Albert Mohler’s Social Justice Blacklist: Seeking Clarity from the Baptist Press
It’s no secret that Southern Baptist entity heads have threatened their employees not to sign the Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel. Albert Mohler at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) and Danny Akin at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) have both told staff that their signature on the statement will lead to their departure from the institutions at the next convenient juncture. Russell Moore at the ERLC has had to make no such overtures to ERLC staff, as he has already thoroughly staffed each position with progressives who share his leftist ideology. While there have been certain reports from people who say SBTS employees have told them Mohler hasn’t threatened them with termination for signing the statement per se, no SBTS faculty member has publicly said so (because it is untrue). Likewise, no SBTS or SEBTS faculty member has signed The Dallas Statement, which now has over six thousand signatures.
We first reported that Danny Akin had threatened to treat non-woke faculty members to “sensitivity training” and ultimately dismissal if they mentioned the terms, “Critical Race Theory” or “Cultural Marxism,” on their social media back in April. North American Mission Board (NAMB) church planters reported being told to remove anti-MLK50 Conference posts from their social media, under threat of having their Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong offering funds removed. When we asked Akin about this and stated that we received correspondence from multiple faculty sources at SEBTS that their employment was threatened for criticizing the leftward trajectory of the denomination and SEBTS, Akin denied the claim. When I explained to him that I had received it first-hand from faculty members he responded, “…unless you want to reveal your source we can conclude this conversation.”
On one hand, Akin insisted that the accusation was inaccurate that faculty members would be treated punitively for not going along with the progressive drift. On the other hand, Akin demanded to know who the source was, or else he wouldn’t continue to answer my questions. Of course, if the accusation was not inaccurate, revealing the source would surely lead to their immediate dismissal or brainwashing in Room 101 down at the Ministry of Truth in the Kingdom Diversity Department.
Whether or not sources are revealed, one would think a Southern Baptist employee like Akin – who works for Southern Baptists like I was at the time – would be candid regarding the institutional policies in place to ensure that critics of Critical Race Theory are silent or subject to punitive consequences. But no, Akin would speak no further.
Likewise, we reported that an electronic communication was in our possession from Albert Mohler in which a SBTS staff member was told that if they signed the Dallas Statement their employment and future at SBTS would be in jeopardy. While I can understand that Mohler – like Akin – would like to know the name of the faculty member in the same way that President Trump would like to know the name of the anonymous New York Times editorial writer inside his own administration, I also assume Mohler wants to know for the same reason as President Trump. Whoever has leaked information to the press is bound to wind up with their career on the chopping block.
While we are still fully prepared to release the correspondence in full if Mohler decides to take punitive action against the faculty member (for then, the faculty member has nothing to lose), we would first like to seek clarity from the Baptist Press.
The Baptist Press isn’t so much a press outlet as a PR-wing of the Southern Baptist Convention, pumping proverbial sunshine and only addressing controversies in the convention long after every other Christian press outlet has reported on the subject. They are not a fair or impartial media outlet, but being on the payroll of the Cooperative Program, work to maintain the status quo within the Convention. During the Conservative Resurgence, conservative leaders often complained that the Baptist Press didn’t have an ounce of journalistic integrity and wasn’t impartial, serving as only a propaganda factory for the powers that be. Once the Conservative Resurgence was over, these same conservative leaders were satisfied with the BP’s role as yellow journalists, now that they were in control.
In the BP article written about the Dallas Statement, Albert Mohler was cited regarding his opinion of the document. Chiefly, Mohler quibbled about the wording of the document, without any specificity. Mohler had seen the document previously, given to him by his employee, Denny Burk. The BP quoted Mohler’s kind words towards the drafters of the document, and his claim that the document had fostered “productive conversation” (neither Mohler nor any other prominent Social Justice leader has responded in any long-form detail).
However, the issue of concern for Pulpit & Pen is that the BP cited (but did not quote) Mohler as denying “rumors he has discouraged Southern Seminary professors from signing the statement.”
Here are the facts: Numerous SBTS seminary professors have reached out to Pulpit & Pen to claim there was a meeting after chapel service in which some, but not all, seminary professors were warned not to sign the Dallas Statement. Numerous SBTS seminary professors were specifically warned verbally by Mohler not to sign the statement because it “attacked Southern Baptist entities.” That phrase, “attacked Southern Baptist entities” has repeatedly been reported to us (the document did no such thing). Furthermore, we have this electronic communication in our possession in which Mohler stated that the document went against the mission and values of SBTS and one’s future at the institution would be uncertain if they chose to sign the document, which Mohler feels is criticism of a Southern Baptist entity. That correspondence was a follow up to Mohler’s verbal warning.
However, the BP did not quote Mohler. Before we discuss this issue in the realm of “lying” – a terrible accusation to make without absolute certainty – we are asking the Baptist Press for the specific question they asked Dr. Mohler and his specific answer. We are going to presume charitably that the BP characterized Mohler’s words, which probably (and hopefully) were not as direct as they cite him as saying. The reality is, Mohler has warned SBTS faculty members not to sign the statement. Of this, there is no doubt. Our prayer is that the Baptist Press is guilty of sloppy propaganda. But to determine whether or not an actual lie is involved, we are hereby asking the Baptist Press to do their due diligence and provide a standard professional courtesy in the journalism.
Provide your question, specifically. Provide his answer, word-for-word. We immediately asked the BP and its author to provide their question and Mohler’s answer, in his words.
Our question via social media and via email has yet to be answered.
If the Baptist Press doesn’t respond, they have something to hide. If Mohler doesn’t respond, he does. In the meantime, let it suffice to say that no SBTS faculty members have signed the document. And that speaks volumes even in the midst of Mohler’s silence.
[Contributed by JD Hall]