Karen Swallow Prior Plays the Victim

Professor Karen Swallow Prior (formerly of Liberty University and now of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) has spent the last several years of her career earning the disdain of conservative Christians everywhere. Prior, while employed as an English teacher at Christian colleges, has made a second career of offending biblical sensibilities. Pulpit & Pen has written about Prior’s various offenses ad nauseam.

After years of exposing this woman to the light of day, we here at Pulpit & Pen are relieved to see that other Baptist observers, such as Tom Ascol, are finally starting to notice the problems with her employment and promotion in conservative Christian circles. The controversy around Prior and Southeastern is serious enough that the institution’s president, Danny Akin, has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a public defense and endorsement of one of his professors. At the same time, Prior is playing the victim.

Everyone should be paying attention to Prior’s defense of herself. It does not involve her making a biblical defense of her past statements, endorsements, and actions. It involves the former ERLC Research Fellow acting like she is receiving unfair treatment. She isn’t. Karen Swallow Prior has made her bed and now she has to lie in it. Personally, I am not surprised by Prior’s damsel in distress routine. I have personally sat across the dinner table from her while she’s done it.

Some years ago, I was invited by Prior (through a mutual acquaintance) to dine with her and a group of theologians after an Evangelical Theological Society event. I was hoping for a chance to discuss with Prior the exceptions Pulpit & Pen had taken with her in its various writings. Instead of robust discussion, Prior subjected me to passive aggressive snips about how unfairly she had been misrepresented by Pulpit & Pen. No substantive discussion could be had. The only opportunity presented to me was to issue a rather rude rebuke or an undeserved apology. Granted, it was hard to get a word in edgewise over the effeminate prattling of her companion Matthew Lee Anderson, who was two beers in to an argument with Robert Gagnon (a stalwart defender of a biblical sexual ethic) about whether or not male friends made more intimate companions than wives. At least Dr. Prior paid for my meal.

Karen, thanks for Dinner.

I wasn’t fooled then. I am not fooled now. I hope the rest of my fellow Baptists can see through the Karen Swallow Prior smokescreen, too, not just to her but to Danny Akin, Russell Moore, and the rest of the progressives steering the Southern Baptist Convention to the left.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.


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Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant

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