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

SWBTS: Public Perception vs. the Real Truth

One of my concerns regarding the SBC over the past three years is that we have developed the habit of saying one thing publicly, in order to put the best possible spin on ourselves to the world at large, and then doing something totally opposite in secret, behind closed doors. This disingenuity and lack of transparency must stop. Last Wednesday, April 8, 2009, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's newsletter The Hill published an article entitled Southwestern Seminary Announces No Tuition Increase for 2009-2010. In the article, SWBTS administrators were unmistakably clear:

Tuition for Southern Baptist students in the master’s programs will remain at $173 per semester hour. The move confirms the administration and trustees’ commitment to protect students from the burden of increased tuition in a financially uncertain time.
The article goes on to favorably compare SWBTS's decision to that of other seminaries in the state of Texas, including divinity schools at TCU and Baylor by stating:

TCU announced a five percent increase for 2009-10, and Baylor University announced increases of seven percent for the university and just under seven percent for its Truett Seminary.
Kudos to SWBTS, right? Well, not so fast.

Yesterday, Th.M students at SWBTS were told by administrators that tuition for their master's program would be increasing to a flat fee of $2,050 per semester regardless of the number of hours a Th.M student takes. Faculty at SWBTS have formerly advised students to work towards a Th.M degree over two full academic years (four semesters). Thus, this new rate schedule for the Th.M. means tuition costs of $8,200 for Southern Baptist students and $16,400 for non-Southern Baptist students. The Th.M used to cost Southern Baptist students $173 per credit hour, the tuition rate declared in the article as unchanged, for a total $4,152 to complete the 24 master level credit hours. The new cost for Southern Baptists completing the Th.M in the suggested time of four semesters is $8,200, for a whopping 100% increase in tuition.

Some SWBTS administrators might object to the above by saying, Th.M. students could finish the 24 credit hours in one year, and thus actually save money!" Such an objection would, however, seem disingenuous given that SWBTS administrators themselves recommend that students take two years to complete the Th.M in order to ensure a high quality of scholarship. Further, few seminary students actually take 12 master's course hours each semester, even as M.Div students. Th.M. students usually take less hours per semester than M.Div. students since even more is demanded to complete the most advanced master’s degree offered by SWBTS.

The change in the billing structure certainly would not seem in the best interest of the vast majority of Th.M students. Many SWBTS Th.M. students are pastoring in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and only have time, unfortunately, to take one class per semester as a means of continuing their education. Thus, the total cost for the Th.M. degree for those pastors taking one course per semester has now increased astronomically - from the former $4,152 to $10,850, a 152% increase.

There are just a couple of questions that I believe should be asked by Southern Baptists of SWBTS administrators.

(1). Why is the change in billing structure not being announced openly? The seminary newsletter categorically states tuition is not increasing. There is little room to interpret the statement "master’s programs will remain at $173 per semester hour” in a manner different than the way it reads.

(2). Is it possible that administration at SWBTS might wish the public at large to believe the school is doing one thing, but in reality, they intend to do just the opposite? At best, the story in the school's newsletter needs be amended to include the relevant information concerning the enormous increase in tuition for Th.M students.

To be clear, it is the perogative of SWBTS administrators and trustees to increase tuition by changing the billing structure all divinity students if they desire. The issue is not the increase. Our concern is that any SBC institution might represent to the public something that is contrary to what is actually happening.

The Th.M. degree program at SWBTS is seeing an enormous tuition increase. I would suggest that we put the facts out for all to read and resist any temptation as Southern Baptists to be hide the reality of our decisions. The solution in this particular situation, in order to maintain integrity, is for SWBTS administrators to address the tuition hikes for the Th.M. degree program in a public manner as soon as possible.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

141 comments:

mike fox said...

good grief! does SWBTS not provide any scholarships for advanced students? if not, why would anyone go there?

Wade Burleson said...

Southern Baptists do receive a Cooperative Program scholarship which amounts to half of the SBC student's tuition.

Frankly, this SWBTS proposed tuition change, in my opinion, is a backdoor manner by which SWBTS obtains more CP funds.

I'm not sure the Executive Committee in Nashville, once they realize what is taking place, will be very happy.

Johnny said...

Wade -

Question. Where can I go online to find Southwestern's fees for Th. M's? I cant seem to find them in their catalogs.

I ask because Th. M's are considered an advanced degree - infact you must have a M.Div to enroll in the program.

The Th.M's, as an advanced degree tend to be considerably more expensive than M.Divs. In fact most I've looked at are in the 7,000 to 8,000 range. If SW was offering a Th.M for around 4,000, it would have been the steal of the year.

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

A Th.M. is master's level work - not doctoral work. In fact, in many cases the exact SAME classes taken by M.Div. students are taken by Th.M. students - but the Th.M. student must write an additional paper for an additional credit hour.

M. er, Johnny, how are things at SWBTS?

:)

Jon Estes said...

It continues to amaze me why people don't just say what they are doing and do what they are saying.

I would encourage every Th.M student to take a copy of the article which shows how the trustees voted and demand a no increase tuition for their program or transfer to a school which really cares.

Anonymous said...

As long as the Th.M is still considered a MASTER'S degree, it doesn't matter whether it's an advanced master's, or whatever. If SWBTS says that master's degree tuition will not increase, then that should apply to all master's degrees unless they qualify their statement, which they did not (at least not in the PR article).

Chuck Andrews said...

