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

I'm Both Sad and Glad Over Klouda vs. SWBTS

Most everyone has heard by now that Dr. Sheri Klouda has filed a cause of action against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, President Paige Patterson and Chairman of the Trustees Van McClain. There are few Southern Baptists, in defense of Dr. Patterson and SWBTS, that are making the claim that no Christian should ever file a lawsuit for any reason. I find it ironic that some who argue this position only decry a cause of action with which they disagree, but remain strangely silent on those suits with which they agree in principle.

A well known and highly respected Southern Baptist pastor has done a fine job articulating a very balanced Scriptural position on going to court. One of his conclusions from his textual and interpretative work on I Corinthians 6 is that "Christians are free, maybe even responsible for the use of those courts in matters that clarify legalities and criminal matters that are beyond the reach of congregations.It speaks of a high submission to the powers ordained of God."

Ultimately, it matters not what you or I think about what Dr. Klouda has done in filing the cause of action. There will be a determination of a twelve member jury on whether or not seminary policy, and/or federal law, and/or contracts have been broken. If a wrong has occurred that has led to harm, it would be immoral for those able to bring about correction to not seek to rectify that wrong and make restitution. Repentance and restoration is at the heart of the Christian ethic.

Why I'm Sad About Klouda vs. Southwestern

(1). I'm sad that after numerous and repeated attempts to personally contact the parties involved weeks ago, not one person at SWBTS responded to my hand written notes, personal phone messages, or correspondence when this matter could have been resolved early on -- and now, it is impossible for those same parties to speak with either Dr. Klouda or myself without attorneys present.

(2). I'm sad that there are those in leadership at SWBTS who still don't understand that the Klouda issue began as nothing more, nothing less, than a pastor fulfilling a vow he made over a year ago that he would no longer sit by, uninterested and unengaged, as 'the little guys' in the SBC, who have often been used and abused, are run over by a political machine that seems to pay little attention to Christian principles and grace.

(3). I'm sad that some will fall into the trap of choosing sides based upon who they believe are 'hurt' the most by this cause of action. Some will believe those hurt the most by this suit are Dr. Klouda and her husband Pinky and their daughter with their mounting medical and home bills. Others believe it to be Dr. Patterson because of his concerns over the fallout at his institution and his seeming detoriating health. While a few will side with Dr.Van McClain because of his painful and mounting worries that his public statements after the Klouda issue broke, spoken with a genuine desire to protect the institution, might be proven false and ultimately harmful to the very institution he so desires to protect.

(4). I'm sad that the SBC will be distracted from our mission to share the gospel with the world while we seek to resolve a conflict over a controversial 'lapse of parameters' regarding the non-essential issue of a woman teaching Hebrew to men. This controversy began when a woman was denied the right to tenure defense and review solely because of her gender. I'm sad that we seem to be more concerned right now in the SBC with a person's gender than we are a person's lostness.

(5). I'm sad if the courts find SWBTS guilty of those charges enumerated within the cause of action, SWBTS might possibly face continuing consequences with the EEOC, the national accrediting agency for seminaries and universities, and possibly the SBC herself. The ramifications of the outcome of this cause of action are potentially enormous. I'm sad that, if that happens, then those that will be blamed are the ones who brought the Klouda problem to the light, rather than those who caused the Klouda problem in the first place.

Why I'm Glad About Klouda vs. Southwestern

(1). I'm glad Dr. Klouda will possibly find a satisfactory resolution to her wrongful and harmful removal -- a resolution that was not coming via the preferred means of private dialogue.
(2). I'm glad SBC educators will think twice before removing a woman for gender and that might be an encouragement to the young ladies now in seminary.
(3). I'm glad Southern Baptist people might begin to realize that you can stand up to the system.
(4). I'm glad Southern Baptists might discover the necessity of talking through disagreements rather than 'choosing sides' and ignoring those who aren't on yours.
(5). I'm glad elected leaders in the SBC will stop narrowing - by personal fiat - the doctrinal parameters of cooperation among SBC churches.

I am praying for all the participants in this issue.

I believe God can ultimately bring good come from it all.


Ranger said...

As an "m" with the organization that you trustee, and a former Southwestern student, I am saddened by Dr. Klouda having to make this decision. This should have been taken care of outside of court, but unfortunately that was not possible.

I am thankful for trustees who are fighting for the "little man" amongst our organizations, as long as it is done appropriately and with a biblical mandate.

That is why I am wondering what particular role you have in this affair? Why did you make the calls to SWBTS and get personally involved in the situation? Was it at the request of Dr. Klouda? Why are you involved in the legal proceedings and therefore would need a lawyer to discuss the matters with the leaders of Southwestern?

I may have simply missed something somewhere, but I would be interested in knowing how you personally became involved in the situation.

Ranger said...

