[SLIDESHOW=38908]LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — Trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary unanimously accepted the gift of a Christian university campus in Wisconsin as a new extension campus of the seminary and its undergraduate Boyce College during their Oct. 13-14 fall meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Trustees also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry, elected three faculty members and adopted responses to referrals from the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Baltimore.

The gifting of Northland International University, an evangelical school in Dunbar, Wis., to Southern Seminary has been approved by Northland’s trustees effective Aug. 1, 2015.

For Boyce College, it will provide its first campus outside of Louisville.

“The fact that there will be a Boyce College and Southern Seminary campus located in Wisconsin on a campus of this stature is an enormous step forward for Southern Baptists,” SBTS President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said. “I can only imagine what the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention would think to know that the reach of the SBC and its mother seminary is now of this magnitude in the upper Midwest.”

Daniel Patz, president of Northland since 2013, attended the meeting and told trustees that the campus is not just a gift to Southern Seminary. “… [E]ven more so, it is gift to us in order for this legacy and this mission to continue; it is the greatest mission in the world, to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth,” Patz said.

Patz’s grandfather, Daniel Patz, founded Northland in 1958 as a camp and expanded it in 1976 to become Northland Baptist Bible Institute. One year later, Northland became an undergraduate college, adding a graduate program in 1988. Throughout its history, the school has continued to operate Northland Camp & Conference Center, which hosts camps, Bible conferences and other ministry events. Northland has sent nearly 2,900 alumni in ministry across the world.

In addition to the academic expansion for Southern and Boyce, the Northland campus will provide a location for youth camps, church planting training, faculty retreats and other events on its 660-acre campus about 90 minutes north of Green Bay, Wis., officials said.

Southern Seminary trustees previously approved a strategic partnership with Northland, during which the administration evaluated the school’s potential as a future campus.

Mohler said he is “thrilled by the responsiveness and excitement on the part of state executives and Southern Baptist leaders in the region.”

Dennis Hansen, Bay Lakes Baptist Association director of missions in Appleton, Wis., who attended the trustee meeting, said the action will boost Southern Baptist work in the region by training “indigenous” leaders.

“I see a bright future for planting churches and continuing beyond Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan,” Hansen said. “I think the Southern Baptist work in the upper Midwest is really going to benefit from this.”

Mohler added, “This is important not just for Southern Seminary and not just for the cause of Christian higher education, but for the cause of Christ and the future of the Southern Baptist Convention. This is exactly the kind of development that Southern Baptists should celebrate. In particular, Southern Baptists should be both humbled and deeply encouraged by the fact the trustees of Northland entrusted the future of their hopes and dreams in Southern Seminary and Boyce College precisely because of the theological commitments made at such cost by the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Also during the trustee meeting, three professors were elected to the faculty and sabbatical leaves were granted to four professors.

Elected, effective Jan. 1, 2015, were Adam W. Greenway, dean of the Billy Graham School and William Walker Brookes Associate Professor of Evangelism and Applied Apologetics; Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies; and Donald S. Whitney, professor of biblical spirituality. All three previously taught under presidential appointment.

Trustees granted sabbaticals to Burk for Feb. 1-July 31, 2015; Jim S. Orrick, professor of literature and culture, for Aug. 1, 2015-July 31, 2016; Peter J. Gentry, Donald L. Williams Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, for Feb. 1-July 31, 2016; and Michael A.G. Haykin, professor of church history and biblical spirituality, for Feb. 1-July 31, 2016.

Trustees responded to two referrals from the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting on biblical tithing and reduced fees for online education.

Concerning the motion on biblical tithing, trustees noted all six SBC seminaries are entrusted with stewardship teaching as part of their program of theological education and affirm the Baptist Faith and Message statement on tithing, which is “taught in faithfulness and in fullness at Southern Seminary.”

Regarding the motion seeking Cooperative Program assistance to remove seminary online education fees, trustees said Southern is “committed to making theological education of the highest quality accessible to the greatest number of people,” including delivery via “traditional and non-traditional methods.” The seminary “seeks the most equitable and fair structure of costs for all programs and plans to review this structure annually.” Trustees expressed appreciation for Southern Baptists’ CP support “that makes this pricing structure the wonder of the evangelical Christian world.”

In other actions, trustees:

— received reports of its financial board indicating the school ended the 2013-14 fiscal year $1.413 million over budget in revenues and $581,000 under budget in expenses.

— approved the seminary’s 2013-2014 consolidated financial statements in preparation for the annual financial audit.

— approved an amended seminary strategic plan, 2013-18.

— approved amended and restated bylaws of the Southern Seminary Foundation, and its Executive Committee approved the election of foundation directors.

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  • James A. Smith
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