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Pepperdine’s Starr named president of Baylor

Baylor University in Waco, Texas, the world’s largest Baptist university with more than 14,000 students, today named a new president — one with Church of Christ roots.
Kenneth Starr, dean of the Church of Christ-associated Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, Calif., since 2004, will take over as Baylor’s 14th president June 1, officials announced this afternoon.
Starr is best known for his role as independent counsel in the Whitewater investigation during the Clinton administration.
“While I look forward to the honor of serving as Baylor’s next president, my wife, Alice, and I know how much we will miss Pepperdine,” Starr said in a statement provided by Pepperdine.
“Working with Pepperdine students, faculty and the law school’s alumni has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of our lives,” he added. “ We will be forever grateful for the many wonderful friendships, encouragement and support we received while we have shared our lives with the Pepperdine community.”
Starr, a regular weekly attendee of the University Church of Christ in Malibu, Calif., grew up the son of a Church of Christ minister in Texas and Oklahoma. His father, Willie, studied for two years at Church of Christ-associated Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn.
The younger Starr began his college career at Church of Christ-associated Harding University in Searcy, Ark., before transferring to George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
While at George Washington, Starr worshiped with the 16th and Decatur Church of Christ and taught the high school Sunday class, he told The Christian Chronicle in a 2004 interview.
“As the years went on, I moved into evangelical Christianity,” Starr told the Chronicle. “I worshiped for many years at the McLean, Va., Bible church. Now, we are worshiping at the University church on Pepperdine’s campus, which we love. I am thankful to be worshiping again in the Churches of Christ.”
But Starr, whose wife was raised Jewish, has declared that he will join a Baptist church upon moving to Waco, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.
Andrew K. Benton, Pepperdine’s president, thanked Starr for his service to the law school and university and congratulated him on his Baylor appointment.
“Ken has had a tremendous impact on our students, the law school and the Pepperdine community at large,” Benton said in a statement. “His leadership, his love of scholarship and his devotion to our students helped raise the national stature of our school and we will benefit from the good he accomplished here for many years to come.” 
In response to Starr’s appointment at Baylor, Benton said that a national search for the dean’s replacement will begin soon.
Pepperdine Provost Darryl Tippens said Pepperdine’s reputation among the nation’s law schools has risen in recent years.
“From working closely with our faculty and mentoring our students to hosting luminaries on campus and arguing prominent cases, Dean Starr’s energy and enthusiasm have been inspiring,” Tippens said in a statement. “We look forward with optimism to building on the strong foundation he nurtured during his tenure at Pepperdine.”

  • Feedback
    The coC apparently is still teaching and believing that it is the one.true.church and even a doctrine as similar as the Baptist faith is enough to cause you to spend eternity in hell. What is it, the piano? What kind of God do you worship? This is scary.
    Enfield, CT
    Enfield, CT
    June, 12 2013

    A congregation can aspire to no higher goal than truly to be a church “of Christ.” And a human religious movement can make no more presumptuous and idolatrous claim than to argue that its members alone are part of Christ’s church. (For more on this theme go to www.EdwardFudge.com/truechurch.html) Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible (Eph 6:24).
    Edward Fudge
    Bering Drive
    Houston, Texas
    February, 25 2010

    I don’t believe being Baptist, means you are going to Heaven. Was Jesus a Baptist? I don’t think Jesus prescribed to any of man’s ideas of religion. We must follow Christ, not man or man’s ideas of religion. Thank God, that Kennneth Starr didn’t follow man’s ideas.
    Charles Ray Flory
    Second Branch Baptist Church
    Midlothian, Virginia
    United States of America
    February, 23 2010

    If you read the story in the Waco Tribune, you’ll find that some people there are irate that Baylor couldn’t find a good Baptist to lead their school. Now many fine brethren recorded in this publication are irate that someone with Church of Christ roots would go to a Baptist school. Congratulations, Kenneth Starr, on this prestigious appointment. And, remember to keep plenty of snake venom antidote on hand, because you’re going to get bit coming and going. I seem to remember that John wrote, “For the law was give through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Looks like we’ve still got a ways to go on that grace thing.
    steve ashworth
    Central Church of Christ in Pearland
    the woodlands, texas
    united states
    February, 17 2010

    First,as I read your article it certainly had an AP tone to it. So, maybe it was written to be picked up by the secular press.
    Second, I am sure that Mr. Starr has an ethical and moral character that makes him attractive to the position. Baylor must also see some administrative strengths.
    But it seems that both he and the universities of Pepperdine and Baylor have made compromises of theology to suite themselves.
    steve merryman
    peninsula church of Christ
    portland, oregon
    February, 16 2010

    Before we all start piling on Brother Starr, let’s consider the possibility that he has prayed about this decision. This could be a new mission field! He could encourage careful study of the scriptures and how salvation can be scripturally achieved. I am of the opinion that if one is baptized for remission of sins, he or she is my brother or sister in Christ. The name on the sign outside the church building is irrelevant to me. Who am I to determine whether a person who has been baptized into Christ for remission of sins has achieved salvation or not? This is God’s domain, not ours!
    I have known Baptist and Methodist churches that practice Acts 2:38 just as we in the churches of Christ do.
    God bless you, Brother Starr!
    Stephen Maple
    Memorial Rd congregation
    Edmond, Oklahoma
    February, 16 2010