Let me clarify that I personally had Dr. Klouda for third semester Hebrew and was thankful for her class, because it was the first seminary Hebrew class that was up to par with the Hebrew training I had at the BGCT university I studied at for my undergrad. She was an outstanding teacher, who truly challenged her students in a fun way. I always enjoyed the types of classes where everyone around me would complain about how tough it was. Dr. Klouda's classes were that way, but they were also always packed because students loved the way she taught.

Alycelee said...

Wade, I too am confident that God will bring good out of this.

Pamela Cook said...

The Bible plainly states that Jew and Greek, male and female, etc. are the same in Christ. Jesus would never treat a woman like Dr. Klouda was treated.

Her only way to go through the Biblical way of conflict resolution was through the courts IMHO. There was no way for her to do this directly without jeopardizing future employment. She was probably afraid that if she said anything they would lie and give her a bad reference. My concern for her is that now it is known that she will sue her employer. I pray that this will not jeopardize her current postion or cause others to not consider her for employment because of this.

I wonder if she would have taken this action if she was not the sole breadwinner in her family. It's one thing when it is just you suffering financially. It is another when others depend on your income. She is also looking at what toll this is taking her husband. I'm sure he feels horrible because cannot provide for his family. It adds insult to injury to see his wife being treated horribly by so-called Christians.

The media will portray SWBTS as a stupid, bigoted, intolerant Christian institution that comes against women solely because of their gender. After they get done exposing this it will be hard for people to have any sympathy for the leadership of SWBTS. For the most part all they care about is ratings. This will be something they can have fun with for weeks and months until the court case is over.

I know the Lord is weeping at this. However this did not have to happen if the leadership of the SWBTS had been Biblical in their treatment of her. This will be everywhere in the media in the near future. I hope the SWBTS leaders and other leaders of like mind will think twice before throwing someone else out like you would throw away trash.

Hypocrisy and discrimination is being dealt with in this hour.

Bob Cleveland said...


God told Habakkuk that He .. God .. was raising up the Babylonians to corect injustices in Israel. It's no stretch to think He could be using the Klouda matter for similar purposes.

We seem to've fallen into a mindset that we are "doing a noble and difficult work" in reaching the world. To me, it's a privilege to be used by God, and it does not seem beyond possibility that God won't let us do that, if we won't correct injustices in our own midst.

If the worst of the worst comes about over all this (think EEOC, IRS, etc), wouldn't that be a lot like Babylon sweeping through Israel?

dwm III said...


He also judged the Babylonians for their pride.

Anonymous said...

As honestly and sincerely as possible, is the black eye to the missionary cause of the SBC worth it all?


Charles R. said...

Respectfully, Steven, that's the question that should have been asked a long time ago by those who would purge for the sake of power.

TruthOfActs said...

You say, “I may have simply missed something somewhere…”
What you missed is knowing the Bible teaches to know of a wrong and NOT report it, makes you just as guilty.

When Wade found out, he became the messenger. Hooray and halleluiah for him. But it seems you want to shoot the messenger.

At one time Japanese had a horrible way or restoring honor, but good Christians have a better way of righting a wrong. Restore honor to the school and the SBC by:

1. Apologizing
2. Making restitution
3. Giving her job back
4. Resigning

Alford, lets forget about the march—we wouldn’t look good in sackcloth and ashes, or maybe that’s what God would want.
Rex Ray

Pastor Brad said...

Might I add...
I'm sad that some will not be willing to hear the gospel because of the poor testimony on one or both sides (I leave that to the interpreter's own understanding) of the lawsuit.
I'm sad that neither side was willing to be wronged or defrauded for the sake of Christ.
I'm sad that the door is now open for the courts to rule about who religious institutions can hire and fire.
I see no reason to be glad about this embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

The Lord Jesus: "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother" (Matthew 18:15, NASB).

Those in the right are to seek to win their brothers, not their cases against their brothers. Those in the wrong have the responsibility to be win-able by their brothers; to withdraw from the communication process is not an option permitted, though that course often is chosen. The idea is conflict resolution and redemption. This formal process can force communication where it isn't otherwise being wisely chosen--in this case, not a bad thing, though it should embarrass the Lord's people to be necessary.

God will have us behave as brothers ("ones from the same womb"--His). It isn't too late to do so, but it will be necessary for the parties to communicate with each other in order to achieve resolution.

David Troublefield

Ranger said...

Rex Ray,
I'm sorry I offended you. I was asking an honest question over information that I may have missed. I was in no way criticizing this move or attempting to "shoot the messenger." I simply thought that I might have missed something while being on the field. In closed countries, we tend to be very good as missing out on news. There was nothing more intended in my post. I think if you re-read it you will see that I was a big fan of Dr. Klouda as a teacher and disagreed with the decision to remove her. Furthermore, as I've already stated, I'm saddened that it was not possible to take care of this outside of court, but realize the necessity of the matter.

Your statement about "you missed knowing the Bible" was extremely offensive, as I am someone who spends time reading the truth each day. You may not have intended it, but it came across as very spiritually arrogant, and degrading. Forgive me if I read something into it that wasn't there.

