Fate of Southwestern profs unclear after trustee meeting

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Sherrie, Apr 12, 2003.

  1. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    A S S O C I A T E D B A P T I S T P R E S S

    Fate of Southwestern profs
    unclear after trustee meeting

    By Mark Wingfield

    FORT WORTH (ABP) -- The fate of two church history professors believed to be under fire from trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary remained unclear at the conclusion of the trustees' spring meeting April 8.

    For weeks leading up to the trustee meeting, rumors swirled around the Fort Worth campus and beyond that Karen Bullock and Stephen Stookey, both associate professors of church history, were being forced off the faculty.

    Both were due for tenure review, meaning the administration could recommend them to the trustee board for tenure approval. Both reportedly had been told prior to the board meeting that they would not be recommended to receive tenure and should seek other employment.

    In many academic institutions, failure to receive tenure equates to an invitation to leave.

    Word of the professors' plight has sparked intense concern among some students. To demonstrate their concern, a small group of students walked out of the April 8 chapel service while trustee Chairman Mike Dean spoke to students about the resignation of President Ken Hemphill.

    "We love you, Dr. Bullock! We love you, Dr. Stookey!" the students shouted as they exited.

    One of those protesters was Wendy Owens, a second-year master of arts in theology student who has studied with both Stookey and Bullock.

    Owens said she and other students "find it hard to believe" that these two professors have been found unacceptable by seminary trustees or administrators.

    "They are two teachers students really like and students can relate to really well," she said.

    Owens, who earned an undergraduate degree in history at Wheaton College, said Bullock is "the best classroom teacher" she's ever experienced.

    Both Bullock and Stookey, she said, presented scholarly and challenging material without appearing to deviate in any way from the theological parameters set by the seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Both professors reportedly have signed the required affirmation of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message, unlike other professors who refused and were forced to leave.

    "Dr. Bullock, when women students go in to talk to her, they get from her that women need to be submissive, need to be gentle," Owens said. "If (seminary officials) don't want her to be a role model, who do they want to be our role models? The only thing I can conclude is that they don't want (women) to have any role models because they don't want us in the School of Theology."

    For now, whatever concerns seminary administrators or trustees have with the two professors remain publicly unidentified. Neither trustee chairman Dean nor Provost Craig Blaising would answer questions about the matter during interviews with the Texas Baptist Standard and other media outlets April 8.

    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, in its April 9 issue, reported on the alleged ouster of the two professors.

    Contrary to what many on campus anticipated, Blaising indicated trustees had taken no action on the matter during their April 7-8 meeting in Fort Worth. Asked specifically about the two professors' status, he responded that was a matter of tenure review, a confidential matter that remained "in process."

    Dean likewise declined to address a specific question about the professors.

    The only reference to tenure review in the sessions of the trustee meeting open to the press was to an overall review of the tenure-granting process. The matter apparently had been discussed in closed-door committee sessions and was pushed through the plenary session on a "consent agenda" with an unidentified number of other "routine" items.

    According to one business summary sheet provided to reporters, the trustees will finalize an overhaul of the tenure process at their fall meeting.

    Whether this overhaul relates in any way to the status of Stookey and Bullock was not stated.

    Dean did say, however, when pressed by a reporter, that if the seminary administration chooses not to recommend a professor for tenure, that decision would not have to come before trustees. Trustees would review a tenure case, he said, only if the administration recommends a professor be granted tenure.

    Asked if it were his understanding that a faculty member bypassed for tenure would be expected to leave, he responded that was the commonly accepted practice at many educational institutions, including Southwestern.

    Both Stookey and Bullock declined to comment on their employment status because, each said, they had not been told the final disposition of their cases.

    However, multiple seminary sources confirmed that it is widely understood by faculty and staff that both Stookey and Bullock have been encouraged to resign and have been told they may teach at Southwestern only one more year if they don't resign.

    "No one around here is happy about this," explained one seminary source, who asked not to be named, echoing off-the-record statements made by others as well.

    By some accounts, Bullock incurred the wrath of some trustees with a chapel address she gave at Southwestern March 20, 2002. In that address, she drew from Romans 12 to discuss the Apostle Paul confronting "viruses in the church."

    Those viruses that have attacked the church from the beginning, she said, are trying to be God rather than obeying God and trying to control people rather than loving people.

    Although not specifically drawing a parallel between troubles in the ancient church at Rome with controversies in the Southern Baptist Convention, some in the audience made such connections.

