"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Call For Consistency

The issue of whether or not Dr. Sheri Klouda should have filed a cause of action against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for being removed from a tenure track position because she is a female has produced quite a discussion within the blog world. The reactions have varied from strong support for Klouda's decision to outright opposition. The differences of opinion within our convention over Sheri Klouda's decision to sue illustrates the diversity of views we have as Southern Baptists and the continuing importance of treating each other with respect.

Bart Barber, an adjunct faculty member of Southwestern has strongly criticized Dr. Klouda's decision to sue Southwestern by writing on his blog:

"I submit to you that, for a Christian, the costs of a lawsuit must be calculated using more than a financial ledger. There is the cost to our witness. There is the cost that any of us bear when we directly contradict God's word and disobey it (emphasis mine). Even assuming that the other person is 100% in the wrong...Vengeance is God's, not Judge Wapner's.

I have consistently maintained that Southern Baptists desire to unite around the essentials of the faith, but we are always hesitant to accept the declaration that others know what the 'will of God' is for our lives, particularly in those areas where Scripture is not clear and direct. The narrow interpretation that I Corinthians 6 is always, and for all time, forbidding any Christian from filing any suit against any other Christian or Christian insitution is very problematic.

The Problems With A Universal Prohibition Against Suits

There are several questions that need to be asked of those who seek to prohibit Christians from filing suit by declaring that action would be 'disobedience to the Word and will of God." What about other passages that indicate that secular 'authorities' are ordained by God to correct problems and punish wrongdoing? What about the view that I Corinthians 6 is dealing with specific problems and people within the 'local' church of Corinth only? What about the desire for some to 'hold accountable' those who file a cause of action, but refuse to confront those who violate their vows, break contracts, and refuse to let their 'yes' be 'yes?'

In addition, from the I Corinthians text itself, it seems that the only ones who have the right to castigate Dr. Klouda are those who have sought to help Dr. Klouda through her financial and emotional turmoil that has occurred because of the problems that have arisen with her removal from SWBTS. In any discussion of 1 Corinthians 6, one needs to remember that the Apostle Paul addressed a two-fold problem. One was concerning the church refusing to step in and help the people with the relational problems and the other was to the individuals who actually had the problem. In fact, it could be argued by that the greater weight of verses is upon the unwillingness church to help, [vs. 1-6] rather than the people who were actually experiencing the relationship problem [vs. 7-8] One could also argue that any criticism of Klouda is only valid if the person, or church, has been involved in helping resolve the difficult situation for the Kloudas and SWBTS. Otherwise, it might be that there is an ignoring of the first few verses of I Corinthians 6 in order to get to verses 7-8 which raises the proverbial 'plank in eye' and “casting the first stone” questions.

But the biggest problem I see in the arguments of those who wish to criticize and condemn Dr. Klouda is one of consistency. For a person to believe that no Christian, at any time, and for any reason, should file a lawsuit against another Christian or Christian insitution and castigate Dr. Klouda because of this belief, then to be consistent, that person should also condemn the following decisions of Christians to sue fellow Christians.

Tell Me, Please, What Say Ye About These?

(1). The Tennessee Baptist Convention sued Belmont University for breach of contract. Executive Director James Porch, speaking on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Baptist Convention said the following:

"During 2005 Belmont University acted to terminate its affiliated relationship with the Tennessee Baptist Convention through a charter change. The Executive Board and TBC did not want to have to initiate litigation against Belmont and, to that end, tried for many months to persuade Belmont to honor the promise it made to Tennessee Baptists in 1951. By steadfastly refusing to acknowledge, much less honor, its promise to us, Belmont, not the Executive Board or the Belmont Study Committee, forced this matter into the courthouse."

I personally take Dr. Porch at his word. I also personally understand why the Tennessee Baptist Convention filed suit against Belmont, and have no problem with them doing so, believing that the courts have been established as a final authority for disputes over contracts, pledges and other legal matters.

For those who condemn Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action against SWBTS, do you also condemn Dr. Porch and the Executive Committee of the Tennesse Baptist Convention?

(2). In 1969 a young teenage girl was sexually abused by a Southern Baptist minister. The minister's name was Tommy Gilmore and the young girl was Christa Brown. When Christa Brown broke down and told a staff member what was happening, Mr. Gilmore was confronted by a fellow staff member and told that if he didn't leave the church the matter would be brought to the attention of the entire church. Gilmore moved on to a larger church, with praise from the pulpit about being a man of God.

Mr. Gilmore eventually became associated pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia where he was responsible for child care for 50,000 messengers that attended the 1986 SBC annual meeting in Atlanta. Christa Brown says she didn't understand the "soul-murdering impact" the episode had on her life until years later, when her own daughter turned the same age she was when her abuse occurred. What happened next is described in detail by Ethics Daily:

(Christa Brown) set out to discover if Gilmore was still a minister and to warn Baptist leaders about the possibility there was a child molester in their midst. Believing parents in churches where Gilmore had served over the years would want to know the information, she says, she contacted 18 Baptist leaders in churches, state conventions and the SBC. All responded by turning a "blind eye." Only after learning through her own efforts that Gilmore was working at a church in Florida and publicity about a 2005 lawsuit she filed against him in the Orlando Sentinel did Gilmore leave church work.

It seems that only the suit filed by Christa Brown ultimately brought about that which needed to be done - removal from the ministry of Tommy Gilmore - and Christa Brown should be given credit for potentially protecting our SBC children.

For those castigating Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action against SWBTS do you also condemn the abused Christa Brown for filing a suit against her Christian pastor abuser and bringing about justice through the courts when nobody else responded to her concerns?

(3). The Missouri Baptist Convention filed suit against five Southern Baptist agencies in Missouri, their administrators and their trustees.

The Baptist Standard reported in December 2002:

The Missouri Baptist Convention has been wracked with turmoil over the last two years as fundamentalists led by layman Roger Moran launched a campaign to gain control of the convention, its executive board and the boards of its agencies. As that effort neared success, the state convention's executive director resigned and the five agencies amended their charters to avoid a hostile takeover of their boards. Those now in control of the convention also want control of the agencies and their estimated $200 million in assets.

The Missouri Baptist Convention's lead attorney is Michael Whitehead, former vice president and interim president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and former legal counsel for the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Whitehead said. "The agencies have told themselves and they have told the world that the law is so clear that they are right, that it is beyond dispute. But today they must admit they were wrong. Their legal theory was not convincing enough to win these motions."

Here you have two groups of Christians, yes, even Baptists, that are in disagreement. The Missouri courts decided who was right and who was wrong in the preliminary motions linked to above.

For those who condemn Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action against SWBTS do you also condemn the Missouri Baptist Convention, Michael Whitehead, Roger Moran, and others in Missouri for filing a cause of action against the Missouri Baptist Convention agencies?

(4). A Southern Baptist family lost their marine son in the war in Iraq. The members of Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral of the young marine, calling his death the judgment of God for America protecting 'fags.' The family of the marine filed a suit to protect other families from undergoing the emotional trauma of having their loved one's funeral picketed by the members of Westboro Baptist Church.

For those casitgating Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action filed against SWBTS do you also condemn this Christian families lawsuit against Westboro Baptist Church?

(5). A Southern Baptist pastor and his wife filed suit against the Arizona Baptist Foundation in an attempt to regain the $100,000 they felt the ABF stole from them. Richard A. Kimsey, pastor of Desert Valley Baptist Church in the Phoenix area, filed a suit against the BFA after he and his wife, Ann, lost $100,000 they had invested with BFA from the sale of a home in Georgia following their move to Phoenix in March. In their suit, they contend BFA current and former officers took investment sales “pyramided into a Ponzi scheme in which the mountain of debt could be sustained only by selling new notes and persuading investors to roll old notes into new investment.”

This suit is one of only several dozen filed over the Ponzi scheme that eventually found executives of the BFA sent to prison.

For those castigating Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action against SWBTS do you also condemn the suit of Pastor Richard Kimsey?

(6). The Arizona Baptist Convention participated in lawsuit filed by Southern Baptists against the now defunct Arthur Anderson accounting firm

The ABP reported on the class action lawsuit:

In a civil trial underway alleging that Andersen aided and abetted fraud by ignoring red flags and continuing to issue clean audits, a national accountant said Andersen failed to investigate signs the Foundation was in trouble between 1997 and 1998.

Dan Guy, a director of the American Society of Certified Accountants, accused Andersen of an "unpardonable" breach of accounting standards. A 1997 audit report of Foundation accounts "falls below the minimum accounting standards" and "should never have been released," he testified.

Guy, who studied Andersen case files in the audit, said an auditing team failed to investigate charges of financial misconduct, issuing a clean bill of health. At the least, he said, auditors should have tested the Foundation's ability to operate as a going concern, which likely would have disclosed its shaky finances.

He said Andersen missed red flags, including warnings by one of its own accountants, an anonymous call to its Chicago office and a series of investigative newspaper articles quoting former BFA employees.

About 40 spectators, mostly BFA investors, were turned away from the small courtroom April 30, the first full day of proceedings after jury selection, because there was no room to sit. Court officials set up a waiting area on Wednesday to admit spectators on a first-come basis.

Media covering the trial, which has drawn increased interest in light of similarities with allegations being made against Andersen in the Enron collapse, included the New York Times, Washington Post, Dow Jones and Bloomberg.


For those criticizing Dr. Klouda's cause of action against Southwestern Theological Seminary, do you also condemn this suit against Arthur Anderson? By the way, Arthur Anderson was founded by an evangelical Christian.

7). Dred Scott, a Christian African slave who lived in the United States filed a lawsuit in 1857 against other Christians who upheld the concept of slavery. Dred Scott filed suit twelve years after the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately handed down the landmark Dred Scott decision, ruling that the drafters of the Constitution had viewed all blacks as “beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

The Dred Scott decision, which helped spur the Civil War, was eventually overturned by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution as blacks won the right to be counted as citizens and to benefit from the American judicial system. Was Dred Scott wrong in filing suit?

For those who condemn Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action, do you also condemn Dred Scott's decision to file a lawsuit in an attempt to gain citizenship, a lawsuit which eventually led to the end of slavery in the United States?

Conclusion

I do not feel comfortable criticising those Christians cited above who decided to file lawsuits against fellow Christians. In most of the seven illustrations you have Southern Baptists filing suits against fellow Southern Baptists. My inclination is to believe that the suits were a the last resort in attempts to get people to keep their word, and to not break binding contracts, and I am in no position to say that any of the above Southern Baptists violated the 'will of God' or 'the Word of God.'

I call for those who wish to condemn Dr. Klouda to at least be consistent in their writings and posts and condemn the others I've mentioned as well. As for me, I will trust my brothers and sisters in Christ who feel led to involve the courts to hold others accountable to their word, and I shall refrain from issuing any condemnation.

In the end, justice will be served. That's why God ordains authority - to protect the righteous and punish the wrongdoer.

He has a way of insuring that happens.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

274 comments:

1 – 200 of 274   Newer›   Newest»
Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

I would say that a good case can be made by those bringing the suits in the example cases you mention that the suits were necessary. Especially this is the case in the Arizona situation where several people who engineered the Ponzi scheme were convicted of crimes and did time behind bars.

Unfortunately, it is too often the case that the injured party can't even get the attention of the other party without resorting to a lawsuit. In my opinion it is a sad day in SBC life when these suits are filed. However, given the stonewalling that happens, sometimes this is the only way to get the attention of the other party.

Hopefully, the filing of the Klouda vs SWBTS case will raise the stakes enough that BOTH SIDES will agree to binding arbitration.

It could even be the case that representatives for both sides can work out a "voluntary" agreement to settle the matter short of arbritration. That would set a good precident in terms of dispute resolution in SBC life.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

bryan riley said...

I don't condemn anyone, God alone is our judge, but I question the validity of any Christian suing any other Christian. This is hard, because we can't know who is or who isn't a Christian, but I think that was true in the Corinthian church as well and a poor reason to excuse suing an individual who holds themselves out as a Christian to the world.

I have read some of the earlier comments on local church limitations and hear them, but I think the principle we should be applying is one of unity. Our heart's cry, for many of us who love this blog and write similarly on other blogs, has often been unity and the sovereignty of God. Regardless of local church or true regeneration, nonbelievers simply see this lawsuit and see a Christian suing another Christian. They see disunity and that Christians are just like them. I don't think this is God-glorifying.

I think the 9 principles you reprinted in an earlier post are good ones, but I still think as we follow God's word, trusting it and not our own understanding, think about the principle of unity and the purpose behind it (that others will know that Jesus truly was sent of God - John 17), and consider our debt and responsibility of love, love and more love, I seriously question this action by Klouda, particularly as it is against Patterson individually.

It's just me. Just my opinion based on how I view God and our citizenship as Christians, but I really struggle with dismissing the scriptural admonitions to the Corinthians on this issue. That same argument could be used for just about any of the epistles and there are places where it is liekly appropriate, but, even so, we still must apply the broader principles like love, forgiveness, turning the other cheek, unity, thankfulness, and making disciples to all situations.

As is oft the case, I am thinking out loud and hoping to participate in discussion, which may frame and forge my thoughts differently, prayerfully through the guidance of His Holy Spirit. May we all strive for that.

bryan riley said...

Oh, and if I didn't make it clear, my questions about the principles of unity and love and the like are about calling for consistency in their application.

Aging Missionary said...

Wade,

Your post is brilliant.

Once again you show the logical fallacy, and periodic absurdity, of those those who decree the will of God for others based upon their very narrow interpretation of texts.

I am not saying their interpretation does not have validy -- for themselves.

What I am saying that if those who are so critical of others would simply work at applying their own intepretations in their own lives, and leave off criticism of others, the world would be a better place.

Well done. I predict that since your post cannot be refuted that some will seek to attack the messenger - again.

Thanks for setting the example of sticking to the issue, causing all us Southern Baptists to think Biblically, and encouraging us all to be gracious in disagreement.

Anonymous said...

Boom Diddy Boom.

You da man!

How can I write like you?

Bill Jones said...

I do not always agree with you and I am not prepared to say that I agree with this post.

However, I can and do commend you for the spirit and manner in which I have seen you discuss the issues.

I have never felt you write with anger or animosity. I agree with the missionary above who says that you deal with issues and accept those who disagree.

Bill Scott said...

Wade,
What about Romans 13:1-7:
13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 13:2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment 13:3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 13:4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer. 13:5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of the wrath of the authorities but also because of your conscience. 13:6 For this reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants devoted to governing. 13:7 Pay everyone what is owed: taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due."

I find it hard to believe that we as Baptists are above the law of the land in light of Romans 13. Are we to pick and choose which laws we obey and which ones we will not. I guess we all do this. We choose to speed when we are late. We bend the rules when the rules are not seemingly black and white. I fear this is what SWBTS has done. SWBTS “bent” the rules because they felt there was wiggle room to break the precedent set in hiring her in the first place. They also choose to violate their own policy in the way she was terminated.
If indeed laws were broken, then why is SWBTS above the law and its authority. This authority was instituted by God. Or maybe Paul made a mistake in what he wrote.
Bill Scott

Wade Burleson said...

Bill Scott,

I couldn't have said it better.

:)

Pastor Derek said...

Wade,

I just read Bart Barber's comment section here. Your comments were clear, succinct and gracious, yet Bart Barber and his brother-in-law Matt Brady went after you. Why are they so upset? Do you have a history with them.

Wade Burleson said...

Derek,

I don't know them, have never met them, or even spoken to them.

I was puzzled over a couple of their comments as well, but I learned a long time ago its better to focus on issues and let people be.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Your call for consistency is well worded and seems to make sense to me. I remember back in the early 90's when Baylor left the BGCT and there was talk by conservatives in the state to bring suit against the regents...I was against that course of action then as I would say that I am against the issues you have listed. I am however going to make it a point to take one day this week and lock myself up in the study and try to come to grips with some of this. I continue however to see this issue as a much larger issue than the Klouda issue. Your call for consistency is admirable...I just hope you your self will heed it and others who agree with you with what seems to be a barrage of attacks and a organized onslaught against PP. Many would say and I concur that there is a great deal of duplicity in the positions and actions you have taken these past 18 months.

JRM

Anonymous said...

Jack Maddox,

There is no duplicity in Wade's positions and actions. On the contrary, Wade states very clearly where he stands and it is obvious. That's a characteristic so many find appealing. He never hides behind double-talk. He is consistent. He has consistently supported the truth. He is for openness, not closed doors. He is for those who have been wronged, not those who arrogantly flaunt and abuse their power.

Regarding PP and what you call "attacks" on him, if he has nothing to hide, what's the problem? I do not consider it an attack that the fact that he has expanded his personal living quarters to the point that he now lives in a MILLION DOLLAR 8,700+ sq. ft. mansion has come to the forefront...and I know Wade did not bring this up, but BSC did.

I do not feel it's an attack when receipts for taxidermy, travel, Patmos evangelistic association research done by his son, new cars, etc are brought to the forefront regarding PP. He is the president of one of our seminaries and should WELCOME the revelation of how he lives and spends money so he can serve as an example to those he is seeking to train.

I don't feel it's an attack when it's pointed out that under PP the enrollment at SWBTS has decreased. Is this the kind of leadership we want, one resulting in fewer and fewer students attending our seminaries? I read that SWBTS is now at around 1900 students. A far cry from the days of Dr. Dilday when over 5,000 students attended.