If the degrading tone was intentional, then I beg you not to use it with anyone else who is asking simple and honest questions. After all, isn't that the type of attitude that we are fighting against?

Bob Cleveland said...

Matthew 18:15-17: "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (NIV)

If you stretch the definitions to make the SBC and SWBTS a "church", then that was all done. And I see no prohibition against a civil court in dealing with a pagan.

If the Bible tells you that you shouldn't ever sue a Christian, then don't. But one thing I cannot do is to apply my Biblical standards of behavior to other people. Romans 14:4 forbids my doing that, aside from those people where, by my position in the local body, I'm responsible for their actions or discipline.

And, of course, God judged Babylon for what they had done after He raised them up to send correction to Israel. But God did not judge Moses after he came down from the mountain and God used him to exact justice on the people, in Exodus 32.

Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland hit the nail on the head yesterday when he wrote,

"The real tragedy in this case is not that a suit was filed, IMO. It's that the institution and its administrator, that perpetrated this alleged wrongdoing, would not correct it."

PP and the trustees did NOTHING to correct or even attempt to dialogue about this situation. Numerous phone calls, letters, and emails went unanswered. There was NO ATTEMPT to address the issues from PP or the trustees in any way that could be seen as a reasonable attempt to rectify what's gone on. Now they will have answer.

Don't blame Dr. Klouda or Wade or anyone else for whatever happens. PP could have avoided this is he wanted to. Now perhaps we'll all get a chance to have our questions answered. Those in Leadership should LEAD, not lord it over others. Those days are quickly coming to an end.


Jack Maddox said...


I dont believe Ranger was 'shooting" at Wad. I just think it was a honest question.


Wade Burleson said...

Former M,

One of these days I will tell you how I came in contact with Dr. Klouda. It was solely the providence of God in my opinion.

There was no other individual responsible.


Jack Maddox said...


I amnot aware of what kind of comunication has gone on between parties and I am sure that you are not either. If PP and BoT had any idea tha this was a possibility I can understand why they would ot discuss the mater with anyone.Yet, I fear that even if PP would have responded to his critics it would hav only faned the flames of those who have alreadt treid, steneced, and found him guilty.

I am hearing the same old tired arguments that I heard in years past..."This is not about theology, it is a Paige Patterson power issue" I will assure you tha this is very much about thelogy and thus the problem is defined.


Wade Burleson said...

The story, by the way, will only be told with Dr. Klouda's permission and I do not yet have it.

Jack Maddox said...

to all

my obvious typos are in fact good reason for a suit to be filed against me..for this I apologize

: )


Ranger said...

Actually Wade, I'm still an m, but a former SWBTS student. Although hearing one of the trustees call me a "former m" gets me a little scared about my job, haha.

Kevin Bussey said...

I'm sad that it came to this in the first place. How much is this going to hurt the testimony of SWBTS? I was there when Dr. Dilday was fired and that was ugly.

Steve A said...

I am sorry that the American legal system had to be used to find justice in this matter, but like most of us, this step seemed inevitable, given the egos on the other side from Dr. Klouda.

If this suit is the beginning of the Southern Baptists' final step to open religious life to both genders completely, allowing all ministry hiring decisions to be made at the local congregation level, Dr. Klouda's name will ring down through history, not that she'd even want that.

I hope that Southwestern can emerge from this era with its reputation intact. How ironic it would be if Patterson came to Pecan Manor with dreams of accessing the millions of dollars in its accounts for whatever he had been dreaming of, but instead sees a great deal of it taken away in this suit. Forgive me for suspecting that's why he got himself installed there in the first place.

Preachin said...

one would think that the issues of Dr. Karen Bullock's removal and the continued female professorships in the other schools at SWBTS would certainly come up in all of this.

I am saddened this had to go to the level of a lawsuit...it should have been handled charitably by the administration and trustees several months ago. Christian charity is a missing practice in our convention these days.

It will be interesting to see where this leads.

Wade Burleson said...

Sorry Ranger.

My apologies.


Geoff Baggett said...


I am a distant observer of all of the SWBTS stuff. I have no investment in all of this whatsoever ... other than the fact that all of the goings-on surrounding the seminary (controversy, battle, attacks) is starting to look like our very own Southern Baptist version of "The Jerry Springer Show." We just have to decide who's playing the role of Jerry. I have my ideas. :)

But I noticed from my distant computer that when you were responding to your connection between Dr. Klouda and your attorney friend (and now her personal attorney), Gary Richardson, over on Bart Barber's blog, you stated plainly:

"In fact, when Gary and I play golf I make a specific point of never mentioning Dr. Klouda because I do not believe it is any of my business."

Yet, on this post you decry the non-response of the leadership at SWBTS to your personal contacts regarding the Dr. Klouda matter, saying:

"I'm sad that after numerous and repeated attempts to personally contact the parties involved weeks ago, not one person at SWBTS responded to my hand written notes, personal phone messages, or correspondence..."

