PERSONAL NOTE: A lot of criticism has been issued since the release of this letter. Much of that criticism has to do with the “threat to withhold funds”. The writers do have a responsibility to share their concerns when there is reason to do so. Sadly, that is the case here. Their concerns are not with the actions of the trustee board but with the actions of the executive committee that met 7 days after the 13 hour meeting of the full board that did not deliver a decision that suited them.
Dr. Bart Barber defended the actions he and the other members of the executive committee took in vacating the decision of the full board on the floor of the SBC in Dallas. Here is an excerpt of his statement:
“I am an old-time Baptist congregationalist. My church has business meetings every month because I want us to have business meetings every month. I believe in our polity. And it is a part of our polity that our entity heads do not get to remove trustees when they become an inconvenience to them, that entity heads have to answer to their boards both when they want to do so and when they don’t want to do so, that seminary employees have to abide by board decisions.”
While it is true that the entity heads do not get to remove trustees when they become an inconvenience to them, why does that same polity not apply to a group 10 trustees who decided that the decision of the 40 trustees was an inconvenience to them? That is the problem. This is a travesty and it is a shame that there are those who are unwilling to acknowledge it.
Finally, Dr.Barber concluded his statement on the floor of the convention with the following: “But I cannot vote for him to occupy any monarchy. We are Baptists. We have no popes. We are all accountable to someone. Whatever divides us, I hope that we are all in agreement about that.”
I am in agreement with his statement of being accountable to someone: the executive committee is accountable to the full trustee board, to the convention and to God as well as those who support the institution financially. My prayer is that the full trustee board will take the actions of the executive committee and deal with that responsibly so that something like this never happens again.
Here is a summary of the letter sent to Chairman Ueckert and the members of the executive committee of the trustee board.
A letter was sent today to Mr. Kevin Ueckert, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the members of the Executive Committee expressing serious concerns related to the actions of the Executive Committee on May 30 in vacating the decision of the full board of trustees in a previous meeting held on May 22-23.
The letter points to the legal implications of their actions with respect to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and their oversight of academic accreditation of the seminary as well as the Office of the Texas Attorney General.
The letter specifically highlights the deliberate misrepresentation of an email sent to the chief of security related to a rape allegation at SWBTS in 2015 by Ueckert in a June 1 statement. The email in question makes reference to a single statement that was intentionally released in direct reference to the rape allegation itself when in fact, the email was sent 5 weeks after the incident was initially handled. This issue was discussed in the May 22nd meeting and Dr. Patterson’s explanation was heard and should have ended that issue. Mr. Ueckert deliberately released the statement knowing that its reception would be damaging to Dr. Patterson. The letter points out that the statement was “patently false” and that “Mr. Ueckert knew it was false at the time he made it.”
This group of 26 individuals have been ardent financial supporters of the seminary and have asked for an investigative committee consisting of 10 individuals, 5 from the trustee board and 5 from the group of 26 named signers of this letter to look at the decision of the executive committee to substantiate the allegations made and to evaluate the actions taken against Dr. Patterson. They have indicated that their continued support to the seminary estimated to be in excess of “tens of millions of dollars” is in serious jeopardy.
Here is a link to the full letter.
I have never found a statement of yours about which I have disagreed. You are always spot on.
That’s why I was sorely disappointed when you apparently took a “vacation” from publishing your thoughts for a long period of time.
At this time the SBC needs voices like yours if there is going to be any chance of rescuing it from a total takeover by the evil one.
My church just hired a Reformed associate pastor, probably forcing me to leave the church after a 51+ year affiliation. Our pastor has been a long time Calvinist but has kept it a secret from the congregation so I tolerated him. In 20 years I only remember him saying one thing from the pulpit that revealed his true leanings but in his private exchanges with me left no doubt.
I sense that is about to change.
Please, please, please remain active!
Ken Thank you for your kind words. I am afraid the SBC is a foregone conclusion at this point. It is a shame indeed. However, in 15 years or so, giving to the local church I believe will be off as much as 40% which will curb denominational giving severely… and the calvies will be blamed for destroying the SBC.
I share your views on the eventual demise of the SBC as I have known it for some 69 years. The only possible deterrent to that eventuality would be for God to inspire leaders like Adrian Rogers (in spite of his complicity in the BF&M 2000 debacle) and W.A. Criswell to take the lead in fighting the inevitable. The efforts of those men inspired many pastors from 1985 to 1991 to urge their members to attend the annual conferences in large numbers (2 years in excess of 40K and 2 times just under 40K) to make a strong message to the liberals, resulting in their departure.
I would add some things to your “blamed” category. For instance, I sort of think that in God’s eyes “we, the silent majority(80%)” will be assessed a share of the guilt of the Calvinists because we have complacently remained silent, and still remain silent, while the minority membership stole the SBC.
Also, I believe many Conservative SB pastors will be specifically considered at fault. Although they preach the true Traditionalist views of Gd’s love, mercy, grace, plan of salvation, and eternal salvation, based on what I observe in the sermons of pastors in my area, at least, they fail to forcefully reveal that there is a poisonous serpent in the woodpile, and the name of that serpent is Calvinism.
Unfortunately, too many Traditionalists bought into the false teaching of Frank Page and Fred Luter that being nice(silent) would bring unity, peace, and harmony to the SBC. They overlooked the deviancy of men like Mohler, Akins, and Dever. Instead they would have done well to heed the warning in the sports world, “nice guys finish last.”