    She mentioned viruses in the church that cause people to desire to control others rather than serve them, "persons who became victims of a mindset that enforced compliance, used coercion and treated people as objects to support the agendas of a few in the name of God."

    She called on Christians to "celebrate our diversity" rather than emphasizing differences.

    Bullock concluded her address with a prayer that God would help Christians build bridges and embrace each other and that God would "heal us as individuals and as a denomination."

    Stookey reportedly has come under scrutiny for two articles published in the Southwestern Journal of Theology in 1999. Both address historical problems with claims made by advocates of a "Christian America" ideology.

    In the lengthy articles, Stookey used an analysis of historical records to demonstrate that some advocates of America being founded as an explicitly "Christian" nation misrepresent the positions, writings or statements of some of the founding fathers. For example, while one prominent speaker on the "Christian America" circuit proclaims that 52 of the 55 framers of the United States Constitution were orthodox Christians, the historical evidence suggests otherwise, Stookey wrote.

    "In reality, the founders were a varied collection of orthodox Christians, nominal church attenders, Christian moralists, Deists and nonbelievers," Stookey reported.

    Stookey's articles specifically challenge the historical accuracy of statements made by David Barton, one of the foremost advocates of a "Christian America" perspective.

    Barton is a popular writer and speaker among many Southern Baptists who support Religious Right causes.

    All this leaves students baffled, however, according to Owens.

    "Most people cannot even comprehend what the issues might be," she said. "So there's lots of speculation. The truth is that both these professors are the kind that cannot be bought, bribed or threatened. Because they can't be controlled, they are threatening to some people."

    If both Stookey and Bullock were to leave the seminary faculty, the church history department would be severely strained for faculty. Currently, the department has five full-time faculty -- Stookey, Bullock, Leon McBeth, Paul Gritz and Jim Spivey. McBeth, a veteran teacher who has achieved the rank of distinguished professor, is retiring. That means Gritz and Spivey would be the two remaining professors in church history.
    -30-
     
  2. Joseph_Botwinick

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    Wrong. Their fate is very clear. They will have to go now that they dared to have an opinion other than the partyline opinion. They dared to have a mind of their own. We couldn't have that now, could we?

    "Dr. Bullock, when women students go in to talk to her, they get from her that women need to be submissive, need to be gentle," Owens said. "If (seminary officials) don't want her to be a role model, who do they want to be our role models? The only thing I can conclude is that they don't want (women) to have any role models because they don't want us in the School of Theology."[/QUOTE]

    Did you just now figure that out? Where have you been? They have never really wanted you there.

    By some accounts, Bullock incurred the wrath of some trustees with a chapel address she gave at Southwestern March 20, 2002. In that address, she drew from Romans 12 to discuss the Apostle Paul confronting "viruses in the church."

    Those viruses that have attacked the church from the beginning, she said, are trying to be God rather than obeying God and trying to control people rather than loving people.
    [/QUOTE]

    AMEN!!!!! Wish I could have been there to hear that sermon...er...testimony... [​IMG] !!!!!!!!

    She mentioned viruses in the church that cause people to desire to control others rather than serve them, "persons who became victims of a mindset that enforced compliance, used coercion and treated people as objects to support the agendas of a few in the name of God."[/QUOTE]

    I agree with this also!!!!!!!!

    She called on Christians to "celebrate our diversity" rather than emphasizing differences.[/QUOTE]

    Our diversity is a defining factor of who Baptists are. But I do not celebrate differences that are unBiblical and evil and wrong. I do tolerate them as long as they do not force themselves upon me.

    Bullock concluded her address with a prayer that God would help Christians build bridges and embrace each other and that God would "heal us as individuals and as a denomination."[/QUOTE]

    Oh the humanity of it all!!!!!!! What a terrible thing to say. :eek: [​IMG] :rolleyes:

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  3. David Cooke Jr

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    Some people are never satisfied, even if you'll drink the kool-aid and sign the BF&M. You have to agree to revise history, too. And if you're a woman, forget it. Just cover yourself and go home to your husband, and live the way God told me you should.
     