Maybe their lack of their response to you is simply their way of of saying they don't think it's any of your business, either.

At least, that's my guess. ;)


Char said...

I am so excited that Klouda took this to the courts. I stay Southern Baptist because of the laity and in spite of the national leadership. This inspires me to think there may come of a day of more clean and transparent living in the SBC.
To those of you worried that people might not like Jesus or our institutions b/c of this, why would you ever hand anyone a Bible -- it is full of people behaving both badly and godly. God could have edited it all out but chose not to do so. I think He's confident!


Wade Burleson said...


You completely misunderstand.

It is my business and every other Southern Baptist's business regarding what happens at our SBC agencies and institutions. I am involved with Dr. Klouda because I am Southern Baptist and vowed to help any Southern Baptist I felt was wronged.

What is NOT my business is her attorney/client privilege, her private, personal decisions (such as filing a cause of action), and anything she shares in confidence to her attorney about her feelings, fears, etc . . .

Just because he happens to be a longtime and good friend does not give me the right to be nosey about Sheri's personal matters.

But I am deeply involved in those matters that affect our convention as a whole -- including the Klouda issue. The question may should be, "Geoff, why does it even matter to you since you seem to imply you are not Southern Baptist?"

In His Grace,


Debbie said...

Geoff said:"Maybe their lack of their response to you is simply their way of of saying they don't think it's any of your business, either.

At least, that's my guess. ;)"

Thing is Geoff, the dollars I give and my church gives say it's my business. I like to know when there is unjust firings and things of a sorted nature going on behind closed doors. I'm funny that way. :)

Stephen Owens said...

Pamela Cook:
"The Bible plainly states that Jew and Greek, male and female, etc. are the same in Christ." As regards salvation, look at the context of Galations 3:28.

One Salient Oversight said...

I hate to talk about 1 Corinthians 6, but I think it's important.

On the one hand, I think it's pretty clear that Paul commanded the Corinthians to cease lawsuits against each other. In 6.7 Paul indicates that it is better to be wronged and defrauded than to get unbelievers to come in and make decisions.

On the other hand, this lawsuit seems to be against an institution rather than an individual. Klouda isn't taking another Christian to court, but an institution.

I suppose there needs to be some things to consider, and I'm thinking as I write here so please forgive me.

1) In the case of criminal law, it stands to reason that a Christian can happily take another to court simply because the case has a criminal nature. If your pastor physically assaults you, for example, he is not just sinning against you but is also breaking the law and should be punished by the authorities that God puts over us.

2) In the case of civil law, it stands to reason that a Christian should (must) ensure that other Christians and Christian organisations obey the law of the land. If your church has a building program and contracts a church member's building company to do the work, and then refuses to pay, then some level of legal action should be instigated because of the contractual arrangements that have been made under civil law. This one, however, can get tricky I admit.

I'm not sure if Klouda is making the right decision. If she simply wrote a public letter to everyone explaining what occurred she may be opening herself to the charge of libel and may find herself being sued by the SWBTS - which in turn needs to prove that her open letter is false. But at least she is in the position of being wronged, rather than being the wrongdoer.

What I can see is a need for some sort of unbiased investigative body that can somehow determine what went on and what should occur. The situation probably needs a formal investigation by the SBC.

But if the SBC is somehow corrupted, and such an investigative process would be biased and merely a "Rubber Stamp" for those in power, then things obviously need to change.

Sorry for the rant.

Leigh Ann Powers said...

I am grieved that Dr. Klouda had to make this decision. And yet I am glad that she is taking a stand--for all the reasons you have enumerated and more. I was at SWBTS from 2001-2004 and studied under Dr. Klouda. I know her, as many have attested, to be an excellent teacher and an outstanding convervative biblical scholar. I was also privileged to count her as friend and mentor. She did not deserve the treatment she received. My prayers will continue to be with all those involved. I know that God can bring good out of this. Tonight especially I am thankful that our God is in the redemption business.

Leigh Ann

K. Michael Crowder said...

I stated in an earlier post that I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Klouda should have been allowed to remain at SWBTS, for the purpose of teaching Hebrew. And I say this as a specific exception to the general rule of men teaching men preparing for ministry. I fully support the BF&M2000 and a few previous SBC resolutions in stating that the office of Pastor is to be reserved for men called by God. And even go so far as to say that women holding this position have seriously missed their calling, as well as misunderstood the voice of God. That being said, the trustees of SWBTS have every constitutional right to require that theology professors be male. I may happen to disagree with them in this instance. But we tread a slippery slope when we assume that the courts of the land will do what is best for SWBTS, Baptist polity, Christian ethics, and conservative biblical doctrine. What has happened has happened. I find it utterly shameful that Dr. Klouda has taken this to the secular courts. Based on previous posts in this and other blogs, and initial news site article, Dr. Klouda was made out to be a humble lady who quietly packed up and moved. It appears now, that she has received poor advice from those who wish to see the Patterson regime toppled. In all of the discussion of 1 Cor 6, it is easy to affirm or deny Paul's directive depending on which side of the debate one is on. But to ignore the principle behind the passage is to ignore God. Each time these episodes occur, more and more lost souls etch in stone there refusal to be associated with any organization, church, or god, whose members act like us. "God be merciful to us."