And I don't see any wrong in PP and SWBTS having to answer for the way they have treated Dr. Klouda. If PP and SWBTS have done no wrong, what's the problem? If she was not dismissed simply because she is a woman, then why the concern?

Since PP and SWBTS have refused to deal with the Klouda situation up to this point (when they easily COULD have outside the courts), now they will have their chance.

The fact remains PP and SWTBS have been served. And I, like many, hope this action may prompt a major change not only in the trustee board and leadership positions at SWBTS, but all across the SBC. Change is coming. I think that is really what you and so many object to. The "good ole boy" days and all the perks and abuses that come along with them, are quickly coming to an end.

Steve

Jack Maddox said...

Steve

You got me man..I am all about "The good ole boy" system. My biggest fear is that the great wealth of power and prestige that myself and others like me have attained will now come to an end due to the efforts of the do gooders like BSC and Wade : )

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

By the way...Do you know PP? Ever met with him? Ever prayed with him? Is BSC where you get the wealth of your information? Do you agree with BSC using a film to depict PP on his blog which has the character that is supposed to represent him cursing and taking the Lords name in vain? and all of it in the name of good laugh? Maybe you think that’s funny...I for one will let the merits of such tactics speak for themselves.

duplicity? To represent fairness and grace and then to defend one who exibits very little of either.

I stand by my comments.

JRM

Anonymous said...

Jack,

If anything written in my post is incorrect, please point it out.

If PP does not live in an 8,700+ sq. ft. mansion, please set the record straight.

Do you think that's a good example, a good model, for a seminary president?

If comments about PP's lifestyle, payments for taxidermy, dishes, to his son for research for upcoming books, etc is not true, simply clear it up. We're here and ready to be enlightened.

If the number of students attending SWBTS has not gone down under PP please clarify that, too. We're waiting.

Of course, I would expect you to stand by your comments. But we will continue to stand by the facts and the truth.

I was initially drawn into this comment string by your comments above about Wade and duplicity. Such comments are obviously ridiculous and unfounded. The issue at hand is what is going to happen next in the issue between Dr. Klouda and PP/SWBTS.

Stay tuned. Changes are coming!

Steve

jasonk said...

How typical of many people in the Christian community to point out what appears to be a violation of Scripture, while ignoring the violations of Scripture that brought about the lawsuit in the first place. How pompous and arrogant of Bart Barber to point out the sin of filing a lawsuit against SW, while knowing that SW violated the rights of Dr. Klouda. He is so concerned about the witness of Southern Baptists, but does not see any damage done to its witness when the denomination's flagship seminary fires a professor for no other reason than her gender, then calls it biblical. Please.
I think that Scripture should be applied to everyone's sin, Mr. Barber, including the institution for which you teach.

Pastor Tony said...

1 Corinthians 6 does not leave the parties with no hope as many have implied in these comments (and in other blogs). The forbidding of suits includes the call for the church to step in and be the arbitrator of the dispute. The parties are to present their case before the church and let the church's decision on the matter be binding.

In the case of Dr. Klouda and SWBTS, if it doesn't go to the civil courts, who should the arbitrator be? Should the Executive Board step in? They have demonstrated both a reluctance and probably a constitutional prohibition from doing so. What about the pastors of Dr. Klouda's and PP's respective churches? Should they bear the mantel of arbitration? Neither of them have the authority over the other, or over the disputed parties to do so.

So where does that leave us? I would challenge all who are so quick to say Dr. Klouda should just fade into the background to answer the question of who the arbitrator of this dispute should be. And if you can't answer the question, trust that Dr. Klouda did not undertake this action lightly and that she is doing the only thing she knows to do to right the injustice leveled against her.

OBTW, I did not go to SWBTS, I do not know any of the parties personally. I am really way, way, way on the outside looking in. But I think Dr. Klouda should have a way for her complaint to at least be heard, since it has fallen on mostly deaf ears up to this point.

Tony

Anonymous said...

Wade,
The blogger you quoted wrote, "There is the cost to our witness."

Because our witness right now is that women should be what, exactly? Barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen? Quiet unless spoken to? Walking six feet behind us?

I hope and pray that - if it's God's will - this suit is plastered across every news medium on the planet; showing, yet again, that we Baptists are unwilling to behave in the manner we profess for others.

Then, maybe, we'll realize that our witness is affected by *our* actions, and not the actions of those we've harmed.

Then, maybe, we'll be able to affect people for the kingdom of Christ.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Maddox,

I would be happy for you to point out my duplicity. Please leave others out of your comment and speak to my own duplicity as you see it. Use my words and my posts. By the way, an effective argument will give evidence at the time of the accusation. I would receive your thoughts and comments better if you provided evidence at the time of your charge.

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Tony,

One of the best reasoned, articulate comments to date on the issue.

I agree with you one hundred percent -- and I'm the one that kept looking and asking privately for an arbitrator.

As a few have pointed out already, the question became, "who are you and why should we listen to you (or return phone calls)?"

I was just one Southern Baptist who vowed to help people I felt wronged. I happen to be a man of my word and will continue to help. I hope others join in.

Matt Brady said...

Wade,

Duplicity? Perhaps Jack is thinking of lines like these:

"I am grateful for his [Paige Patterson]...leadership within the Southern Baptist Convention over the years."

"If we accept Dr. Patterson's view regarding the SBC we will eventually die as a convention."

October 19, 2006

To me that reads like, "We really love and agree with Paige Patterson and the principles of the Conservative Resurgence, we just really hate everything they ever stood for."

Matt Brady said...

Pastor Derek,

Do I need to change my display name to read "Matt Brady - Bart Barber's brother-in-law." It seems that some think so. Maybe others should change their display names to read "Wade Burleson - Ben Coles confidant"

This is politcs on Wade's part and he has played it well. Bart and I eat lunch with Ben. Ben finds out Bart is teaching a class for Southwestern in Little Rock and the next day Wade reveals this to the world to imply that Bart is an employee of Southwestern and therefore his arguments are less credible.

Twenty-four hours after that meeting with Ben, Wade suddenly wants to know who I am. We have talked numerous times on this blog and others, yet it was only after knowing who I was, that he sought to discredit me as Bart's yes man.

Wade is a master political statesman with men like Cole doing the dirty work to keep him in the clear. This is politics at its finest. My hat is off to them.

Roger Simpson said...

I think that SWBTS is crossing the Rubicon if the BoT of the school does not take some pre-emptive step to short circuit this suit and seek arbitration.

Any rational risk analysis would suggest that the stakes are too high to let this thing continue.

In my mind there is a 40% / 60% chance that any given jury might find for the plaintiff -- if not unanimously -- at least enough to return a verdict in a cival action. However, if this goes to trail and Dr. Kluda looses I don't think SWBTS is necessarily the winner because the suit has given a soundnig board for detractors of the school and/or the administration to rant about "the life styles of the rich and famous".

I wonder if there is still a "senior statesman" left in the SBC that could place a well needed phone call to the SWBTS BoT to tell them to seek a settlement.

This think this is growing legs and it not to in the school's best interest to stonewall this.

One thing I'll say about SWBTS. They have a beautiful planting of hydrangeas out there in front of the main building. Due to the cold winter here in OKC I think all of mine died.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

WTJeff said...

Matt Brady,

I usually just stay out of these arguments, but I must say I'm rather tired of people reading meanings that support their position into another's words. Why am I, a man with no Christian education, able to to see that Wade is thankful for the role that Dr. Patterson played in the conservative resurgence, but disagrees with the direction he has taken on other issues since, and other more educated and most certainly more Godly mean unable to do so? Could it be that fear of "opening the door" to heresy so grips us that any interpretation of scripture straying from our own is seen as a threat? Perhaps it's more about defending a friend or someone we care deeply about?
Whatever the case, we all need a good dose of objectivity that only the Lord can provide. I don't agree with everything Wade says on this blog,(I think anything to do with Westboro should be left out of a conversation such as this) but I understand what he's trying to accomplish. Bryan Riley has hit the nail on the head. Unity must be our goal. We will never agree on everything, yet we still can cooperate.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Brady,

A text taken out of context is nothing but a pretext.

For those interested in what was said, in context, please read the entire post here.

Matt, the post points out that course correction was needed. Some have gone too far. I have said that from the beginning.

That is consistency.

Finally, you are entitled to your opinion about me Matt. I look forward to one day meeting you, possibly sharing a meal with you, or even having a phone conversation with you. Feel free to call me at any time.

I would encourage you to realize that the only people who are able to make judgments about someone being a 'master politician' are those who know the person personally.

I am comfortable with my family's and my church's view of me, and I think you may find they would reject your view of their pastor, husband and father. :)

In His Grace,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

To all,

I have a 90 year old church member who is in a living center in OKC. I have permission from my wife to take her to lunch with her roommates. :)

I am off for ministry.

Everyone have a great day.

In His Grace,

Wade

Anonymous said...

If anyone was really concerned about the witness of the SBC, the bloggers would quit leveling personal attacks, quit airing dirty laundry on blogs and in the press.

No one on EITHER side of this issue is concerned about the SBC's witness.

Matt Brady said...

Mr. Burleson,

1. I don't think I have to know Bill Clinton personally nor ever share a meal with him, nor even agree with him to make the observation that he is a masterful politician.

2. I'm sure you are a fine pastor, husband and father. Your good relationship to your family and church family are indeed evident in your various blog posts, and I commend you for that.

dwm III said...

Anonymous,

Well said.

Just checked the blogs one last time before I shut the door on this stuff.

dwmiii

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

The irony of all this is your church, which has stepped in to assist Dr. Klauda with material needs, has also stepped in several times during your fifteen year pastorate when marriages were about to break up and dealt with both parties before it ever got to court. Some you’ve seen restored and a very few were not, but the church dealt with the problem.

Many other times, as you well know, your congregation has born the burden and lovingly given guidance to people who were struggling with relational issues.

Talk about consistency? Emmanuel Baptist Church Enid and you as their pastor have shown consistency in taking seriously BOTH problems Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 6 mentioned in your post.

By the way, for what it's worth, I once was FOR beginning a christian school at a former pastorate when an elderly deacon stood and said "I love Bro. Paul and appreciate all He's done in our church, but I believe this idea will do great damage to our fellowship if allowed to stand." I didn't think him to be acting with duplicity at all and certainly did not hear what he said with the thought "he's lying about loving me." But maybe I missed something there.

In fact, were I as a leader to take a position that when a person questions my direction they ARE being unloving and acting with duplicity, from my perspective about myself, I would be failing in my understanding of their spiritual right to hear from the Lord and my need to be open to their criticism.

Oh, as a post script, we investigated, the church, myself included, decided he was right and went another direction. The church was healthier for it in every way. This has always been, for me, not only the biblical way but the baptist way.

This, as always, is just my opinion, and that with 2 dollars will buy Kevin Bussey a cup of coffee at starbucks...:)

Dad

Paul said...

Mr. Brady, I often get a kick out of Bart's humorous comments about being a part of the secret Southern Baptist Trilateral Committee and a personal insider with Dr. Patterson. But the evidence that such might be true is no less than this statement of yours: "Wade is a master political statesman with men like Cole doing the dirty work to keep him in the clear. This is politics at its finest. My hat is off to them." That could be written: "Paige is a master political statesman with men like Bart and Matt doing the dirty work to keep him in the clear. This is politics at its finest. My hat is off to them." But something tells me you and Bart would object to that.

Steve A said...

There have been generals who were fine in a fight but couldn't help but let their ego get in their way once peace had arrived. Why should Paige Patterson be all that different from these other men?

Once the war had been won in the 1980's he could have just been sent home to lead a church. Can we wonder if SBC leaders wanted a loyal guy around, even if he had no business running a latge agency?

Hey, everyone gets old; could he see his way to just going to come cabin by a lake to write his story?
I don't see SWBTS coming out from under a years-long cloud of turmoil and controversy until he is out of Pecan Manor.

Wade writes his arguments so simply, cleanly, and persuasively that I can't see anyone without an all-encompassing agenda finding fault with his posts. Let his opponents present their positions in such an open manner.

Greg Cloud said...

Lotta blood in the water here today.

But you know, the neatest thing I've read here today is Wade going to visit the ladies in the nursing home. Ain't ministry great?! The feeling I get when I get the honor of sharing the love of Christ with others is indescribable. I feel like my life has meaning and purpose then...

Have you shared the love of God with someone today?

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

WOW! You called me Mr. Maddox...I think you are a tad older than me but I will admit you look 10 years younger : )

Wade, my comments are not directed to you as a person nor do they reflect any personal feelings. You may try to make it look as if you are being attacked, however it is just not true. I have said in the past and you know it, that I have a great deal of respect for you, your ministry...I have even defended you in personal conversations with others who I believe misunderstand your motives...so you can't go there...your a good guy Wade, who loves the Lord and loves the SBC! I just simply think your wrong.

The comment concerning duplicity is my observation concerning your willingness to point out the ungodly actions of others (Paige Patterson, BOT of SWBTS, BOT IMB, Etc.) Yet you will never call BSC into question. Wade, Ben's actions on his Blog and others go way beyond Christian decency and decorum. IN his latest Blog entry he uses a film that supposedly depicts PP as a bungling Southern Politician, and the man that represents PP curses and uses the Lords name in VAIN...Wade, would you ever post the word 'GD' on your web site? I do not believe you would. Duplicity is also evident in your cry for the sufficiency of scripture but in my opinion your willingness to not only incorrectly interpret the admonition in scripture to not take a fellow believer to court, but what is apparently your setting the blogosphere up for this action in the Klouda case by posting your position on the matter the night before the story broke. One would ask who knew what and when?

Wade, in my opinion, these are two examples of duplicity...however they do not cause me to think less of you as a person, a fellow pastor and a child of God...I just think your wrong, that’s all. You obviously feel the same way concerning my position and that is why we discuss it in this forum. You and I have stated before as we have gone back and forth that we would more than likely be friends and enjoy that "Meal together" I look forward to that day...until then we will disagree over this issue and both trust that our great God will be the final arbitrator in this whole ordeal.
In the end some degree of duplicity is something we all are somewhat guilty of. Of my comment is offensive in its tone, I apologize, if it is convicting in it’s scope, I trust God will use it to help you search your own heart as your comments have helped me in searching mine.

btw...on a side note...I know you are probably a little bitter after the big 12 tourney and your beloved sooners missing the big dance! As is my son over his prized horns bowing out to the chicken hawks from Kansas!

GO RED RAIDERS!!! SHOCK THE NATION!!!

‘Mr. Maddox’

Paul said...

I asked this on Bart's blog but got no answer. I admit that I have always been somewhat skeptical that a lawyer/judge could also be a Christian, though Bryan Riley and Dorcas Hawker have me wondering if I should reconsider or if they are just exceptions that prove the rule. ;)

But I digress. Is is possible that the judge who would be assigned to this case would be a Christian? I will assume that those representing both the plaintiff and the defendant are believers. If the laws that govern what has taken place are in accordance with Biblical justice and not contrary to it then can this rightly be considered a case where this issue is being taken before "the unrighteous?"

Matt Brady said...

Paul,

I wouldn't mind being lumped in a political camp with Paige Patterson, but unlike Ben and Wade, Dr. Patterson and I have never been on conference calls together, have never travelled to visit CBF insiders together, do not talk with each other, in fact, I have never even shaken Dr. Patterson's hand nor ever talked to him. (I did shake his wife's hand once when I met her at the Southwestern Booth at a convention meeting.) I never even attended a school where he served as president. There are no personal connections between me and Dr. Patterson, only ideological connections. I believe the way he does on many issues, and don't mind saying so.

Paul said...

Matt,

Objection noted. ;)

Paul said...

Oh...and as you noted, you did not need to meet Bill Clinton to know he was a master politician. I suspect you don't need to meet Dr. Patterson to have to be able to fill in those blanks, either.

Matt Brady said...

Paul,

I'll go a step further. I'll readily admit that Dr. Patterson is indeed a brilliant politician. I don't see political acumen as a bad trait. My hat is genuinely off to Wade.

I make no secret of my admiration of Dr. Patterson's leadership concerning strategy in drawing our convention back to Biblical fidelity.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Are you not taking the civil law and standing it along side of the criminal law? In other words, I heard the late Dr. Rogers say, "I cannot make you love me so we make laws that keep you from killing me". The Klouda suit has Gary Richardson, one of the leading catastrophic liability attorney's in the country as the lead attorney. Would it not be enough to bring in just the Labor attorneys if we were only trying to right a wrong?

Blessings,
Tim

Paul said...

Matt,

Ok. I guess I misinterpreted the phrase, "doing the dirty work to keep him in the clear." I wasn't understanding you to be saying that was an admirable thing. Thanks for clearing that up.

Bro. Robin said...

"How pompous and arrogant of Bart Barber to point out the sin of filing a lawsuit against SW, while knowing that SW violated the rights of Dr. Klouda."

"I think that Scripture should be applied to everyone's sin, Mr. Barber, including the institution for which you teach."

Allow me to mention that Bart is in Port Authur this week working to rebuild homes of those who are still struggling in the wake of the Hurricanes of 2005. So while he may seem pompous and arrogant on your electronic devices, his heart is near the Lord and with lost people who need Jesus.

May all of us be in prayer that God will use him to win the Lost to Christ.

Paul Burleson said...

otMr. Maddox, [Jack...since I'm a WHOLE lot older than you.]

Since Wade is away ministering and I'm here meddling, I'd like to respond if I may. I responded earlier about the use of the word "duplicity" so, in fairness, I will respond to you as well.

