“The Board of Trustees would also like to clarify that while Nadab and Abihu’s behavior was inconsistent with the Divine command that had been given, any violations were done with good-faith enthusiasm to offer incense before the Lord.”
Dave Mitchell left this for a response when we posted Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s statement regarding Patterson’s admission of a Muslim into the seminary in the infamous Pulpit Bunker. No doubt tongue-in-cheek, the pulpiteer’s comment still rings of the truth and absurdity of the trustees’ statement, which pledged to change the bylaws so Patterson wouldn’t have to break them the next time he wanted to equip a Muslim for Christian ministry as an evangelism strategy.
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – In the weeks surrounding the 2014 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, various news outlets and bloggers noted that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary had, based on an exception granted by seminary President Paige Patterson, admitted an Islamic student into its Ph.D. program in biblical archeology. Following Dr. Patterson’s public apology to the Southern Baptist Convention, board Chairman Steven James, of Lake Charles, Louisiana, committed to lead the board to investigate the situation. That investigation is now concluded. The board’s findings are as follows:
- We admittedly recognize that there are inconsistencies between the seminary’s bylaws and the actions of its administration and board.
- We acknowledge an exception should have been requested until such time that the bylaws could have been amended for launching various initiatives.
- While not compromising the missional purpose of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, we are taking steps to amend the seminary’s bylaws to improve accountability that will allow for flexibility in pursuing ministry opportunities such as the one at the Darrington Unit.
We join with our fellow Southern Baptists in appreciation for and admiration of the evangelistic heart of our president, Paige Patterson. Any violations of the seminary bylaws were done in a good-faith enthusiasm to pursue the seminary’s purpose, as set forth in its articles of incorporation. It is our desire and intent to ensure that the seminary’s governing documents allow development of ministries to meet opportunities, as yet unknown to any of us, always being mindful of the great stewardship Southern Baptists have placed in our hands.
A few things we’d like to point out concerning Southwestern’s statements, in relation to the facts.
1. Patterson’s apology amounted to (A) I’d do it again and (B) God will vindicate me; I did nothing wrong. Watch the video yourself.
2. The PhD program in biblical archeology is a program designed to equip those called to use this field as part of their Christian Ministry. In every way, shape, form and fashion, this is a Christian Ministries program.
3. Their first two bullet points demonstrate not a mere “inconsistency.” It demonstrates a flagrant violation and policy. One can be “inconsistent” in application or execution without breaking rules or violating bylaws. This minimizing language meant to diminish the offense is neither helpful nor honest.
4. At the time of this posting, we are still looking for a link or copy to the SWBTS Articles of Incorporation, but it should suffice to say that the board’s assertions that “the violations were done in a good-faith enthusiasm to pursue the seminary’s purpose as set forth in its articles of incorporation” is a major, nonsensical misdirection unless those Articles of Incorporation say something in regards to enrolling non-Christians into Christian study programs in a Christian seminary.
5. The trustee’s statement, “It is our desire and intent to ensure that the seminary’s governing documents allow development of ministries to meet opportunities, as yet unknown to any of us…” is altogether unnecessary. The bylaws can be amended and changed at anytime, through the proper protocols as laid out in the bylaws. Considering that this is already the status quo, one has to wonder if what they desire is for the president to unilaterally turn the bylaws into a living document that he can break or conform to his whimsy without consequence.
Most concerning, though, is this…
3. While not compromising the missional purpose of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, we are taking steps to amend the seminary’s bylaws to improve accountability that will allow for flexibility in pursuing ministry opportunities such as the one at the Darrington Unit.
Get this, Southern Baptists… after Patterson’s so-called “apology,” Southwestern is now taking steps to change bylaws to…allow for more flexibility in pursuing “ministry opportunities” (aka, to enroll Muslims in our seminaries). Clearly, calling anything a “ministry opportunity” is a license to break rules at SWBTS and even change the rules in order to allow SWBTS to equip Muslims in Christian study programs that are supported and subsidized by Southern Baptists to equip Christians for ministry.
JD “called this” on the May 20, 2014 episode of the Pulpit & Pen Program. In fact, he used this very situation to explain how “Downgrade” works; (1) someone we admire does something incredibly stupid and instead of rebuking them, we embrace them – often with good intentions – but we inadvertently (2) end up embracing their stupidity. People who never would have thought subsidizing a Southern Baptist seminary to train Muslims was a good idea (and would have rebuked you if you suggested it), in order to defend their hero or icon, will come to suggest that such is a good idea. This is exactly what JD predicted the “Laws of Downgrade” would cause to happen at SWBTS.
Paige Patterson has recently and reluctantly revealed, as forced upon him by unsanctioned reporting, that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has enrolled a Muslim into his seminary which was founded, funded, and is designed to equip Christians to advance the cause of Christ in their given field of study. This was, according to Patterson, an attempt to win the man to Christ. Now, many in the Southern Baptist Convention (leaders and lay people alike) are championing the move and characterizing it as a wise decision made by a compassionate soul winner! This is more evidence of Downgrade than Spurgeon could have imagined. One could scarcely imagine Dr. Doddridge enrolling a follower of Muhammad in his academy, let alone to preface it as an attempt to win the man to Christ. Only in a state of severe Downgrade would men presumed to be reasonably-minded train unbelievers in seminary as a strategy for evangelism. What is next, we must rightly wonder. Will Christian institutions bring in the unconverted infidel to preach to us, that we might win them with our hospitality?
JD will discuss this in Thursday’s episode of the Pulpit & Pen Program.
[Posted by Dustin Germain]