Wade

You are right, there probably are a lot of pastors within a couple of hours drive of SWBTS that take one course a semester as they work toward their degree. If that be the case, instead of paying $519 for a three hour course they would have to pay $2050.

If this is correct, I suspect SWBTS enrollment will drop sharply.

Chuck

Johnny said...

Wade -

I ask an honest question, and I get snark?
Check your IP tracker, I live in Missouri - I've never even driven past SWBTS campus.

Th M's require an Mdiv for admission.
They take doctoral level classes.
And tend to be more expensive than your normal M Divs.

Admittedly, its been 3 years since I took a serious look at another degree, but your claims seem out of the ordinary to me.
I don't have the facts, and I just want to double check them, so I asked where I can find a posting of their fees.

And you accuse me of being a SWBTS shill?

I didn't call you any names. I didn't accuse you of any wrong doing. I'm just looking for a list of SWBTS's fees for their ThM's.

Since this post is about transparency, I'm surprised that you have a problem with my request.

John Fariss said...

Johnny,

Southern Baptist seminaries have long (always?) been a bargain in the academic community. When I went (1984-87) tuition was something like $900 per semester. Their nearest "competitor" I checked into I think was the Presbyterian's Columbia Seminary, which was was like $15,000 a year, and Duke was around $30,000.

Sadly--and this is personal opinion only--I think our seminaries lost a lot of their academic excellence after the mid-80s. No one can deny that they lost a host of experienced scholars. This will affect academics, because even if they are replaced with other scholars, these by definition are less experienced in the classroom. I am also sure there was a shift in educational philosophy then. My opinion is that this shift was from academic inquiry to doctrinal indoctrination (when I was at SEBTS, we studied various theologies with the understanding that the Holy Spirit would lead us; Dr. Patterson "bragged," if that is the correct term, that they studied them, then showed "why that dog won't hunt.") By now, I am sure that the experience factor has self-corrected. I do not know if the indoctrination issue has resolved, however. From what I read, mostly centering on SWBTS and SBTS, I have my doubts, though Nathan Finn at SEBTS, while quite conservative, seems to be on the up-and-up academicly.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

Earning a Th.M degree at SWBTS requires taking 1 Ph.D class--a reading seminar. But, this course isn't offered as a Ph.D class, per se, but rather as a MASTER'S level course for Th.M students. Thus, they shouldn't have to pay Ph.D level tuition unless they receive Ph.D level credit.

All of the other classes they take towards the degree are master's level classes.

The degree is either 24 or 26 hours. The total so called "Ph.D" classes would be 4 hours - amounting to less than 17% of the total degree. Perhaps they should increase tuition for only that 17% of the degree, not the entire degree by going to a flat rate.

Additionally, Wade is right - Th.M students take the exact same classes as regular M.Div electives. The only difference is the one extra research paper. There is no difference in lectures, professors, sections of courses, etc.

Anonymous said...

Johnny, why did u accuse Wade of attacking you?

I don;t see that in what he wrote to you? What is the matter.
He doesn't do things like that.
Please, can you explain your remarks?

jfile said...

As a Th.M. student I can tell you that these increases were expected. The flat rate had been announced for the current year just one year ago. It was then retracted and we were told that it would go into effect this year. Any Th.M. student at SWBTS who has been around for the last year would have known that this was coming.

benarbour03 said...

As a Th.M student, I also agree with what Jared has said.

It is true that the increase was expected.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that both Jared and Ben use the word "increase" in their comments.

Isn't the point that SWBTS announced that there would NOT be any increase in master's degree tuition?

At least two current Th.M students have commented that they are experiencing the change in billing structure as an "increase" to their tuition...

Anonymous said...

Let me see if I got this right. These astute men sat around their tables (with their little snack bags)and just took this .. right? Whatever happen to lay leadership at my former seminary?

The "suits" met ... they looked nice and clean ... so, that makes it right stick it the future generations ... preparing for gospel ministry.

Troy

Anonymous said...

At the heart of this:

deception of the public

favorable, but dishonest, comparison with other seminaries

apparently two, possibly three 'damage control' shills from SWBTS who are executing the wishes of the trustees (this is the worst of all the occurences, as young men training for ministry are being trained to do what is in violation of personal integrity)

murky publication of tuition rates, rather than straight-up disclosure of funds to interested individuals

'trustees' who are anything but trying to 'protect' students' interests

Blatant disregard for the reputation of an institution which has been held in regard in years long ago, and is the alma-mater of many active Baptist preachers

Integrity and Moral Behavior has been compromised openly.

Damage done to ability of some students to cope with new demands is visible in time restrictions for accomplishing credit course work and also increase in fees by an extreme percentage

Does anyone smell PP ?

Steve said...

Johnny,

Once again, you have missed Pastor Burleson's point. It is the lack of transparency, not the tuition that is the issue.

Johnny said...

Anon (Tue Apr 14, 12:23:00 PM 2009) -

Please reread. I did not accuse Wade of attacking me. I accused him of being snarky and lacking transparency, even though he is calling for transparency from others.

I asked Wade an honest question, which he ducked with a talking point (lack of transparency).

He then said:

"M. er, Johnny, how are things at SWBTS?
:)"

I really don't know who he was implying that I am. But he is questioning my identity and suggesting that I am asking my question because I like SWBTS (which admittedly, I don't).

I wouldn't (and didn't) call that an attack. I have thicker skin than that after all.
But I would (and did) call that snark.

