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Q&A: Harding University’s next president on faith, Christian higher education and Churches of Christ

Bruce McLarty speaks after his introduction Nov. 1 as the next president of Harding University in Searcy, Ark. (Photo by Jeff Montgomery)

For the first time in a quarter-century, Harding University in Searcy, Ark., will install a new president when Bruce McLarty takes the reins next June.
McLarty, Harding’s vice president of spiritual life, will succeed David Burks, who is retiring after 26 years as president. During Burks’ tenure, Harding recorded 25 straight annual record enrollments.
McLarty’s selection to lead the 6,800-student university, which is associated with Churches of Christ, was announced Nov. 1.
“Dr. McLarty is a leader, not in the mold of a typical CEO or academician, but he is a servant leader with a very bright mind, a keen insight into people and the ability to communicate effectively,” said John O. Simmons, chairman of Harding’s board of trustees. “He brings energy and a clear vision of the mission of Harding to the table, and he will be an effective leader as our fifth president.”
Burks expressed “great confidence” in McLarty: “I believe he will be an outstanding president for Harding University. Dr. McLarty has a very solid grasp of the spiritual mission of Harding and has written about it, helping the faculty in understanding this powerful mission.”
In a wide-ranging interview with The Christian Chronicle, McLarty, 55, tackled questions related to his faith, Christian higher education and Churches of Christ.
Q:  Tell me about your faith background. What do you recall about your decision to become a Christian?
A: For many years I have been fond of Garrison Keillor’s line: “I was born among the born-again.” I was blessed from birth to be surrounded by faith. My mother grew up in the Churches of Christ in Jackson County, Tenn., and my dad was baptized at the Pulaski Heights church in Little Rock, Ark., when I was about 5 years old. We were not only one of those “every-time-the-church-doors-were-open” families but also one of those “30-minutes-before-time-to-start” families. Though I am the oldest of the four children in my family, my younger siblings have played a positive role in my faith development, and my parents have been examples of genuine faith that I found very inviting to follow.
In addition to family, I thank God that I grew up in healthy, loving, evangelistic congregations where the Bible was taught and deeply respected. Like many young teens in the Churches of Christ, at the age of 12 I became convicted of my need for forgiveness.
On the Fourth of July weekend in 1969, I walked down the aisle at the Holmes Road congregation in Memphis during the invitation song, confessed my faith in Jesus and pledged my allegiance to follow him for the rest of my life. Jim Bill McInteer had just concluded a meeting there, and our preacher, Leon Sanderson, baptized me into Christ that night.
Equally powerful to the memory of what I thought and felt before my baptism is the memory of the warm embrace of the church following my immersion. I stood in the hallway that night with my back against the cinder-block wall and received a hug from what seemed like every single man and woman in the congregation. I wish everyone could experience the same blessing that I received from my church family that night.
Q: When did you decide that you wanted to be Harding University president, and why did you accept this challenge?
A: For 14 years, I preached for the College Church in Searcy. Few preachers have ever received the love, patience, encouragement, challenge and affirmation that I experienced during those years. I would have been happy to have continued in that role for the rest of my working life.
However, when the position of Vice President for Spiritual Life at Harding was created seven years ago, I applied for the job believing God-given talents, leadership training and life experiences had uniquely prepared me to take on that responsibility. When Dr. Burks began to seriously consider retirement, my resolve became “to be ready if called.” Many friends, colleagues, alumni and other administrators encouraged me to consider entering the selection process, and those same people have continued to be very supportive of my acceptance of this position.
As part of my doctoral work, I studied the tendency of faith-founded colleges to drift away from their founding church, to abandon their core mission, and often, to become enemies of the ideas and principles on which they were started. This solidified my resolve to do all I could do to see that this does not happen to Harding.
I love Harding University dearly and am so thankful for what it means in the life of my wife, my siblings, my daughters and me. In the reflection chapter at the end of my dissertation, I wrote that my research had crystallized within my thinking the following goal: “To prepare Harding University to remain Christian in our core identity until Jesus returns.” With that conviction in my heart, applying to become the next president of Harding seemed to be the natural next step into a leadership role for which God had been training me my whole life.
My entire family realizes that this will be a tremendous challenge in ways that we do not yet understand. However, we have seen that the story of God’s people throughout the centuries includes example after example of how God has used frail and imperfect people who trust in him for their strength. What would otherwise be an overwhelming task for those men and women proved to be an opportunity for God to bless their efforts.
Q: What is the state of Harding?
A: To use a statement made popular by the late Dr. Jimmy Carr, “It’s great to be at Harding!” Enrollment continues to set records each year, the school is financially stable, our academic programs are strong and fully accredited, and morale is high all across campus. Dr. Burks has provided exemplary leadership for us through the past 26 years. He has grown the enrollment, expanded and beautified the campus and, most importantly, kept Harding closely connected to the Churches of Christ and to our founding mission.
As most people know, Harding has had amazing stability in her leadership, and I think that is reflected in the strength of the university today. During our 89 years, we have had only four presidents and only five chief academic officers. Harding is a wonderful place to work. We currently have 62 faculty members and 43 staff employees who have worked for the university at least 25 years, a powerful indicator of how much people love to work here. I have lost count of the number of funerals I have attended through the years where I have heard Dr. Ganus eulogize a former Harding employee with the words “He/She came and stayed and made a great difference.”
Sometimes it is our guests who best help us to see the intangible strengths of Harding. A guest at our annual Bible Lectureship a couple of years ago told me how much he had enjoyed the week. With a voice of appreciation, he said, “I just love coming to the Harding Lectures; I am so encouraged to find that you still believe in the authority of the Bible and that you aren’t mad at anybody!” Earlier this year, a high school guidance counselor told me, “One thing we always notice when we are here at Harding is how happy the campus is! Just walking around here you breathe in the sense of joy that pervades this university.” Both of these guests helped me to appreciate some of the blessings with which I am surrounded every day at Harding, and I pray that comments like these will continue to characterize our university.
Q: What are the biggest issues or challenges facing Harding? Any specific ideas or plans to address those challenges?
A: The No. 1 issue and the No. 1 challenge facing Harding are the same; will we continue to be Christian in our core identity? My conviction is that the first step away from our Christian identity is the loosening of the bonds between Harding and the church.
Harding University was founded by people who were deeply committed to restoring New Testament Christianity and who were seeking to be undenominational Christians. We will continue with those commitments. I am also convinced that we must be willing to express our convictions clearly and “out loud.”
Harding took a bold step in this direction in 2008 when the Board of Trustees unanimously approved what has come to be known as our expanded mission statement. The complete statement can be viewed at http://www.harding.edu/spiritualPreface.html. The following convictions were made explicit:

Harding has always been deeply connected with the Churches of Christ, and we reaffirm this connection as we move into the future. In keeping with this commitment, we will continue to hire active members of the Churches of Christ as faculty and administrators. Though we live in a time of significant confusion over our brotherhood’s identity, we are determined that Harding University will become captive to neither a rigid legalism on the Right nor a formless liberalism on the Left. “With gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:16, NIV) we continue to affirm such distinctive convictions of the mainstream Churches of Christ as baptism for the remission of sins, a cappella music in worship, and male spiritual leadership in congregations.
While we maintain our close ties with the Churches of Christ, we also make clear that Harding opens her arms to all. Those who do not share all of our convictions are always welcome, and we will work hard to see that they are always treated with kindness, fairness and respect.

I am committed to maintaining these core convictions and Harding’s deep connections with the Churches of Christ. There was a time when we could assume that everyone understood the convictions to which Harding is committed. However, in these confusing times in which we live, nothing can be assumed. I believe that when we are clear about who we are and what we believe, we are in the best possible situation to serve the church and to deliver the very best higher education.
Q: What excites you about Churches of Christ in 2012? Any concerns?
A: Every generation faces serious concerns about the church. The relativism and pluralism of our postmodern era are making it increasingly difficult for people to accept the authority of Scripture and the absolute truth-claims of Jesus. However, confusing times also create fertile soil for the Gospel. The moral and religious chaos of the first century world made Jewish morality and monotheism strongly attractive to many Gentiles, and those God-fearers became the most receptive group for gospel preaching in the early years of the church. It excites me today any time I see Christians waking up to the power that is found in the gospel.
Q: Your selection has generated a series of blog posts by some prominent Church of Christ ministers — Rich Little, Don McLaughlin and Jonathan Storment among them. Have you read these posts, and how would you respond to the concerns raised?
A: Two days after my selection was announced, my wife and I left for the Pan American Lectures in the Dominican Republic. Consequently, I have yet to read what these men have written. None of them have contacted me personally. (Editor’s note: Rich Little says he contacted McLarty’s office last week and has scheduled a December meeting with McLarty to sit down with him, talk and pray.)
Q: What else should Chronicle readers know about you and your plans for Harding?
A: In the past two weeks, the question I have been asked the most is, “What changes do you plan to make?” I’m sure there will be plenty of changes in my time, but I shared with the Board during my interview how I believe that the core mission of the Harding president needs to be the core mission.
Armstrong, Benson, Ganus and Burks – our first four presidents – were all different from one another, and they all have a long list of impressive accomplishments. Yet, the most important accomplishment of each one was that he maintained the Christian mission of Harding University.
My prayer is that at the end of my tenure the same can be said of me. I am deeply committed to the goal that Harding University will continue to offer an outstanding university education that is thoroughly Christian, academically excellent and financially accessible to everyone.

