December 1, 1999
Liberty University now linked to SBC
___RICHMOND, Va. (BP)--There's a new school among the list of colleges and universities related to the Southern Baptist Convention through state Baptist conventions.
___Joining the likes of Baylor University, Samford University and dozens of other denominational schools nationwide is Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.
___The executive board of Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia voted unanimously Nov. 15 to accept Liberty University's invitation to submit two names for election to the school's trustee board.
___Although the agreement does not convey any financial support to the university, it does link the school as an affiliate of a state Baptist convention recognized by the SBC, as close as any college or university can get to being an SBC school. The SBC, as a national convention, owns no colleges or universities, only seminaries.
___Southern Baptists already comprise more than half of Liberty's trustee board, which voted unanimously to ask the Virginia convention for the two additional trustees. The additions will increase the board's membership to 34.
___More than 2,900 of Liberty's 5,200 students identify themselves as Baptists--and a "significant majority of those are Southern Baptists," Falwell said in comments to the state convention's executive board. About two-thirds of Liberty's professors attend Thomas Road Baptist Church where Falwell is pastor. The church became affiliated with the SBC and the new Virginia convention three years ago.
___"We are deeply grateful to God for what has been happening in the Southern Baptist Convention in the past two decades regarding its return to historical orthodox Christianity and strong emphases on missions and evangelism," Falwell said.
___More than 700 of Liberty's graduates already are serving as pastors of Southern Baptist churches, Falwell said.
___The new marriage should benefit all parties, he added, noting that Liberty has not previously had the endorsement of a major denomination. "I think we need the SBC as much as the SBC needs us," he said.
___The link was applauded by SBC President Paige Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. In a letter of congratulations to Falwell, Patterson wrote: "For the great Liberty University to be a part of our Southern Baptist Zion and a part of one of the greatest church-planting movements in modern history through the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia is an answer to prayer for us all."
___Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia is a new state convention formed in opposition to the Baptist General Association of Virginia. The SBC now recognizes both state conventions in Virginia.
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