The word "duplicity" means..." a disguising of true intentions by deceptive words or actions." [Webster's NAD] Perhaps you mean to say Wade's actions are unfair or questionable, using a standard of behavior that you hold to in order to make that judgment. I understand that, though I might obviously disagree with your standard of measurement. But what you did say is a statement about his heart/motive.

Were you to counter with "the definition for duplicity includes action." I would simply say that the words or actions the definition refers to are both premised on the intention of the heart according to the definition itself.

I would agree that we all are guilty of "duplicity" in words and actions. [I've found myself to be so numerous times.] But I think it best, since that is a judgment of the heart/motive, that we only judge our own guilt or innocence. Only God knows anothers' heart truly. Maybe that's why Paul told us to wait "until the day declares it when all kinds of evidence, hidden motives, intents and such will be brought out into the open." 1 Corinthians 4:5

Sorry to have interrupted the flow but do appreciate you personally and your comments...usually. :)

Jack Maddox said...

paul

you said

"I have always been somewhat skeptical that a lawyer/judge could also be a Christian, though Bryan Riley and Dorcas Hawker have me wondering if I should reconsider or if they are just exceptions that prove the rule. ;)"


Don't forget Jude Paul Pressler in your little band of christian legal beagles!

Mr. Maddox

Bro. Robin said...

Wade

I just read the full comment stream. May God bless you also as you bring joy to an elderly sister.

Paul Burleson said...

Sorry Jack, I have no idea where the "ot" came from or means.

Matt Brady said...

Paul,

On the contrary, I don't equate what Dr. Patterson has done to help the SBC with the truly dirty and low brow things that Ben has done.

I admire Ben for being honest about his goals, but I don't admire how he tries to reach them. Just because some politicains are dirty in their tactics does not mean that all are. Dirty politics does not equal good politics.

Matt Brady said...

Paul,

I'll let you have the last word. I have to run.

Daniel said...

JRM, Perhaps a word other than duplicity would better convey your sentiment. Duplicity implies a certain level of deceitfulness and dishonesty.

Based on my reading of your comments, it seems you are intending to level a charge of inconsistency rather than duplicity.

Daniel Cooley

Anonymous said...

Amen to Paul Burleson one more time.

Matt,

Wade is a masterful communicator. He has brought to light much that needed to be brought out into the open. And there are many who are very grateful he has done this.

Now if you want to talk masterful politicans, you need look no further than PP and his buddy Paul Pressler. They are the true masters of politics in the SBC. I think that is one thing we all could agree on. They took a system once based on trust and good will and used it, some would say 'abused it', for their own selfish goals so that there is little trust or good will left in the system. I find little admirable in their "ends justify the means" way they went about things. They trampled over many good God-fearing people in the process. That's not something I find admirable.

In stark contrast, I find much to emulate in the way Wade is doing things.

I think most Southern Baptists are tired of politics, but we're eager for a good communicator who champions the truth, who lives according to the truth, and who is not afriad to stand up for those who have been abused by those in power.

Steve

Jack Maddox said...

Mr. Burleson

(since I am much younger than you, and I cannot say that nearly as often as I once could :) )

I do appreciate your comment and I have thought that perhaps we were debating the word instead of the issue. I would not want Wade to have to ask us the meaning of the word 'is' therefore I will take your mild vernacular admonishment to heart and say that it is my feelings and opinion that Wade is not absolutely fair in all of this as he applies the standard of "Grace and Truth" However, I will agree that Wade is not motivated by any intentional 'duplicity' that I am aware of and to accuse him of such would be unfair on my part since I am not privy to his thoughts or his mind. I do however take exception to "SOME" of his actions as expressed on his blog and his comments on others. I am on record of my love and even admiration for Wade on many issues and concerns, but on this topic he and I are simply in disagreement. Yet as your application of the word seems reasonable, I apologize for any misunderstanding...yet still stand by my intentional use of the word as explained above.

You and I met in Greensboro, I believe you will remember our meeting and conversation...we share a common deacon relationship in Bobby Reese...good day Mr Burleson!

Just Jack

Bill Scott said...

Brother Tim,
I fail to see the distinction between civil and criminal law. I understand the differences in the definitions. I however don't see what difference it makes as to the type of counsel she chose to seek.

Are you saying, "Why break out the sledge hammer when you could have used a flyswatter?"

I think if I were in the same position as Dr. Klouda that I would make sure that I retained the best counsel as possible. As many have stated the past few days, "Much is at stake." I have no doubt that SWBTS will retain the best counsel to protect their interests and defend their position in the cause of action, for much is at stake.

Jack Maddox said...

daniel

I believe you have summed it up to a tee!

JRM

Paul said...

Matt,

Then perhaps some issues are being confused. You are suggesting that somehow Wade is using Ben to draw the criticism so that Wade doesn't have to draw it himself. Do you really think they sit down and Wade says, "Hey, Ben. Throw some rocks at Dr. Patterson so that I won't look so bad," and Ben says, "Ok, Wade. I'm your Huckleberry?" That just sounds a little far fetched to me.

What more likely is happening is that Wade and Ben share a vision of the direction of the SBC, though they approach the pursuit of those goals differently. In the end, the goals that Wade has may benefit from what Ben does, but that hardly makes this some nefarious entanglement between them. Maybe it is more than that and I am just naive. They are, of course, friends as well and probably do a number of other things together, as friends do.

I suspect that there are those who share Dr. Patterson's vision for the SBC who pursue their goals in ways that Dr. Patterson himself might not. He has told me as much in some mail correspondence we've shared. Some of those people are his friends, some are more distant (like you and Bart, perhaps). The end result seems to be similar. Dr. Patterson can pursue his vision and goals for the SBC and in many ways keep his hands clean because he leaves it to others to get "blood on their knives" as it has been said within the Conservative Resurgence. I find it really odd that Ben is criticized and Miles Seaborn is not. But that's just me.

country baptist preacher said...

Brother Wade,

Amen and Amen!

In my upbringing in Oklahoma, we were taught that those who do something, and then claim it is wrong for others to do the same thing is "talking out both sides of your mouth".

I am glad Dr. Klouda took this action. I believe in the future it will help other victims of these ungodly, unchrisitan tactics that destroy lives. I hope it will cause the people behind this ungodly, unchristian behaviour to knock it off. I hope this brings the practice of destroying lives and hiding behind a twisted doctrine and a power structure to a halt in SBC life.

"I am continually amazed how many people live their lives as if there is no God to answer to."

grace
cbp

Strider said...

I guess I should not read anymore on this Klouda case as the comment strings are really irritating me.
Let us get something straight: No scripture written by Paul or anyone else was written to use to judge some one else. Jesus and Paul had a few things to say about that. Do you see truth in 1 cor 6? Apply it, fully, inerrantly, infallably. I have. I would not sue. But I will not tell someone I don't know that they are wrong- not because they are or are not- but becuase it is not my job. None of you have the RIGHT to tell Dr. Klouda that she is in violation of any scripture. I assume she is in a church with accountability. They are responsible for helping her decide things in light of the Word. I pray for them to make good decisions and move on.
Now, in light of 1 Cor 6 what CAN I judge? What can we fruitfully discuss? We can conclude that people who are accountable to us have failed to meet out justice and have brought our convention into disrepute because of this case. I don't know if Dr. P did wrong. But I do know that the actions of the Board and Dr. P have been reported in the national press- before a suit was ever filed- and they have not been wise. They have not acted above suspicion and they have not appeared to defend themselves or the truth- if any- they stand on.
Did they dismiss Dr. Klouda unethically? If so, wise men in place should have demanded ethical behavior. Did they dismiss her incompetently- ie they wanted to do the right thing but failed- well, we demand competence from our institutions.
Was there no wrong of any kind done and Dr. Klouda and Wade have been lying to us? Then why has no one defended our SBC institution and shown the World- that we are so concerned about with our reputations and all- that SWBTS has acted honorably. As a money giving SBCer I want to know why this has been so badly mishandled that a law suit is now necessary.
These things we can judge. These things we have a responsibility to expect an account. Dr. Klouda is not responsible to me and I will not judge her. The Trustees and Dr. P on the other hand are holding my trust and we should expect them to be faithful to that trust.
It is the way of the world to misdirect and put others down in order to make ourselves look good. This is not the way of Christ.
Let us stay on task.

Charles R. said...

Matt Brady said, "I make no secret of my admiration of Dr. Patterson's leadership concerning strategy in drawing our convention back to Biblical fidelity."

Few were more faithful to the letter of Scripture than the Pharisees. Their brand of fidelity disgusted Jesus. Fidelity to the letter without fidelity to principle and purpose is what the evil one delights in.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as fit for hell as you are!" Matthew 23:15

Paul Burleson said...

Jack,

You have been gracious in response to my thoughts and I really appreciate that. In fact, I appreciate anyone who would put up with the shenanigans of a guy like Bobby Reece. That fact alone has raised my level of admiration for you considerable.

I will NEVER forget the trick he and a bunch of youth workers played on me at a youth halloween retreat which stunted my growth and is the single biggest factor in the loss of my hair. I'd be at least be Wade's height and have his hair if it weren't for Bobby Reece. If you see him say hello for me...no wait, I'm not speaking to him yet. :)

docjoc said...

This law suit between Christians is a very poor example to world of what is means to be a Christian and more specifically a Baptist.

Most civil law suits come about because of poor or a complete lack of communication and/or an unwilliness to reach a fair settlement.

In the end after paying lawyers a big fee, law suits force the parties to do what they should have done in the beginning.

Even at this late date, mediation by Christians is still the best and most Christian answer.

Anonymous said...

Mediation would be a good way to go but both parties must be willing to talk. There has been a strange silence from PP and SWBTS lately. Doesn't appear they wish to talk, but as time goes on, they may change their tune. Here's a mediation outcome that I believe Dr. Klouda could accept:

1. A public apology from PP and the BoT in which they state that they did her wrong for dismissing her solely on the basis of her gender
2. Restitution (with the Patmos evang association Slush Fund at their disposal, PP & SWTBS ought to be able to offer a hefty and reasonable amount without dipping into CP funds)
3. Offer Dr. Klouda her job back (whether she would take it or not, the offer should be there)
4. Resignation of PP and the chairman of the BoT effective immediately.

The likelihood of this happening is slim. Egos are big. Pride is hard to swallow. And PP and the BoT have done little to indicate they have to ability to work with others in resolving an issue.

Yes, mediation is a good alternative. Let's pray it works.

Steve

Jack Maddox said...

Steve

Perhaps we could also line them up and march them through the streets of Ft. Worth while all the time the poor peasants and serfs that they have theologically and ideologically raped and pillaged could throw tomatoes and cabbage at them all the while screaming and taunting them for their boorish and mean behavior. Then perhaps in good old enlightment tradition we can then march them to the guillotine and all in one accord we can cry

"OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

JRM

Benjamin S. Cole said...

Jack Maddox:

I knew you were a man of reason, able to be persuaded.

BSC

Bill Scott said...

Jack,
And at the 11th hour a stay of execution could be given and those who are guilty would be shown mercy and grace...

Les Puryear said...

Why all the vitriol over this issue? Does no one here have a heart to glorify God?

Spirited debate is one thing, but the character asassination that is being flung in this comment stream is shameful.

If this is a preview of San Antonio I might just cancel my reservation.

Les

Wade Burleson said...

I have returned from the visit with my elderly church member. Its amazing. She is ninety years old. She was born with rickets and due to her disease had her teeth pulled at the age of 17. She has the same pair of dentures they put in 73 years ago.

She married at 17. Had four children, the first physically disabled. At 29 her husband abandoned her for another woman. She raised all four kids by working night shifts at a cafe, and eventually become a clerical worker for the Major and Garfield County Welfare departments respectively. She has kept a couple of grandkids in her home to assist her own children when they got married, including keeping a disabled granddaughter for over a year. Her children never missed church growing up, and now her grown children and grandchildren are wonderful Christians faithfully serving in Southern Baptist Churches.

Our church member has faithfully given 10% of her limited income to her church, and some years over 20%, for the last eight decades. She has been frugal enough to put money away in CD's so her children do not have to care for her during her senior adult years in a retirement home.

She has never remarried.

After visits with women like this, I am absolutely convinced of two things:

(1). Cooperative Program money comes from people like this church member, and every dime ought to be spent wisely.

(2). Every denominational employee ought to be required to visit SBC widows and widowers living in nursing homes and retirement centers. It will help us keep perspective of who the ultimate authority in the SBC is - and how they live.

Anonymous said...

wMediation Anonymous: Sounds to me like maybe you are being judge, jury and executioner. That is not mediation that is assuming guilt> If this was not so serious you would be funny. Anonymous Too

Wade Burleson said...

Les,

I would gently disagree.

I have read through the comments and I don't feel Jack and Matt are intending to assassinate anyone's character.

Frankly, I appreciate the further clarifications they have given.

Your comment, however, does cause me to wonder if the comment string has gone a little left of field (or should I say 'right' :) ). So, I will ask the readers of this post and the participants in this comment string this question:

"What is your opinion of today's post?"

Jack Maddox said...

wade

I already commented on your post earlier...but I will surmise again by simply saying that those of us who are against the suit based upon the 1 cor 6 text do need to be consistent...there is some question in my mind as to the issue when incorporations and boards and institutions are named, however, in Kloudas suit she also names Dr. Patterson. As I said, I am devoting Thursday to get out the book and the books and do a little studying to seek clarification. But also as stated, this issue with PP is far larger in scope than just the Klouda issue...imo

JRM

Jack Maddox said...

BSC

Good to see you acknowledge my feeble presence! : )

jrm

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Steve,

To suggest that this issue is simply about standing up for those being abused without the least taint of politics on behalf of this blog's host or those who continue to hound Dr. Patterson may, I'm quite sure, convince the choir. Nevertheless, to expect others to sing along is really humorous, were I myself asked.

For months now we've painfully observed as SWBTS, the Trustees, Paige Patterson , Dr. McKissic, Professor Yarnell, etc. have been the brunt of a tightly-run, systematic portrayal of injustice on the one hand and the defense of the innocent on the other, most of which is spun from three particular blogs.

No politics? Nah. I don't think I'll actually have one of those today.

Peace. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

Thanks for acknowledging that my blog 'systematically portrays injustice' and is for 'the defense of the innocent.'

Never have I read a better or more appropriate description.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

By the way, I did read your comment about the post, and though you disagree with me, I thought it was one of the better written comments in this string.

Thank you.

However, in your last comment you state, "that those of us who are against the suit based upon the 1 cor 6 text do need to be consistent."

I am confused by that statement. Consistency is needed, at least in my opinion, by those who castigate Klouda based upon the interpretation that I Corinthians 6 forbids any and every suit filed by Christians against Christians.

In other words, every single lawsuit that has ever been filed, or ever will be filed, by anyone who professes Christ as Savior AGAINST another professing Christian MUST ALSO BE CONDEMNED by those who are condemning Klouda.

My specific, pointed question to you is this:

Do you condemn each and every lawsuit mentioned in this post?

By the way, if you do, you will be consistent in your views and interpretations of I Corinthians 6 and I ALWAYS respect consistent people - even when they are consistently wrong because they base their actions on principle.

Inconsistency is bread by unprincipled or illogical thinking.

I propose that I am consistent in my interpretation of I Corinthians 6 -- each and every person must weigh for themselves what the will of God is in filing a suit in federal or state court -- for I do not see an absolute and eternal prohibition in this text.

Therefore, I can be consistent when I say I refuse to condemn Klouda or anyone else mentioned in this post for filing suit, based upon my interpretation of the text.

For you to be consistent with your view of the text you must absolutely condemn every suit filed by Christians against other Christians.

Where is my thinking faulty?

Rob Ayers said...

Perhaps this dialogue could be furthered in this way:

Everybody seems to agree that our Convention/Associations do not have the ability to deal with issues such as this outside of somebody going to Court. If a purpose is served in having a case judiciously reviewed fairly, and further we wish for it to stay outside of the secular system, then a way must be implemented to mediate or arbitrate cases like this on a Convention scale.

The problem remains that each entity views itself (rightly or wrongly) as autonomous from the main body of the Convention. Currently, unless policies are in place to deal with such employee matters (such as unjust termination) and rights of appeal within the entity, then the only two choices left to the terminated employee is to be left harmed, or to take it to the courts. That really right now is the only alternative(s) available. To change the current course of the convention, and even set up a "Arbitration/Mediation" board for all the entities would require a major bylaw change at the Convention, and for each entity to affirm such changes in their bylaws to accomodate that board. This board would not be managed by any employee of the entities - yet professional mediators in the mode of Peacemakers. Or the SBC could contract with an organization such as Peacemakers to be the mediators/arbitrators of the Convention.

For myself, I do not have a problem with the entities losing autonomy in any capacity because of my adhearance to Congregationalist polity and how it has slipped or has become non-existent in Southern Baptist life. I would like to see the Convention set up scales of renumeration (including expense accounts)for all employees including administrators that would be The Standard that all the entities would be required to follow. I would like to see a stronger Executive Committee that a) would be the repository of all financial information about who/what/how all Cooperative monies and designated funds are spent Convention wide -where any member of a cooperating church could request such information from one source, instead of having to contact each individually for the same and b) could deal with such issues as the current fiasco. Also a stronger Convention in that messengers would be allowed to express their will clearly in which the trustees of the entities would be required to follow rather than having to wade through Robert's and a equally circumventing set of rules and regulations that have been set up to short circuit (IMHO) the will of the Convention that have been emplaced to consolidate power only in the hands of the few and well connected.

