February 10, 2020
The following is a statement of Paul Baxley, Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, on the announced closure of Logsdon Seminary at Hardin-Simmons University.
On Saturday, February 8, I awoke to the news that the Board of Trustees of Hardin-Simmons University had voted to close Logsdon Seminary. Certainly, there is much we do not yet know about this decision. One thing we know is the closure of this school is a tremendous loss.
For 25 years, the ministry of Logsdon Seminary has blessed Cooperative Baptist partner congregations and indeed our whole Fellowship, as well as Baptists and communities far and wide. From its beginning until now, the faculty of this school has demonstrated a deep love for Christ and His church, a commitment to the Scriptures, and a deep desire for the thriving of congregations.
While being intensely committed to the core theological curriculum, Logsdon has also demonstrated a capacity for faithful innovation. Logsdon has embodied the best of a Baptist vision of church, pursuing faithfulness in a context of freedom, knowing the most meaningful love for God and the most faithful service of the church must arise from freedom because it cannot be coerced.
More than 400 alumni of Logsdon Seminary serve the church and the world today. Among them are pastors, church staff ministers, missionaries, church starters and chaplains. And the school is blessed even today with gifted faculty who are not only impressive scholars but also deeply committed Christians whose lives are run through with the fruit of the Spirit and evidence of genuine commitment to Christ.
Today, my hope is that all Baptists who have been touched by the life of Logsdon Seminary will join me in praying for the school’s current faculty and students, as well as for the larger community of alumni and congregations who are most profoundly shaped by this unique school, and therefore, most deeply grieve the news that came from the University.
In my first year of ministry as Executive Coordinator, I have had the opportunity to visit many of our partner theological schools. I still remember well my visit to both Logsdon campuses last September. In Abilene and San Antonio, I met impressive faculty, gifted students and left with a much deeper appreciation for Logdson’s history and current ministry. I was also struck by the remarkably unique story of Hardin-Simmons University, its beautiful and unique place in Baptist life, and the deep love Logdson’s faculty demonstrated for the University.
In the days ahead, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will offer its full support to current students, faculty and alumni in this time of transition. We will also continue our pursuit of a new and still more faithful covenant between congregations, theological schools and our Fellowship for the calling and preparing of new generations of women and men whom God is calling to the ministry. We do so in full recognition of the challenges facing theological education and congregations. But we also believe that the ministry of congregations and the calling to congregational leadership has never been more important than it is today.
In these days of gratitude for what has been at Logsdon and grief for what is being lost, may we care for those who grieve most and take up the task of calling and preparing ministerial leaders with renewed determination.