Anonymous said...

One thing that I can't help notice about the comments in regards to those that see a positive outcome for Dr. Klouda is that for some reason it is thought that this will be over in a few months. There is a thought that the lawsuit will be resolved in a court of law with a jury of 12 and they will get to hear her story. I don't know who could find out, but I am wondering what the average time between filing and actual award or dismissal of cases like this are. How many actually go to a jury?

I have a relative who has been in a suit for 4 years and still counting. There has been a judgement for him but it's a tenth of what the law said he was due for such injustice. The insurance is only allowed to cover a certain amount of that. It was never heard by a jury as was promised. He has yet to receive any award. And the lawyer gets a third of that. It has been a very difficult process and I believe that justice was not served.

Lawsuits are not entered into lightly. This will take a toil on Dr. Klouda and her family. It will be quite frustrating for her side. The legal workers for SWBTS will do all the things they can do to slow down the process. "Try to work it out", but not really meaning it.

It is a sad thing and I hope she is glad when it is over.

It is a shame that the things done before this could not have resulted in something more positive. Maybe legal proceedings are the only thing that will be an eyeopener to those who need to SEE.

"M" with YOUR organization

Wade Burleson said...

Michael Crowder,

I appreciate your comment and your sincerity, but I believe you may have missed the point.

If we have a seminary that has a policy that a woman cannot teach Hebrew, and if our trustees adopted that policy, and if the convention was not too upset with the policy to either take action to remove the trustees, then so be it.

But there is no such policy, the SWBTS trustees unanimously hired Sheri Klouda, and then CONTRARY to policy and personal promises, an administrator removed Dr. Klouda from tenure track review and defense. It has yet to be determined if the trustees even knew of this action -- but the problem SWBTS faces is the control of an insitution (or institutions) by a select few who have a very narrow interpretation of non-essentials doctrines and demand everyone else conform.

William Madden said...

Dear Michael,

Your post implies that Dr. Klouda doesn't know her own mind or is not acting out of principle. I believe however that she is acting to defend the principle that women should be allowed to teach in Southern Baptist seminaries.

Some will say, "why did she wait?" But the answer to that question is obvious; she had to focus on gettting a new job and assuming the responsibilities of her new position in order to support her family. It wouldn't have been practical or effective to fight this fight while she was still jobless.

Stephen Pruett said...

Michael, I agree with you that we must take 1Corinthians 6 seriously with regard to lawsuits against brothers and sisters in Christ. However, the context is a letter written to the one and only (as far as we know) congregation in Corinth. In other words it applies to members of the same church. If you believe it is intended more broadly, then please explain how the associated advice about how to handle problems between people in the church (without the secular legal system) could be applied today between believers in different churches. Should Dr. Klouda have gone to Dr. Patterson's church and asked witnesses from that church to meet with her and him? I don't see any scriptural precedent for such a system.

My view is that justice is important enough throughout the Bible that it is worth pursuing, even if it is necessary as a last resort to involve the secular legal system. One gets the impression from the passage in question that the lawsuits about which Paul complains are about "small things". Things about which mature Christians should simply be willing to patiently endure slights from less mature believers. However, that is a very different situation than the Klouda case. I tend to simply ignore or avoid people who slight me. It would not occur to me to sue them. However, if my ability to provide for my family was compromised by their action, that would be a whole different matter to me. I would guess that in her role as the main breadwinner of the family due to her husband's illness, Dr. Klouda feels an intense responsibility.

It should be noted that Dr. Klouda gave permission for her story to be blogged. I am just speculating, but perhaps part of her reasoning was a hope that getting this out in the open would lead to restoration of her position. If that had happened, I don't think there would have been a suit. When a Christian in a position of power promises a stable job, so long as performance requirements are met, and another Christian bases important family and financial decisions on that assurance, and then the Christian in a position of power does not honor his statement and refuses to repent of this action when given a chance to do so, some mechanism to provide justice is needed. The New Testament model that applies within a particular local church does not seem to apply here, because the perspon in power represents an institution, not a church, and the two believers invovled in this dispute are not members of the same local church. Although I have not studied it as thoroughly as I would like, it seems to me that church discipline (the alternative to law suits) as described in the NT only applied to believers in the same congretation. Although I believe in a universal body of Christ, I do not see scriptural evidence that church discipline is within the purview of this universal body, but only the local church.

Alan Cross said...

From this vantage point, overall, I think that this is a good thing. If there had been any recourse, or ecclesial council for Dr. Klouda to appeal to, she could have. Our autonomy precludes that. You can't even speak against the actions of another agency in chapel without being reprimanded. Obviously, the Board of Trustees should have been the place of appeal, but, well . . .

