BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP)–Tennessee Baptist Convention President Jerry N. Tidwell has sent a letter of encouragement and affirmation to the presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention’s six seminaries in the wake of a funding reduction by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.
In a letter he provided to Baptist Press, addressed to Southwestern Seminary President Ken Hemphill, Tidwell wrote: “I felt impressed by God to write to you personally and affirm you, the faculty, and trustees of Southwestern Seminary for the direction and education provided to young men and women preparing them to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“I don’t believe there has ever been a time in history when students were being better prepared for ministry than they are right now,” Tidwell wrote.
A graduate of Southwestern, Tidwell is pastor of West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, Tenn.
Tidwell encouraged the Southwestern community to “stay the course of reaching our world for Jesus Christ as the top priority of Southwestern.”
Tidwell, in his letter, also noted, “It appears that the BGCT leadership has launched a marketing campaign (even enlisting the help of former President Jimmy Carter) of secular proportions to intentionally dismantle a God-blessed, cooperative effort that has proven effective for over 75 years. … I simply want you to know that most of the people I speak with on a daily basis stand with you and are willing to allow God to use us to fill in the gaps that might result from the divisive action recommended by the leadership of the BGCT.”
Tidwell referred to a passage from Hebrews 12:1-2 to encourage SBC seminarians following the BGCT’s action:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for and the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”