Jim Peak is a VP and the CFO at The Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. He embodies a wonderful confluence of qualities. He is a pastor. He has his PhD. He is an accomplished musician. The tone of his natural voice has a gentleness with almost no edges. During our interview it was hard not to think about how easily his voice would be able blend, as desired, in most choral performances or how very pastoral he could be in a counseling situations when hard things need to be said without provoking aggravation. And yet somehow it surprises no one that Jim is the person who is occasionally characterized as “the muscle” or “the enforcer” at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
I could easily see how most young, new seminary students from out of town could arrive at BTSR and be intimidated by Jim, not by anything Jim does but simply by the authority of his position as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration. Unless you do get the opportunity to have Dr. Peak as a professor then you probably would not have the opportunity to hear many of his stories. And Jim has definitely got some stories. You can hear some in this episode.
For those of you that don’t know, the Baptists had a massive falling out in the 1980’s. The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) had a conservative takeover and imposed it upon all its churches and seminaries. Baptists are historically independent congregations and individuals who believe that no institution (i.e. denomination) or individual (i.e. Pope) ought to impose its theology on others. Churches and seminaries that would not sign in agreement with the SBC’s document lost association. Jim lived through the takeover and the development of other Baptist associations and BTSR.
For the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond one of the unacceptable dividing points (from the SBC) was with regards to women in ministry. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, The Alliance of Baptists and The Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond could not sign any document that indicated women were less capable ministers, at any level, than men. The Alliance of Baptists extend the value of equality to all people regardless of any of their natural characteristics, including sexual orientation and sexual identity. Please correct me if I have misrepresented or mischaracterized anything or anyone. 🙂
Handel’s Messiah (start at 1:46)