Digest

Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...

Thursday
Mar202014

BP alumnus attorney resigns national board

ATLANTA – A member of the Brewton-Parker College National Alumi Board has resigned, citing disagreement with the school’s current administration. Atlanta-area attorney Jeff Dickerson made the announcement on Facebook March 10, “I am very thankful for the valuable life lessons I learned while attending Brewton-Parker College. However, I am saddened and embarrassed by the new administration and by the direction in which the school is moving. Accordingly, I today tendered my resignation from the National Alumni Board.” Dickerson’s resignation comes about three months after Ergun Caner was elected president of the Georgia Baptist college by a unanimous vote of the college’s trustees. Critics accuse Caner of embellishing his background as a former Muslim who converted to Christianity. 

Thursday
Mar202014

Study: Millennials less likely to believe in God 

MILLENNIALS, those born after 1980, are more likely to not believe in God and be unsure about the beliefs they have; 11 percent say they don’t believe in God, while 28 percent say they believe, but they’re not certain, a new Pew Research study says.

Thursday
Feb202014

Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd to be nominated for SBC president

NASHVILLE (BP) – Arkansas pastor Ronnie Floyd will be nominated for president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the SBC annual meeting this June, seminary president R. Albert Mohler Jr. announced Feb. 20.

Ronnie Floyd

Floyd has "unparalleled experience as a leader among us, an unquestioned commitment to the Great Commission, and he has demonstrated an unstinting urgency to unite Southern Baptists around our shared beliefs, mission, and programs," Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., wrote in an open letter to Southern Baptists stating his intention to nominate Floyd at the SBC annual meeting in June.

During the 27 years Floyd has led Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, it has become "one of the most evangelistic, visible and innovative congregations in our convention," Mohler wrote. The church encompasses campuses in Springdale, Rogers and Fayetteville.

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Tuesday
Feb112014

Oliver to succeed Dockery at Union University

JACKSON, Tenn. (BP) – Union University trustees selected Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver as Union's 16th president in a Feb. 10 vote. Oliver comes to the post from the presidency of East Texas Baptist University.

OliverOliver succeeds David S. Dockery, who has served as Union's president for the past 18 years.

"Dr. Oliver is a man of strong Christian conviction who is theologically informed, passionate about students and highly respectful of the work of faculty members," said Norman Hill, chairman of Union's trustees and chairman of the search committee that selected Oliver. "His skills as an administrator and educator build on Union's already established reputation for academic excellence, and we are honored and thrilled by this appointment."

"We are deeply humbled by this call to serve at Union University," Oliver said. "I am hopeful and enthusiastic about working with the board of trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university to extend, enhance and enlarge all that Union is – for the glory of God and for the good of humankind."

Oliver said the list of things that attracted him to Union included Dockery.

"David has been a great leader for Union and for Christian higher education," Oliver said. "His encouraging spirit has meant a lot to me over the last few years, and he is committed to ensuring that the transition ahead is seamless." 

Oliver also cited his appreciation of Union's mission and core values.

"The integration of faith, learning and living has had a transformative effect on my life," he said, "and as I seek to live out my calling as an educator I believe that Christian higher education is where we can most influence and shape young people so that the Kingdom of God may be enlarged."

Oliver will spend some time at Union's campus in Jackson, Tenn., throughout the spring semester and will begin fulltime on June 1.

A native of San Antonio, Oliver has been the ETBU president since 2009. The university in Marshall, Texas, enrolls about 1,250 students and employs about 300 faculty and staff. 

Prior to the ETBU presidency, Oliver served his alma mater, Baylor University, in several roles, including director of student activities (1992-99), associate dean for campus life (1999-2001), dean for student development (2001-05) and vice president for student life (2005-09).

While at Baylor, Oliver also served as a visiting professor in the Hankamer School of Business, an adjunct professor in the school of education and interim university chaplain. He served in the U.S. Air Force in the late 1980s at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.

Oliver holds a doctor of philosophy in educational administration and a master of science degree in educational psychology, both from Texas A&M, and a bachelor of science degree in education from Baylor.

Before entering graduate school, he was a third grade teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District. He also is a licensed and ordained Baptist minister, serving as pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Crawford, Texas, from 2003-09.

Oliver and his wife Susie Combs Oliver will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary later this year. Susie is a native of Hazard, Ky., and a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University. They have a daughter Callie who is a senior at Baylor.

"I have had the privilege of knowing Dub Oliver for several years, both in his role at Baylor and at East Texas Baptist University," Dockery said. "During this time I have come to recognize Dr. Oliver's genuine commitment to students and his approachable, kind and caring manner as a leader.

"I will look forward to opportunities in the days ahead to help welcome him to Union University and to introduce him to the wonderful people who are a part of the Union University community."

Robert Sloan, president of Houston Baptist University, described Oliver as "a person of great integrity, faith, strong theological commitments grounded in Scripture and a love for students."

"He has served in Christian higher education for many years, and his proven experience will be a strong factor in his ongoing success and leadership at Union University," Sloan said.

The trustee vote affirms a recommendation from the search committee appointed one year ago this month to select a new president. The committee conducted a national search, considering more than 130 nominations prior to bringing their recommendation to elect Oliver.

"The search process was composed of prayer, people and procedures," Hill said. "We are confident that the Union community quickly will see the consistent patterns of service and commitment that led us to Dr. Oliver."

Dockery is the father of Tim Dockery, who serves as general counsel for the Arkansas Baptist Foundation.

Thursday
Jan302014

ERLC to court: Mandate violates companies' religious freedom. U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments March 25.

WASHINGTON (BP) – The Obama administration's abortion/contraception mandate violates a federal law protecting the religious freedom of for-profit corporations and their owners, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission has told the U.S. Supreme Court as part of a friend-of-the-court brief.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission signed on to the brief filed Tuesday (Jan. 28) in support of Hobby Lobby and other family owned businesses that have conscientious objections to a regulation that requires employers to provide abortion-causing drugs for their workers.

The ERLC-endorsed brief was one of more than 50 filed the same day with the high court on behalf of the companies. Among the other briefs was one signed on to by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; its president, Daniel Akin; Southern Baptist megachurch pastor and author Rick Warren; Southern Baptist professors; and at least one other Southern Baptist pastor.

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