You said:
"He doesn't do things like that.
Please, can you explain your remarks?"

I wish that were true. Though I rarely comment, I have been reading Wade's blog for about 3 years now.
And he does have a habit of being unkind to people that disagree with him.

If you disagree with him, he will mock you:
Just ask Wade about his "Senior Pastor" article that mocked Jeremy Greene. Even Wade's friends thought he went too far with it. Apparentally, Wade thinks so too, as it seems to have been removed from his archives.

If you disagree with you he will accuse you of horrible sins:
Ask Peter Lumpkins who Wade called a racist. Despite the fact that as a pastor, Peter worked hard to intigrate his church. Once again, I would link to Wade's article, but it seems to have been removed.

And of course, Wade has always got his lawyer in his back pocket.
found here!

I started reading Wade's blog 3 years ago when he was writing about the problems at the IMB, and agreed with a lot of what he said.

But since the Garner Motion passed, the tone of this blog has changed dramatically.

Around here, the BI crowd gets accused of being mean and spiteful and yelling about everything they don't like.
But here lately when I read this blog, I see the same meanness, spitefullness, and yelling.
The only difference between the BI group and Wade's group is what they're yelling about.

Its helped me see that Wade doesn't have an answer for what is really wrong with the SBC.
The talking points might change, but the same angry spirit will remain.

So Wade has become just one more reason why I'm looking for an exit strategy from the SBC.
There are very few people who are working toward real cooperation. Akin, Reid, Stetzer, Finn, Fries, and that's about it.

When the fighting gets too much for them, they'll probably stop beating their heads against the wall, and it will be over.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen Wade behave unethically on this blog.
'Johnny' or "M", you need to back up your accusations; but you can't.
We have access to Wade's blog archives and we know the truth.
Yes, you will need to find another place to land, if the SBC cleans up its act, for you are the type the B.I. loves. You serve an evil master. That's not snark, that's obvious from your accounts on this blog.
Wade's integrity and moral character are obvious to anyone who values these qualities.
You don't qualify to judge him, as you do not share these values, obviously.

jfile said...

I checked my archived emails and I could not find what the announced prices were last year for the new fee structure. I wish I could find it because then I could verify this, but I'm pretty sure that the "increases" due to the new fee structure is the exact same as they announced a year ago. Thus, I don't think that there is any news that isn't already year old.

Anonymous said...

Around here, the BI crowd gets accused of being mean and spiteful.

Yeah. Like look at who they hurt.
Missionaries, women professors, innocent people.

These are horrible, evil, immoral, greedy, unethical, unChristian, politicos. For all we know, they are nothing more than the tools of the Dominionists. Robert, a
dominionist, who blogs here, always supports these B.I.
So it is easy to make the connection.

Anonymous said...

So, jfile, is the newspaper account telling the truth?

There's no increase?

Anonymous said...

I checked my archived emails and I could not find what the announced prices were last year for the new fee structure. I wish I could find it because then I could verify this, but I'm pretty sure that the "increases" due to the new fee structure is the exact same as they announced a year ago. Thus, I don't think that there is any news that isn't already year old.

Tue Apr 14, 01:47:00 PM 2009

So the e-mail was sent to current students for that program? Would a new student understand this new fee structure is really an increase? Or would they read the paper and think there is NO increase in any degree program?

jasonk said...

For the record, I called Peter a racist too. Because of what he said about a black pastor. Sounded kind of racist. So I called him a racist. I thought he was, but wouldn't admit it. Just like every church considers themselves a "friendly church," every racist (almost) thinks himself not one.
Also, I called Peter a pharisee and a legalist. But that was like, last year.
As for the point of this post, SWBTS is doing what every corporation does--putting their best foot forward. Leading with their best song. Accentuating the positive. They give the good news, without reporting the bad. In 2003, when I was laid off from my job, the company announced that they had "a few layoffs." Because they are publicly traded, they had to disclose the layoffs. When pressed for a number, they said "Bank of ______ laid off about 30 employees." Which was true. However, across the entire company, which included holdings that were known by a different brand, there were hundreds of people laid off. They told the truth, but not the whole truth.
Which is what SWBTS is doing. It might be acceptable and admirable in the corporate world--shrewd some might call it--but in the context of our faith, it is a lie, plain and simple. We should expect more from our institutions than hypocrisy.

jfile said...

I just don't see this as a clear cut case of deception like it's being made out to be. The decision to change the fee structure was a year ago and I don't think it had anything to do with the announcement that tuition was staying the same for master's students.

Tim G said...

Wade,
You are a year behind. That is not like you! But it does make for a good story on your blog.

A change that was announced a year ago is not NEW this year.

Surely you can and do understand that this post is a stretch to say the least.

Lydia said...

Tim, if that is so then why did they write this:

"Tuition for Southern Baptist students in the master’s programs will remain at $173 per semester hour. The move confirms the administration and trustees’ commitment to protect students from the burden of increased tuition in a financially uncertain time."

Is this a Clintonian tactic with semantics?

Tom Parker said...

Tim G:

The Board announces on 4-8-9 that there will not be an increase and then there is an increase. These increases also look outrageous given the economic times we are living in. What am I missing?

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

I apologize for my comment which you deemed snarky. I will take your word that the SWBTS IP address logged on at the time of your comment is not you.