  4. Speedpass

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    I just wonder if any of Southwestern's trustees are best buddies with Pressler and Patterson. I still have a gut feeling that those two want to continue to form the SBC into their own image :eek:
     
  5. neal4christ

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    I would rather have a school in Patterson's image (which it is not) than what it was before with all the heresy that ran rampant. :rolleyes: Oh, by the way, at SEBTS we have many professors who do not agree on many theological issues with Patterson (Calvinism vs. Arminianism, eschatology, etc.), yet they aren't being run off! :eek: If others are so unhappy with the SBC, guess what, don't be a part of it. Easy solution to the whole problem! :D

    Neal
     
  6. Baptist Believer

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    There was a little bit of heresy here and there in SBC schools as well as a small amount of liberalism (but not usually unChristian liberalism), but Patterson and company have used that as an excuse to start an unholy crusade that has hurt many, many innocent people. Furthermore, it's obvious to anyone who actually has firsthand knowledge of many of the people and events of the takeover that key decisionmakers in the "conservative resurgence" (sic) are prolific liars.

    For instance, I witnessed much of what went on at Southwestern in and around the Dilday firing and then then some subsequent actions concerning hiring and firing of professors. I've seen with my own eyes the threatening letters written by Ken Hemphill and John Earl Seelig to retired seminary professors that threaten their pensions because they dared disagree with the way their names are being used by the seminary. (One incident involved the use of the names of seminary professors in a propaganda piece that stated that the old-time professors were still teaching at Southwestern when in reality at least two of them had retired because they would not sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. They contacted the seminary to straighten out what they assumed was a typo or clerical error and were ignored. At least one of them wrote a letter to the Baptist Standard to clarify that he was no longer teaching at Southwestern... within a few days, the threatening letter from John Earl Seelig came. A few weeks after that a similar letter from Ken Hemphill arrived.)

    In a 1995 face to face private meeting with Ken Hemphill when I was a student, Dr. Hemphill told me point blank that the seminary public relations office did not tell the truth about the events surrounding Dr. Dilday's termination because the "liberals and the CBF are trying to destroy the seminary". :rolleyes: I told him that I thought it was despicable that Christians would ever think it was acceptable to lie about people and situations -- especially when it involved the business of the Kingdom. I was promptly threatened by Dr. Hemphill to keep my mouth shut or I would "face the consequences" of being a troublemaker. (I didn't shut my mouth, but I finished up the semester and quit Southwestern because I didn't want to get a degree from an institution that is so corrupt -- I don't want to be identified with Southwestern or Southern Baptists if one cannot tell the truth without being persecuted for it.

    That's not a surprise to anyone paying attention.Fidelity to Southern Baptist life is primarily measured by enthusiasm for the "conservative resurgence" (sic) and political positions instead of theology. The two professors mentioned in this article both signed the 2000 BF&M and are widely regarded as excellent scholars and teachers. One of the main problems that I can mentioned (I know one of the professors personally and I do that have that person's permission to discuss their situation in any detail) is that both professors appeared in a video regarding the historic Baptist position on religious liberty that happens to point out that David Barton frequently misquotes Supreme Court cases and the writings of the founders, as well as ignores history and biblical teaching. But since David Barton presents a picture of America that so many in the "conservative resurgence" (sic) cherish, these two professors must go! :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    I stopped considering myself a Southern Baptist three years ago. But those who are left in the SBC need to be careful. Your leadership is lying to you. :(


    edit: fixed an obvious typo

    [ April 15, 2003, 08:26 AM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  7. FearNot

    FearNot
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    Exxon, you not only filled your post with accusations, but they are completely wrong at that. For your information Southeastern has currently women professors. Dr. Patterson's own wife teaches at Southeastern along with atleast eight other female teachers. Southeastern also has three female trustees at this time.

    My fellow Christion, it is our responcibility, as believers to tell the truth and not create gossip. Unfortunately, that is exactly what you didn't do. In the fututure it will serve you well to make sure what you are saying is correct so that you do not cause another to stumble.

    BB, In regard to your crusade comment. Dr. Patterson never fired any of the professors that were currently employed at SEBTS when he was hired as the president, in this case YOU are the revisionist. If he didn't do it at the very place he was hired to be responcible, why do it elsewhere? You like wise as Exxon really should confirm things before you go spreading it around creating gossip.

    [ April 15, 2003, 08:57 AM: Message edited by: FearNot ]
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    Very true.

    I didn’t say he did. :rolleyes: Read what I posted again. I didn’t say anything about SEBTS.

    Not at all. You apparently misread/misunderstood what I wrote.

    You are responding to things that were not written. Would you like to comment on what I actually wrote?

    No gossip here. I was an eye-witness to some of the things I mentioned and I’ve seen the evidence (for instance, the letters to retired professors) in other cases.

