Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Story of the Baptist Theological College (Part 2)

Dr J N Jonsson
After various person were approached for the post of principal, eventually A J Barnard accepted the invitation and was duly installed as the first principal in 1952. Barnard was an Australian by birth and a qualified school teacher who had graduated from Spurgeon’s College and who also held a London BD. Things went well at first, with the student numbers increasing. But in 1954 a storm broke out. It emerged that the understanding of the inspiration of Scripture held by the principal were seriously divergent from that of the Executive and most of the Baptist churches. Complaints were made to the Executive and an enquiry was set up to investigate the truth of the complaints.
This was a very difficult situation, as Barnard confessed that he was a conservative evangelical and disapproved of liberal views. Furthermore, his zeal and competency were not in question. But by his own admission, there were significantly different points of view between him and the executive. He could not, for example, accept the verbal inspiration of the Bible which he saw as a “dictation theory” and intellectually unacceptable. He could not accept the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch and accepted two authors for Isaiah. Barnard acknowledged that he owed much to Barth and Brunner, although, he claimed, he was not a slave to them.
The Reverend Joseph John Doke, Professor Clement Martyn Doke's father, was the well-known Baptist minister and biographer of MK Gandhi
By a vote of 14 to 3 the Executive decided to terminate the employment of Barnard, making the following statement to the 1954 Assembly: “There is no reflection upon the scholastic ability of the principal or zeal and competency with which he has conducted his office, nor has he violated the Statement of Faith which he signed and affirmed .… on his own statement, Mr Barnard’s views are seriously at variance with those beliefs [of the denomination] and would cause misunderstanding and division in the denomination. ..”
It was a serious storm, but the College weathered it. C M Doke stood in as acting principal and in 1956 J C Stern was appointed the new principal, to be succeeded in 1960 by A S Gilfillan, who in turn was succeeded in 1967 by Dr J N Jonsson.
During the first 25 years of the College’s life 121 internal students were accepted and 25 were accepted into the external programme. The dream of the College founders was being fulfilled. Under the careful training of godly men, men were being prepared to take care of the growing Baptist churches throughout the country, proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ and feeding Christ’s flock with the Word of God.
Written by: Kevin Roy

No comments:

Post a Comment