While I understand some in this comment stream and the reluctance to deal with anything in a secular court, my question about the convention level is "what alternative does anyone have?" How can one deal biblically with an injustice (I have heard no legitimate argument that this was not an injustice) when there is no ability to deal with it bibilically in the sense of mediation/arbitration? Unless we are willing to set up some mechanism to hear the claims of a Dr. Klouda (and similiarly to allow the convention to even speak to her situation would be suspect at this juncture) then our wailing and knashing of teeth have no purpose. Unless the critics are willing to "light a candle" instead of "wailing against the darkness" then Dr. Klouda and others like her have no other recourse to be heard.

Rob

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

My opinion of the post is that you have done put the corn right down thar where the hogs can git at it.

The logic is beyond argument. And no, I don't expect that to stop anybody.

Karen in OK said...

Bro. Wade,
You gave some powerful examples in your post.

I am not a lawyer, but one thing I am sure of. This lawsuit will take a very long time, regardless of the outcome.
So if the Klouda family is in desperate need, people need to help them now instead of maybe thinking that relief is a month or 6 away.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burleson,
I admire your passion for truth and the SBC and all of the drama involved. My husband will be graduating from SWBTS in May- and I have to tell you that all of these controversies do make an impact on the younger generation. I was raised Southern Baptist and always wanted to be an IMB missionary- however my husband and I are slowly cutting ties with the SBC. I fear that many others will do the same and they will be passionate Jesus followers who choose to do so. Our allegiance is to Christ not the SBC. I have to admit- there is a freedom when there are "no strings attached" in regards to serving the Lord. No funding we might lose because of a different belief in regards to the spirit etc... It is just freeing to know that Christ is the head of the body of Christ- he is our shephard and we will follow him- we will make our choices about ministry here or overseas based on that. WE don't have to be worried about being censored etc... Freedom in Christ. Sometimes I wonder if these battles are just a distraction from the enemy- when Christ returns I think many people will be shocked that he comes back for some methodists, baptists, pentacostals, etc.... WE have got to break down the walls of denominationalism and work together as the body of Christ. I know you desire unity and all that I have mentioned. Just frustrated and can't wait to get out of the chaos.
Blessings,
anonymous
Better not leave my name till after graduation! :)

Karen in OK said...

A number of people have commented that there is no mechanism in the SBC for dealing with these issues. And I can buy that.

However, here is my anecdote of over twenty years ago. A Christian in a different denomination was blithely going to cheat my husband and his father in a business dealing.
My husband went to visit this man and said, "Please call the pastor and elders of your church. We will lay this issue before them and do what they say." The man went pale, there was a loud crash in the next room as his wife dropped pans, and the man said, "That won't be necessary!" He dealt fairly on that issue.

Wade Burleson said...

Karen,

I love your suggestion.

Which pastor in our SBC would go with Sheri Klouda, Pinky, and their daughter to confront the seminary on the breach of their word?

Ideally, it would be her pastor. It is, however, too 'hot' for those who desire to maintain a good standing with the powers that be.

I went on her behalf. I wish it could have been resolved. It couldn't because, unlike your illustration, there was no concern over this pastor questioning the actions of administration at SWBTS.

Wade Burleson said...

Dear Anonymous,

You didn't ask, but I will give you my opinion.

You should not leave the SBC.

Those things for which you long - freedom, passion for missions, and a loving cooperation with those who disagree on non-essentials - is coming to the SBC.

I believe that with all my heart. It won't happen overnight.

But it is coming.

Wade Burleson said...

Karen,

We are helping. We have forwarded enough money to make the house payment for six months.

We will readdress the situation regularly.

Wade Burleson said...

Rob Ayers,

A very good comment.

I agree 100%

Bob, you make me laugh.

:)

Bill Scott said...

Bob,
Now we need to get the hogs back in the pen and keep them out of the corn crib...

As far as the post goes..you hit another first round fire ball. No adjustments necessary. Fire for effect.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Let me say first of all that I do not 'condemn" Ms Klouda for her decision. She mad eher decision I am sure after prayer and seeking what she thought was best for her and her situation. For me the issue is much larger than a simple lawsuit. I have said it before and I will say it again. I consistently believe that a believer should not take another believer to a secular court to resolve issues of wrong doing...especially when they are theologically rooted. I have said that I am still unclear about the texts application to corporate law and entities which are made up of boards and shareholders...however, as stated, I am going to try to come to grips with even this in the next few days.

You make an excellent post that inconsistency is the product of unprincipled or illogical thinking. I would add that it also a product of the fallen nature. We all tend to gravitate toward a "Party" spirit (1Cor 1) The followers of Paul are not always consistent with their interactions with the followers of Apollo’s, would you not agree.

And I would be careful to not be to hard on those of us who are in your opinion "inconsistent'. There are those (I am one) who feel you are rather inconsistent in your unwillingness to hold BSC accountable for his unchristlike actions and attitudes.

JRM

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Again, thank you for your clarification.

I have been very, very intentional to always speak of people condemning the 'decision' of Sheri Klouda and not her person.

I know you would never condemn an individual and I think you for affirming what I knew to be true of you.

I am, however, confused. I am not Ben Cole's pastor. I am not Ben's mentor. I am not Ben's accountability partner.

I do not tell him what to post, and even if I did, he would not listen. :)

I find little difference in the tone and tenor of Ben's posts compared with those that are devoted to attempt to influence people's opinion regarding me including the blogs of Jeremy Green, Bart Barber and others. The only difference is the style and quality of writing.

These are people with whom you mostly agree. I don't ask you to hold them accountable and I don't believe I should.

I also do not intend to tell Jeremy and Bart what they should or should not write, and I am consistent in that I do not tell Ben Cole what he should or should not write.

I figure they are accountable to God, and that is sufficient.

Would I write what they write?

No. But thank God, everybody is not like me, nor should they be.

I am asking people to relate to me based upon what I write. That is simple for everyone to do. It is not appropriate for me to judge you based upon the actions of others, nor should I be judged by you based upon the actions of others.

In His Grace,

Wade

Jack Maddox said...

Wade
Thanks for your reply and your having what is always an answer which justifies your own position and at the same time never acknowledges a weakness or oversight on your part.

On this you are as always extremely consistent.

I will agree with you on this...I do not believe you would allow or post a video with the word 'GD' in it and attribute it to a brother in Christ...this cannot be said of others.

JRM

Char said...

I hope Dr. Klouda prevails in this lawsuit BUT MORE THAN THAT, I hope all of those in national leadership who wish to make their own personal views the "law" of the institutions they lead will remember this is a 16 million member denomination. We have a right to set our parameters. Our leaders are not popes! They are denominational servants. (I haven't heard that phrase in forever!) That 90 year old saint Mr. Burleson visited has a right to have her great grand daughter installed as a prof if our denomination grants that right. As of right now there is nothing that prohibits women from serving in those postions. If PP wanted to exclude women from those positions, he needed to take that to the convention and let the people decide. We don't get our rights from these heads of seminaries or agencies.

I want our national leadership (individuals and trustees) to feel like they have some real accountability. I hope this suit serves that purpose.

Charmona

Jack Maddox said...

The problem here is so evident. You guys really don't understand PP at all do you? It is very easy for you to paint him as some kind of tyrannical dictator who just can't wait to bring into play his own 18th century views on the masses of much more well informed folk like yourselves.

The position that PP has taken may not be one that you agree with however it is a valid position held by many. Those who would divorce the Hebrew language from a pastoral track do not understands PP's understanding of biblical exposition and the pastoral mandate. The Language is directly in connection with exposition thus the teacher must be male to teach the pastoral responsibility to "rightly divide the word of truth"

Again, it is obvious that many on this string disagree...and that’s ok...however to continue to attack the man personally is just wrong.

JRM

bryan riley said...

I'd be happy to mediate.

bryan riley said...

I'm serious. If you need my resume, I'll give it. But I'd just ask all parties involved to pray about it.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Again, I don't know how many ways it can be said. To disagree with a man's position, and to challenge him for violating policies that have been established by seminary trustees by removing a tenure track professor because of her gender is not attacking a man . . .

It is protecting a woman.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
I have tried to stay out of this discussion because I do not feel that either side can be swayed or even wants to be challanged. I will however ask that you re-read what Jack posted concerning the video on another site. Sometimes association with someone and not publically admitting how deplorable someones use of a video that is ungodly negates the view and stand that one is making. There is no need to be "officially" ones mentor or etc.. You say you are defending a lady - why not stand for your Lord when one publishes a video taking His name in vain and attributes it to a group of Christians? Such an action is without question in violation of the bible and our faith.

I ask this in love and in trying to understand the lack of an outcry from many including you.

TG

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I have not seen the video. Obviously you and Jack have.
Have you asked that the blogger remove it yourself?

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

I understand Dr. Patterson well enough to refer to him as Dr. Patterson, a title of respect which he has earned and which is due him.

And I understand the Bible enough to realize that if someone has a beef with another blog, that other blog is the place to voice it. To criticize you for not decrying an objectionable, even outrageous blog, would mandate that I protest first to them and then to EVERY blog that hasn't protested that one.

Not to even mention Romans 14:4.

Stephen Pruett said...

Jack, You are correct. I do not understand PP. I am sure what you wrote about him is correct, and that is fine. I do not agree with him, but if he went through appropriate channels and persuaded the Trustees to change their unanimous vote in favor of hiring Dr. Klouda, I suppose we could at least say he followed policies and was not just enforcing his personal preferences.

What I do not understand about PP's actions is how a Christian leader can make assurances to a member of his faculty (on the basis of which she made critical financial and family decisions) and then fail to honor those assurances. The right thing to do is not that hard to discern: It would have been to change the policy for future hires and honor your word to those (like Dr. Klouda) who came in with different assurances.

There are honest differences in doctrine, and there can be honest mistakes (PP may even be wrong in his interpretation). Thus, I do not see doctrinal differences as a moral failure, and I do not see evidence that it is regarded so in scripture. However, it is clear that personal integrity is just below love as an essential attribute of a follower of Christ. To me, regarding a relatively minor and certainly disputable doctrinal stance as more important than integrity and more important than acting in Christian love is an indication of priorities that are not consistent with the Bible.

On your other subject, I cannot think of any circumstances that would justify a believer putting up a post that included the word GD. In my opinion, even an attempt at parody or satire would not justify a believer posting this word.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

I have tried to post on BSC's blog. Either he has chosen not to post it or has yet to post it. Now he has some movie of some warden having a convict shot for telling the truth on the stand...AMAZING!!!!

BOB

You are much smarter than that my friend. Your posts speak to someone that is certainly more fair than that. If we were to use your standard then 2/3 of what is said on blogs would be taken away....hey maybe your on to something!

As far as Romans 14:4...perhaps it could be applied to both Dr.'s Klouda and Patterson

and I was not attacking Wade...I am simply wondering why the lack of consistency
.

Anonymous said...

This is a very discouraging comment stream for those who hope a settlement between SWBTS and Dr. Klouda could avert a lawsuit.

Dr. Patterson's supporters have made it very clear that there can be no compromise or middle ground.

For them this is purely theological discussion; a woman is not to have authority over a man -- christians are not to sue one another.

At the same time, instructions about not prohibiting gifts of the holy spirit are to be ignored; advice to drink wine is to be explained away. Examples of Phoebe and Priscilla are to be disregarded.

"Baptist Distincitives" are to be embraced --- except for those that once justified slavery; separation based upon race; prohibitions against "mixed swimming" and "dancing."

Instead, we are to blindly follow the divine inspiration of of our leaders--- reject "moderates", embrace "conservatives" and shun "ecumenicalism" lest we usher end the end-times.

The cooperative fellowship is of the devil; the Southern Baptist Convention is of God -- and, praise Luther and pass the ammunition, Paige Patterson and the G.O.P. are The Way.

Guess what, my brothers (and sisters)? There will be no Baptists in heaven!

I look forward to the day when the Universal Church will worship as one and those who seek to divide us will answer for their actions.

-Come soon, Lord!

-amen-

GUNNY said...

As another who loves the SBC, issues such as these beat me down. What has happened is a whippin, but I for one don't think the discussions are such a bad thing.

To Pastor Burleson, I appreciate the great effort you must have gone to in order to create this post, but I don't think it's as convincing as some others do.

I don't buy into this thesis, it's happened before with good results, ergo, if it was okay then to sue, it's okay now.

At least that's what I came away with. There seems to be clarificatino about that in the comments section, however.

But even then it's kind of a pray about whether or not you should sue and go with your conscience.

"I propose that I am consistent in my interpretation of I Corinthians 6 -- each and every person must weigh for themselves what the will of God is in filing a suit in federal or state court -- for I do not see an absolute and eternal prohibition in this text."

That's another issue with its own slipperiness, but I can imagine everyone determines the "will of God" in his or her favor.

N.B. The author of the post sees the burden on the person to subjectively determine what he sees is not objectively determined in the text and that is the basis of his taking to task those who see no lawsuits as the "will of God" (emphasis his).

Doesn't that seem quite adrift from what Paul said, "What Saint Paul really said?" (HT to the Bishop)

With regard to his instances/examples:
1. How was suing that university the same as suing a Christian? I guess I didn't see the parallel.

2. The church stunk up the place with how they handled a child molestor.
"Christa Brown should be given credit for potentially protecting our SBC children."

Well, that's an interesting word potentially. Would the writer say the same if she brandished a gun and shot the man dead. How does the end of potentially protecting children validate what she did? How did it right her wrong? I might have been inclined to have Joab take the guy out, but I would be the first to admit that's not the right thing to do.

3. How was that good for the reputation of Christ that the secular courts decided who was right and who was wrong? He seems to like it when the courts get it right. Would he be as keen when they get it wrong?

As I see each example, it appears to me that he's merely showing that people have a valid reason to sue.

Even if you go along and assume each person in question was wronged, what has been shown?

Paul doesn't say in 1 Cor 6 that you shouldn't sue if you've not been wronged? It seems to me the opposite is true. Even to those who have been wronged, is it not better to be wronged? The answer is "Yes," both for the individual and for the reputation of Christ. The individual suffers and gains a better appreciation of the Savior who suffered for us. The reputation of Christ is not tarnished.

It seems to me the inherent message in the post is, if you're wronged, take 'em to court. In 1 Cor 6 I see the reverse. I see Paul's "post" saying, even if you're wronged, don't take 'em to court.

"Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?"
-1 Cor 6:7

I'm happy enough to see some gray with regard to an institution suing an institution, but this post did nothing for me by way of convincing me that our sister, Sheri Klouda, is justified in suing our brother, Paige Patterson.

Taking what may be considered extreme examples (e.g., racism/slavery and child moletation) to try to establish a point for the far less than extreme is a suspect way to go for argumentation anyway.

However, I did find the reading of these comments interesting and it does my heart good to see Baptists having deep theological discussions that impact practical matters.

Far too often the theological and the practical never meet. But, they certainly do in real life.
; )

There's no need for personal attacks or ad hominem arguments, just good vigorious discussion of the Scriptures and their application with a passion due the Word of God.

May we do all things with decorum as we speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15).

Soli Deo gloria,
Gunny

Jack Maddox said...

Stephen

Thank you brother for being the first poster on this stream to disagree somewhat with my position but at least recognize the inconsistency of the post on BSC's blog. I also understand your point and believe it to very valid. It is very possible that this whole circumstance was handled wrong...but here is the deal...I do not know that and neither do you. we only know what we are being told and most of this comes from the blog world. I would also say that this may be a small doctrinal matter to you but it may strike at the heart of pastoral theology for others. To assume that this is something...even if all of it is as reported...that calls into question the overall integrity of Paige Patterson, is I believe unfortunate. However, I do appreciate your comment and I certainly agree that it is valid

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

Well thought out Gunny.

Thanks for your comment.

Obviously, I disagree.

I never allowed the abused woman in my church to permit the beating to continue. We called the authorities.

I never allowed the abused child in my church to remain quiet, turn the other cheek, and allow the abuse to continue. We called the authorities.

I never allowed the person who stole $10,000 from my senior adult member to get by with the theft. We called the authorities.

A woman in the SBC has asked for help because nobody would help her. I did not turn my back on her. We called the authorities.

I see no difference. In each and every case there were federal laws that were violated. Just because someone thinks that removing a woman from teaching Hebrew because she is a woman is no big deal, there are many who would say it is both a violation of federal law, a violation of internatil SWBTS policy, and particularly painful because of the precarious financial, emotional, and long-term problems presented to the Klouda family.

I for one do not believe Christians should defraud, break contracts, and abuse other Christians without having to give an answer for their actions.

That, ultimately, is the height of true, genuine Christian love.

Jack Maddox said...

annony

WOW! We have problems enough without your scenerio...

"There will be no Baptist in Heaven...."

NOW WAIT A MINUTE! : )

jrm

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

You keep bringing up Ben's post and his inconsistency. I have allowed you to post, ad infinitum, on that subject, almost to the point that it has hijacked this comment string. I have not seen the video, but would agree with Stephen. Again, allow me to encourage you to keep your comments limited to MY posts.

bryan riley said...

Rob Ayers, I hear you, and I'd like to agree, but did the Corinthian church have mediation/arbitration set up before Paul admonished them as he did in 1 Corinthians 6? And, again, with the call for consistency, for all who talk a lot about the universal Church, why are we quick to slip to local church for this particular passage? I may be relegated to an impractical idealist, but I think the scripture applies here. And, even if it didn't, I think other principles we consistently write about such as unity, love, forgiving one another, turning the other cheek, and the sovereignty of God also would raise question marks on this action. But, alas, I am repeating myself.

