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Midwestern to establish undergraduate college

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)—-A college of ministry will be established at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, trustees voted unanimously March 15.

The new college, to be named Midwestern Baptist College SBC, is accredited to award associate of arts degrees and will be accredited to grant bachelor of arts degrees.

The initial associate of arts program previously was approved by the North Central Accreditation Association of colleges and universities. Additional curricula will be provided pending board approval in October 2004.

Midwestern President R. Philip Roberts told trustees that support from the Missouri Baptist Convention totaling $100,000 will help in the establishment of the college.

“We are commissioned by our articles of incorporation to undertake Christian education and the training of ministers at all levels,” Roberts said. “In this hour of challenge and opportunity for world evangelism it is important for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to do all we can to train as quickly as possible laborers in the harvest.”

In a related action, trustees affirmed the appointment of James Anderson as the college’s first dean.

In recommending Anderson, Roberts emphasized Anderson’s strengths, particularly his versatile teaching background and skills as a Bible teacher. Anderson has taught Bible history, archaeology, culture, apologetics, evangelism, pastoral procedures, systemic theology and Greek, among other subjects. He also has served as a guide and lecturer in the Middle East and in Europe. Anderson is the author of numerous books and has produced several educational videos and television programs.

“Jim is a man of sterling character,” Roberts said. “He will bring to this position a great deal of enthusiasm as well as experience in teaching and preaching.”

In addition to Anderson’s credentials, Thor Madsen, interim dean at Midwestern, said he most appreciates his humility. “Given his accomplishments, his humility is quite delightful,” Madsen said.

Anderson spoke briefly to the trustees, recounting his salvation testimony as well as his call to ministry. He then fielded questions from trustees regarding his stance on biblical issues and the consistency of his views with the Southern Baptist Convention’s Baptist Faith and Message 2000 statement of beliefs. His answers were greeted by applause.

A native Missourian, Anderson grew up in the North Kansas City area. He earned his Th.D. and M.Div. degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He also has attended Ottawa University, Baptist Bible College and Kansas City Bible College.

Trustees voted to set the minimum age for applicants to Midwestern Baptist College SBC at 18, encouraging the administration of Midwestern to admit as college students only those men and women who show evidence of the maturity needed to succeed in the educational setting that Midwestern Baptist College SBC will provide.

In other business, trustees voted unanimously the re-election of two faculty members with five-year contracts effective Aug. 1: Terry Wilder as associate professor of New Testament and Greek and Madsen as assistant professor of New Testament, ethics and philosophy. Trustees also agreed to retain Madsen as interim dean of the faculty until their October board meeting.

Rodney Harrison, assistant professor of church planting and director of the seminary’s Nehemiah Center, reported that in November 2003 the faculty approved the offering of a doctorate in ministry in church planting degree. Harrison said the degree will be targeted toward denominational leaders as well as pastors of churches committed to multiplication through church planting. Tony Preston, assistant professor of pastoral leadership and director of doctoral studies, is to set a date for launching the new program.

Trustees also were given information regarding the master of divinity degree, urban ministry concentration, as approved by Midwestern’s faculty in February. Course descriptions in the trustees’ board of reports listed 12 hours of concentrated studies in evangelism, urban ministry and practicum.

Student Development Vice President Alan Branch reported enrollment increases in both fulltime-equivalent counts and student headcount. Midwestern recently exceeded 300 in FTEs and has an enrollment of 576. Not only are the numbers increasing, Branch noted, but also the quality of students being recruited and enrolled.

Trustees named Kevin Ezell as their chairman for 2004-05. Ezell is pastor of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. Carl Weiser, pastor of Hyland Heights Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., will serve as first vice chairman and Ralph Sawyer, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wentzville, Mo., as second vice chairman. Gwen Newman of Winder, Ga., will continue as secretary/treasurer, while and Wayne Parker, pastor of Merriman Road Baptist Church in Garden City, Mich., has agreed to serve as member-at-large.

Trustees expressed appreciation to outgoing trustees Dan Eddington of Carson City, Nev.; Jeffrey Brocaille of Omaha, Neb.; Gary Manford of Jefferson City, Mo.; Ken Barnett of Denver; Gary Peek of Moss Point, Miss.; and Bill Robertson of Winnsboro, La.

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  • Susan E. Reed