    I’m talking about things I know firsthand.
     
  9. FearNot

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    I hope I did the quote correctly I have never used it before. If I did not, your very first paragraph contains all of which I was referring to. Maybe you meant what you said in a diferent way than I read it, if so, I apologize.
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    I see. I appreciate your attitude. :D

    To clarify: I was not really talking about Southeastern Seminary there… I was referring to the campaign that Patterson and Judge Pressler began in the 1970s where they traveled throughout the SBC holding local meetings with pastors and churches talking about the “liberalism” in Southern Baptist seminaries. Often, the examples they gave were quotes taken out of context, unsubstantiated allegations or guilt by association inferences. They also appear on television and Christian talk radio (thinking of “Point of View w/Marlon Maddoux” in particular) where they made all sorts of false allegations about seminary professors.

    The movement they began has demonized hundreds of people and has built its strength on lies. I don’t easily call people liars, but I’ve experienced quite a bit of it from my proximity to a many of the key players on both sides of the controversy.

    I used to be on the “conservative resurgence” (sic) side back in the mid-1980s when I first got involved with Southern Baptist life because I was told that people who “didn’t believe the Bible” were teaching falsehoods in the seminaries. One day a former pastor of mine (a man who chaired the Executive Committee of the SBC a few years ago), a friend of mine and my college pastor met together to chat one afternoon when my former pastor had come to preach a revival in my college church. They closed the pastor’s office door and started plotting about how to get rid of a professor of mine (the dean of the school of Christianity) who allegedly didn’t “believe the Bible”. What they said he allegedly believe contradicted what I knew to be true, and they got very irritated with me because I wouldn’t help them set up the professor. Furthermore I found out my friend was secretly reporting directly to Paige Patterson every few months everything that was said in his religion classes at my university. While my professors didn’t have anything to hide, several of them were not fundamentalists – and Patterson was very interested in getting “dirt” to use against them.

    For me, it took a long time to move from the “conservative resurgence” (sic) side even though I saw so much falsehood in it. It wasn’t until the Dilday firing at Southwestern that I finally made my break from it once and for all. I witnessed firsthand the deception and outright lies of the SBC machine. (Will they ever get their story straight regarding why they changed the locks on the door to the President’s office??? Trustee Miles Seaborn claimed it was to keep the students from looting the president’s office – not only is Mr. Seaborn’s assessment of the trustworthiness of the student body extremely offensive, apparently he didn’t know that seminary students don’t get a key to the president’s office when we register!)

    Since the Dilday firing, I’ve seen countless Baptist Press reports misrepresenting the CBF and the BGCT (including reports of events and decisions where I’ve participated) and have known of many incidents where seminary professors were personally persecuted and lied to or lied about for political reasons. I personally have been threatened as well as seminary professors I know, and trustees and seminary officials make life difficult for students and faculty who attend our church.

    How can lies, threats and intimidation tactics be of God?

    The “conservative resurgence” (sic) was birthed in lies, expanded and popularized with lies, and maintained by lies. It is from the father of lies, not from the Father of Light! :mad:
     
  11. Squire Robertsson

    Squire Robertsson
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    As a neutral observer (I'm a northern Regular Baptist), it is this attitude that causes me to stay away from the SBC as far as possible.
     
  12. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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  13. neal4christ

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    I would like to see some specific evidence of individual instances, not generalized claims. I have heard the opposite from folks, and if what was alledged to be taught at Southeastern was really being taught, then it was most definitely heresy. I have much respect for Patterson and have a hard time believing he is an evil, caniving (sp?) man. While I don't agree with everything he says, I feel he has done a lot to bring the SBC back to where it needs to be. But, no matter what, I never really heard of Patterson until I got ready to come to SEBTS. I chose to come here not because of him, but because of what was being taught. For that, I am thankful.

