Summary of BGCT Seminary Study Committee Report I

by Wm. Robert Johnston
updated 30 May 2001

In 1999 the BGCT voted to create a committee to study the SBC seminaries and the BGCT seminaries. The committee elected to include the Hispanic Baptist Theological School. The report included 20 pages of findings and recommendations, 130 pages of documentation, and 20 pages of detailed findings regarding each seminary or school. The SBC seminaries include one (Southwestern) in Texas; the Texas seminaries are Truett Seminary (at Baylor) and Logsdon School of Theology (at Hardin-Simmons).

In general, the report contends that changes in theology, management, and intellectual freedom have occurred at the SBC seminaries following the conservative resurgence/takeover in the SBC. It also states that the BGCT's financial support for the SBC seminaries is disproportionately high compared to support for the BGCT seminaries and school.

Charges regarding SBC seminaries include:
  • Use of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as a creed.
  • Denial of the priesthood of the individual believer. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message omits clear reference to this fundamental Baptist doctrine, and the report quotes the president of Southern Seminary as calling this doctrine ˘dangerous÷.
  • Dismissal of personnel, non-renewal of contracts, and withdrawal of position offers under questionable circumstances. The report gives accounts of several cases of apparently politically-motivated dismissals of staff, along with inconsistent application of policies regarding initial offers of positions or contract renewals. It is reported that in some instances the Association of Theological Schools cited SBC seminaries for such irregularities.
  • High turnover of theological teaching staff. The committee only had data for three seminaries, indicating that 37% of Southwestern's theology faculty is new since 1995, 67% of Southern's since 1993, and 88% of Southeastern's since 1992.
  • Undue administrative interference by trustees. Two nominees to Southwestern were asked their views of BGCT/SBC politics in trustee interviews. The committee said that some seminary faculty feared "recriminations" if they spoke to the committee.
  • Actions indicating a confrontational position towards the BGCT. In 1999 material critical of the BGCT and slanderous towards BGCT leaders was distributed in classes at Southwestern Seminary. Several teachers felt coerced into distributing the material. The chairman of the board of trustees of Southwestern Seminary is Miles Seaborn, a founder of the SBTC.

    © 2001 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
    Last modified 30 May 2001.
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