Hopefully, this matter will correct a wrong and show us that we must stay true to our own policies and by-laws. They are there to protect us all. When the SBC begins to protect the least among us, instead of just the powerful, it will be a good day, for sure.

Thanks, Wade.

kehrsam said...

Sadly, this and the McKissik situation are the inevitable result of the politicization of the SBC during the last 30 years. First it was the "Liberals" and "Moderates" who had to be ousted, now we're down to arguing about "3rd-Order doctrines" but we're still fighting. Wade, you have written several times on this blog that it was a good and necessary thing for "Moderate" prefessors to be ousted from the seminaries in the 1980s. Do you still believe this?

I once thought doctrinal purity was important. Now, I can honestly say that all that matters is whether you are my brother or sister in Christ. Who does more harm to the body of Christ, one who brings a lawsuit to get us to enforce our own rules, or the jacobins who seek to enforce their own vision of purity?

In this ongoing struggle, the only loser has been the cause of Christ. That is a shame. And Jesus remains the only one who can heal us.

Wade Burleson said...


You raise an excellent point.

If we ever have a non-partisian, scholarly, Biblically oriented blue ribbon arbitration panel in the SBC, I would be thrilled.

Binding arbitration would be the answer, but we have nothing of the sort.

Wade Burleson said...


What I am discovering is that many people called 'moderate' were actually quite conservative.

I remain a conservative on the fundamentals of the faith - substitutionay atonement, the physical resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, etc . . . - but, like you, I believe that Baptists should be people of freedom and diversity on third tier issues.

Wade Burleson said...

Stephen Pruett,

Once again, you nail it.

Good job.

Paul Burleson said...


I posted a brief comment over on Art Rogers blog where I suggested that, as the comments on his post indicate, [yours' as well] there is wide disagreement and not a little confusion as to how to apply 1 corinthians to our modern day organizational complexities. So, while that is a reality it seems to me, and until we discover some way to deal with these kinds of things as a denominational entity, with reference to 1 Corinthians 6 specifically, we MUST walk in the clear light we DO have.

Loving and respecting each other in Grace is pretty clear. As suggested there, [Art's blog] not a weak kind of love which is unbiblical, but the robust kind the early church possessed when it debated issues. This will enable us [the SBC] to at least show anyone watching and listening that, while disagreement IS present, love and respect are too. They [the watching world] seem to have been a bit overwhelmed by THAT in the NT. Maybe the same can be true today.

With you, I personally think Stephen Pruitt nailed it. His nailing it was both in content [my personal view is close to his so I'm stating an obvious] and respectful attitude. You, Alan, and others do the same consistently. My hope is that we all will wind up being truly gracious and loving to those who sue, those sued, those supporting the suing, and those opposed to the suing. This reflects our true nature as little else can. I believe you have led the way in this as have many others and I want to express my appreciation, not only as your Dad but your spiritual brother. Way to go. [I'm obviously somewhat biased but I'm also discerning with people after years of experience and you, better than anyone, know I don't automatically take anyone's side.] :)

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid we are too quick to dismiss this passage:

1 Corinthians 6:1-8
"When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!"

Just because the convention has no protocol for handling such situations, doesn't mean we should be quick to disregard the Scripture.

Praying for Dr. Klouda and SWBTS

Bob Cleveland said...

David: You quoted the following:

"Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?"

Apparently, there isn't.

Kevin Bussey said...

This has been a difficult situation for me.

My family and our entire staff was done wrong by a previous church. There were a group that decided to cut the entire staff's salary. Our music minister was cut by $15K and I was cut by $9K.

I had a very Godly man tell me to sue the church. I couldn't because of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.

Did it hurt us? Yes! It drained our savings. But it would have brought no glory to God to drag our church through the courts.

It is time for the the SBC to step in and do Dr. Klouda right and settle out of court. Dragging this through the courts will just give us one more black eye.

Paul Burleson said...

Anon David,

The "shame" of 1 Corinthians 6 may be, it seems to me, that the church had no one who could/would step in and settle the differences. [v4-5] The "personal" words are in verses 7-9 and we would all individually have to decide whether what we do is a violation of those words or whether it is founded on the principle of 1 Peter 2:13-15. I'm sure those involved fought that battle of trying to understand and obey scripture personally.

Either way one's personal decision were to fall on an issue like this, we may face the same shame today both in local churches and organizations of having no one to step in at these times.

To speak of having no protocol for effectively changing that fact is not the same as taking that passage lightly or dismissing it in my way of thinking. To take it seriously, to the contrary, is far more than an individual thing since Paul was addressing the problems of the whole church in that Corinthian letter basically.

Along with you, I will continue to pray for all concerned.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Should Dr. Klouda have gone to Dr. Patterson's church and asked witnesses from that church to meet with her and him?

