Establishment of Center for Cultural Engagement Approved
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – The Board of Trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has unanimously approved a recommendation to establish The Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement on its Fort Worth campus, Oct. 17. The center will provide a location for focused research, conferences and the study of Christian morality and action.
“Religious liberty is under attack today in our own country where we never thought it would be,” Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary, said.
Southwestern’s statement of intent said, “For nearly 20 years, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention has served the churches of the SBC under the remarkable leadership of Dr. Richard Land. Those years have marked the orchestration of voices of Baptist people and churches in a building crescendo of support for worldwide religious liberty, racial justice, the right to life for preborns, general moral and ethical reform in the social order, and a host of other issues of justice and moral conviction. The Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary joins the Board of Trustees of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in the conviction that the time has come to honor this servant who has given himself so tirelessly to the cause of New Testament Christianity.”
In response to Southwestern’s statement, Hal Lane, chairman of the board of trustees for the ERLC of the SBC, said, “On behalf of the trustees of the ERLC I would like to express my gratitude to the board of trustees of Southwestern Seminary for the opportunity to work with you in the establishment of the Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement. We look forward to honoring Dr. Land and continuing his legacy by educating future Christian ethicists who will encourage Christians and declare biblical truths to an increasingly dark and decadent culture.”
The partnership will pave the way for individuals across America to have the opportunity to study and research ethics, public policy and other cultural and philosophical issues. Details for the opening and function of the center will be discussed in the future, and both boards will encourage the effort to secure funding for the venture.
Richard Land has served as the president of the ERLC since 1988 and has been a representative for Southern Baptist and Evangelicals’ concerns before Congress, U.S. presidents and the media. Throughout his career, he has served on various government agencies, including three terms on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). He hosts three nationally syndicated radio programs, including “For Faith & Family,” For Faith & Family Insight” and “Richard Land Live!” He was recognized as one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005 by Time magazine.
Land earned his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude. He received a Master of Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and his doctorate from Oxford University in England. He has authored several books, and his most recent book, “The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives are Missing in the God-and-Country Shouting Match!” received endorsements from Madeline Albright, Peter Gomes, Michael Novak and Peter Berger. He has also contributed to various publications and is the executive editor of the national magazine FFV, which addresses traditional religious values, Christian ethics and cultural trends.
The ERLC is an agency of the SBC and focuses on the effects that social and moral concerns have on public policy issues. Its stated mission is: “To awaken, inform, energize, equip, and mobilize Christians to be the catalysts for the Biblically-based transformation of their families, churches, communities, and the nation.”