SBTS Faculty Consult Attorney on Release of Mohler Correspondence
Anyone paying attention to wider evangelicalism – and especially that represented in the Southern Baptist Convention – is well aware of a dramatic shift in focus and tone on social issues. When Albert Mohler repented of the notion of reparative therapy (the idea that through Biblical counseling a homosexual could break their addiction to unnatural sexual affections) and his previous stance on sexual orientation at a meeting held in conjunction with homosexuals back in 2014, the Wall Street Journal noted the “shifting tone on homosexuality” in an article entitled, Southern Baptists, Gay Community Break Bread at Conference. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) has almost altogether abandoned the fight on abortion and traditional marriage, arguing against punishment for those who commit abortions and insisting that Judge Roy Moore and Kim Davis resign rather than uphold their oaths of office and their conscience. The ERLC has instead focused on animal welfare, creation care environmentalism, and illegal immigration. ERLC research fellows have been free to advocate for the “gay Christian” Revoice Conference run by former faculty and SBTS graduate, Nate Collins (Russell Moore defended the research fellow at the SBC annual meeting and an ERLC employee had police toss a member of the press for asking Moore about his support for the pro-gay conference). Culminating in the MLK50 Conference that very explicitly advocated Critical Race Theory and Cultural Marxism, held in honor of sex-trafficker, bisexual and heretical teacher, Martin Luther King, evangelicals grew increasingly concerned that once-conservative leaders had adopted a politically-charged ideology and conflated it with the Gospel. That concern led to the Dallas Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel and has been signed by more than 8 thousand evangelicals. Of those 8 thousand, only one Southern Baptist seminary faculty member has signed it, and he is from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
We reported that Albert Mohler had strongly discouraged Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) faculty from signing the document here. This is startlingly similar to the strategy of Danny Akin at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS), who hosted a Malcolm X “read-in” this year and began an affirmative action program called the Kingdom Diversity Department. The seminary has also advocated the teaching of Critical Race theorist, James Cone. Akin reportedly threatened faculty members with sensitivity and diversity training and possible punitive actions regarding their employment, which we first reported here. Likewise, Mohler strongly discouraged faculty from signing the statement because it went against the prevailing new notions of “wokeness” advocated by so many in Southern Baptist leadership.
Pulpit & Pen received correspondence from a SBTS faculty member who had electronic correspondence with Mohler, asking for clarification regarding what steps of retribution might be taken if the document was signed by faculty. It is not uncommon for Pulpit & Pen to receive correspondence from SBC faculty and students, as seminaries are our greatest listening/reading demographic, especially in Lousiville, Dallas, and New Orleans.
I read a portion of that email below.
As we reported at the time, at least one faculty member requested additional information regarding a straight-forward answer as to whether or not they could sign the statement (several others were cc’d). Mohler very clearly answered in the negative. No doubt between a rock and a hard place, Mohler is at the epicenter of an earth-shattering polar shift in evangelicalism that is driving religious leaders to the hard left. Virtually all of The Gospel Coalition board members – with some subtle reservation from Kevin DeYoung – are in the camp now espousing Rauschenbuschism or Social Gospel. The ERLC, run by Mohler’s protege, Russell Moore (a former Democratic staffer), is the driving force behind the hard left turn. Ligon Duncan’s Reformed Theological Seminary is a major financial recipient of money from Clinton financier and globalist socialist, James Riady (as is TGC and Westminster Philadelphia). Mohler’s good friend, Mark Dever (who pastors in the swamp of Washington D.C.) has produced a major proponent of Rauschenbuschism, Ron Burns (Thabiti Anyabwile), and 9Marks has repeatedly taken the newly woke position. Tim Keller is an avowed Marxist with whom Mohler regularly partners. Mohler is in a tough position, considering that just a few years ago he debated Jim Wallis (who now serves with Russell Moore on George Soros’ Evangelical Immigration Table) and took the negative position on the resolution, “Is Social Justice an Essential Part of the Mission of the Church.” Nonetheless, Mohler, the consummate politician, has issued compliments toward the signers of the Dallas Statement (in particular, toward Dr. John MacArthur) but claims that he will not sign the statement because he doesn’t agree with the wording (Mohler has not been specific as to what he finds objectionable).
We wrote in our original reporting on this issue:
Pulpit & Pen is prepared to release correspondence between Mohler’s office and certain of SBTS faculty, instructing them to not sign the statement under threat of termination. As advised by SBTS faculty, this is a potential violation of 6.5.2 of the SBTS Employee Handbook, which limits retaliatory action taken against employees who publicly differ with the actions of the SBTS administration. It is worth noting that E 5.0 of the aforementioned handbook forbids releasing any information learned while under the employment of SBTS, due to the employment of SBTS. This is responsible for the air-tight confidentiality among SBTS regarding the controversies pertaining to the Social Gospel issue and is quite the opposite of a Whistle Blower policy.
Mohler has explicitly denied he’s discouraged or prohibited faculty from signing the statement, but the testimonies of SBTS faculty say otherwise. The correspondence from Mohler speaks for itself. However, the question remains as to whether or not E 5.0 of the SBTS Employee Handbook prohibits them under contract from releasing correspondence or any information made accessible by their employment. The portion in question is below.
While there is a degree of protection for the individual who sent the email to Pulpit & Pen because of the number of individuals cc’d, there is a legitimate fear that disclosing all of the contents thereof would lead to termination of employment on account of this clause.
Two faculty members have sought legal counsel from a Louisville law firm regarding the legal consequences of both the release of said email(s) and the possible repercussions for their employment. We are currently awaiting their judgment. Pulpit & Pen has emailed SBTS HR to ask for clarification on the consequences for employees that publicly reveal correspondence with Dr. Mohler. At the time of publishing, we have not received a response.
Pulpit & Pen has previously released correspondence demonstrating that Thom Rainer and Ed Stetzer were told in advance that The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven was falsely written and they chose to sell it anyway, that Greg Locke had put away his wife, that Clayton Jennings was engaged in sexual fornication and there are many more examples (click on those hyperlinks to see for yourselves). In each of those cases (every single one), the individual in question denied the accusations. As always, they are proven wrong and our facts are checked and double-checked as accurate. When we say we have seen the correspondence, we have seen it. We are eager to release Mohler’s correspondence as well in order to demonstrate that there is a culture of fear and a lack of academic freedom at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. We believe we’ll soon have an answer as to what kind of consequences the faculty will suffer for speaking out.
Furthermore, what we can tell you is that there are more than only two faculty members who would like to sign The Dallas Statement. According to conversations with various faculty members, I know of at least four (counting the two that have consulted an attorney) who are awaiting word whether or not they would be free to act according to their conscience. Because of the social justice stranglehold on at least five of the six Southern Baptist seminaries (Southwestern professors have been told it would be wise to wait until they find out who their new president is; PS it’s probably going to be Phillip Bethancourt, an ERLC acolyte), there is no lateral career move for SBC teaching faculty. To speak out against social justice would be a career death knell in the denomination.
We will update this post accordingly.
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