While there may not be specific precedent, there is definately principlic precedent. So my answer is, "now that you mention it, yes." We are called to be set apart. We are also called to hold accountable the thoughts and actions of our brothers and sisters with whom we hold fellowship. This is one of the purposes of the Church. Since church discipline is the sole responsibility of the Chruch and not the role of a Seminary or Convention, it, imo, would be exactly the next step biblically. I am reminded of the letter by Daniel Vestal to the Pastor of Roger Moran, Missouri Baptist Laymen. This could have been appropriate except Vestal failed to follow biblical proceedure by not contacting Moran directly (according to most reports). I am certain in the case of Dr. Klouda, exhaustive dialog has taken place between her and a number of administrators at SWBTS. It seems to me that our national, state, and associational entities should adopt a uniform grievance policy for employees of said entities and should least include binding Christian arbitration. Entities and employees should adopt/affirm this policy at inception/time of hiring.

I will state, however, for clarification, and since I brought it up in another thread, that the current lawsuit in Missouri Baptist life, is one of which I am in full support. Granted it is still ashame, but the suit involves a Convention and a University/newspaper/group home/conference center/and,I believe an anuity board. All 5 were once started for and by the great people of the churches comprising the Missouri Baptist Convention. This is a lawsuit over governance. Entity governance is dictated and controlled by a set of secular laws (at least those who have incorporated). Therefore it is necessary to gain the assistance of said law to correct wrong doings and, in some cases(maybe this one), punish criminal actions. I do not see this as a double standard, but being an issue not addressed by Paul.

Assuming for a moment that Dr. Klouda would have considered binding Christian arbitration, named parties would have also had to consider, and ultimately accept this more bilical practice. If this did not work then maybe she could get another job, move, and accept the donations of those who felt she had been wronged. The latter being an impecably classy and Jesus-like thing to do. This new life to give glory and honor to the God who is in control of all things. Unfortunatly, as another commentator suggested, we are in for "years" of litigation that DOES NOT glorify God.

In Christ,

-Kevin (I use K. Michael for my blog and other writings, wanted to clarify.)

Greg Hicks said...

Perhaps the biblical means of resolving all the issues at SWBTS is for the SBC, meeting in convention, to make actionable the words of the Lord Jesus toward the SWBTS administration and trustees:

"What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer." (Luke 16:2)

K. Michael Crowder said...

But there is no such policy, the SWBTS trustees unanimously hired Sheri Klouda, and then CONTRARY to policy and personal promises, an administrator removed Dr. Klouda from tenure track review and defense.

Pastor Wade,

I guess I do not see a law broken here. Broken promises create broken hearts not broken laws. You also say that she was fired "CONTRARY to policy", yet you state that "there is no such policy." Correct me if there are two different policies to which you are refering. Where there is no policy directive from the SBC, trustees must in good conscience, seek to filfill the overall mission of the entitity. A majority vote in the affirmative by a board on said issue, OR, no action to censure or punish the President or responsible administrator is to assume that the board itself feels that the actions taken WERE indeed in the best interest of the mission of the entity.

I do know that out seminaries should be united on this issue. And if that requires "pickle proclamations" by the SBC then so be it. They are here to serve us.

Wade Burleson said...


The law states you cannot discriminate based upon gender.

To remove a woman from a tenure track position BECAUSE she is a female is a violation of federal law.

Anonymous said...

It will have to be shown without a doubt that SWBTS has broken federal law. The law allows for an academic institution not to renew the contract of any professor without tenure if the reason for doing so is in keeping with the institution's policies, or, in this case, the SBC's stated (or even strongly perceived) purposes and convictions. With regard to the latter, one might build a case (at least on strong inference) that since the SBC's BF&M 2000 limits the office of pastor to men, then women should not be teaching in its seminaries those training to be pastors. This is the same sort of issue that protects the SBC from being sued in federal court by those who think the SBC should hire, say, homosexuals, to teach in its seminaries. This issue, I think, is what this case will likely boil down to - and such cases in the past have tended not to favor the plaintiff.

Legal Eagle

robert prince said...

I'm not sure how you could expect any better from the trustees of a denomination that stood by when Russell Dilday was fired. SWBTS has been in a downward spiral ever since.

You're probably aware that Dr. Klouda is actually the second woman this has happened to. The other was Karen Bullock, who is now employed at Dallas Baptist University.

The denomination is suffering from the cancer introduced by Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler. That's why it's dying by division. They put it on the road of "narrowing by doctrinal fiat." Now you want to stop it, but you can't. Fracturing and division will continue to occur because Patterson and Pressler turned the convention away from evangelism and missions.

Wade Burleson said...

Legal Eagle,

You are correct. The key question is 'did SWBTS act within its own policy'?

Obviously, the answer to that question will determine if there is any breach of federal law.

Roger Simpson said...

I am NOT a lawyer and I don't have any formal legal training.