  • Feedback
    Two things: I am disappointed that none of the above have contacted him personally, they probably should have.
    I wonder if “church” is any broader in scope than churches of Christ in his view?
    I wish Harding and President McLarty well and hope that both the man and the great institution keep Christ first and foremost.
    Royce Ogle
    November, 15 2012

    I am not sure when this interview took place but in Rich Little’s September 9th post he said he had made an appointment with Dr. McLarty for the second week in December.
    Matt Dabbs
    November, 15 2012

    As a Harding grad and minister, and one who has had the opportunity to know Bruce and be around him personally, I for one am so gratefully Harding will have a President in Bruce McLarty. As one reads this interview it is clear how he is committed to Harding maintaining the core truths, values and principles that she has regarding the restoration movement and the fellowship of churches of Christ. There are many voices who no longer share some of the same fundamental beliefs we have in churches of Christ such as are outlined in 2008 Harding Board of Trustees unanimously approved mission statement.
    Bruce is committed to maintaining and defending in kindness and love these core beliefs. Rest assured, there are some who see this, and are upset that Harding has chose a different path and vision than the one they believe the churches of Christ should take. While I do think we must always listen and engage those with dissenting views, we must remain true to our core beliefs and values as to who we are as Bruce expressed.
    I have all the confidence and trust that Bruce will do a great job. I’m thankful to call him a friend. May�s God�s blessings and grace and strength be upon him as he leads Harding into the future and continues her great influence and support to those congregations of the Lord who remain committed to the spirit of the restoration movement and NT Christianity.
    Robert Prater
    Pulpit Minister
    Central Church of Christ
    Shawnee, OK
    Robert Prater
    November, 15 2012

    I�m sure there�s no more difficult job for a University board than to select their next president. And I�m sure the board realizes that a sustained distinctive stance in key areas of interest is absolutely critical to survival and growth. Harding is different from the others and this difference (right or wrong) may well be at the root of its continued growth trajectory that stands head and shoulders above her peers.
    I have a hard time understanding why anyone would suggest material changes to Harding�s unique stance in faith-matters, whatever they are.
    But in this case and a few others, my real concern is that it seems to be such a challenge to find qualified and credentialed administrators and academics outside the walled garden of the local institution. Honorary, Ministry, and/or mail-order credentials, especially among key leaders just won�t work well in the modern economy where the demand for a rigorous higher education in science, technology, and business is what students and parents are looking for.
    Earle West (Jr.)
    November, 15 2012

    Bruce McLarty has appeared on the scene at Harding University at the right time. Perhaps its Providence.

    Don R. House,
    Church of Christ
    Hardy, AR

    Don R. House
    November, 15 2012

    Concratulations to President McLarty on this honor & great responsibility. If there’s ever a time we need sensible, sober minds in leadership positions in the church and church-related institutions, such as the great Harding U. I remember a presidential campaign for our national leader a few years ago that called for “change, change, change”. Well, we see what’s happened in that context. Change is always a part of growth, but it seems that less-level heads often call for change because it’s “the in things”. A Christian university president doesn’t need to be swayed by the “newest, most awesome” idea to arise. I believe brother McLarty will remain with his foot solidly planted in The Word on the solid foundation, and not be “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine” while realizing that we can tecah our young professionals more & greater methods which can be used to spread the unchanging Message far and wide.
    Stanley Cook
    November, 15 2012

    Congratulations, bro. McLarty! Any Christian college that chooses a gospel preacher as president will be well on it’s way, by the grace of God, to be true to her founding principles of preparing young men and women in the life long fulfillment of the Great Commission. God bless you on your new position and may our God be glorified!
    Russ McCullough
    November, 15 2012