    Neal
     
  14. American Citizen

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    As a neutral observer (I'm a northern Regular Baptist), it is this attitude that causes me to stay away from the SBC as far as possible. </font>[/QUOTE]I rarely say anything on this board. I read the comments and agree with some and disagree with some. The reason the liberals lost out is because if you disagree with their theology or any view that they have will cause them to resort to calling people liars. Anyone who disagrees with them is immediately a puppet of Patterson or Pressler. For them the only people that think for themselves are those who think like they. I wonder how long some one would last at one of the "so called" partner schools if they voiced an opinion different from the "unwritten Creed" of the left. What if someone at Truett Seminary at Waco should state that he believed the Bible to be inerrant. What if someone at the Seminary in Rebellion in Richmond should state that they believed women should not serve as a pastor. Well we know what would happen. They would be labeled as some kind of nut that was a puppet of Pressler or Patterson. The truth is most conservatives have never read or heard either one of these men speak. The reason the conservatives came to power was because of the arrogant attitude of those who controlled the seminaries and the agencies of the SBC.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

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    As a neutral observer (I'm a northern Regular Baptist), it is this attitude that causes me to stay away from the SBC as far as possible. </font>[/QUOTE]I rarely say anything on this board. I read the comments and agree with some and disagree with some. The reason the liberals lost out is because if you disagree with their theology or any view that they have will cause them to resort to calling people liars. </font>[/QUOTE]If someone consistently lies, then they are liars. It’s not name-calling if it is true.

    Do the research yourself. Go read a Baptist Press report critical of the CBF or the BGCT (there are hundreds to choose from). Find one of the stories that you think you can personally verify using written original sources – for instance a story regarding a document, or a speech at a BGCT meeting or CBF General Assembly. Then put aside for a moment whether or not you agree with the writer or speaker and read what they have to say and compare it to the way Baptist Press has quoted and reported it. In many, many cases you will be that Baptist Press has deliberately distorted what was said or done.

    Furthermore, go find Roger Moran’s allegations against CBF and investigate them yourself. Notice how many times he uses guilt-by-association tactics and logical leaps that assume the worst of the subject of his vilification. You’ll begin to see the pattern without even witnessing it firsthand.

    I stand by my statement about the leadership of the SBC being liars.

    Didn’t say that… It’s just that Patterson and Pressler got the ball rolling. There’s a whole college of Baptist “cardinals” running the show now.

    I never said that those who support the “conservative resurgence”(sic) don’t think for themselves. I’m saying that most people who support the “conservative resurgence” (sic) have been lied to by the leadership. You’re trying to put words in my mouth instead of dealing with the issues.

    I think they would last a long time.

    Don’t know. Russell Dilday used to talk about the Bible being inerrant until it because a code word. How about “fully reliable” or “without error”? I’m sure you would find quite a few people who would fit that description – especially Texas Baptists.

    I don’t know enough about the seminary in Richmond to say… In a Texas seminary, that wouldn’t be a problem.

    No, I don’t think you do – you’re simply assuming the worst of people you don’t know.

    Maybe, maybe not. I’ve known some nuts while gaining my theological education. Some were hyper-fundamentalist, some were hyper-liberal. In Texas at least, I’ve found Texas Baptists are very tolerant of other viewpoints unless someone is trying to impose their view on others by force or intimidation. And all Baptists should be opposed to that!

    You’re probably right. Most conservatives simply believe what Baptist Press tells them because they trust the Southern Baptist leadership to tell them the truth. Unfortunately, their trust is being betrayed.

    That’s certainly one reason the “conservative resurgence”(sic) gained popular support. (Please notice, I’m agreeing with you here!) Moderate convention leadership in the 1960s and 1970s tended to be dismissive regarding concerns that more conservative Baptists had regarding controversial commentaries and such. This led to a backlash that was exploited by those who wanted to take over the convention.

    And unfortunately, this has led to an “us and them” mentality that considers everyone who is not completely onboard with the “resurgence” (sic) as an enemy of God. :(
     
  16. Hardsheller

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    Baptist Believer,

    Do you deny that there is dirt on both sides of this issue in the SBC?
     
  17. Baptist Believer

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    There is fault on both major sides of the issue, but both sides are not equally wrong.

    There has been quite a bit of politicking on the conservative/moderate side of the issue that I believe is wrong as well as some individual actions and dishonesty toward the conservative/fundamental side. But there has been a much more consistent pattern of dishonesty, character assasination and hard core politicking from the people now in SBC leadership for the last 25 years.
     
  18. christfollower55

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    what is the associatebaptistpress? what do they print?

    God Bless America
     
  19. All about Grace

    All about Grace
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    This statement comes from Mr. Objective :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
     
  20. David Cooke Jr

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    This statement comes from Mr. Objective :rolleyes: :rolleyes: </font>[/QUOTE]I agree. BB is one of the most obejective folks on the board. You may wish to note that he started off on the "resurgence" side and switched over b/c of his own first-hand observations, not b/c of either sides rhetoric.
     

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