The Social Justice Dark Money That is Funding SEBTS
Many Biblical conservatives are awakening and disturbed to find social justice indoctrination happening in their own seminaries. As revealed in 2017 – a massive effort to introduce the social justice /victim narratives of far left “Christianity” began in late 2007-2009 and scaled up in 2013 to include some 23 conservative evangelical seminaries.
The Kern Family Foundation and its Oikonomia Network partners with Acton Institute, a Catholic-libertarian think tank to provide funding to oversee curriculum changes to implement their desired program focus on seminary campuses. This is generally found in the cultural engagement departments of the institutions funded by the dark money.
Currently, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is said to be undergoing the same transformation in it’s post-Paige Patterson era under new leadership from at least three former SBTS Mohler employees. These below-the-surface operations were described by this author as having the appearance of an “Evangelical Deep State.” The phrase has caught on in the Evangelical world as concerns continued to escalate and suspicions were confirmed.
Consider the previous posts on this topics:
PERHAPS BLACK LIBERATION IS A BRIDGE TOO FAR
Some of those suspicions were confirmed by whistleblowers from the seminaries and in a recent New York Times article interview with a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary professor and “Intersect Project” member, Walter Strickland. Eyebrows were raised when he acknowledged teaching Black Liberation Theology and James Cone at SEBTS and in churches/meetings on his speaking schedule.
As stated in the New York Times article:
Radical thinkers have found their way into the citadels of white evangelicalism. Reading the black liberation theologian James Cone helped Mr. Strickland, the theology professor, see how white theologians often ignore the structural sources of earthly suffering. In 1969, the Rev. Dr. Cone admonished “new blacks, redeemed in Christ” to “say to whites that authentic love is not ‘help,’ not giving Christmas baskets but working for political, social and economic justice, which always means a redistribution of power.”
Strickland admits to being stealthy in his approach by not mentioning James Cone by name.
The NYT article continues:
Courses in African-American theology have been on the books at moderate evangelical seminaries since the 1970s. But it is significant that Mr. Strickland has brought a thinker like Dr. Cone into the heart of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. Mr. Strickland spent years studying in majority-white evangelical schools, where he mastered the idiom of the Christian right. When he speaks to conservative white congregations, he is careful.
While Cone’s ideas are in play, I don’t mention him by name, because I don’t want to put unnecessary stumbling blocks in their way,” Strickland says. He continues, “Scripture’s authority comes first. If I’m able to demonstrate that this black man in front of them has read the Bible, I gain credit with them.
KERN EMPLOYEE HELPING DIRECT SEBTS SOCIAL JUSTICE DEPARTMENT
The Intersect Project:
Intersect is a project and resource hub of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary‘s Center for Faith and Culture. They have assembled a team dedicated to helping you connect faith with the rest of your life.”You get insights from Southeastern’s faculty, alumni, students and other leading Christian thinkers, including Bruce Ashford, Ken Keathley, Walter Strickland, Benjamin Quinn, David W. Jones and more.
You can see recent changes in the Intersect Project here.
Please notice that The Kern Family Foundation is very proud of its investment at SEBTS through the Intersect Project.
About Reconnect Your Faith with the Rest of Your Life
INTERSECT’S SUBVERSIVE GOALS AT SEBTS
From an early age, we learn to place our faith in a box. We may pull it out on Sundays, but we neatly return it to its hidden place the rest of the week. As a result, faith has little to do with our day-to-day lives. We live, work and play as if God did not exist.
Faith deserves to be reunited with Monday to Saturday. Faith should have everything to do with our day-to-day lives. We should live, work and play for God’s glory.
How can you make faith impact the rest of your life? Practically speaking, what does it look like for faith to intersect with culture, work and economics?
The Kern Family Foundation and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminaries Center for Faith and Culture have partnered together to address the issues above.
They’re doing so through “Intersect.”
What is Intersect, exactly?
Intersect exists to educate you to engage the intersection of faith, culture, work, and economics so you can equip others and be empowered to glorify God in all your life.
“To accomplish this mission, Intersect seeks to”
- Educate you about how faith intersects with culture, work and economics.
Learn from Southeastern’s faculty and other reputable speakers through our free classes, daily blogs, videos, books and special events.
- Equip you to educate others.
The information you learn is designed to be shared – with your church, your family and your neighbors.
- Empower you to make a difference.
Ultimately, Intersect is about changing lives. We want you to apply these lessons to your everyday life so you can glorify God and fulfill the Great Commission in how you work, live and play.”
Who is Intersect?
According to the website:
Intersect is the result of a partnership between The Kern Family Foundation and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminaries Center for Faith and Culture. They have assembled a team dedicated to helping you connect faith with the rest of your life.[Emphasis mine]
KERN CONNECTIONS TO SEBTS SCRUBBED FROM WEBSITE
At present, the SEBTS website makes no mention of the financial contributions from Kern. However, as Thomas Littleton points out in his fuller blog post (with evidence), their connection was up online until April, at which point it was scrubbed. Click here to read about the cover-up.