    Interesting. Not that Ken Starr is going to Baylor, or that he is going to be part of a Baptist group after being so glad to be back to the churches of Christ after his holiness stint, rather interesting that the Christian Chronicle feels it necessary to to identify Freed-Hardeman and Harding as “Church of Christ-associated” schools. Interesting indeed.
    Dave Cordry
    East Peoria CoC
    East Peoria, Illinois
    United States
    February, 15 2010

    Only Christ can put you into the church and only Christ can take you out of it. To worship in another congregation is exactly what Campbell and Stone did to establish a church that accepts all who are baptized for the remission of sin. Proud relative of Jesse Sewell, thrown out of Baptist church for using his Bible to preach from. Best wishes Ken Starr! Get involved! Teach!
    Charlene Shuping
    Church of Christ
    Lewiston, Idaho
    February, 15 2010

    Pepperdine’s loss is Baylor’s gain. It was my privilege to meet Mr. and Mrs. Starr at Pepperdine several years ago. I always had respect for them but my respect level went even higher after our brief visit. Kenneth Starr has such a kind and gentle spirit, not anything at all his harsh critics that he faced in Washington and even now in the pages of the Chronicle and the Waco press.
    Victor Knowles
    Mt. Hope Church
    Joplin, MO
    February, 15 2010

    If you are of the opinion that what one believes about baptism and the Church is inconsequential, then Starr’s ambivalent attitude toward both will not be a big deal.
    On the other hand, if you believe baptism matters, Starr’s position becomes disappointing to say the least. But there it is. The best thing the rest of us can do is continue preaching and teaching and trying to reach the lost and not be side-tracked.
    The real question will be whether the Baptists will accept Starr without him being re-baptized. If they do, they will have likewise compromised their own doctrinal position.
    Mike Tune
    Church of Christ in Falls Church
    Falls Church, VA
    February, 15 2010

    Only one person in the Bible was ever called by the term “Baptist,” and that was not his name. Since “the body is not one member, but many” (I (Cor.12:14)and since John built no church, there can be no “Baptist Church” in the Bible. Kenneth Starr is joining something he can not read about in the Bible.
    Dick Blackford
    Stone St. Church Of Christ
    Jonesboro , Arkansas
    February, 15 2010

    Congratulation to Ken Starr on his pending appointment as President of Baylor University in Waco, TX. He will join Gerald Turner a COC memeber who is President of Southern Methodist University here in Dallas. I think the Baptist and Methodist are stealing our best and brightest. I truly doubt the Lord is offended.
    Prestoncrest Dallas
    Dallas, TX
    February, 15 2010

    Congratulations to Ken Starr. I am proud of his embrace of such a vital ministry. I wish nothing but the best as he serves to be a living bridge between a Christian world world view and the pursuit of academic excellence.
    I pray for the day when “our own” universities will also be able to avail themselves of the best distinctly Christian leadership from beyond “our own” denomination. Currently “our own” do not do this and are smaller, in many ways, because of it. God’s blessing upon Mr. Starr and Baylor.
    Tim Alexander
    Smith Springss
    Antioch, TN
    U. S. A.
    February, 15 2010

    This seems very bittersweet in my estimation. Yes, worldly success is great, but only when it fails to compromise Christian integrity. Although I am not assigning motives to Mr. Starr specifically, his move to “join” a Baptist church should remind us that, generally speaking, compromise of conviction can sometimes accompany ambition. I will pray that Mr. Starr reconsiders his decision before God.
    Dale Byrum
    Hillcrest church of Christ
    Dunmor, KY
    February, 15 2010

    I wish Mr Starr much success. I loved hearing him speak at Pepperdine. Baylor is a great school. I was always hoping one of my 10 grandkids would be in his class.
    Terry Hanger
    North Atlanta Church of Christ
    Roswell, GA
    February, 15 2010

    It is indeed sad news to hear bro. Starr is choosing to “join” a Baptist church. One can be added only to the Lord’s church and no other. (Acts 2:47) Please, bro. Starr, reconsider the inspired words of Paul of “becoming unequally yoked with un-believers.” (II Corinthians 5:20 – 6:16 in context) No one has been, or ever will be, saved by the so-called “sinner’s prayer.”
    Russ McCullough
    Archdale church of Christ
    Charlotte, NC
    February, 15 2010

    How tragic and sad that Mr. Starr will “join” a Baptist church for this job. I can’t imagine a job worth leaving The Church.
    Darlene Beeler
    Farmington Church of CHrist
    Prairie Grove, AR
    February, 15 2010

    I find it inappropriate that you inserted the word “but” in the paragraph declaring that Mr. Starr would worship at a Baptist church. It is this type of self-righteous attitude that has turned people outside the chruch of Christ off for so very long. How about focusing on the fact that this good man can now provide a positive religious influence on a college campus of 14,000 students without the judgmental journalism.
    Tom Norrell
    Union Hill Church of Christ
    Springfield, Missouri
    February, 15 2010

    Congrats to Ken on his promotion! So sad that he (apparently) is following so many others into the liberal world as several congregations in Texas (and elsewhere). Or are his plans to enlighten those Baptists in Waco?
    broom, CO
    February, 15 2010

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