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Jul 17, 2014 06:02 AM EDT

Kentucky Christian University Severs Ties with Baptist Institution for More Autonomy

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Campbellsville University Board of Trustees has terminated its relationship with Kentucky Baptists Convention and will now appoint its own trustees and maintain academic freedom.

As a result of the termination, the Christian University in Central Kentucky will lose about $1 million in annual church funding.

The University board of trustees Chairman Joseph L. Owens and President Michael V. Carter said the move was to evade influence and the "imposition of theological and doctrinal control," Courier-Journal reports.

Kentucky Baptist Convention President Chip Hutcheson expressed sadness at the University's decision without a proper discussion with concerned parties. Hutcheson said that the move upends a 1986 covenant agreement.

The Convention President further said that they have never interfered in the University's academic affairs except for approving trustees the university selects. Hutcheson said that they had requested for a dialogue with the University but hadn't received a reply from them so far.

"The statement released by Campbellsville brings to mind the husband who wants to divorce his wife but still offers to live with her," Hutcheson said. "The university has taken steps to remove itself from a covenant relationship yet still wants to claim it is 'committed' to the family," Kentucky reports.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Campbellsville approved a revised set of bylaws but promised to maintain a board of trustees that was "100 percent Baptist."

Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood is not convinced and said that the university in fact "plans to create a self-perpetuating board and welcome non-Baptist trustees."

A similar decision was taken by Georgetown College in Kentucky in 2005 when it cut ties with Kentucky Baptists to select its own trustees in an attempt to increase fundraising. Similar to Campbellsville, Georgetown also lost about $1.4 million in annual contributions.

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