Why couldn't we appoint judges? Why couldn't someone like me mediate? The only reason would be if one of the two parties involved refused. As far as any other political/bureaucratic/polity reasons, I would think we of all people would want the Word to trump those. Why can't we strongly encourage the parties to get in a room somewhere, brothers and sisters, for the glory of God?

Written while humming the chorus to a very well known tune by one famous, but assassinated, Englishman... :)

bryan riley said...

I think there is a profound difference between crimes and civil matters. I think it is still very serious, yes, and simply questioning whether the scripture applies to this situation should not mean that one is not taking Klouda's situation seriously. I for one wrote fairly extensively about the horror of what happened on your previous posts.

But I do not think there is any suggestion that 1 Corinthians 6 said to ignore crimes because to report them to the authorities would bring shame to God. I'm not a Greek guy, but the English looks like it is referring to civil types of matters.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Trust me when I say as much as I have enjoyed the give and take, I have, as you have correctly observed, exausted my comments on this thread, being that your last comment actually proves my point. Thanks for the give and take and we will catch you on the next thread! Please do not read any offense on my part for there is none...only the joy of Jesus and the hope of a warm bed

good night all

JRM

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

I fully appreciate your passion to argue your position. Sometimes, however, the passion seems to far outweigh a sober analysis.

From my reading of your post—as well as in the face of much support you appear to receive in penning it (one commenter calling it “brilliant”)—I’d like to record a slight disagreement, if I may.

First, the way you frame the issue seems skewed from the start. You write: “the narrow interpretation that I Corinthians 6 is always, and for all time, forbidding any Christian from filing any suit against any other Christian or Christian insitution (sic) is very problematic.” To place the issue in such rigid parameters stretches what others seems to say.

I read Bart Barber’s post but he did not frame the issue as such. After all, one may be “pro-life” without forbidding any and all abortions always for all time. Almost all prolifers allow for some abortions. Similarly, one could possess a very strong view of anti-litigation between believers but allow for some sort of “exceptions.”

Secondly, I found your list of proposed questions troubling: “What about other passages that indicate that secular 'authorities' are ordained by God to correct problems and punish wrongdoing? What about the view that I Corinthians 6 is dealing with specific problems and people within the 'local' church of Corinth only? What about the desire for some to 'hold accountable' those who file a cause of action, but refuse to confront those who violate their vows, break contracts, and refuse to let their 'yes' be 'yes?'

Quite frankly, these appear to me virtually moot pertaining to the text of 1 Corinthians and whether or not the Apostle Paul highly questioned the morality of litigation between believers. Does he or does he not conclude in 1 Corinthians 6.1ff that litigation before the secular courts between believers is a bad practice?

For me, to bring in Romans 13 and government being “ordained by God” serves only to confuse. While government surely was instituted to punish criminals, I am unprepared to conclude that Dr. Patterson and SWBTS are criminals.

As for Paul dealing with a specific problem in Corinth “only” may cause some to pause. However, there is nothing in the text whatsoever to suggest the question. It seems strange that one as you who perpetually appeals to the “sufficiency of Scripture” to plead such.

Where in the text, Wade, is it implied that Paul only meant to speak to the special, localized needs of Corinthian Christians? Is there a NT scholar whom you would recommend I could check for this particular interpretation?

Finally, whether the Church “refuses to confront”, at least to your satisfaction, Wade, those who violate vows, break contracts, etc. has absolutely nothing to do with the issue about whether litigation between Christian believers is, according to the Apostle Paul, a good practice or a bad practice. Two very different issues.

Third, Wade, I am totally at a loss precisely why you did not seem to reflect what at least some rock-solid scholars have to say about 1 Corinthians 6. Good old John Gill, you will appreciate, was very clear.

He wrote: “The apostle here dissuades from this practice, of going to law before Heathen magistrates, not only from its being an imprudent [because the Jews themselves would not dare do it!], but an impudent, "daring", rash and adventurous action; and seems surprised that any should attempt it, when it must unavoidably expose their weaknesses and faults to their enemies; nor could they expect justice to be done them by men of such a character, as "unjust", who neither feared God, nor regarded men; were not only destitute of righteousness, but filled with all unrighteousness, and had not so much as the principles of common justice and equity in them.” Calvin preceded him with a hearty amen.

C.K. Barrett, after echoing the same sentiments as Calvin and Gill, concludes that a church has come to a “pretty pass when its members believe that they are more likely to get justice from unbelievers than from their own brothers.”

Our friend John MacArthur writes “suing another believer in a secular law court is a daring act of disobedience because of its implications related to all sin—displeasure of God...Such conduct as suing a fellow believer is not only a sinful shame, but a complete failure to act disobediently and righteously. Christians who take fellow Christians to court suffer moral defeat and spiritual loss even before the case is heard, and they become subject to divine chastening…Christians have no right to insist on legal recourse in a public court. It is far better to trust God’s sovereign purposes in trouble and loose financially than to be disobedient and suffer spiritually.”” Pretty strong language coming from such a supposed vague passage of Scripture, I’d say.

President B.H. Carroll, after arguing adamantly against brother taking brother to court confessed: “I have been defrauded many a time, more than once since I moved to Fort Worth. Why should I parade before outsiders my case?”

NT scholar, Craig Blomberg, sums up the passage under question by suggesting: “he [Paul] makes two main points: (1) if disputed require intervention, it should occur within the Christian community; (2) it is even better to accept being wronged than to demand recompense in either a secular or a Christian context.”

In the end, the Apostle Paul seems to be saying that a) the witness of the Body is compromised to the outside world when believer takes believer to public litigation and b) it’s better to trust in God’s sovereign purposes than trust in the public courts.

I find myself grieving that no one I recall seems to have picked up on the fact that, if this thing goes to trial, we have delivered to judge and jury the potential fate of a theological question.

In the lawsuit, time and again it is asserted that Dr. Klouda was released for the simple fact of female gender—“being a woman.” This is hardly true.

Rather, she was not offered a permanent position—from what I gather thus far—not because she was a woman but because she was a woman “teaching men,” a bona fide Biblical position.

Whether or not I agree with that theological assertion is presently irrelevant. But it definitively is NOT irrelevant to Dr. Patterson’s theological position, who carefully makes his case from his understanding of Scripture. I do not see how either judge or jury can overlook this in their deliberations.

If so, congratulations, Wade. Public litigation just decided our theology for us.

Grace always. With that, I am…

Peter

GUNNY said...

Pastor Burleson, I think I would have likely done the same thing had those instances happened on my watch, assuming I was able to prevent some of our boys from taking the evildoers to the woodshed, if you know what I mean.

However, I too see a difference between criminal activity and civil suits such as this. I'm not sure I have much to base that on at the moment, beyond my gut and that which seems intuitive, however. But I will cogitate further.

Forgive me if this has been answered, but in what instances would you say a Christian should not sue another Christian?

In other words, much of what we've discussed is whether or not 1 Cor 6 applies to Dr. Klouda's situation, but in what instances would you say it does apply.

Would it only apply to people in the same church?

Thanks for good contributing to lively and yet reasonable discussion on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Peter,

You have made your position clear. Dr. Klouda is wrong to have filed this suit. You, like everyone else, are entitled to your opinion.

Now, since the theme of this post is a call for consistency, would you simply post your answers to the questions Wade asked in the post?

We'll check back later to see what you have to say.

Steve

Roger Simpson said...

Stepehen:

I agree! If PP wanted to change the policy and not allow women in what he deemed to be men's only positions he should have given Dr. Klouda "grandfathered" [ "grandmothered" :) ] status and not implemented his plan retroactively. Alternatively, he should have worked out some type of "buyout" or "severance package" with Dr. Klouda at the time she left. To just hand her a pink slip after giving her the assurance he did is pretty cold.

As to the question of whether teaching Hebrew at SWBTS should be a "man only" job I don't have an opinion. However, that question is not the issue.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

GUNNY said...

"To just hand her a pink slip after giving her the assurance he did is pretty cold."

Roger,

I was under the impression that she was not dismissed or fired, but that she left to take a position elsewhere. Have I heard wrong?

Gunny
The Lone Star State

DT Boy said...

This whole situation saddens me. I am hopeful that this action will eventually lead to some truthfulness and honesty from SWBTS. That is all I want. I emailed Dr. Patterson with my concerns. I received an email back and addressed his comments and concerns. I never heard back from him. This was not long after the Klouda story came to light.

I believe SWBTS has had ample opportunity to avoid the situation that we now find ourselves. I would actual respect Dr. Patterson more if he had simply come clean and said, yes she is being let go because of her gender. At least then there is some honesty.

Colin said...
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kehrsam said...

I am not a theologian, so I will tread lightly. But it seems as though this discussion is conflating several different issues, thus making the discussion needlessly muddled. To his credit, Wade has attempted to keep the focus on one question (justice for Prof Klouda). I'll try to pare through the less germane issues first.

1. Dr. Patterson has been a polarizing figure in the SBC for 30 years and more, so it is hardly surprising that he remains a lightning rod, both for praise and criticism.

I admire Dr. Patterson for his vision, his energy, and his desire to serve the Lord. As a Moderate, I don't agree with many of the changes that he put into motion, but I find no fault with the methods used: The fact that there were so few lawsuits during the 1980s is a stirring comment on the Christian spirit of both sides in that conflict.

My point here, however, is that Dr. Patterson has precisely nothing to do with the current lawsuit, save where he has acted as an agent for SWBTS. Whether he has a big house, cars, etc is really beside the point.

2. Similarly, the fact that Wade (and some commenters here) personally know various of the principals involved in the controversy is interesting, but of little or no importance. As a former political staff person myself, I have long since learned that the cardinal sin in discourse with a brother is to assume that there is some "agenda" behind their words and actions. Deal with the actual words and actions, not those you perceive behind them. Anything else is to turn a person with a difference of opinion into an enemy.

3. With regard to the injunction in 1Cor, I think it graphically illustrates one of the fundamental paradoxes of scripture: We are called in no uncertain terms to do justice, yet at the same time are also enjoined to accept the status quo, even where it contains injustice. Paul could at the same time accept slavery while yet pleading on behalf of Onesimus; or pleading with the church in Corinth to work justice while also enjoining lawsuits against it if it failed.

We are called to justice, but are not guarranteed that justice will be done -- in this world. In the world to come there will be the perfect justice of God.

I have been both a lawyer and a politician. I believe in justice. But where the dispute is between those who I know to be Christians, I do not know that I can endorse a lawsuit.

I will say this: Someone in this case has failed God, perhaps all involved have done so. I believe that all of the players involved sincerely believe in the justice of their cause; I cannot believe that all have had the justice of God foremost in their thoughts.

Seeking Justice and Grace,

Kurt A. Ehrsam

Pamela Cook said...

This article says that she did file a suit in federal court this past Thursday. Of course I cannot verify the accuracy of this.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20070311/26247_Female_Professor_Sues_Seminary_Over_Dismissal.htm

I'm not a part of the SBC. However I care very much for what is happening with the body of Christ at large (as Christ sees us). I so desire to see unity according to ALL of God's word. These situations cause problems with our witness.

From my understanding the leader of the school made a promise and broke it causing much financial hardship to the professor and her ill husband. That is never right regardless of whether a federal law was broken or not. This issue seems to be ignored by those that state that her firing was only because of doctrine. According to this article this is one of the main points of her lawsuit. If anything in order to be decent and Christlike they could have made that policy start with new hires. It looks like a situation where the letter of the law is killing.

Groups can have their doctrine and make decisions accordingly. However to make a change midstream after the employee makes decisions based on the original promise is unconsionable. A sinner knows that type of behavior is wrong. I just don't understand how Christians can say that decision is honorable and holy. It's one thing when the Bible is clear on a matter (fornication, murder, lying, stealing, etc). This is a situation where there is still debate on the matter.

I'm only making these comments because from what I have read in many sources, including one Baptist source, does not dispute that she was promised that she would have her job then let go.

The issue of lawsuits is a hard one for sure. Both sides have valid points on this because this is NOT a situation where two individuals are suing each other in the local church. Even though the head of the school is named I suspect it is because he is the head of the school. I'm not an attorney but I suspect whether the head did the offense or not more than likely he would have been named just because he is ultimately responsible for whatever happens at the school.

I attend a church where they teach that you trust the Lord for financial recompense when you have a legal right to sue. The pastor and another church leader have both found themselves in situations where they could have sued but chose not to. Their reason is mainly for redemption of the offenders. In fact Sunday night the minister spoke of a current situation where he was in a business deal with another believer where monies were paid and the person(s) refused to do the work paid for. If the situation is not rectified they would lose thousands of dollars. He has chosen not to sue and pray for the person. He said it has not been easy. I do not know if this decision has put his family in a financial hardship or not. I will ask him about this situation with this professor. He used to be SBC many years ago. I would like his perspective.

His story really makes me think about the professor here. I honestly do not know if I could have just walked away with the situation the professor is currently facing. In my recent past I was in financial turmoil because of the bad ecomomy in OK. I was in that wilderness for five long years before I got a decent job last summer. You are provoked to do anything that you can to get funds. Those that are close to the Lord might be tempted to do things they would not do when they are not under financial pressure. It is one thing when you are just dealing with yourself. When you have a family depending on your income you look at a situation differently. Many (not all) that would criticize her for asking the courts for restitution probably have not suffered major financial hardships for a sustained period of time as I have. It is just a theological discussion. It is another thing altogether when you are the one facing bills month after month with no financial relief in sight. Companies could care less if you are trying to follow the word of God or not. They want their cash. Facing the situation she is facing it would be very difficult not to sue for financial restitution.

I hope that she is holding no bitterness in her heart towards the SBC nor the leader that allegedly committed the offense. I'm sure it was a decision that was not made lightly. Even if 1 Cor 6 applies in this situation the Lord is ALWAYS MERCIFUL when we sin. He will let us know that He does not condemn us and tell us not to do it again. For that I'm very grateful.

All I can say to the head of the school: If there is anything that needs repentance I would do it quickly. If there are any questionable things going on with the school and personally I would get them cleaned up immediately. If not they will be exposed in this suit.

To the anonymous female that is about to leave the SBC: I can't blame you at this point. It seems like denominations, no matter what flavor, end up like what I have seen in the SBC and other denominations including the one I grew up in. The people must serve the system to the point where it becomes God. If you do not do what they say you are not a good "christian". That is pretty sad. In the Bible there was one church in many cities, not the fragmented mess we have now. May God fix that in the days to come. At this point I refuse to be a part of any denomination unless the Lord says I must. I will not be a part of something where the leadership demand that people adhere to things that are not clear in the word. Eventually if the leadership becomes power-hungry they will demand things that are NOT in the word and abuse those that want to obey it. This is happening with the Episcopal Church, the PCUSA and other denominations. It's enough to work through things within a local congregation.

Pamela Cook said...

Wade,

How do I wrap text? The link to the article in my previous post goes past the right border.

You can go to http://www.christianpost.com and find the article in the Education section.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Steve,

I appreciate your allowing me the honor of expressing my opinion. Mostly though, it was the opinion of a host of respected authorities, beginning with one of Wade's heros, John Gill, whose opinions I cited. For me, I find it odd Wade overlooked their otherwise wise council.

Moreover, not so much was I sharing my opinion, as you put it, that "Dr. Klouda is wrong to have filed this suit." Rather I was sharing my opinion--and others' to whom Wade is highly indebted for his DoG--precisely about what constituted the Apostle Paul's opinion. How or if Dr. Klouda or anyone else who finds themselves having to wrestle through this text because of personal circumstances stands an entirely otherly question.

As for the theme being a call to ethical consistency, I must say, is confusing. While the title bears that out, the post, it seems to me, is more about viewing this text as cryptic, vague and esoteric in nature. Consequently, we must take care before we judge others who differ with our interpretation. No scholar I checked bore this overt vagueness out. Perhaps you know someone who does.

For the sake of argument, nevertheless, let's suppose the theme is consistency in ethical principle. Wade has upon other occasions critiqued consistency as a flaw in others' views. Granted consistency is significant in both principle and practise. Yet, inconsistency in practise does not at all negate one's ethical principle. All the charge of practical inconsistency does is point out one's practical inconsistency. That's it. It does not at all speak to whether or not a person is correct in his/her ethical principle.

For example, crtics have long charged most prolife evangelicals with ethical inconsistency who condemn abortion but embrace capital punishment, since capital punishment is taking life as well. But even if it is shown that the evangelical is inconsistent in his practical application of his principle, it does nothing to overturn his principle about abortion being ethically wrong; it only shows his teasing it out stands insufficient.

How does this fit Wade's litany of illustrations that those howling about Dr. Klouda's suit failed to also howl about others' suits? While the charge of practical inconsistency may be true, it does not at all prove that Dr. Klouda is right nor ethically proper in her present suit. That is, the ethical principle of anti-litigation between fellow Christians stands untouched.

I trust that helped, Steve, to understand why I did not view Wade's illustrations as relevant to whether Dr. Klouda was either morally right or wrong.

Peace to you. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins said...

Kurt,

I very much appreciate your comment. It seemed balanced and judicious. Nor would I, my brother, presume I know either law or law-suits.