    Although I do not know Dr. McLarty personally, I have heard so many good things about him. And I do appreciate the direction that he envisions for the school. As a graduate of Harding, I shall forever be grateful for her significant and continuing influence. I wish Dr. McLarty well as he prepares to take the presidential reins!
    Herman Alexander
    November, 16 2012

    “we continue to affirm such distinctive convictions of the mainstream Churches of Christ as baptism for the remission of sins, a cappella music in worship, and male spiritual leadership in congregations.”
    I’m unclear how a university can hold these opinions. If elders and congregations wish to do so, fine, but universities are not God-ordained, and therefore I think it’s potentially blasphemous for any university to act like a church. Is Harding University the bride of Christ? I think not. (I’m being serious.) On this point I actually think we have much to learn from our non-institutional sisters and brothers, who have rightfully argued that colleges and universities are human institutions that have no business defining what the Church can and should be.
    Moreover, what does this even mean “we continue to affirm?” I know several HU faculty members, trustees, students, and alumni who don’t affirm these things, so I don’t know what this statement can mean practically.
    J. Wiser
    November, 16 2012

    From the day the search for the next President of Harding was announced my prayer has been that Bruce would be the choice. He loves the Lord and His church. He is blessed with the gift of communication both as a writer and speaker. He understands and promotes the commission Jesus has given us to preach the Gospel to the whole world and I am certain he will lead Harding in a way that will please God.
    Gordon Hogan
    Gordon Hogan
    November, 16 2012

    I wish the new President every success in all good things. I was wondering what distinguishes one as a “prominent” minister among our brehtren? Would someone be so kind as to enlighten me?
    Orion Mitchell
    November, 16 2012

    I will be so kind as to enlighten you.
    By “prominent,” I meant ministers whose names are recognized widely in our fellowship. Don McLaughlin, for example, is someone who has been a keynote speaker at Harding’s lectureship in the last few years.
    Bobby Ross Jr.
    November, 16 2012

    Sara Barton also responded in the series of blog posts Rich Little hosted. I think she also counts as “prominent,” especially given the lamentable paucity of women ministers in our tradition.
    November, 16 2012

    My husband is a current student at Harding (graduating in December) and has spoken to Bruce McLarty on several occasions. We are not Church of Christ, though we grew up with the denomination. We are pretty certain that he is not of the mindset that the “church of Christ” is the only church. In fact, among the bible professors at Harding, this viewpoint is becoming quite rare.
    November, 16 2012

    Count me among those that are disappointed with the process of picking Harding’s next President and the selection. In reading Mr. McLarty’s comments, I am also disheartened. I think there will be a growing discomfort with my generation of Harding Grad’s about the “fit” of Harding for our children. Harding’s alumni does not have a great record of giving back to the institution once we graduate. I think one reason is the disconnect between many of the administration’s views and the views that we were taught in the Bible and Ministry programs. I don’t understand how this can continue and Harding be a healthy institution. I am afraid that Harding will only connnect with students that grow up in small, rural congregations of the churches of Christ.
    Lynn Cook
    November, 16 2012

    There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank our Lord for the wonderful years I spent at Harding.It was there that I saw living examples of faith inacted in the professors. As a fellow classmate of Bruce, both in Searcy, and in Memphis, I know the board has acted wisely in appointing Bruce.No, Harding is not the church, but the influence that the school has had through its many years cannot be measured. As an elder in the church, I am concerned that we remained committed to the “Word Of God”. I know that Bruce is commited to that mission, and my prayer is that the Lord will bless both him, and Harding, as they enter this new phase.
    Danny Duncan
    November, 17 2012

    To clarify to some: churches of Christ aren’t denominational. We have no headquarters or main office. Each church congregation is guided by their own leadership and its own interpretation of the New Testament as to how they worship, live, and guide others to Christ.
    November, 17 2012

    I am a three-time graduate of Harding University. During my association with Harding, I have cherished the emphasis on faithfulness to God, the commitment to excellence, the outreach of faculty to students, and relationships established. In addition, I have three sons who have been been blessed academically, spiritually, and socially while attending Harding. Furthermore, I currently hear praise from parents in my community–not affiliated with churches of Christ–about how their children, who have transferred to Harding from other educational institutions, have been blessed primarily by the professors who demonstrate concern for them. For my family, friends, and me, it has been great to be a part of Harding University.
    During my undergraduate work a Harding, it was my privilege to come to know Bruce McClarty. I respect him for his commitment to the Lord. He is committed to reaching the lost, and I believe him to be a person of integrity who will work to uphold the values that make Harding a great place to be. My prayer is that God will work through him that Harding University will continue to be a fountain of blessing.
    Fred Strasser
    November, 17 2012