However, I have "observed" several wrongful termination cases when I was a Software Engineer in Silicon Valley. The burden for the plaintiff is very high.

One thing that could at least help Dr. Klouda's case is that she evidently did not sign some sort of statement at termination that says in effect "based upon the severance package I am receiving I agree not to take any legal action as a result of my termination".

In Silicon Valley it is usual that when guys leave they get some type of "buyout" or "inducement to leave" and as a result of receiving this they agree -- in writing -- that there is no further action against the former employeer.

Regardless of any other aspect of this situation it seems strange that Southwestern did not have some sort of "severance package" to preclude the sitution they are now facing with a wrongful termination suit.

If the jury finds for the plaintiff then the next question is what are the damages? I think any reasonable person can see that the damages would be substantial.

My bottom line: This is high stakes for both sides. (a) SWBTS is vulnerable if in fact they violated their own procedures and also if they didn't execute any separation agreement. (b) Dr. Klouda faces a uphill struggle to prevail at trial. In the interest of BOTH SIDES this should be taken to arbitration and a mutually agreeable situation worked out.

I think there are competet arbitration groups consisting of attorneys who assist Christian parties to avoid long and costly litigation which can be "high risk" for both sides.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Michael said...

As I remember in a previous discussion of "the Klouda Issue" that there was a list of specific reasons why a person on tenure-track cannot be granted tenure(no matter the gender), is this true? did someone go and check it out?

if that list is not exhaustive then she could lose her lawsuit. of course , this kind of arbitrary picking and choosing does terrible things with the morale of the faculty and staff. This is on the slippery slope to employees having to worry about plants(spies). This worries me, especially in Christians.


K. Michael Crowder said...

The law states you cannot discriminate based upon gender.

That is interesting, since the federal government does this very thing for fighter pilots.

Perhapse the Catholic Church in America should be forced to allow women into the priesthood, or men to the nunery.

The law of the land, Sir, also states that government shall make no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Even our liberal brothers and sisters in the CBF hold this dear. Your argument, Wade, is that SWBTS does not have the authority to speak for the convention on extra-creedal(BF&M2000) doctrine. And I submit to you that though they may not speak for the convention they indeed have the right, as an semi-independent body, to create, and locally impose doctrine where the matter is unsettled, unclear, or unwritten by the convention, so long as they are in trying, in good conscience, to maintain a biblical authority. And, until checked by the convention. (Of course as previously stated, I am in agreement with Adrian Rogers "Pickle Proclamation".) The convention can settle this once and for all, for all of our seminaries, by one sweeping resolution.


Wade Burleson said...


Enough said.

G. Alford said...

Brother Rex…

I think sackcloth and ashes are exactly what God would want from all of us at a time such as this… prayer… much prayer…

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

At a time such as this we must trust that God will indeed honor his word and in the end God’s called will be blessed for having gone through this tragic episode.

Also Brother Rex, I think your solution for SWBTS and Patterson is “Spot on!”

1. Apologizing
2. Making restitution
3. Giving her job back
4. Resigning

Grace to all,

TruthOfActs said...

March 10,
I'm sorry my comment hurt you and I haven't replied sooner. I have the hightest regard for missionaries. I had made my comment early and spent the day and evening with my children and their kids as they came to celebrate my 75th birthday.

One of the faults of bloggine is not knowing the person or the real meaning behind words we read.
I guess I've grown too weary of people jumping on Wade with their prejudice views. I will capitalize your words that made me leery.

"I am thankful for trustees who are fighting for the 'little man' amongst our organizations, AS LONG AS IT IS DONE APPROPRIATELY AND WITH A BIBICAL MANDATE.
That is WHY I am wondering what particular role you have in this affair? WHY did you make the calls to SWBTS and get personaly involved in the situation? WHY are you involved...?"

All those "WHYS" made me think you were questioning Wade's integrity.

I'm sorry for saying you did not know the Bible. A better word (in my falsly thinking you were killing the messenger) would have been 'not applying the Bible.'

I believe this lawsuit may teach some rulers that "he shall rule over you" was not a command of God for men to rule over women, but a CURSE put on man that would cause him misery in trying to do it.

Wake up Patterson, the day of man rule has ended.

Sheri Klouda is fightin for all women to have the opportunity to enjoy God's fulfillment in their lives.

"The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few."
No wonder since the devil uses the pride and ignorance of man to keep women in 'their place.'

Klouda's lawsuit may have reprecussions that influence SWBTS to think twice before firing McKissic.

SWBTS has thrown three back to back interceptions. It's time for new leaders. The Trustee Board is to run the school...with Patterson, they have the tail wagging the dog.

If the SBC apointed a new board, wonder if the board might look for someone who helped the seminary to grow in the past, like Dilday?

March 13
When I tried to post the above comment Saturday night, the internet died.
Sunday, my wife passed out while sitting in church. We just got home from the hospital.

I'm glad we agree. That would stop a lawsuit but some people never realize when they become an embarrasment.
Rex Ray