When Christian universities cut denominational ties

Screen shot 2014-01-07 at 6.39.08 PM

What happens when schools cut denominational ties: A new study raises questions about the merer Christian college. 

For decades, the Kentucky Baptist Convention had appointed the board of trustees of Georgetown College — all required to be Southern Baptist — and financially supported the small liberal arts school.

But that arrangement recently ceased as Georgetown decided to forgo convention funding, allow non-Baptists on its board, and expand its fundraising.

In November, the Kentucky convention voted to sever its remaining ties with the college, ending a scholarship program to attract students from the state’s Baptist churches.

Its decision came after Georgetown moved away from a statement of specific Baptist identification to one “built on a Baptist foundation” in pursuit of a “knowledge of and commitment to the Christian faith.”

But a major new study by the Council on Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) raises questions about what happens when schools with strong denominational ties loosen them.

The three-part study, published in the journal Christian Higher Education, surveyed thousands of faculty members and students at 79 evangelical schools.

This story appears in the January/February print issue of Christianity Today.