    As a Harding graduate I have prayed for Bruce’s appointment to the Harding presidency. He has the biblical commitment and gracious Christian personality, combined with administrative experience that will serve Harding and the church well.
    Cecil May Jr.
    November, 17 2012

    If I am not mistaken, Dr. McLarty has been a part of the Bible faculty over the last few years – http://www.harding.edu/bible/faculty.html
    You said,
    “I think one reason is the disconnect between many of the administration�s views and the views that we were taught in the Bible and Ministry programs. I don�t understand how this can continue and Harding be a healthy institution”
    So you believe there is a disconnect between the views of the administration and the views of the Bible and ministry programs. The board hires the next president from the very department you said “gets it” but you are disappointed about their selection. Help me figure out what you are trying to say here. It would seem to me you would be happy that the board selected a guy from the very department that you think is going in the right direction. Right?
    Matt Dabbs
    November, 17 2012

    Having known four of the five Harding presidents (and even lived across the street from one of them for a short time), I am glad they have made indelibly positive impressions on thousands. Although all have had admirable personal convictions about Harding, the church, Scripture, and hundreds of connected items, I believe none of them surpasses Bruce McLarty in humility, approachability, or communicative ability. He is a genuine servant of the Lord who possesses the integrity needed to lead Harding with distinction without succumbing to the never-ending temptation a president always has to yield to those who insist upon their brands of educational or “spiritual” politics.
    Gerald Casey
    November, 18 2012

    While I’m really not surprised, it saddens me to see that the word academics was not thrown in till the very last sentence. But most unsettling is the comment, “keep deeply connected to Churches of Christ.” How about just, keep deeply connected to Christ? Christianity is a relationship not a religion. My prayer is that Harding wakes up to that fact because our young people are leaving in droves.
    Teresa McCown
    November, 18 2012

    I attended Harding for my undergrad years and grew a great deal while there. I was blessed by attending Harding and hope my children will consider it as one of their options. But being there was eye opening in multiple ways also.
    We can say Churches of Christ are not a denomination but if we act in such a way as to say that we are separate from you and we are the gatekeepers to heaven, then we are functioning as at least a Sect. Sociologists consider the Churches of Christ to be a distinctive (though rapidly dwindling) group. Part of the reason our portion of the Body is shrinking is we are not effectively responding to our culture in relevant ways.
    If a cappella music in worship is a ‘distinctive conviction’ not just a unique and beautiful expression of our praise then our vector is toward extinction. These ‘distinctives’ may have been affirmed by the Board, but the a cappella distinctive was not even effectively defended by the Bible faculty nearly two decades ago.
    I am saddened, Harding, that you have chosen to circle the wagons and defend indefensible ground, settle for the status quo, and quietly march into obscurity. I would not be saddened if I did not love Harding as I do. Blessings on you, Dr. McLarty, as you guide Harding.
    Dr. Jon Gorham
    November, 19 2012

    Dr. McLarty would not have been my choice but he seems like a decent and honorable man.
    I will always be a Dr. David Burks man. Lost in all of this is an underlying realization that there may never again be another Dr. Burks.
    Alma Mater Hail.
    Alan Gable
    November, 19 2012

    Well I guess I’ll put in my two cents. I, as well as everyone else that has left a response graduated from Harding so my opinion should be valid, right? Right! Glad we got that out of the way.
    I have my thoughts on Bruce and the direction that HU is heading in but I won’t bore you. My main and really my only concern is that we as a body of believers would be submissive and obedient to the Headship and Lordship of Jesus Christ, not to a denomination, non-denomination, or non-denominational denomination, if you catch my drift. We need to get out of our ruts and religious traditions and take Jesus at His word. We need to die to ourselves daily, take up our cross daily, and seek His Kingdom first DAILY and everything will pan out, I promise. When we put so much emphasis on “the church” and not THEE MAN we lose track of what the Lord is doing. I pray that we would be convicted and pried out of our comfort zones. I pray that we would be a Romans 8:14 people (look it up). May the Lord bless Harding University and the leadership thereof and may we fix our eyes on Jesus and stay connected to the Head.
    If you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks (don’t be too mean) then feel free to contact me at [email protected]
    Branson E. Bridges
    November, 21 2012

