Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not just WTS, save our seminary part 3

I tried to lay out some arguments in my last post for the importance of emphasizing the political aspect of recent developments at WTS. Since the matter seems already to be beyond the point of argument, I thought it might be helpful to draw attention to an analogous case involving another denominational seminary.

I found a blog post reminiscent of the last few posts that I've made here. The post deals with a "theological" controversy involving a faculty member at SBTS (see A relevant excerpt from the blog (not the article) appears below. Do you think the situation mentioned in it is comparable to the one we've been discussing? Might it shed light on the current discussion?

"Sheri Klouda was given a tenure-track position to teach Hebrew in Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s school of theology when she received her doctor of philosophy at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus in 2002. In 2004, she was told that, because she was a female, she was no longer on the tenure track because, according to Van McClain, chairman of Southwestern’s board of trustees, the seminary had returned to its “traditional, confessional and biblical position” that a woman should not instruct men in theology courses or in biblical languages.
Granted, the seminary allowed her to continue to teach a full 2 years after she was told that she would never make tenure and they supported her financially after they made her quit teaching, but their decision was wrong, both morally and Biblically...

The Real Issue in the “Conservative” Takeover was Power, not TheologyOf course, the real issue was not theology, as the conservatives claimed, but pure raw power. Anyone who dared call them on their power grab was immediately labeled a liberal. At a convention meeting, the “conservatives” kept “moderates” out of a meeting by enlisting the aid of guards with guns. They took over the Baptist Standard, the weekly Baptist magazine, and fired everyone on the staff suspected of having sympathy for the “moderates.” When they took over the seminary, all of my professor friends had their careers trashed and were fired while my friends were encouraged to attend another seminary — all because they attended a “moderate” church. It was a bloodbath.

When they tried to take over my alma mater, Baylor University, they managed to fire several professors who were not deemed appropriate, including a Spanish professor I had who happened to be a Mormon. Fortunately, the “moderates” retained control over Baylor and they rehired the Spanish professor and ultimately made him chairman of the department. Never once did the professor try to proselytize us. If my faith were so weak that it could be damaged by having a Mormon Spanish professor, then how would my faith withstand the real world?"

Is this what is happening behind closed doors at WTS? Has there been a regime change? Is that part of what gave impetus to this? Is there a pattern that might be discerned in these conservative executive tendencies from which all parties involved might learn something useful?