Baptist College Opens Door to Non-Baptist Christian Groups

Non-Baptist Christian student groups are allowed to officially meet on the campus of Baylor University, the school board recently ruled.

The Baylor Board of Regents revised the university wide organizational religion policy on Friday, welcoming Christian groups in addition to Baptist ones to meet and be chartered at Baylor, according to the school news publication, The Lariat.

In an editorial on Tuesday, The Lariat applauded the "overdue" revision, noting that Methodists, Catholics and Presbyterians among other groups have been treated like "Christian step-children" for too long.

The revision will make the university "more welcoming" of other Christian organizations, Baylor University president John M. Lilley said, as reported by the student publication.

Baylor students had passed a bill early last year in an effort to grant non-Baptist Christian groups the same privileges as Baptist organizations on campus. The old organizational policy allowed only Baptist groups to meet on campus regularly and be chartered, and limited non-Baptist groups to advertising on campus and holding one recruiting event per semester.

"Despite fervent disagreement over infant baptism and transubstantiation, Baptists and Catholics should have equal access to the Baylor Sciences Building," said the editorial in The Lariat.

While some students worried that opening the door to non-Baptist organizations could cause the university to lose its Baptist identity and even head toward secularism, the editorial piece stated, "This tolerance in no way negates our Baptist heritage or lessens the presence of the BSM (Baptist Student Ministries).

"Recognizing the presence of non-Baptist groups on campus does not diminish the Baptist tradition. Instead, it encourages Baptists to deepen their own understanding of what it means to be Baptist."

The Board of Regents affirmed Baptist Student Ministries will remain as the university's foundational religious organization.

"While Baylor's Baptist heritage is integral to the university, we never want our denominational status to alienate Christians of a different stripe," the student publication stated.

Baylor, located in Waco, Texas, is the largest Baptist University in the world with some 14,000 students.