Who gets to decide the theological parameters of SBC Seminaries?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by go2church, Nov 7, 2009.

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  1. go2church

    go2church
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    With the news that Southwestern Seminary has added another "must sign" statement for its professors and staff to follow, who gets to determine what the seminaries must adhere to? The seminaries themselves or the SBC as a whole?

    Years ago Adrian Rogers said that the SBC determines what the seminaries must teach, but Southwestern seems to blazing their own trail, so which is it?
     
  2. Tom Bryant

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    The minimum standard is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, but each seminary can, in a sense, be their own persons. Southern is primarily Calvinist whereas SouthWestern is not.

    The determiner if the seminary is getting out of hand would be the board of trustees. Remember that the Convention only meets for a few days each year, it is the administrators that deal with the day to day issues.

    My guess is that when Dr. Rogers made that statement it was when the seminaries openly allowed the liberals to teach and the SBC as a whole was Bible believing.
     
  3. TomVols

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    Since what Go2 is referring to in no way contradicts SWBTS's statement of faith (the 2000 BFM), it's kind of a false premise. The trustees, elected by messengers from the churches, make a lot of these decisions, when the convention itself does not (again, comprised of messengers from the churches). All six of our SBC seminaries are controlled then by the churches.

    2 of our seminaries have the BFM and the Abstract of Principles (SBTS, SEBTS), btw.
     
  4. Salty

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    If Go2church has a problem with the standards, then maybe his church should leave the SBC and join the Alliance of Bap, or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

    Thats what many SBC consevative churches did back in the '70's with the liberal takeover
     
  5. go2church

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    Since Southern was around before there was a Baptist Faith and Message I guess they get grandfathered in so to speak. Well that and when the BFM came around it was never used in the manner in which it is being used now.

    During the takeover or resurgence (whichever you prefer) it was a major point of contention that the seminaries were teaching things not approved by the SBC as a whole. Now that seminaries are firmly under the SBC thumb, even to the point of New Orleans fighting being under the SBC thumb, it seems to be ok to add things not approved as a whole by the SBC.

    The 2000 BFM has become the standard for all things SBC, expect when it's not!?! Seems to be an inconsistent standard. As long as we have the votes we will make of it what we want.

    For the record at my church we allow the individual to choose where to send their money SBC, CBF or BGCT or any combination of the three. Makes more work for the finance committee, but seems "more Baptist" that way.
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    The trustees and leadership of the seminary who can be overrode by the assembled messengers of the entire Southern Baptist Convention. It is a good system.

    Well Dr. Rogers statement, while well intentioned, isn't reality. I don't think the annual convention will ever determine what the basic MDIV coursework will look like. It isn't practical. The annual convention uses the trustees to monitor the seminaries.

    (Now I think an interesting topic is what to do about the constant push to the right and embracing of fundamentalism by many in the SBC. It is troubling to say the least.)
     
  7. John Toppass

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    I for one wish all the SBC schools would get back to teaching free will so they will all be teaching the scripture in it's entirety.
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    I don't expect to change any minds, but I must object to the characterization of the faculty of SBTS in the 1960's and 1970's as "liberal." I am a product of that era and its teachers. I never heard anyone denigrate the person of Christ; in fact we were exposed to all of the Christological heresies and were shown the fallacies that drove them. Nor did I ever hear any of my professors suggest that we human beings were anything other than sinners in need of grace; there was no room for liberal optimism about human nature. It is simply not true to splash that label on these teachers.
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    Well its always easier to label people than engage in conversation. That's for sure! :)
     
  10. Havensdad

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    Why would you want them to violate scripture, as well as Southern Baptist heritage?

    SBTS, especially, was founded as a Calvinistic seminary.
     
  11. Revmitchell

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    This is false. The conservative resurgence was about the nature of scripture and nothing more.
     
  12. Joseph M. Smith

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    It was about the nature of Scripture because its leaders knew that inerrancy was a banner they could wave in front of the people and get a reaction. It was really about power, and the nature of Scripture was used for demagoguery.

    That does connect to what was taught in the seminaries, in that the argument that was made included the idea that our schools should teach what we want them to teach. The resurgence/takeover folks tried to use the fallacious idea that truth is measured by the counting of noses! But truth is often a lonely voice crying in the wilderness. Our seminaries needed then and need now to acknowledge academic freedom and to trust the faculty to be on the quest for truth. The professors I knew in my student days (BD, SBTS, 1963; DMin, SBTS, 1975) were devout, prayerful, evangelical ... AND intellectually honest.
     