I think you missed the point of my post. It is not a debate over whether or not a Th.M. degree from SWBTS is a bargain - it is whether or not we state for all to see what is being done.

Thanks.

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Your comment about Mrs. Patterson is removed. Please focus on the issue and refrain from personal attacks. It is the policy of this blog to leave all comments up that attack me personally, but I will remove those that attack others.

Anonymous said...

So TIM: the article Wade mentions was NOT written this year?

Are you sure?

If it WAS written like this:

"Last Wednesday, April 8, 2009, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's newsletter The Hill published an article entitled Southwestern Seminary Announces No Tuition Increase for 2009-2010. In the article, SWBTS administrators were unmistakably clear:

Tuition for Southern Baptist students in the master’s programs will remain at $173 per semester hour. The move confirms the administration and trustees’ commitment to protect students from the burden of increased tuition in a financially uncertain time."

So you are saying that the article was written in 2008 instead of 2009?

Then there is this problem: what about the promise of the trustees not to increase the tuition?

Is the tuition now at $173 per semester hour or not?

Explain your comments, with documentation, or fall into the B.I. toadie classification of them what thinks people is stupid and the more you repeat a lie, the more the dummies will believe it.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

There's something that's really surprising about all this, to me.

We all know the verses about avoiding even appearance of evil, and I'm sure we all know this is NOT our business we're about down here. Jesus said HE wasn't going about His own business here, but rather His Father's. My guess is that we're about HIS business, not ours. And we must do that His way.

SWBTS announced the change, apparently to students, a year ago and then withdrew it. They did not announce it this year and said tuition in the Master's program would not increase.

What surprises me is the number of people, here, who seem to think that's ok, in what's supposed to be God's business.

That does seem logical, though, within a group in which many folks think it's also OK to include in church membership numbers, those folks who have not been there in years.

Anonymous said...

I have pastored baptist churches for over 45 yrs. As all aged ppl. I miss certain things. Although I was in the convention in Dallas in 1985 I look back and wonder if we didn't just trade ultra-leiberalism for untra-fundamentalism. I worry for our young pastors. Not only the expense of education but what U have to subscribe to to minister. Wade, am reading your book 90% agreement.

Johnny said...

Wade -

I guess its true what they say - fighting fire with fire leaves everything burned.

Well enough. Apology accepted, forgiveness extended.

I am well aware of the point of the post - thanks though.
It was shocking that the rate for the Th.M would double. I guess I just needed to see it with my own eyes.
Since the two ThM students weighed in on the change, I suppose the increase was that dramatic.

I'll just sit back and shake my head.

Tim G said...

My comment was not about the article but about the announcement of the changes in the M TH.

One might want to remember that fog can appear to be smoke when someone is looking for a fire.

Tom Parker said...

Tim G:

You are really confusing me?
What comment would you make about the article. They said they were not going to increase tuition and now the tuition is being raised. What am I missing that you are not?

Anonymous said...

"My comment was not about the article but about the announcement of the changes in the M TH."

The post was about the article.

So, are you saying that because they announced the "changes" in the M TH a year ago in an e-mail to current students they could with a straight face and pure honesty say they had NO tuition increases?

Thanks for your definition of honesty. That will come in handy when reading your comments.

Mark

Wally said...

PAPTIST PRESS

TRUSTEES: No tuition increases at SWBTS


Posted on Apr 13, 2009 | by Keith Collier
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary approved the administration's proposed 2009-10 annual budget, which included no tuition increases for the upcoming academic year, during their April 8 meeting at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus.

"Given the sacrifices many students are having to make during this time of economic uncertainty," Southwestern President Paige Patterson said, "the board of trustees and the seminary administration felt they needed to do all they could to enable present and future students of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to continue their studies.

"Ultimately, our desire to see students complete their education and get on the field as soon as possible motivated the seminary to pursue other financial solutions," Patterson said.

At the end of 2008, trustees recommended reductions in the current budget to protect the institution from future financial crisis. Significant efforts were made by the administration, including temporary suspension of many overseas travel programs and adjustments to campus facilities, with the goal of avoiding tuition increases.

Tuition for Southern Baptist students in the master's programs will remain at $173 per semester hour. Doctoral programs will also remain at the current tuition rates. Tuition for Southern Baptist students in the College at Southwestern will remain at $208 per semester hour.

Colleges, universities and seminaries across the country have recently announced tuition increases. In an April 5 article, the Los Angeles Times reported "modest tuition boosts" averaging 4 percent for private colleges and universities nationwide for the 2009-10 school year. In the state of Texas, an Associated Press article said the University of Texas System announced increases from 4 to 9 percent in its schools over the next two years, and the Texas A&M System announced increases from 4 to 14 percent in its schools over the same period. Closer to the seminary, TCU announced a 5 percent increase for 2009-10 and Baylor University announced increases of 7 percent for the university and just under 7 percent for its Truett Seminary.
--30--
Keith Collier is director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Glen Alan Woods said...

It appears there is some PhD level work required of ThM students. See below where I have pasted directly from SWBTS's website

Description of of ThM curriculum as of 3:13 PM CST April 14, 2009

http://www.swbts.edu/index.cfm?pageid=604

The Southwestern ThM consists of a 24-hour curriculum including:
• Graduate Research Seminar - 2 hours
• PhD Reading Seminars - 4 hours
• Master’s electives - 12 hours
• Thesis Research - 2 hours
• Thesis Writing - 4 hours
A student may complete a 26-hour non-thesis track ThM by taking two additional advanced master’s electives.
Students who complete the Southwestern ThM may apply up to 10 hours toward the Southwestern PhD (Graduate Research Seminar, PhD Reading Seminars, and the thesis may substitute for a research seminar).