But assuming the suit is as stated from Cole's site, it is hard for me to accept that Dr. Patterson himself is not named as part of the lawsuit particularly. Nowhere I recall his being named representing SWBTS nor as a representative of the Trustees but as an individual.

In addition, the views cited in the suit about "women not teaching men" are specifically attributed to Dr. Patterson, neither the Trustees nor SWBTS.

Given that, I cannot see this as a suit exclusively against SWBTS. Rather, there appears to be multiple defendents.

Supposing, however, I am wrong--and I very well may be--judge & jury are nonetheless asked to rule on chiefly a theological question for us: is it right and proper to avoid offering tenure to a woman whom SWBTS (in this case, represented by Dr. Patterson's view) believes to be Biblically out-of-sync with their theology? I just don't see a way around dealing with this.

Again, thanks for the well-stated comment. Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Anonymous said...

It is a same to see that much of Southern Baptist’s financial support will be wasted in the secular courts trying to fix this issue. Pride is to blame for all of this. Pride on the part of Dr. Patterson and the trustees’ for trying to enforce the scripture without looking at the fact that people are involved. Pride on the part of those who would mince the scripture to say it applies in this case but not this because this scripture is for the “local” church while it can be ignored universally and this scripture is for the “universal” church while it can be ignored by the conduct of the local assembly. Pride on Dr. Klouda’s part for feeling violated by the scriptural teaching that has been dominate in Christianity for some 2,000 years. Pride among those who feel that it is worth challenging a great institutions credibility and accreditation because of personal feelings which most likely will hurt SWBTS ability to offer seminary training to the many bi-vocational pastors who serve in TX, OK, AR, etc. who can neither afford to go to another SBC seminary nor have the option too. Pride on Wade’s part for offer poor counsel when being quick to listen and slow to speak may have proved more fruitful. Pride among SBC bloggers and pastor’s who would rather use their time arguing about who has the most persuasive argument at all costs. Pride on many Southern Baptist’s who think that more money should be but into the political machine of the convention and there own personal agenda than into funding new church starts, our international missionaries that have to eat rice just about everyday because that is all they can afford while we chew on carnal sweets and slave over a computer to get our 5 minutes of fame online. It think the blame does not just rest with one individual but all of us as Southern Baptist (myself included) who have just forgotten that this is Christ’s church not ours.

Okalahoma Joe

dwm III said...

Wade,

I'm a little confused. You told me I should be ashamed of myself for my comments about Dr. McKissic and his actions towards SWBTS.

Yet, you are not my pastor, you are not mentor and you are not my accountability partner.

Hmm...Yet you say nothing to BSC and his statements because you are..not Ben Cole's pastor. You are not Ben's mentor. You are not Ben's accountability partner.

Yet, you are his friend, aren't you?

Sir, if consistency is your cry, why tell a man to be ashamed of himself whom you don't know, yet have a FRIEND who says what he says and never say a word.

Inconsistency is illogical. I'm not pointing it out, you are. But, this isn't to say you are a bad person. Just inconsistent. Which, has really been my cry in this whole debate.

dwmiii

Bob Cleveland said...

Folks:

Get off the "CP funds being wasted fighting this lawsuit" thing. I cannot imagine that this suit will not be covered by insurance, including defense costs.

The whole deal is tragic, but the Cooperative Program isn't the issue. As Jesus put it:

Luke 11:42: "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone." (NIV)

Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland,

Thanks for another good word as usual.

dwmiii,

The call for consistency has to do with those who so vehemently pronouce Dr. Klouda as wrong for filing this law suit, but who seemingly don't have anything to say about the questions Wade asked in this post. What is your reply to the questions he asks?

Steve

Anonymous said...

To assume that this conflict will use absolutely no resources from the cooperative program is naive. After all, weren’t the institutions finances received from churches used to purchase insurance that will be used in protecting the institution now under attack? It is not about storing up greed for oneself as with the Pharisees but about being a good steward with what the gracious Lord has given to us for ministry not legal conflict resolution. Again we all have fault in this one.

Oklahoma Joe

Baptist Theologue said...

In yesterday's Baptist Press article, Dr. McClain was quoted:

"The administration ... allowed her to teach a full two years after she was told that she would not have tenure ... and the seminary even agreed to continue her support after her teaching responsibilities were over, so her family would have financial support. The seminary went far beyond anything that could be expressed as its duty or responsibility."

A question for all:

How about ministers who consider themselves to have been unfairly terminated by churches that give them no time to find another place of service and that give them no continued support after their termination? Do they have the right to sue their former churches?

Wade Burleson said...

dwmiii,

You went on a website and declared Dwight McKissic breached confidentiality by giving information to people who are not board members -- without offering any proof or supportive documentation.

You deserved the rebuke. If you feel what Ben has said on his site cannot be supported, then you have the right to rebuke him, but if there is no rebuke from me, maybe it is because Ben is backing up what he writes.

There is a difference.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Theologue,

The academic world is different from being a pastor.

Professors are given positions that are called 'tenure-track.' If you in a 'tenure-track' position then you, by policy, have the right to tenure review and defense before the tenure committee and ultimately the full board.

To removed from the 'tenure-track' position by adminstration, in violation of policy, simply because of 'gender' is a violation of federal law.

You are comparing apples and oranges.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe, my apologies.

I shall remove both comments. Thanks for the reminder and forgive me for forgetting.

I am fallible and I appreciate your spirit in reminding me of our private email correspondence.

Blessings to you.

Baptist Theologue said...

Wade, you said that I was comparing apples and oranges. Weren't you doing the same when you said the following:

"For those casitgating Dr. Klouda for filing a cause of action filed against SWBTS do you also condemn this Christian families lawsuit against Westboro Baptist Church?"

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Don't sweat it, I have slept since then too. As a matter of fact I have a hard time remembering sometimes what I had last night for dinner with the busyness of everyday life.

Oklahoma Joe

Wade Burleson said...

Theologue,

If you could show me reasons why a pastor would sue a congregation for breach of contract, I would not say you are comparing apples and oranges. Pastors normally do not have contracts that move toward tenure.

My post is not comparing lawsuits, as was your comment. My post is revealing the inconsistency of those who say there should never be, at any time or for any reason, a lawsuit among Christians.

Those who say that should yell and scream at the Tennessee Baptist Convention, the Missouri Baptist Convention, the people who were embezzled by Baptist Foundation of Arizona employees -- etc . .. all of whom filed suits against Christians.

It's apple to apples.

:)

Baptist Theologue said...

Wade, do you believe that a terminated pastor has the right to sue his former church?

Baptist Theologue said...

Maybe I should be more specific. Do you believe there are any circumstances under which a terminated pastor has the right to sue his former church?

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade & DWMIII:

There's also the fact that Ben didn't post his video HERE, he posted it on HIS blog.

Why comment HERE about HIS blog? And what Wade B. may or may not have said to or about Ben Cole? Like ..

I don't really think blog comments here are the only way you, Wade, might have addressed Ben, and I'm not willing to assume you're not doing whatever God tells you to do in that respect.

I also Wade B. doesn't need old dudes from Alabama defending him, so I'll shut up now and slink back to the Padded Cell.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

You write: "My post is not comparing lawsuits, as was your comment. My post is revealing the inconsistency of those who say there should never be, at any time or for any reason, a lawsuit among Christians."

Could you please tell us some of the mystery folk who are yelling "there should never be, at any time or for any reason, a lawsuit among Christians."?

With that, I am...

Peter

bryan riley said...

Actually, Bob, it is rare for businesses to have what is called EPL insurance (employment practices liability insurance). Also, it may not cover some aspects of this suit. Finally, legal fees will quickly run to $100,000 and beyond. That would fund several missionaries.

Rob Ayers said...

Bryan,

As I stated, currently there is no mechanism within the convention to "force" entities and parties into a room to 'discuss' options.

Inside the church, we have the mechanism of Matthew 5:15-18 and 1 Timothy 5:19 to deal with parties in dispute - a bona fide policy of mediation/arbitration. These entities are not the church, they are corporations. I suspect that Dr. Patterson would argue that while his interpretation of 1 Timothy should govern whom he allows to teach theology to men, he would not be subject to the procedure of dealing with disputes because his is a corporation with policies/manuals/bylaws, governed by corporate law where he and the trustees are the final authority as Pre(if you want to talk about inconsistency, start right there buddy).

The issue currently in disute is a "contract" which has certain legal distinctions in the law. That contract and it's viability is governed by the courts unless there are other parties that can mediate the matter. If SWBTS truly was totally autonomous, then her only recourse would be the courts. My argument is that SWBTS should not be autonomous from the main body of the SBC - when Dr. Patterson wields the power of his office to hire and fire, he is doing so in the name of the churches. The churches then should be allowed to settle the dispute. Yet again, there currently is no mechanism to force SWBTS (who view themselves as an autonomous body) into a room with Dr. Klouda to settle anything.

I am not in favor AT ALL of Christians going into secular court to settle any dispute. I believe it was poor judgement on Dr. Patterson's part to release this person on the grounds that he did - a sympathetic head-of-household who was just doing a job well she was voted into doing without any sort of recourse. Bob's scripture quote was appropriate - in this case the minute "letter of the law" was followed without any sense of grace or justice. At the same time, I find this suit at this time to be suspect. The timing before the convention the put maximum political pressure on SWBTS (also before the next trustee meeting) is interesting and I might say machivilian. I agree with Joe - pride in every corner. Yet again, we are not helping ourselves and our allegiance to the cause of Christ without putting in a way to deal with these issues inside the Convention. Instead of wailing, find solutions so that in the future, a person who feels they were wronged and finaincially devastated will have some recourse outside of a secular court.

Rob

Bob Cleveland said...

Bryan: I doubt seriously it's rare for businesses of this size to purchase EPL (or the newer more desirable forms).

And I seriously doubt they'd write it for minimum limits. But that's all just conjecture anyway.

I wonder if the tenor of comments would change if folks thought God was behind the lawsuit. If HE was using this as a corrective upon SWBTS and/or the entire SBC. If HE decided to stop waiting for the people who make up the Body, to insist on correction of the things that have been bothering so many.

bryan riley said...

Bob, I'm sharing that knowledge from being a defense employment lawyer. That doesn't mean they don't have it. Some companies will have it but have a million dollar deductible and it is only to protect against class actions. Regardless, insurance is costly and if a Christian business were to conduct themselves in Christians ways they generally wouldnt' need it.

William Madden said...

Over and over again on these blogs, I read one SBC pastor after another saying things like "we'ere not helping our witness by bringing things like this out in the open."

One could also say, we are really not helping our witness by letting a degrading perspective and attitude on women and their role in church life take root and become the norm in Southern Baptist life.

One could also say, we are really not helping our witness by letting the world see that Southern Baptists are not able or willing to do the difficult work of righting wrongs that occur within our denominational life.

It makes me wonder why Southern Baptist pastors just don't want to deal with these types of issues and prefer to sweep them under the rug. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that all of the infighting that has occurred in SBC life during the last 20 years has made being a Southern Baptist a pretty "hard sell." Here in metro Atlanta, most educated women I know who were not born and raised Southern Baptist would not consider becoming one in a million years exactly because of the kind of thing that Dr. Patterson has done at Southwestern.

volfan007 said...

wade,

anonymous steve has made many comments here lately. he really sounds a lot like someone we all know and love. you have one of those tracker things, and you have gotten onto people before about posting under different names. can you tell us if anonymous steve is also another blogger under another name? he really does sound familiar, dont you think?

curious george

peter lumpkins said...

Dear William,

I live in the Atlanta area too. But we can't keep up with the masses of women joining our "fundamentalist" church.

Frankly, it is not just these pastors saying "we'ere not helping our witness by bringing things like this out in the open." These pastors are only reflecting what the apostle Paul wrote: "When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers."

Whether Dr. Patterson's postion is wrong at this particular juncture toward women professors--I think it is--stands irrelevant to whether or not Dr. Klouda is morally justified in bringing a suit against him or SWBTS.

Peace. With that, I am...

Peter

Alycelee said...

Bob, that's exactly what I do believe.
And I believe it's just the beginning. But isn't that a good thing? I believe so. It means we are son's (and daughters) and not illegitimate)

Anonymous said...

Wade,

If I may ask two sets questions?

1). If 1 Cor. 6 is dealing with a specific situation relevant only to the Church at Corinth, then how can we prove this hermeneutically? Is this not the same type of hermeneutical practice used by those who seek to justify Christian Homosexuality? "Romans 1 only refers to a specific church at Rome." Are we not opening a very difficult door to close if that becomes an acceptable hermeneutical practice when there is not warrant for it to be so?

2). How would you [and others, even Dr. Klouda who may be following the blog] respond to 1st Corinthians 6:7. "Actually then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? [NASB updated]. Does this not seem to be a timeless principle?

With Grace,
John B.

2).

Mike said...

There is no question Gary Richardson is trial lawyer with a large reputation. I not saying that is good or bad. Draw your own conclusions.

Lots and lots of points in this thread. Too many summarize.

Relevant to me is following:

1. SWBTS is owned by the SBC churches. Churches need to be involved in helping to solve this BEFORE any litigation. Now what churches need to be involved? Difficult question. Has Dr. Klouda consulted her pastor? Even if he is not SBC and I do not know if he is or not. Has Dr. Patterson? Has Mr. VanClain? Has anyone involved in the matter sought their pastor?

2. What did Dr. Klouda do in the 2 years after hearing she would be likely asked to leave? Did she seek counsel of her pastor in TX and try to resolve the matter? Who did Dr. Patterson consult with once the matter either before or after "terminating" her to even tellng her that was going to happen?

3. Why have we not heard from Dr. Klouda directly (not the newspaper "quoting" her) in the last 2+ years? I understand need not to talk now after the lawsuit is filed. Whom did she receive counsel from or seek counsel from and when did that occur? Wade, are you involved along with Ben in enabling this to become front burner for many motives before trying to counsel her to resolve the issue privately? What advice have you given her? Pray tell details and how we go to this point? You have not had permission apparently to do so and not that the suit is filed I would hope you do not speak publicly.

4. Wade, and others, I wonder if you might be subpoened for your deposition or possibly even to testify in court about your intimate knowledge of the matter? That could prove very interesting and revealing. Be careful my friend. You can control what is said in the blog to some extent but if it goes to court everyone might not like what could come out. Not just you but many people in addition to the main parties. Witness could be severely hindered and the cause of Christ hurt. I think that is a big point to consider and likely the Biblical basis behind what Paul had to say. If this goes to court, the defense will not succumb to the whims of a blog. They will defend aggressively although I pray and hope it NEVER gets to that point. That would be so harmful. I pray it is resolved soon outside of court. I hope that is the intent of everyone including you Wade.

5. The point regarding tenure track profs having a contract is interesting. Is there actually a written contract (I do not think so) that has remedies available to resolve disputes?

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. No answers but food for thought.

Wade, be careful friend. You have mentioned in the past that you have sought counsel of trusted people before you write. Do you still do that?

Karen in OK said...

I don't know what difference it would or should make legally, but people I have come across discussing this topic elsewhere seem to be less than sympathetic to Dr. Klouda, because they think she had two years' warning to do something about her situation. That she was told in 2004 that she would not be on the tenure track and why.
The implication being, I guess, that she had lots of notice and magnified her own financial suffering by not being more proactive. That SWBTS actually did help her financially by not just letting her go immediately in 2004.
Whether true or not, this seems to be a popular perception.

Greg Cloud said...

We Baptists like to argue things, don't we...

We love a heated debate.

Here's my contribution to this whole issue...

I've heard a lot of worldly wisdom here, but only a smattering of Christian wisdom.

I believe that Jesus' Sermon on the mount was not given as optional behavior. Turn the other cheek means just what it says.

This is the spirit of 1 Cor 6.

Have we ever learned how to behave like Christians? Or, like the muslems, do we serve a God who needs our help to redress grievences?

Also, I believe that there is such a thing as grace....in which we can accept and forgive a brother or sister who makes a mistake, or simply disagrees with us.


I am only in control of my own life---I am the only one I can judge. I will not be a judge of such matters as these. I will, however say to all involved: we need to all return to the scriptures--the basics of Christianity--and learn how to act with faith in God alone as Christians. You don't use the world's ethics and you don't fight the Lord's battles with the world's weapons. This is shameful, and bears bad fruit.

Good grief.

Colin said...

I posted but removed this last night in order to do some more studying. I searched a large number of journal articles and could find no scholars to agree with the position stated here. In fact, many cited the passage as not merely discouraging lawsuits, but disallowing them altogether between believers. I would love any references.

Romans 13:1ff and 1 Peter 2:13ff seem to clearly call Christians to submit to God ordained authorities. I hope this isn't opinion. Further, it seems that they (the authorities) are the ones, having set the laws, to bring charge against the wrongdoer. You cite examples above that all would be prosecuted by the state without your approval (though one should be obligated to press charges in most instances), then followed by one the state has little interest in pursuing outside the plaintiff's insistence. But what about civil matters? What about those who bring charge against others using the court system?

It is a huge leap to link criminal activity with civil injustice. Though one may claim that law is law, and when federal law is broken, "what is the difference?", this renders Paul's admonition in 1 Cor 6 meaningless. For, it is by local, state, or federal law that civil cases are judged, and judgment therfore is rendered on the one who broke the law of the entity with jurisdiction. One cannot arbitrarily draw the line at federal law any more than state or "world" law (cough). What civil case is tried irrespective of law? Thus, what civil case is off-limits? To Paul, I suspect some were. However, THEY WERE ALL DISCOURAGED.