THE KERN FAMILY FOUNDATION BEGAN OIKONOMIA NETWORK TO TRAIN AND OVERSEE THEIR GRANTS ON SEMINARY CAMPUSES .
According to Oikonomia Network website SEBTS joined the network and funding in 2013:
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary joined the network in 2013. It will be hosting a faculty retreat, developing on-site and digital learning courses as well as other student learning opportunities, holding conferences dedicated to faith, work, and economics, and publishing church curricular materials.
Learn more about ON programming at SEBTS.”
Intersect Project leader and SEBTS provost Bruce Ashford comments on the involvement and thinks it will serve as the backbone of preparing SEBTS students for ministry.
KERN SETTING SOCIAL JUSTICE AGENDA AT SEBTS
The website states:
Students will be exposed to three courses that will guide them in building a theology of culture, a theology of vocation, and a biblically informed view of the economy. Several SEBTS faculty, including Ashford, David Jones, Benjamin Quinn, and Walter Strickland, will create and teach the content of the classes.
A host of speakers are mentioned for the “Wisdom Forum ” including Catholics and Tim Keller’s Center for Faith and Work leader at Redeemer Church in NYC:
Speakers will include Jay Richards, an assistant research professor at the Catholic University of America; David Kim, pastor of faith and work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church and executive director of Redeemer’s Center for Faith and Work; and Carolyn McCulley, author, speaker, and filmmaker. Southeastern faculty involved with Intersect will also speak.
DANNY AKIN OF THE GOSPEL COALITION IS HEAD OF SEBTS
In a 2014 interview, (published in 2015) Danny Akin was excited about the Intersect Project, Faith and Work focus and The Kern Family Foundation.
Kern is acknowledged as funding the program at SEBTS and this interview is part of the online course for SEBTS .
Walter Strickland acknowledges the support of Kern Family Foundation and Danny Akin in the book he co-authored Every Waking Hour: An Introduction to Work and Vocation for Christian.
Russell Moore, ERLC president and TGC council member endorsed Strickland’s book. So did homosexual ‘Christian’ journalist, Jonathan Merrit. Greg Forster, the director of the Oikonomia Network and The Kern Family Foundation endorsed Strickland’s book as well.
Soon after receiving funds from Kern, Danny Akin made him the associate VP of the Department of Kingdom Diversity, saying, “I am thrilled to appoint him as associate vice president for Kingdom Diversity Initiatives.”
Strickland is most responsible for the promotion of James Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology. I spoke about James Cone at Black Liberation Theology in my Social Justice Series (here).
BUT WHY IS KERN’S NAME NOW REMOVED?
However, Intersect Project’s SUDDEN removal of all mention of The Kern Family Foundation (including links and logos) certainly sends a message that something is amiss and all is not well with SEBTS and the Kern Partnership.
UNBELIEVABLE INFLUENCE OF KERN IN OTHER ‘WOKE’ SBC SEMINARIES
Given The Kern Family Foundation’s funding of Oikonomia partnership, which is engaged with other conservative seminaries like Albert Mohler’s SBTS, and reported to presently being implemented at Southwestern (SWBTS) as well – the amount of money and influence of the partnership appears staggering.
Why has Kern suddenly disappeared from Akin’s SEBTS/ Intersect Project site? Did Kern pull it’s funding from SEBTS? Has Danny Akin returned the former grants SEBTS has received? Are Oikonomia and Greg Forster no longer partnering with Akins institution? Is The Kern Family Foundation upset about the revelations in the NYT piece or is it simply upset about the publicity brought on by it? Are other partners using the Black Liberation/James Cone teachings on their campuses?
These are SEBTS questions perhaps only Danny Akin can answer. Will he respond?
Conservative Christians have a reason to be concerned with what is going on in their seminaries because it trickles down into their church the moment they hire a graduate of one of these institutions like SEBTS. At present, the attention to the problems posed by the Social Justice “gospel ” have made these concerns front-and-center and the concerns are not likely to go away. Does the Kern name removal from “Intersect Project ” at SEBTS signal a change or a course correction or signal that they and these disturbing realities are simply going back into hiding?
Little remains to be seen except the next revelations of how deep and wide the troubles actually go in the Southern Baptist Conversation and other once trusted evangelical leaders – as they launch ever deeper into the unsustainable world of critical theory, social justice, social change, and identity politics. Who in their right frame of mind will continue on this train bound for nowhere?
[Editor’s Note: Most of this article was originally published at Thirty Pieces of Silver by Thomas Littleton. However, considerable editorial freedom was taken by Pulpit & Pen, both in the title and body of the work for the purpose of grammatical changes and for the sake of brevity, including changes in wording and sentence structure as necessary. It is highly recommended that you read Littleton’s more in-depth original work here]