I also checked their posted tuition. Apparently they have not yet changed it on their own website to reflect the announcement.


Tuition as of 3:13 PM CST April 14, 2009.

http://www.swbts.edu/index.cfm?pageid=419

Wally said...

dr phil

we need your help in finding truth in this matter and statement by PP of swbts.

wally

Alan Paul said...

I am nearing the end of your book... and I am sick to my stomach that the trustees, supposedly Christians and supposedly leaders, pastors, etc. could act the way they did. They should be ashamed of themselves - especially Jerry Corbaley and his pathetic, childish behavior towards you at dinner.

I don't know how you kept it together... I certainly would not have.

Linda said...

You know what?

This whole business of power play and truth fudging and business model for the church and for Christian entities sickens me.

For a seminary to do this makes me understand the old pastor who told us "thank God I never got to go to seminary and lose my faith."

Honestly? I minister to some very low income, low education level, less than clean folks who use substances that alter the mind.

But guess what? These days I see more of Christ in their actions than I do in the SBC leadership. More love. More honesty. More sharing. More giving. More trusting Christ to make it work if they obey, and to love them if they fail to obey.

No wonder Jesus told us to be wary of religious leaders.

I submit to you the idea that my alcoholic neighbor who took in her excon son with no place to go, his live in lover, and her kids and provides them with shelter and what food she can and abundant amounts of love and hugs, will stand before Christ (whom she loves dearly) and receive far more praise than these status protecting suits.

If a seminary cannot be trusted to tell the truth with money, which will perish in the burning, why on earth would I trust them to teach those who want to teach me what the Bible says and means?

Nope, think I will just go have some coffee with the lady next door who lives out the gospel, however foggily.

Linda

Anonymous said...

That begs the question: was the tuition raised a year ago to the amount of $173 per sem. hour?

What is the current charge per sem. hour?

If the trustees willfully deceived the public, therely jeopardizing the reputation fo the school, these trustees should be dismissed and honest men appointed to replace them.

The last thing any Southern Baptist seminary needs is this kind of public display by its leadership. of contempt for the truth. And, as far as comparing itself to other seminaries positely, they should be very much shocked and offended.

Wade Burleson said...

Alan Paul,

People often ask me why I continue to blog and why it is I stay within the SBC.

There is only one answer.

What you read in the book motivated me to never again be silent and to do everything within my power to wake Southern Baptists up to what is happening in the SBC.

I believe things are changing for the better. We are becoming more open, more transparent, etc . . .

Unfortunately, sometimes it has to happen when Southern Baptists, without shame or fear, call their leaders into account.

Wade

Anonymous said...

Is there some kind of a conflict in the way that SWBTS appoints its trustees?

I mean, are they all appointed by one man, Paige Patterson?

Does he control their salaries?

Who are these 'trustees'?

Who is the publicist for SWBTS?

Why did the trustees do this: was it on their own or under orders.
Were there any dissenters, who saw the potential for disaster in manipulating the truth so openly?

If SWBTS has 'trustees' like this, it doesn't need any enemies.

You've got to feel for the poor ministerial students. And, oh goodness, what are they being taught?

Anonymous said...

Dear LINDA,

Your neighbor sounds like a wonderful Christian woman. Those trustees, those men, scare me.
But your description of this lady is heart-warming.

It's all about following Jesus.

jfile said...

For a comparison to see what a Th.M. costs at another Southern Baptist Seminary check this out. http://www.sbts.edu/documents/registration/Fees0809.pdf

Southern lists the Th.M. along with the tuition prices for the Ph.D. and other research degrees. The vast majority of Master's students at SWBTS are not Th.M. students. This only affects a relatively small amount of us, and I'm sure its because of the nature of the degree. Not to mention, Th.M. students at SWBTS are still paying less than we would at SBTS.

Anonymous said...

Jfile: did the trustees misrepresent the truth about the lack of increase or not?

That's the point.

SWBTS is in trouble, and its not all financial.

jfile said...

I don't know what their intent was, I'm not a judge of hearts and minds. All I know is that I saw the announcement that there was going to be no tuition raise before seeing the email in my inbox about the fee structure change and I was not surprised in the slightest because we were told these changes were taking place a year ago.

A Th.M. is a different kind of degree than the MDiv or MACE. It's a research degree and should be treated the same as other research degrees. As someone who will be paying more in the Fall if I don't finish before then I'm not concerned about any duplicity. They did exactly as I have expected for the last year. Since when does good news for 90% or more of the students have to be suspect because of a technicalty?

Elizabeth Prata said...

Thank you Pastor Wade for this thorough information.

Anonymous said...

"I don't know what their intent was, I'm not a judge of hearts and minds"

you hear this excuse a lot from the far-right fundamentalist CR when they are defending their own who have done the stupid.

Just read their statement.
Either they lied or not.
You can't give anymore CR any out because they break commandments right and left and, oh we're not sure what their intent was.

I'll tell you.
They were trying to deceive the public into thinking they were more to their students than they are. They aren't protecting anyone who is a student. They sure as hell aren't protecting the truth.

They lied.

That was easy.