  13. TomVols

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    Correct. And as I stated earlier, the same document was used for SEBTS, the Abstract, is as Reformed as it gets.
    I had professors there from this era and thereafter and can say without a doubt I heard liberal theology espoused there. Thankfully, these teachers are not there anymore. But I am glad you did not come under their influence. Some stuck around until just shortly after Mohler's inauguration. This group censured conservative professors hired by Mohler until they lost their grip. Working there as well, I saw an awful lot of powerplays and retribution against conservative profs and students that I'll never forget.
    Off topic: how does your church send money to the SBC without sending it first to the state convention? Do you mean specific entities or is the money going directly to the Exec Comm? This is discouraged and often the dollars are sent back since there's no percentage breakdown like there is when the $ is sent to the state convention first.
    I think both are right. You are right that the convention gathered cannot possible determine the M.Div coursework, but they can give overriding principles and set the general tenor and tone. That's what happened when the moderates had the seminaries were in power, and now that's what happens that the conservatives are being heard.
     
  14. TomVols

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    As a principle, yes. But it reached into other areas such as the control of trustee boards, etc., so that the truth of Scripture can be upheld.
    I believe this to be a caricature, friend. You intimate that these folks must not believe what they claimed about the Bible just so they can have power. I strongly disagree. When the moderates took control, they did so for theological reasons. I don't doubt they sincerely believed what they believed.
    Again, this is fallacious. The resurgence was about the truths of the Bible and the desire to have these once again taught in our SBC classrooms.
    Agreed, friend.
    If you added "so long as what they teach does not stray from an orthodox, confessional, Scripture-based theology, I'd "Amen" that. But therein lies the problem. "Acadmeic Freedom" became a buzz phrase to allow profs to teach confessionally things contrary to sound doctrine. They have the freedom to do this, but not at a seminary the SBC funds, and I'm thankful for this. I'm all for learning about pantheism so long as it's taught as heresy and not fact, for example.
     
  15. Crabtownboy

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    More creedalism and the rejection of traditional Baptist beliefs. Baptists in the past died because they rejected creedalism.
     
  16. Revmitchell

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    This is a false and slanderous accusation.

    No they held to the fact that truth was measured by the inerrant scripture. And there is no reason for academic freedom. Such is the tool used by liberals to get a hold of the convention in the first place. And you seem to ignore the fact that liberals refused conservatives any place in leadership in the convention. It was only after many attempts to get a hearing that the goal to bring the convention back to its conservative roots and away from its liberal take over became a goal. And you also seem to ignore the fact that the conservative resurgence was accomplished through the democratic process. The convention stuck to its roots and when the hidden agenda of the liberals such as the grievous doctrines being taught in our seminaries came to light, of which liberals worked hard to keep hidden, then the convention body rejected such. When you cannot believe what the Bible says and work to convince others that narratives are allegories which undermine the foundation of the gospel then you have no business in our seminaries.
     
    #16 Revmitchell, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2009
  17. Tom Butler

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    In the final analysis, the trustees of each seminary determine the theological parameters of the school. But they do not do so in isolation from the SBC.

    First, the seminary president, administration and faculty must be on the same page with the trustees. That is usually the case, since the trustees hire president and approves the hiring of the rest.

    The SBC plays a role when it elects the convention president, who appoints the Committee on Committees, which nominates the Committee on Nominations, which nominates trustees to the various boards, commissions and seminaries.

    This is how the conservative resurgence was accomplished. It took about nine years because of the staggered trustee terms. And that's the way it is done today.

    I have twice served on the Committee on Nominations from Kentucky. The convention guidelines are quite specific. In recruiting trustees for the agencies and schools, we are required to ask a series of questions.

    I'm paraphrasing here, but the first questions regards the nature of scripture. As, do you hold to an inerrant scripture? There there are questions about the prospective trustee's church support of the Cooperative Program and any affiliation or support for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

    If the prospect does not hold to inerrancy, the conversation ends, and the other questions are not asked.

    There is no litmus test regarding Calvinism, eschatology or ecclesiology.

    So, with regard to theological paremeters, the SBC is the ultimate but indirect authority, with the trustees on the front line.
     
  18. go2church

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    So from the collective posts it seems as though the trustees and the president get to go where they want until the convention doesn't think that is where they should be going.

    If that happens, then the wrath of a mighty convention will strike down with the fury of a thousand fires and demand change.

    It still strikes me as curious that moving closer and closer to full blown fundamentalism (instead of the undercover kind we see now) is ok, doesn't raise any concerns.

    Move toward a more "liberal" stance say on women as pastors then the wrath of a mighty convention will strike down.....
     
  19. TomVols

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    This is not accurate. Even a casual look at Baptist history sees the pathways filled with confessions/creeds, and many lost their lives because of them.
     
  20. TomVols

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    I disagree. There have been movements to limit churches from having women as deaconesses, barring Calvinists from the SBC, making the BFM dispensational or premil, enforcing the KJV only, and all these have been roundly rejected.
     
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