I do believe your logic is thoroughly consistent in that you want to cast doubt that this text can be seen as straightfoward (something seen here before), while using exceptions that strike the heart of the reader as perceived human injustices.

But this is what I find intriguing, that the basis of these arguments is usually: 1) that one has no choice but to sue if both parties will not submit to arbitration (they were "forced" to do it), and 2) all injustices must be corrected by Christians. No supporting biblical evidence has been given for either of these assertions. I think Paul and Peter cogently argue in terms of submission to authority and lawsuits in general that justice will oftentimes be fleeting in view of the glory and conciousness of God. There will not always be recourse, but to rely on God's avenging justice in time. For God is the avenger, conveniently positioned by Paul in Romans 12 just prior to his admonition to be subject to authorities. Paul further effectively argues in 1 Cor 6 that the Christian will be wronged when no lawsuit is pursued. To argue that one must pursue an injustice is contrary to the entire point Paul here is making. The greater good is always to glorify God, no matter how many heartstrings an example can tug. What hermeneutic is this?

Would God be unjust in not dealing with any of the mentioned cases before the coming day of judgment? Then, how would Christians be called unjust for obeying God in avoiding lawsuits with believers and letting the injustices continue?

Debbie said...

Karen from OK: Popular where? (I am from OK as well) and who specifically are the they you mentioned?

It would seem since no one is walking in Dr. Klouda's shoes, that "they" should be the last people to condemn.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve A said...

How would it work I we were to ask the SBC Exec Committee to respond to complaints like these with SWBTS, or old ones on Dr. Reccord? They could meet in a monthly, consistent atmosphere rather than in an annual meeting with everything else going on, including blatant politicking? Would we just end up griping about them a year from now?

What about asking the sitting SBC President to judge such matters, rather like Judge Learned Hand who held considerable sway within major league baseball once? He never hesitated to issue hard and fast decisions.

Dona nobis pacem. Grant us peace!

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Mike said...
Wade,

Here is Barber's quote that you used in your post at the beginning of the third paragraph.

"I submit to you that, for a Christian, the costs of a lawsuit must be calculated using more than a financial ledger. There is the cost to our witness. There is the cost that any of us bear when we directly contradict God's word and disobey it (emphasis mine).

Where does Barber say anything about a universal prohibition against suits (your heading following Barber quote and your brief remarks)?

This is how you begin following a controversial beginning sentence in paragraph 1. Your entire first paragraph builds a straw arguement.

You say, "The issue of whether or not Dr. Sheri Klouda should have filed a cause of action against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for being removed from a tenure track position because she is a female has produced quite a discussion within the blog world."

I say, is that the issues or is it a matter of interpreration of scripture in Timothy and other places? Have you and others made it a case of discrimination against a woman? I will let others decide--hopefully before it gets to court.

Then later in first paragraph you say, "The differences of opinion within our convention over Sheri Klouda's decision to sue illustrates the diversity of views we have as Southern Baptists and the continuing importance of treating each other with respect."

I say, yes we should treat others with respect but we should not compromise the word of God. Never compromise the word of God. Just because you or I have an opinion does not make us right. Diversity does not mean we can compromise what God's word say. You have yet to address most of the folks who have challenged you with the meaning of 1 Cor 6 from scholarly views and support.

You build your entire post on these opening paragraphs that are built on straw. It is not about what you think or diversity or how many comments you can achieve on the post--or that I can achieve or my own opinion.

I fear we are taking an issue that is Biblical and allowing the legal system to try and address it. And folks are trying to hide behind discrimination and make a case for their own alterior motives.

On the other hand, I am thrilled the Kloudas are being taken care of financially and hopefully other ways also. That is Christian love. Although i wonder at her response and those that have advised her to file a lawsuit. Is that a response we would expect? While we do not want anything in return for our extension of care and concern to her, I just wonder and am awestruck at human response. I guess that is why the love of God is such a mystery that he would love a wretch like me. I am undeserving but he loves me in the past, present, and future!

I am blessed.

Bob Cleveland said...

Methinks the giant timber of non-support for Dr. Klouda's financial plight, among what we love to call the "body of Christ", is of such enormity that most energy would be better spent on that, rather than on violating Romans 14:4 and judging her for actions that I suppose only those who've walked in her shoes can fully comprehend.

And before you protest that no one is judging, ask yourself how long this string would be if it were a purely subjective argument. I don't think it'd be all that long.

To quote the last lines of my recent post about this:

"Who are you to judge another man's servant?". Who are we, indeed? Who are we?

We are sinners, saved by grace, who ought to be ashamed. That's who we are.

Mike said...

Debbie said,
It would seem since no one is walking in Dr. Klouda's shoes, that "they" should be the last people to condemn.

Debbie, please consider if whether or not our example is what Dr. Klouda did or Christ? Christ suffered and died for us. He knew sorrow and pain and went to the cross.

Can we not exemplify him with our actions? Please do not use human logic to address spiritual issues.

I think Greg Cloud and Colin (among others) are grasping and explaining the right issues. Thanks guys.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Mike: I refer you to both Bob's post and the original post.

Colin said...

Bob,

If we are not to judge, how does Matt 18 work? Further, could you explain the connection between judging, Matt 18, and 1 Cor 6? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

To those who continue to insist that Romans 13 and 1st Peter and all other passage used to justify lawsuits, I would beg you to look a little closer. This is how the Christian is to react to the governement when the government passes laws that are not easily obeyed. It is also a reference to both criminal justice and just war. But NOWHERE is it used to encourage individuals to fight for their rights. NOWHERE.

Also, as to the continued reference of Romans 14:4 by one blogger. This is a fallacious use of that verse as well. Otherwise, the Apostle Paul would be contradicting himself when he rhetorically asked, "Do you not judge those who are inside the church?" [1 Corinthians 5:12]. Interestingly enough, this immediately precedes the whole argument against lawsuits in chapter 6.

With Love,
John B.

Wade Burleson said...

John, Colin, Mike and Peter,

Did the Tennessee Baptist Convention, Missouri Baptist Convention and the Arizona Southern Baptists sin against God, violated the Word of God, and bring disrepute to the people God when they filed lawsuits against fellow Christians? Yes, or no?

I believe they did not. Do you, or don't you?

They simply sought to hold people accountable to contracts.

Bob Cleveland said...

Anyone who is in Dr. Klouda's church, and is in a position of reponsibility, should be dealing with this as a church matter, which is what Paul was advising the church in Corinth to do.

That seems also to be what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 18.

If that's not where the rest of us are, then I reiterate the last lines of my last comment, and refer to the rest of the last post on my blog.

For the last time.

volfan007 said...

wade,

what about anonymous steve? is he another blogger using a different name? do you know him? is he who i think he is?

david(curious george)

Wade Burleson said...

I don't know him Volfann, nor do I know who you think he is.

Alycelee said...

The 'one blogger' is Bob Cleveland. A remarkable man with a 'history' of calling us back to reality and what's really important. He understands biblical unity.
His call for US to take a look at Romans 14 while we so quickly throw out our opinions here is IMO one worth taking.

volfan007 said...

wade,

ok. thanks. anon steve just really sounds like someone else.

david

William Madden said...

The Georgia Baptist Convention also sued Shorter College, a Baptist college, when it attempted to alter it's trustee system in order to avoid strict fundamentalist control. That's just another example of Christians suing other Christians, and it was done with the blessing of the current SBC leadership.

bryan riley said...

I don't think Matthew 18 has anything to do with judging.

I also have not been in agreement with this post, but I'm very much for Sheri Klouda. Perhaps I'm the wild card, I don't know, but, Bob, I don't know how your comments apply to any who may see this as I do. I definitely do not see clearly, but I genuinely question this "call for consistency" and whether it is consistent itself. I do agree that those who might be okay with the other lawsuits should be okay with this one, and those who opposed those on the basis of 1 Corinthians 6 should also oppose this one. But I also say we should not judge. I don't see any contradiction in those positions. I do wonder about the consistency of talking about unity and the sovereignty of God (among other things I've mentioned previously) and bringing this lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Alyce,

My pointing out of Bob was not to attack, hence the avoidance of using any names. His impeccable credintials, of which I do not doubt, still does not answer the question of how his interpretation of Romans 14 is not in contradiction of 1 Cor. 5-6 as I referenced in my earlier comment. Please, do not be so quick to defend the person that you miss the legitimacy of my argument.

With Grace,
John B.

Chris Gates said...

One question Wade,

Would you coach someone in your church who was having the same exact problem as the people in 1 Cor. 6 to go to the courts for a ruling if neither the church, nor the association, nor the SBC at large would help? Would you tell the person (or persons) in Corinth to go to court?

Cathy said...

As a life long, “mature” Southern Baptist female, it has saddened me greatly to watch the path the SBC has taken over the last 20 years. The public bickering, politics and battles for control are a disgrace and must surely sadden our Father. He told us to “love one another” and “spread the gospel” and not to be a stumbling block for our brothers. Many seem to have lost sight of the tasks assigned by Jesus and instead have been sidetracked by visions of grandeur, acclaim and recognition. Through all of this the SBC has gained a new notoriety that does not show us to be any different from any secular organization encumbered by politics and control-seeking individuals. We haven’t shown ourselves as being all that different or having anything special to set us apart from the rest of the world. Although I have no intention to leave my current SBC church (where I am very active and involved in many aspects), if I were to feel it time to end fellowship there, I’m not sure that my move would be to another SBC church.

Cathy said...

My comment above may seem a little out of context, but to me the whole situation with Dr.Klouda is another example of individual(s) being more concerned with control than Biblical doctrine. I support her right to follow her conscience and seek whatever legal recourse is available to her.

Debbie said...

Chris: Look at the passage closely. What type of troubles was the Corinth church having.

I have no problem with those who disagree with Dr. Klouda, where I have the trouble, is where I have always had the trouble. That everyone should think the same way or be wrong and not following God or the Bible, which of course I disagree with as being true.

Anonymous said...

Cathy,

I also support her right. Just like I support other's right to speak against it. I don't think rights are the issue. That is a 21st Century American word, not a theological argument. Does she have the 'right?' Yes. Should she? That is the debate. Governmental 'rights' do not always equal Biblical 'shoulds.'

Blessings
John B.

Wade Burleson said...

I would tell the person any person who felt a crime had been committed against them to report the crime and let the matter be settled by authorities.

Period.

Cathy said...

Using the word "right" may have been a poor choice of wording. However, it is still her decision to make and it is one of those choices we as humans make that we may have to "explain" to God. He is the ultimate judge of whether or not we made good decisions and choices and no amount of "explaining" on our part will sway the court!

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Was a crime committed against Dr. Klouda?

Grace,
John B.

Robert Hutchinson said...

mike,

you said, "SWBTS is owned by the SBC churches.

BAPTIST CHURCHES THAT AFFILIATE WITH THE SBC DO NOT OWN THE AGENCIES OR INSTITUTIONS CREATED BY THE SBC.

AND CHURCHES ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE SBC.

WHICH MEANS THAT BAPTIST CHURCHES HAVE NO (ZERO, ZILCH, NONE, NADA) AUTHORITY WHATSOEVER OVER THE SBC.


i think lack of understanding about sbc polity contributes more to our problems than we realize.

here is what article xii of the sbc constitution reads...

Article XII. As to Conflict with State Laws:

"In case any action of any entity of the Convention is found to be a violation of the law of the state of its incorporation, said action shall be reported by that entity to the Convention for appropriate action."

the violation has been reported now action will be taken.

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

I'm confused--regrettably a standard state much too often when visiting here. My deepest apologies.

I thought it clear that your list of other lawsuits lend nothing to whether or not Dr. Klouda is morally justified in her's. Scripture alone determines that. At least, that's my view.

What you seem to overlook, my Brother, is that your apparent charge of inconsistency on the part of those who now question Dr. Klouda but did not question the other cases only raises suspicions about moral practise not moral principle. In essence, we could agree that all, some or none of the other cases were wrong. So what? This reveals nothing toward a moral solution to Dr. Klouda's suit.

Thus, the charge of inconsistency is simply a disguised form of ad hominen...a simple lawyer's trick**. Discredit the eye-witness by questioning their "consistency."

Taint their credibility for telling the truth by focusing on some of their former lies. And then, then kicker: "If you've lied before, how do we know you're not lying now?" The slickster hopes to take an unsuspecting juror off-guard.

Most, however, will see that just because a person has not been always truthful, does not necessitate his/her not being truthful about what he/she saw pertaining to the defendant.

By the way, apparently given your view Wade, a person must have "always, and for all time" told the truth" else he/she could never take the witness stand. Why? They'd be morally inconsistent, of course! So much for decadent old sinners like me ever being a star witness.

Once again: even if one failed to voice objection against a hundred other cases, Dr. Klouda's case stands or falls with Scripture, not our moral inconsistency.

I trust my point came through this time around. As usual, Grace forevermore. With that, I am...

Peter

**Perhaps you may have been hanging around the ninth hole with Mr. Richardson much too long, Wade.

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

As gently as I know how, I must say I don't have a clue what you are saying.

My view on Dr. Klouda's cause of action is consistent with my interpretation of Scripture and my view on the lawsuits I mention in my post.

Please, in two words or less (if possible), do you believe that the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Tennessee Baptist Convention violated the word and the will of God in filing suit?

peter lumpkins said...

Dear Wade,

I simply do not know precisely how to state any clearer that whether or not a person is morally consistent or morally inconsistent bears squat on whether or not a moral principle is right or wrong. Scripture determines that, not experience, from my view.

Thus, Wade, your question is materially irrelevant.

Given that, Dr. Klouda's case rests directly on the proper applicability of 1 Cor. 6.1-8, happily not on whether we have judged every other case properly, including but not limited to convention lawsuits.

If you still do not understand, Wade, I suppose you're sovereignly not meant to:-) You have enough already to answer, given Colin's challenging post. And very CLEAR post, I might add.

Grace, my Brother. With that, I am...

Peter

Wade Burleson said...

Peter,

For the life of me I cannot understand why you cannot, will not, or do not answer my question?

Please, in two words or less (if possible), do you believe that the Missouri Baptist Convention and the Tennessee Baptist Convention violated the word and the will of God in filing suit?


With that . . .

I am done,

:)

Chris Gates said...

Wade, you said you would tell anyone in your church that felt that a crime had been committed against them to report it and let the authorities handle it. What then is the place of 1 Cor. 6, and the principle of suffering at the hand of one's brothers and sisters in Christ, rather than having the name of Christ defamed before unbelievers. Is not the Bible the rule of our faith? Or are you one of those who are willing to overlook biblical truth and principle (which are clearly taught in scripture) for the sake of your own interests (even if those interests happen to include the wellfare of a dear freind)? Does 1 Cor. 6 have anything to say to the Klouda situation at all . . . or was that (in your view, I know what the text says)just something that was cultural and therefore has no meaning for today? Now I don't mean to sound harsh, or to sound like I am attacking you. I assure you, I am not. I am simply trying to understand for myself how the Bible speaks to the Klouda case, and similar cases within the realm of SBC life. I am also trying my best to understand where you are coming from. You seem to be trying awfully hard to make the Bible and the will of God more complicated than they are.

Respectfully . . .

Chris Gates said...

Wade,

I will answer the question you ask about the conventions that filed suit. You will have to admit that the case of those conventions filing suit and Dr. Klouda filing suit are, at least somewhat different. A convention handling business with the state or any other non-church organization may involve some legal action. 1 Cor. 6 does not speak to that. It does, however, speak to Dr. Klouda's situation (or one similar). Dr. Klouda is taking to court members of her spiritual family. This should not see court. It should be handled by the SBTC. According to 1 Cor. 6, and Matt. 18 one would be constrained to agree that that is true. What is more important to you, Wade; the wellfare and feelings of Dr. Klouda, or the name of Christ?

Can you, Wade, in one sentence or less answer that question?

Wade Burleson said...

Chris,

There is no difference between the Klouda suit and the Tennessee and Missouri suits: all are "taking to court members of their spiritual family"

The fact that you can't admit that is astonishing.

kehrsam said...

As an ex-lawyer I feel constrained to point out that Dr. Klouda filing suit in this instance DOES NOT indicate that she does not take the instruction in 1 Cor seriously.

Most Breach of Contract claims have a three-year statute of limitations for the injured party to enforce his/her rights. Dr/ Klouda was informed of her potential termination ("Anticipatory breach" is the legal term) in 2004. So Dr. Klouda may have been faced with the choice of either filing the suit to preserve her rights, or allow them to lapse without any resolution. She is under no obligation to pursue the suit all the way to trial, and may do nothing more than utilize the extra time to pursue further negotiations with the Seminary.

As I stated earlier, I think speculation about the motives of any of the parties to this dispute are mistaken, unless the speculator knows far more than has been made public.

In Christ,
Kurt A. Ehrsam

peter lumpkins said...

Wade,

That's fine, Bro. We can drop it. The reason I "cannot, will not, or do not answer" your question should be obvious: since I argue no relevance to the other cases you cite--including but not limited to convention lawsuits--I offer no evidence to lend support your ill-founded point.

But, of course, I suspect you very well know this, Wade, which is precisely why you appear to stall the dialog here. I take you for no fool, my brother. You have learned well the art of evasion, if I may so say. Smooth, my friend. Very smooth indeed.

Till next time, sleep under grace. With that, I am...

Peter

P.S. It's just my opinion, but it is my opinion, Wade: Colin deserves a well-written response. His point remains ignored.

