grace and peace
The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that former Baylor President and Chancellor Herbert Reynolds passed away this morning in New Mexico. There are not yet details on his passing or funeral arrangements.
As a Baylor student, I was a member of First Baptist Waco with President Reynolds and his wife Joy. They are wonderful people who set a strong example of faithfulness to God and to the church. Every Sunday, I would look up and see them sitting in the front row of the balcony. Although I'm sure their attendance was not perfect due to speaking engagements and the like, I don't recall many Sundays they weren't there, worshipping God and fellowshiping with the church.
At times, Dr. Reynolds was a controversial leader at Baylor, and while he may have taken actions with which many disagreed, his role in preserving Baylor's freedom is difficult to overstate. To his credit, Dr. Reynolds recognized early on fundamentalism's threat to Christian higher education. He moved decisively to keep Baylor true to her Baptist roots by ensuring that if the BGCT fell under fundamentalist control, Baylor would not do the same. Because of Dr. Reynolds, the world's largest Baptist university remained largely open to free academic inquiry and religious expression.
After conservatives took control of the SBC and its seminaries, he also recognized the urgent need for moderate Baptist seminaries. Reynolds was largely responsible for the creation of Truett Seminary at Baylor, which has become one of the preeminent institutions of theological education in moderate Baptist life. Even in retirement, during the fight that occurred over Robert Sloan's tenure as Baylor president, Dr. Reynolds fought to maintain academic and religious freedom at Baylor and to maintain Baylor's mission of keeping an outstanding Christian education accessible to middle class Texas Baptist families.
Texas Baptists lost an important leader today. We owe it to Dr. Reynolds' memory to continue his legacy of support for freedom in the pursuit of truth and faithfulness to God's work. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.