If you speak a lie and take credit for it, then you lied. Not just when you get caught. They got caught because EVERYONE keeps an eye on them now, not just Wade.

Who is going to trust these guys again? If nothing is changed, who is going to trust the students who graduate under the 'protection' of these guys?

Gives you the creeps.

jfile said...

Anonymous,
"you hear this excuse a lot from the far-right fundamentalist CR when they are defending their own who have done the stupid."

I bet you think Bush lied about the WMD's too.

Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm too gullible. I'd rather believe the best out of our denominational institutions than to always be on the lookout for someone trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Call it epistemological optimism. I just don't buy into the post modern axiom that says that everything is motivated to obtain political advantage.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit off topic, but it does pertain to seminaries. I have a few questions and I was hoping someone could answer them.

1. Do the seminaries with undergraduate programs receive CP money for those students?

2. Golden Gate Seminary has satellite campuses in Southern California, Arizona, Washington, and Colorado. I have heard that they only receive CP money for those students on the Marin County campus, but none for the students who attend the satellite campuses. Is this true? And would anyone know why?

Sheila

Anonymous said...

I don't think Bush lied about the WMD's.

I KNOW HE DID.

What are you, some kind a fundie moron? Everyone knows it by now except YOU?

Anonymous said...

I'd rather believe the best out of our denominational institutions than to always be on the lookout for someone trying to pull the wool over my eyes.

Some sheep are born with wool over their eyes. Something tells me you will believe anything 'your denominational leaders' tell you.

Try believing in the Bible and stop worshipping these jerks.
Jesus warned us about following this type of 'leader'.

How can you ignore all the harm they have done?
How can you?
Read Wade's book. Take the wool away from your eyes, little sheep.
Take responsibility for who and what you believe in.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm naive. Maybe I'm too gullible. I'd rather believe the best out of our denominational institutions than to always be on the lookout for someone trying to pull the wool over my eyes. Call it epistemological optimism. I just don't buy into the post modern axiom that says that everything is motivated to obtain political advantage.

Tue Apr 14, 08:20:00 PM 2009

Hmm. What are your thoughts on how Dr. Klouda was treated? I guess it is post modernism to think she was treated horribly by an 'entity'.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Joe, you don't believe all that garbage. Bush and Cheney told their people to come up with something to present to the public to justify the war.

It came out.

I guess when you get all of your ideas and info from the same place, you only learn what they want you to 'know'.

The rest of us didn't buy the spin.

Gotta feel sorry for people that can't watch C-Span and think for themselves. Try C-Span. Watch your government in action live.
Climb out of the fox's den and into the light. You DO know that Fox Channel went to court to get the right to lie to the public, don't you? Well, they did.

Try C-span. Do your own thinking.

Anonymous said...

FOX NEWS GOES TO COURT TO GET RIGHT TO LIE AND WINS.


Jane Akre and her husband Steve Wilson are former employees of Fox owned-and-operated station WTVT in Tampa, Florida.

In 1997, they were fired from the station after refusing to knowingly include false information in their report concerning the Monsanto Corporation's production of RBGH, a drug designed to make cows produce more milk.

They successfully sued under Florida's whistle blower law and were awarded a US $425,000 settlement by jury decision.

However, Fox appealed to an appellate court and won, after the court declared that the FCC policy against falsification that Fox violated was just a policy and not a "law, rule, or regulation", and so the whistle blower law did not apply.

The court agreed with WTVT's (Fox) argument "that the FCC's policy against the intentional falsification of the news -- which the FCC has called its "news distortion policy" -- does not qualify as the required "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102.[...]

Because the FCC's news distortion policy is not a "law, rule, or regulation" under section 448.102, Akre has failed to state a claim under the whistle-blower's statute."

In 2001, Jane Akre and her husband won the Goldman Environmental Prize as a recognition for their report on RBGH.

In 2004, Fox filed a US$1.7 million counter-suit against Akre and Wilson for trial fees and costs. Akre and Wilson both appear in a major portion of the 2004/5 critical documentary, The Corporation.

In 2007 Jane became the editor-in-chief of the national news desk at InjuryBoard.com.

jfile said...

Spin Spin Spin. I guess I was right about the postmodern thing. The inclination to distrust authority because "there all out to oppress the little guy" is an attitude in our culture at large and it is prevalent in our denomination as well.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"but the Th.M. student must write an additional paper for an additional credit hour."

An additional paper? I am not sure I would call a master’s thesis a mere paper. At SWBTS the thesis is required, but only after 6 hours of "how to write a thesis" classes. At Covenant Seminary, the thesis and coursework associated with it is 3 or 6 hours depending on the concentration. SEBTS is 3-6 depending on how long it takes one to complete it.

SWBTS's Th.M program is indeed a bargain if you look around. Covenant's program is 15,750. No matter how you slice it and dice it...and like SWBTS, most MDIV scholarships do not apply.

However, if your "paper" is good enough, and if the faculty approve, you just might get it published and pay for the whole thing. A lot of the books we theology students have on our shelves were once a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation.