    As one of the guys who appeared on Riches blog offering opinions about Harding’s presidential choice I wanted to offer that I contacted Bruce ( who I consider a friend and a good man) before the blog and recieved a kind reply from him immediately via email. In my email I expressed my wishes for his success and a heads up that my critique might not be viewed as favorable. He replied quickly with ” thanks for the heads up”. I think the Christian Cron interviewer did not mention my name when they posed the question to Bruce so I think he was answering accurately, but I wanted to be clear that a successful attempt was made to contact him before, not to mention others like Rich who have reached out to him subsequently.
    On another thought, in keeping with what I view to be Dr Gorham’s brilliantly articulated comment above , I was a bit surprised to see this yesterday as a public statement from the new Harding president
    Mark Moore
    November, 29 2012

    As a Harding Graduate(BBA-83 & MS-85), I could not be more thrilled and shocked with Harding’s selection. I had heard that the next president would be from the business realm, and could not be happier that is not the case. You will not find a more genuine Christian man than Bruce McLarty, and Ann is as wonderful as he is. As a teenager, I spent more time at his parent’s house than I did my own and loved every minute I was there. It was so easy to remain on the straight and narrow there, and they expected the best from you. The entire McLarty family is a very bright spot in my life, and his family (especially his sister Kim Johnson) is one of the reasons I ended up transferring to HU after a disastrous freshman year (both morally and academically) at a state university. Harding’s future is bright, and for the first time in my 10 year old daughter’s life I will encourage her to keep HU on her short list when the time comes. Praise to the Selection Committee for their wisdom and foresight.
    Ken Fowler
    November, 30 2012

    Dr. McLarty is undoubtedly a godly man of impeccable moral standing. No one in any posting I have read is debating this. His credentials and his vision for the future of Harding are the areas of concern, as it distinctively influences the credibility of our alma mater and the direction of an organization that is tasked at some level with shaping the future of our fellowship. While many are thrilled at his appointment (which I am also regarding the man himself), the larger issues of how the selection decision of the board was made, his educational qualifications to lead a notable regional university, and his future vision are important and not to be so quickly dismissed. When the Harding Board Chair responded in the Harding Bison, to recent criticisms, he essentially acknowledged Dr. McLarty’s notable deficits, and yet defended the choice with minimal rationale given.
    Dr. McLarty published an article in the non-peer reviewed December 2012 Gospel Advocate attempting to defend a cappella music as a distinctive conviction. This is an unfortunate choice for Dr. McLarty. When he needs to be shoring up his educational credentials, building credibility, he is actually demonstrating the very deficits many of us have been concerned about.
    Three problems with the article.
    First, he proposes that the cultural milieu of the first century church was such that instruments were not used due to the association with pagan practices. Dr. McLarty demonstrates a lack of cultural application as music is no longer associated with pagan rituals in the modern day. This does not make the practice wrong, but rather unwise in a certain environment.
    Second, Dr. McLarty acknowledges that musical instruments were used by the faithful in the Old Testament in obedience. Revelation chapter 8 also references angels using trumpets in the presence of God. Metaphorical or not, the image is of instruments being used in the presence of God. Both of these realities suggest that the activity is not inherently wrong.
    Third, Dr. McLarty says that we are not bound by the opinions of the early uninspired church fathers yet uses them as support for his position, in opposition to the principle of only living according to inspired Scripture rather than according to both Church Tradition and Scripture.
    The timing of this article is such that there is little doubt as to the direction of our Beloved Harding.
    Dr. Jon Gorham
    December, 1 2012

    I thank God for putting Dr. Bruce McLarty in the position of Harding University’s next president. I thank God for Bruce and the impact he has had on my life and the lives of countless people. I am truly privileged to have met him in person and been blessed countless times through his teaching, preaching, advice, encouragement, and friendship. A humble and gentle servant leader, a man after God’s own heart, a person who brightly reflects Christ image.
    Brother Bruce, I will keep you in my prayers as you serve God at Harding University!
    Snezana Lepki
    Missionary in Asia
    Snezana Lepki
    December, 7 2012

    As a Harding grad (with a son who is currently a Freshman), I am so encouraged to hear the future President of Harding commit to upholding Biblical values, that I also hold dear. I applaud the courage he shows in standing for key directives that he knows to be paramount, even in light of a leaning, of many, toward noncommittal viewpoints. I agree with McClarty that our highest priority shouldn’t have so much to do with record enrollments each year as it has to do with staying true to the Christian principals this great institution was founded on.
    Emily Waites Smith
    January, 16 2013

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