and adding degree programs. It's really hard to believe TMC's success is real. Who would be surprised if we one day find out that Emir Caner has fabricated TMC's success much like his brother Ergun fabricated his lifestory?


All of the three GBC college presidents were feted at the recent GBC meeting and we are pouring big bucks into all of them, especially Shorter. I'm not sure this is wise. BPC cut tuition 22%, a move featured in a CNN article.

Taking a Baptist college conservative has proved to be a good marketing move. Time will tell. The GBC will put $4 million in the schools in 2012 ($2m Shorter, $1m each the other two).
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Nelson Price on the Loyalty Oath

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:37 pm

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/is ... wolfe4.htm

I hope Gourley can bring this To Dr. Underwood's attention, and Aaron Weaver to the Baylor President if they haven't already come across it
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Crunching the Numbers at Shorter

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 06, 2012 4:32 pm

In the comment section to this letter is an interesting assessment. Whether from these numbers a new lawsuit could swing one vote another way on the Ga Supreme Court and some settlement like Belmont be reached whose to say. But there may some hope here, the Size of a Man's Hand, as the OT prophet saw in the clouds.

Deliberate |January 04, 2012 -

Let's take a look at Shorter's own factbook, shall we? We know what figure Dr. White gives as the GBC contribution to Shorter as of 2002. We have, by no means, looked at all the money given by individuals and groups during the equivalent time period. From Shorter's own Fact Book the percentage of giving from 2005-2009:

Alumni - 10%

Parents - 1%

Other Individuals - 22%

Foundations - 36%

Corporations - 7%

Religious Organizations - 23%

Fundraising Consortia - 2%

Other - 1%

As you can clearly see, Other individuals have donated within 1% of the total giving by the GBC. If you only consider alumni and other individuals, you have already exceeded the 23% given by the GBC by 9%.

Clearly, you have not read the court decision. The court, in arguments both for and against the decision, agreed with the Shorter Board of Trustees that in light of the findings by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)they had a right to be concerned about the amount of control that the GBC was wielding over the university.

The decision was rendered in the GBC's favor because Dr. Schrader and the Board of Trustees, in the court's opinion, used the wrong method to try and disengage itself from the GBC.




Read more: RN-T.com - LETTER TO THE EDITOR Romans have put more into Shorter than GBC ever did
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At the Heart of Price's Misguided Worldview

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:59 pm

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New comments on the Princeton discussion at Shorter

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 12, 2012 4:16 pm

Very Strong. Two folks, Night Owl and Almost Anonymous coming in as apologists for Price, one quite well tuned to Price's blog:

http://www.rn-t.com/view/full_story/170 ... eft_column
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