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Baylor University and the Baptist’s Relationship Status: Complicated

Baylor University and the Baptist’s Relationship Status: Complicated

Baylor University and the Baptists go way back like Sid and Nancy. More specifically, Baylor has a “special arrangement” with the Baptist General Convention of Texas over the last 30 years that has involved a lot of cooperation between the two institutions. But now, that relationship appears to be getting a little messy.

“The BGCT has entered into initial conversations with Baylor University to review and consider changes to the special agreement between our two institutions,” said BGCT Executive Director David Hardage in a statement. “Conversations are kind, gracious and cooperative, but will take some time to complete. We will share additional information as it comes available.”

Baylor released its own statement shortly thereafter. “For more than 175 years, Baylor University and Texas Baptists have served side by side to extend the kingdom of God in Texas and beyond. We remain firmly rooted in our shared history, and the university is committed to continuing to maintain its historic relationship with the BGCT and with Texas Baptists. Such a commitment is at the heart of Baylor’s motto – Pro Ecclesia, Pro Texana, or ‘for the church’ and ‘for Texas.’”

Make of that what you will, but a little context might be helpful. The Baptist Press notes that some Baptists have been upset about Baylor’s decision to grant a charter to Prism, an LGBTQ student group. In May, the BGCT released its own statement, saying they had heard Baptists were “concerned” about the new group were in the “process of communicating those concerns to university leadership.”

Baylor was founded in 1845, at the request of the Texas Baptist Education Society. The BGCT had a lot of power over Baylor, including electing of the school’s governing board of trustees, until 1990. The “fundamentalist takeover” — in which an extra conservative wing of the Southern Baptist Convention exercised a takeover of the SBC, purging leadership of anyone they deemed insufficiently fundamentalist — apparently spooked Baylor leadership. The charter was amended to give Baylor itself more say in its own board of trustees.

Now, it sounds like the relationship is undergoing some new edits. Stay tuned.

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