Southern Religion

New Baylor president not a Baptist … yet

Ken Starr’s appointment as president of Baylor University raised eyebrows not only because of his controversial background investigating President Clinton but because of his non-Baptist religious roots.

Starr told the Texas Baptist Standard that he plans to join a Baptist church before beginning his duties on June 1.

Oklahoma pastor Mitch Randall pointed out in an article at that Starr was raised in the Church of Christ and is currently a member of McLean Bible Church in Virginia.

“I wonder if Starr’s denominational metamorphosis occurred after careful theological reflection and prayer or after a contract was placed before him?” Randall asks.

Tim Rogers at SBC Today sees Starr’s plans as “another church member becoming Baptist because of convenience.”

“I wish Dr. Kenneth Starr the best, but this is another example of becoming a Baptist because it suits a particular need instead of it being a conviction of the soul.”

But Baptist blogger Wade Burleson, takes issue with those who are upset that Starr is “not Baptist enough.”

“I think that we Southern Baptists, unfortunately, are becoming more and more known for being Southern Baptists than devoted followers of Jesus Christ. When we are more concerned about the President of Baylor University being baptized in baptist waters than we are the spiritual condition and maturity of the man who takes the office, then we have sacrificed our ‘Christian’ heritage on the alter of religious ideology.”

Louis Moore, who covered religious issues in Texas for the Houston Chronicle, said in a blog post that Starr “needs to be as clear about his theology as he wanted Bill Clinton to be about his sexual activities.”

Moore’s wife Kay served in the 1990s as a Southern Baptist representative on a dialogue group of 10 Southern Baptists and 10 members of the Church of Christ. Moore lists specific issues that he and his wife feel Starr should address.

“We hope in the next weeks and months Judge Ken Starr will articulate as clearly as he wanted President Bill Clinton to articulate in the courtroom and that he (Starr) will state emphatically what he truly believes about baptism and salvation as well as about minor issues such as whether a church ought to have instrumental music in its worship center, whether a church ought to celebrate Easter, and whether he agrees with the traditional Churches of Christ viewpoint on the role of women in public worship.”

Until Starr answers those questions, hard-line conservative Baptists will have to be happy having a non-Baptist, right-wing political hero as president of the world’s largest Baptist university.


February 16, 2010 - Posted by | Education, Religion, SBC | ,

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