So, in conclusion: Wade, I am not terribly concerned by this. Their announcement, whether intended or unintended, explicit or implied, bears no effect on the advancement of the Gospel nor harms the Kingdom. If it does not fit into your legalistic definition of good reporting, then I will apologize on their behalf and pray that they do better next time. I am just pleased that those in the program who SHOULD be affected by this seem to not be terribly concerned either.
I will tell you though, this is a good strategy..if you keep it up I hear tell that Truitt just might bestow upon you an honorary doctorate. (no ‘paper’ required)
;)
PS: 50 blog points for the author of this quote (no Googling—I got it out of a book in my library published in 1939):
“The right to private judgment is the crown jewel of humanity, and for any person or institution to dare to come between the soul and God is a blasphemous impertinence and a defamation of the crown-rights of the Son of God.” -1920

Anonymous said...

FOX is not a news channel, it is a spin organization, founded by a man who is not even an American.
He is extremely far to the right in his politics.

His tactics are typical of the far-right ideologues: long on manipulation, short on ethics and truth

jfile said...

Would that quote be from E. Y. Mullins?

Anonymous said...

jfile, at least this is still America, where we can question 'authority'.

We worship God not the CR

Our government works for the people of this country. Here, the people rule.

Not like Nazi, Germany.
Not like a dominionist Islam state.

Get some critical thinking skills.
Its okay to question people who say they are 'christian' and hurt other people, and tell lies, and take a lot of tithe money for their own use and life styles.

If you don't understand, read Wade's book. Unless you have been told by your authorities in the CR not to, because you wouldn't 'understand' it.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

How dare you...I would never quote him. :)


But seriously, nope.

Lydia said...

"FOX is not a news channel, it is a spin organization, founded by a man who is not even an American.
He is extremely far to the right in his politics. "

Can you say, 'Dan Rather'? Remember what happened to him?


Of course we know that ABC, CBS and NBC and all the others are bastions of truth. Sheesh!

Can you guys leave Bush out of anything?

Obama has ONE claim to fame for policy that he took on like a tiger: Making sure it was legal to withhold medical care for born alive aborted babies. Not once, but twice he took on this fight.

That was his big political issue! In the Ill senate. His fight for the 'least of these'. And now this barbarian is our president.

Are we really going to get into a match on whose guy is more evil? Seems senseless to me.

Just because some of us disagree with the CR and this abuse of authority going on in the SBC does not mean we are all going to remain silent while you guys come on here and Bush bash.

I would rather vote for the 'warmonger' than a guy who wants born alive aborted babies to die alone in soiled linen closets and made it his political life ambition to make sure it could happen.

Lydia said...

Spin Spin Spin. I guess I was right about the postmodern thing. The inclination to distrust authority because "there all out to oppress the little guy" is an attitude in our culture at large and it is prevalent in our denomination as well.

Tue Apr 14, 10:37:00 PM 2009

Then they should quit proving how true it is. Can you say, "Dr. Klouda"?

Thy Peace said...

About Bush and WMD: These are all opinions in NYT, so read with a grain of salt.

Calling Bush a Liar
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
.

So is President Bush a liar?

Plenty of Americans think so. Bookshops are filled with titles about Mr. Bush like "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them," "Big Lies," "Thieves in High Places" and "The Lies of George W. Bush."

A consensus is emerging on the left that Mr. Bush is fundamentally dishonest, perhaps even evil — a nut, yes, but mostly a liar and a schemer. That view is at the heart of Michael Moore's scathing new documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

In the 1990's, nothing made conservatives look more petty and simple-minded than their demonization of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who were even accused of spending their spare time killing Vince Foster and others. Mr. Clinton, in other words, left the right wing addled. Now Mr. Bush is doing the same to the left. For example, Mr. Moore hints that the real reason Mr. Bush invaded Afghanistan was to give his cronies a chance to profit by building an oil pipeline there.

"I'm just raising what I think is a legitimate question," Mr. Moore told me, a touch defensively, adding, "I'm just posing a question."

Right. And right-wing nuts were "just posing a question" about whether Mr. Clinton was a serial killer.

I'm against the "liar" label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding.

I'm against the "liar" label for two reasons. First, it further polarizes the political cesspool, and this polarization is making America increasingly difficult to govern. Second, insults and rage impede understanding.
.
Bulletin: No W.M.D. Found.

The world little noted, but at some point late last year the American search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq ended.

We will, however, long remember the doomsday warnings from the Bush administration about mushroom clouds and sinister aluminum tubes; the breathless reports from TV correspondents when the invasion began, speculating on when the "smoking gun" would be unearthed; our own failures to deconstruct all the spin and faulty intelligence.

The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq may have been one of the greatest nonevents of the early 21st century, right up there with the failure of the world's computers to crash at the end of the last millennium. That Y2K scare at least brought us an updated Internet. Fear of the nonexistent W.M.D. brought us a war.
.
Because We Could
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
.

The failure of the Bush team to produce any weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D.'s) in Iraq is becoming a big, big story. But is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it's the wrong issue now.

Why? Because there were actually four reasons for this war: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason and the stated reason.
.
We Found the W.M.D.
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
.

This is the real “Code Red.” As one banker remarked to me: “We finally found the W.M.D.” They were buried in our own backyard — subprime mortgages and all the derivatives attached to them.

Lydia said...

Kevin, So it is ok to 'spin truth' if it turns out to be a good bargain?

Tim Marsh said...

Pastor Wade,

I completed a ThM at Duke in 2007. When finishing, they were moving to the same billing structure. The purpose was to encourage students to move through the program and complete the degree on time.

The ThM is a an advanced masters degree, usually culminating in a Thesis. To do it in one year is a miracle. So, to take 4 semesters to complete the degree is wise. Furthermore, since most ThM students go on to apply to PhD's, their professor's recommendations are better if the student has more coursework behind them. Plus the professors know them after three semesters, when PhD apps are due rather than after 1 semester.

