Theological conservative named dean of Midwestern’s new Bible college
Classes could begin in February
By Bob Baysinger
March 30, 2004
KANSAS CITY – James Anderson, a veteran conservative Baptist pastor and teacher, will come out of retirement to serve as the first dean of the new Midwestern Baptist College SBC on the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) campus in Kansas City .
Anderson, selected by Phil Roberts, MBTS president, was approved by the seminary’s board of trustees March 15.
Anderson is scheduled to begin work in May.
“Starting an undergraduate Bible college here at Midwestern is a wonderful idea. I’m just thrilled that we’re going to be able to do that," Anderson said. “We will primarily serve the Baptist community, but we will be opening the doors to others who want to fit in with the Baptist faith and practice."
Trustees voted unanimously at their regular spring session to start the new school. It will be accredited to award both associate of arts and bachelor of arts degrees.
MBTS administrators said a curriculum for the college’s BA degree may be available as early as February 2005, pending board approval in October 2004.
Roberts said $100,000 given to MBTS by the Missouri Baptist Convention will be used to help start the school. The $100,000 gift, approved by messengers attending the 2003 MBC annual meeting, was money that was available after the Convention withdrew its support of William Jewell College.
“We are commissioned by our articles of incorporation to undertake Christian education and the training of ministers at all levels," Roberts said. “In this hour of challenge and opportunity for world evangelism it is important for Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to do all we can to train as quickly as possible laborers in the harvest."
Anderson, a native Missourian, told The Pathway that he became an independent Baptist earlier in his career when liberalism dominated Southern Baptists at the national and state levels.
“I was pastor at South Fort Worth Baptist Church (in Texas) and was considering what I should do because of the liberalism that was coming," Anderson said. “That disturbed me. I was asked to teach for an independent school, and I said OK."
Anderson taught at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga 10 years and returned to Kansas City to teach at Calvary Bible College. When he retired, he was serving as president of Calvary’s Bible college and seminary.
Midwestern trustees ensured that Anderson’s theology was conservative before giving their stamp of approval.
Anderson spoke briefly to the board, telling about his salvation experience at a revival meeting in First Baptist Church of Northern Heights in Kansas City. He also fielded questions from trustees regarding his theological stance on biblical issues, reflecting his agreement with — and support of — The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Trustees responded to Anderson’s answers with applause.
Anderson described himself to The Pathway as “very conservative."
“I believe the Bible is the Word of God, that all of Scripture is inspired," he said. “I believe in creationism and that Moses penned the first five books of the Bible. It was such a thrill to talk to other professors and hear about their biblical approach. For me, it’s a thrill to be back in teaching and to know this is a conservative institution that believes the Word."
In recommending Anderson, Roberts emphasized the new dean’s strengths, particularly his versatile teaching background and skills as a Bible teacher.
Anderson has taught Bible history, archaeology, culture, apologetics, evangelism, pastoral procedures, systemic theology and Greek. He also has served as a tour guide and lecturer in the Middle East and in Europe.
“Jim is a man of sterling character," Roberts said. “He will bring to this position a great deal of enthusiasm as well as experience in teaching and preaching."
Anderson predicts the new school will enable men and women involved in Christian service to “get on the field a little quicker."
“It will allow students to have advanced standing in seminary and more quickly arrive at the finished degree level for Christian service," Anderson said. “There are a number of people who have a desire for seminary training that will benefit from this school.
“There are a number of pastors and lay ministers who need to further their education. This will help them considerably. We will also have an extension program that will benefit even the layman who is teaching a Sunday School class."
Anderson also sees the Bible college assisting Baptist “pioneer areas" in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin “where Southern Baptists are moving and are needing pastors."
The college will be located on 24 acres located just north of the MBTS campus. The property was purchased by the seminary one year ago and includes a 34,000-square-foot building that will house the college.
“We will be able to share living quarters, study areas and the seminary library," Anderson said. “The college will also have access to other facilities such as the nursery for children and professors who will have some time freed up from the graduate level to assist in the teaching of courses on the undergraduate level."
Thor Madsen, interim dean at the seminary, told trustees what he appreciated most about Anderson was his humility.
“Given his accomplishments, his humility is quite delightful," Madsen said, adding that Anderson’s wide range of knowledge on a number of subjects was “very attractive when considering a candidate for this position."
Trustees voted to set the minimum age at 18 for applicants to Midwestern Bible College, encouraging the administration to admit as undergraduate students only “those men and women who show evidence of the maturity needed to succeed in the educational setting that Midwestern Baptist College SBC will provide."