Wade Burleson said...

kehrsam,

well said.

Char said...

Mike says, "we are taking a Biblical issue and asking the courts to address it." Really? Where in the lawsuit filed was the court invited to parse any pericopes?
The language I saw in the 17 page document submitted to a district court in Texas used these words: breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, declaratory judgement and defamation. I saw all of those words as I took a look at various law schools but don't ever remember seeing them in any of my MDiv classes.

Again, this is not about my or any of our OPINIONS about women teaching Hebrew in an SBC seminary. THE SBC has not prohibited women from teaching in the SBC seminaries. We can as a denomination make that the rule ANYTIME we want to do so. The AMERICAN court system CANNOT STOP US. But, please, please tell me you believe in honoring the system that we have in place. If any seminary president can change the rules so drastically without consent of the denomination, then this denomination has such a choatic future as one can't even imagine.

Charmona

I better go find that pastor I tutored in Hebrew (b/c he was failing so badly) and tell him that I was wrong to be teaching him Hebrew and to please notify the proper authorities. tee hee

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Lumpkin,

Here is your wish. I could only now wish you would answer my question, but the fact you choose not answer it reveals to me you understand the predicament you are in -- you can, and would be refuted with either a 'yes' or a 'no' because of your statements regarding Dr. Klouda and your speculation she has 'sinned' for filing suit.

Now for Colin's comment:

He said,

Romans 13:1ff and 1 Peter 2:13ff seem to clearly call Christians to submit to God ordained authorities. I hope this isn't opinion. Further, it seems that they (the authorities) are the ones, having set the laws, to bring charge against the wrongdoer. You cite examples above that all would be prosecuted by the state without your approval (though one should be obligated to press charges in most instances), then followed by one the state has little interest in pursuing outside the plaintiff's insistence. But what about civil matters? What about those who bring charge against others using the court system?

There is a very large sign posted in our office at church that says 'Equal Employment Is the LAW." There will, I'm sure, be debate over the law, breach of contract, fraud, etc . . . based upon violations of SWBTS policy in releasing Dr. Klouda because she is a woman.

It is a huge leap to link criminal activity with civil injustice. Though one may claim that law is law, and when federal law is broken, "what is the difference?", this renders Paul's admonition in 1 Cor 6 meaningless. For, it is by local, state, or federal law that civil cases are judged, and judgment therfore is rendered on the one who broke the law of the entity with jurisdiction. One cannot arbitrarily draw the line at federal law any more than state or "world" law (cough). What civil case is tried irrespective of law? Thus, what civil case is off-limits? To Paul, I suspect some were. However, THEY WERE ALL DISCOURAGED.

Colin, your argument would preclude taking any person to court, including that person who embezzles, murders, steals, lies, breaks contracts, etc . . . ? Law IS law. And any violation of law is to be adjudicated within a court of LAW.

The I Corinthians 6 passage would deal with interpersonal relationships within the LOCAL church at Corinth.

I do believe your logic is thoroughly consistent in that you want to cast doubt that this text can be seen as straightfoward (something seen here before), while using exceptions that strike the heart of the reader as perceived human injustices.

Colin, answer my question, PLEASE. Has the full Executive Committees and Executive Boards and Executive Directors of the Missouri Baptist Convention and Tennessee Baptist Convention SINNED AGAINST GOD and VIOLATED THE SACRED TEXT OF GOD by filing lawsuits against their brothers and sisters in Christ who admiinister and rule over the Southern Baptist agencies, colleges and universities in their states? Or could it be, as I insist, that breaches of law, contract and one's word MUST be settled by a HIGHER authority that is ordained by God?

But this is what I find intriguing, that the basis of these arguments is usually: 1) that one has no choice but to sue if both parties will not submit to arbitration (they were "forced" to do it), and 2) all injustices must be corrected by Christians. No supporting biblical evidence has been given for either of these assertions. I think Paul and Peter cogently argue in terms of submission to authority and lawsuits in general that justice will oftentimes be fleeting in view of the glory and conciousness of God. There will not always be recourse, but to rely on God's avenging justice in time. For God is the avenger, conveniently positioned by Paul in Romans 12 just prior to his admonition to be subject to authorities. Paul further effectively argues in 1 Cor 6 that the Christian will be wronged when no lawsuit is pursued. To argue that one must pursue an injustice is contrary to the entire point Paul here is making. The greater good is always to glorify God, no matter how many heartstrings an example can tug. What hermeneutic is this?

I find it difficult to believe you cannot comprehend that God is also glorifed through decisions of the judges, kings, magistrates and authorities that He has ordained? Is not God sovereign over all things, Colin? Are you suggesting He cannot be glorified through the decisions of the courts?

Would God be unjust in not dealing with any of the mentioned cases before the coming day of judgment? Then, how would Christians be called unjust for obeying God in avoiding lawsuits with believers and letting the injustices continue?

My point, Colin, is that the decision to sue by our brothers or sisters in Christ cannot be condemned or judged by YOU or anyone else --- see attorney Kerhsam's excellent comment above.

I do not understand why you, Peter, Matt, and the others in this string who have condemned Klouda's decision have not also condemned the decisions of the others mentioned in this post.

I don't condemn them. I don't condemn Klouda, and I don't see a universal prohibition in the sacred text against taking violations of law to court.

In His Grace,

Wade

P.S. Mr. Lumpkin, I have answered your question, will you now answer mine?

Wade Burleson said...

Char,

Bingo.

Why can't some men in this string understand what you have so clearly articulated?

Chris Gates said...

Wade,

Please forgive my lack of due diligence in regard to the other cases. I did not notice that the suits were filed against other Baptist agencies. My mistake.

My point still holds, however. Peter is right, whether you will admit it or not. It does not matter what these other conventions did. The Tennessee Baptist Convention (nor the SBC) is not the rule of our faith. We are Baptist, and we believe in the Bible, right? What matters is the principle of 1 Cor. 6, and Matt. 18. And that is all that matters. I would have to say that if those conventions did in fact take a case before a secular court for a decision, they are directly violating the word of God (1 Cor. 6). What matters is not what they have done, but what is right according to the Bible.

Now, would you answer my question in one sentence or less?

Wade Burleson said...

Chris,

I did. You obviously are not reading very closely.

You might read my answer - again.

In His Grace,

Wade

John Fariss said...

I got tired of reading comments word-for-word about 2/3 of the way down. I will say up front that I don't have all the answers; heck, I don't even have all the questions. But you know something? Every other male (and maybe some of the females) who have commented here put their pants on one leg at the time, just like I do. So there is no reason why I can't make comments as good as most, better'n some.

Some Christian brothers and sisters, especially those with a very conservative, indeed fundamentalist, take on the Bible--which I gladly and wholeheartedly affirm as the very Word of God--are fond of saying that Scripture never contradicts Scripture; this, as I see it, is a presupposition, not something the Bible itself says in so many words. Therefore, 1 Cor. 6 stands not only absolute, but unequivocal. Since it stands, Dr. Klouda should not pursue a civil lawsuit, and by extension, neither should the Tennessee or Missouri conventions, or anyone else, no matter how grevious the insult or injury, or how unethical or illegal the action. God will recompense, if not in this world, then in the world which is to come. And it is better for "us" as Christians to suffer injustice than to risk our witness. Is this a fair summary of the position?

One contributor made a statement, something to the effect that Christianity is not like Islam, where God needs help to fulfill His purposes. I am not sure that is an accurate characterization of Islam, but whether or not it is, the implication is that God will right this wrong, if it is a wrong, without anyone "helping" by entering a lawsuit. Hmmm. . . that sounds amazingly like what William Carey was told when he fist advocated sending missionaries to far-away places, "Young man, if God wants to save the heathen, He will do it without your help." If I read my Bible correctly, God doesn't need our help; but He wants it anyway. He wants our hands, our feet, our voices engaged in His mission and purposes.

I will pass on one question this line of reasoning raises, if indeed it is a fair assessment: whether or not it is then ethical for a Christian attorney to be involved in litigation. It is, however, a question those who take this position must deal with, sooner or later.

An alternative to the presupposition that nothing in the Bible contradicts anything else in the Bible, I suggest that it is possible for there to be certain passages, ideas, issues, even doctrines to be in tension with one another. It too is a presupposition, just a different one; it is no more explicit than is the first, and I think can be justified by the text as well (if not better). Consequently: I see tension between the Bible's admonition to obey the laws of the land (Titus 3:1) and God's demand for justice (Micah 6:8)--not a contradiction, but a tension that allows Christians to participate in civil diobedience, such as went into the Civil Rights struggles of the 1960s. Jesus said to render unto Caesar that is Caesar's, and unto God that which is God's (Matthew 22:21), and because which is which is not always clear, there is tension between the two--tension, not contradiction. There is certainly tension between Paul's call to be obedient citizen of the Roman Empire (Romans 13:1) and John's characterization of the same Empire, a few years later, as the whore of Babylon (Revelation 17). And if there is tension in those places, could not there also be tension (not contradiction) between Paul's (God-inspired)admonition not to be parties to lawsuits (1 Cor. 6) and God's call to justice (numerous places in both the Old and New Testaments)?

I hope some who take the prohibition perspective will engage in conversation about this. I'd truely like to hear their perspective with what I raise.

Wade Burleson said...

John,

Great comment.

I, too, see the tension.

Chris Gates said...

Wade,

Do you believe that 1 Cor. 6 has no bearing or authority over cases of wrongdoing in the church today? Was it just then, and now serves no purpose for life and godliness? What is more important to you, Wade, the Bible, or Federal Law. No one was murdered, and no one faces physical injury or death if the Law does not intercede. The question is should we encourage our brothers and sisters to take cases of wrongdoing (after the manner of the Klouda case) to court for a decision? The question is also, "Does the Bible have anything to say?" I am not arguing on behalf of Patterson and his cronies. I despise how they have treated Dr. Klouda, and I sympathize with her. I could file my own case (but that's another story) against SWBTS. But I also can't defend Dr. Kloudas decision to sue. I think it is a tragic mistake on her part that she will regret, if not already.

Paul clearly stated, "To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you" (1 Cor. 6.7, ESV).

Are there not men and women in the world of the SBTC, or the SBC at large who have the wisdom to settle this matter outside of a secular court. After all, it is the saints of God who will one day judge the world (Paul again)!

You will, no doubt, accuse me of some Pattersonian/Conservative name calling, but I have to ask. Are you a disciple of Bryan McLaren? What is the purpose of scripture in our lives if it does not bear upon situations like this? Again I ask you, "What is more important . . . Dr. Klouda's wellfare, or the name of Christ, which will potentially be drug through the proverbial mud of the state legal system, and no doubt the media?"

Wade Burleson said...

Chris Gates,

Our 'church' took it upon ourselves to help a hurting family.

Our 'church' fulfilled the first six verses of I Cor. 6.

We attempted to dialogue with those responsible for the breach of contract with Dr. Klouda.

There was no discussion, no dialogue, no willingness to discuss.

A higher authority is needed to hold accountable those who have wronged Dr. Klouda.

Please tell me, who is that authority?

Chris Gates said...

John and Wade,

Does what John said in any way give me the right and the authority to disregard Matthew 18 if I have a problem with a brother? Does it give me the right to disregard 1 Cor. 6 if I have been wronged financially by another brother (or defamed, persecuted, fired, etc.)? This "supposed" tension between the passages you cited overlooks one central point that Paul wanted to make clear. That point is that matters of brother against brother should be settled outside of secular courts. The saints of God are more than equipped to judge such cases (and I would say the Klouda case too).

Wade Burleson said...

Chris,

You say,

The saints of God are more than equipped to judge such cases (and I would say the Klouda case too).

Who, Chris?

Give me names.

Give me a committee.

Give me just one suggestion.

I am all for your recommendation.

Where are the saints that SWBTS administration and trustees will listen to, abide by their ruling and make right what they did wrong to Dr. Klouda?

Chris Gates said...

Wade,

In response to Patterson's and the SWBTS Trustee's unwillingness to be fair to Dr. Klouda, have you took this to the SBTC, or the SBC? Have you called Frank Page personally to ask him to look into it on behalf of Dr. Klouda? I admire your willingness to help her and her family through this trial. That is a noble thing, and I thank God for you in that regard. We all seem to be pretty good at starting messes that get attention. Can't we make enough of a mess (within our own convention) to get something done about the Klouda case. I don't want Dr. Klouda to be personally responsible for the name of Christ being blasphemed by the state government. Do you? Do you even care about the name of Christ in this matter? That was the question I wanted answered (which is more important, Christ or Klouda) and I cannot see where you answered it.

It seems like you are more interested in sparring than in getting to the truth of the matter.

Chris Gates said...

Wade,

I think Paul would say, that if all channels outside of a state court are exhausted, and there are none found to judge the matter righteously, then, "Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?"

farmboy said...

To this point the discussion has focused on applying 1 Corinthians 6. My question is the extent to which Acts 22-23 is also relevant.

What is the nature of SWBTS? SWBTS exists because the State of Texas granted a (non stock) corporate charter for SWBTS. This state granted corporate charter is SWBTS's birth certificate.

If even a single student of SWBTS accepts federal financial aid, SWBTS is an indirect recipient of federal funds, making SWBTS subject to all sorts of federal regulations. It is violation of these federal regulations that is the basis of Professor Klouda's suit.

While the Hatfield amendment shields religious institutions from certain federal regulations, these exceptions are not relevant to the present suit.

Federal funds are tempting, but these funds come with strings attached. Some of these strings may even be made out of invisible thread, but the strings exist none the less.

SWBTS exists because Texas granted a corporate charter, and SWBTS is an indirect recipient and beneficiary of federal funds. It is difficult to argue, then, that SWBTS is solely an extension of the church.

In Acts 22-23 a religious dispute results in the religious authorities handing Paul over to the Roman authorities to be flogged. Paul takes advantage of his rights as a Roman citizen to avoid the flogging.

The mixture of religious and state institutions found in Acts 22-23 is similar to the minute of religious and state institutions found in the present situation. Just as Paul took advantage of his rights as a Roman citizen, one can make the case that Professor Klouda can take advantage of her rights as a United States citizen.

Beyond the parameters within which it is proper for Christians to resort to federal and state courts, there are at least a couple of other lessons that can be taken from this situation: 1) Man cannot serve two masters. It is problematic for church institutions to take advantage of government benefits. With these benefits will inevitably come strings. It would be prudent for church institutions to be self sufficient, not relying on government benefits, either directly or indirectly. This would include paying property taxes on church property and passing on charitable contribution deductions.

2) Endeavors that are peripheral to the church's primary mission can distract the church from its primary mission. As an example, is it part of the church's primary mission to operate a network of educational institutions? Training pastors is the work of the church, but how many church sponsored educational institutions are dedicated exclusively to training pastors?

William Madden said...

Peter,

Thank you for your reply to my post earlier. You seem like a warm-hearted guy with a passion for ministry, which is probably one reason that the Lord is blessing your ministry. I see also that you took note of my use of the term "fundamentalist" in an earlier post, which, by the way, I did not intend to be pejorative. I consider myself a believer in the fundamentals, but I have not agreed with the attack and control tactics used in the last 20 years by the SBC's self-styled fundamentalist masters. My position is the same as Wade; they have gone too far in narrowing the parameters of who can serve and in what context.

Your post leaves me with some questions though. About those "masses" of women joining your church--do they know that you your church is a Southern Baptist church, and do they know of the different ways in which the leaders of the SBC have sought to exclude women from ministerial and teaching roles? It doesn't surprise me that women who don't have much background in Southern Baptist life are joining your church. Naturally, they wouldn't object to joining an SBC church because they don't know the history of the last 20 years. Are you going to tell them?

So, in a nutshell, while I celebrate the idea of women joining your church, I think we also need to keep an eye on the large numbers of women who have left the SBC and have successful ministries in other denominational and missional contexts. We need to ask ourselves: if God truly doesn't want those women to be leaders in ministry (deacons, seminary professors, and associate pastors), then why he is allowing their ministries to prosper? And if they are prospering (and I think there is evidence to show that they are succeeding), then perhaps we made a mistake by letting our SBC denominational culture evolve in such a way as to make those women feel and know that their opportunities in SBC life would always be limited in a way that contradicted the freedom to minister that Christ had inspired in their hearts.

Anway, I'd like to conclude by politely saying that although you suggest that Wade is being evasive, I think that you are, too, in a way. You stated earlier that your post is about whether a Christian should bring suit against another, and that the question of whether the Bible forbids women to teach in seminary is irrelevant. I disagree. The question of whether the Bible forbids women to teach in a seminary is the central issue at hand. That and also whether or not Dr. Patterson's actions violated Southwestern's own written policies regarding the awarding of tenure; it appears that he did violate those policies since his stated reason for removing her was her gender, and the tenure policies at SWBTS made no reference to gender as a criterion for the awarding or denying of tenure.

Lastly, I think everyone really knows that Dr. Klouda is suing because the other parties involved showed no willingness to dialogue with her over this matter whatsoever, and as far as I can tell, they have still not responded to her concerns in any meaningful way. Although the courts are a last resort, I think one can make a case from scripture that God can and does use the courts when all other Biblically prescribed means have tried and have failed. Example: the apostle Paul was rescued from spiteful Jewish religious authorities by secular Roman magistrates on more than one occasion. If Paul had submitted only to religious authorities and not appealed to secular justice, his ministry would have been ended almost before it started. I appreciate your willingness to dialogue on these issues, and just want to add some food for thought.

Best,

William

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