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LifeWay decides against Glorieta sale to Olivet

NASHVILLE (BP) — LifeWay Christian Resources has “decided not to go forward” with the sale of its Glorieta, N.M., conference center to Olivet University, a San Francisco-based school which found itself in media crosshairs after the possible sale became public in July.

LifeWay, in announcing its decision Oct. 17, cited a study by National Association of Evangelicals representatives that LifeWay had initiated. Olivet had agreed to the inquiry, which focused on the theological compatibility between LifeWay, a Southern Baptist entity, and Olivet, a school with ties to Korean Christian leader David Jang who has weathered heresy accusations in Asia.

Olivet, however, in a subsequent statement to the media, stated it plans to engage in “continuing negotiations” with LifeWay to purchase the 2,100-acre property near Santa Fe which, according to LifeWay, has operated at a loss for 24 of the past 25 years.

Neither LifeWay nor Olivet released the NAE report to Baptist Press.

The full text of LifeWay’s announcement follows:

“LifeWay Christian Resources has reviewed the report from the National Association of Evangelicals, and decided not to go forward with the sale of Glorieta Conference Center to Olivet University. We are appreciative of our relationship with Olivet’s leadership, and indebted to NAE for their thorough work. We will now renew our pursuit of viable options for the sale of the property.”

The full text of Olivet’s response follows:

“Olivet University leadership has been made aware that Lifeway Christian Resources plans not to proceed with the transfer of the Glorieta Conference Center. Olivet intends to further discuss the decision of LifeWay Christian Resources’ leadership in moving forward and continuing negotiations in hopes an agreement can be reached regarding the purchase of the Glorieta Conference Center in Glorieta, N.M.”

Earlier this year, LifeWay offered to sell the conference center to the Baptist Convention of New Mexico for $1. Following a feasibility study, however, the state convention determined it would be too costly to renovate and maintain the property. The executive director of the New Mexico convention, Joseph Bunce, declined comment on this latest development in LifeWay’s effort to sell Glorieta, according to a BCNM spokesman.

The study of theological compatibility between LifeWay and Olivet primarily focused on accusations that Jang and/or his followers have promoted a heresy that he is the “second coming Christ.” Jang has both defenders and critics regarding his Christian orthodoxy.

According to a LifeWay statement in July, any potential sale of Glorieta to Olivet, in addition to a “comprehensive review of the theological compatibility” between LifeWay and Olivet, would have included:

— “Significant protections for individuals and churches that lease land from Glorieta for houses and conference facilities

— “Permission for LifeWay to continue using Glorieta for summer camps

— “Accommodation of use by New Mexico Baptists

— “Preservation of memorials associated with rooms and structures, and,

— “Prohibition of re-selling the facilities in the future without LifeWay’s permission.”

Any sale also would require approval of LifeWay’s board of trustees.
Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. For earlier Baptist Press reports on the LifeWay’s deliberations with Olivet, go to https://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38524 and https://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=38272. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).