However, some students linger through the program and the flat rate is one way to encourage progress.

The ThM is an elective degree for the most part, and many schools, not just SWBTS are going this route. Most students use it to increase academic standing before proceeding to the PhD.

It does not mean that it is fair, but it is a trend beyong that of SWBTS.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Purple lady,

I sold cars for 7 years before before the present preacher gig. :)


So the answer to your question: my customers used to think so. :)

K

Only By His Grace said...

Snark,

"Crotchety," "snappish,"

"to snark is to annoy," "street language,"

"sarcastic," "impertinent," "irreverent in tone." "snide."

"a graph in which every node has three branches and edges cannot be colored in less than four colors."

"a fluke or having unrepeatable results."

Phil in Norman

Tom Parker said...

Lydia:

You accuse people of bashing President Bush and then you severly bash President Obama. Wow!

Chris Ryan said...

Kevin,

Firstly, spell it right: TRUETT. Whether you respect the school or not, you should respect the namesake.

You also say that whether if deception occured, intentional or not, it doesn't matter because it has no bearing on the advancement of the Kingdom.

I would posit that a lie, intentional or otherwise, ALWAYS bears on Kingdom work. God's kingdom is not furthered by duplicitus means. God's Kingdom is furthered by worship in spirit and *truth*. If no deception occured, then there is no foul and no reason for concern. If a lie occured at all, then your glibness is unwarrented.

Take this with a grain of salt, however, since it comes from a future Truett student.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Take this with a grain of salt, however, since it comes from a future Truett student."

OK


btw, your authoritarian spewing on the matter of spelling is totally unwarranted

PS: It is TTS who disgraces the name of George W. through their liberal agenda.

Anonymous said...

jfile 'I just don't see this as a clear cut case of deception like it's being made out to be.'

no wonder you are CR
if you can't tell the difference between the truth and the lies
no wonder

'just can't see' ?
or 'just won't see' ?
Read the post. It's in black and white. They lied.

Anonymous said...

On this blog, one man's 'snark' is another man's defending his doctrine.

You can't tell the difference with some of these guys.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Take this as you will but you have got to get a life. Let go of this vendetta and do the work of ministry.

Do you know that you let the greatest week of all pass without one post about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? If that does not indicate that your heart and mind are in the wrong place then I don't know what else does.

BTW, the Th.M. is a bridge degree for Ph.D. work. It has the word master in it but it not a master's (at least at SWBTS and most other schools) in the traditional sense of the word. You are splitting hairs for the sole purpose of stirring up your lackeys.

There is something seriously wrong with the direction you have taken this blog.

Anonymous said...

Anon. Then what are doing here?
You are afraid aren't you, that Wade is making progress against the CR/BI rule over the SBC.

Your presence here is proof that Wade is becoming very effective.
When you and people like you show up, it sends one message:

"Wade, get off our back."

He is trying to get YOU and your cronies off the backs of the people of the SBC: hideous abuses have occured and Wade has stood up and protested. His book is being read and being circulated. No. He is in it for the people who have been and may still be victimized by your kind. Thank God.

You getting uncomfortable?
Good. Very, very good.

Chris Ryan said...

Sorry, Kevin, I should have said "Please."

Seriously, I realize I came off very strongly. For that, I apologize. But I appreciate so much of what GWT stood for, and Southern Baptists have drifted so far from much of it (although I think the Seminary is still largely in keeping). When I see anything that might be disrespectful, I am not surprised, but my dander is immediately raised. The tone of your comment seemed to indicate disdain, and so I responded in kind. I quite possibly read you wrong but was certainly wrong to respond as such. I should know that there is every possibility of a typo (don't tell me if it wasn't) and have the grace and faith to trust that it was such.

PS. GWTTS is liberal to the Fundamentalists. To the rest of the conservaive world, they are pretty orthodox (even if some disagreement exists in tertiary matters).

Anonymous said...

"Do you know that you let the greatest week of all pass without one post about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? "

Of course you know that Wade was at the bedside of his son, a Marine who is needing surgery in San Diego? Wade and Rachelle visited their son. Of course you know that.

Wade belonged at the side of his boy. We all prayed during this time. One question for you, how can someone like you even mention Easter in the same comment as the one about a 'vendetta'?

Since when is it a 'vendetta' to stand up for victims of persecution by the CR/BI ?

You don't know what honorable means, do you?

Anonymous said...

All of the comments regarding the nature of the Th.M degree as a bridge to Ph.D work, having to write a thesis, not being the same as an M.Div or MACE degree, the recommended length of time to finish, etc., etc. -- these comments fail to deal with three things:

1.) the Th.M degree is, by definition, a MASTER'S degree,

2.) SWBTS published an article stating that tuition for MASTER'S students will not be increased for the 2009-2010 academic year, and

3.) The total cost of tuition for Th.M (master's degree) students will increase from somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 to upwards of $8,000.

I find no way to reconcile these propositions apart from either:

1.) an honest mistake in oversight on the part of SWBTS when writing the article (unlikely), or

2.) deliberate misrepresentation of information on the part of SWBTS.

Is there another way to account for this information?

For those wanting to give SWBTS the benefit of the doubt:

That does seem to be a sign of Christian charity. However, how long does a pattern need to manifest before you call a spade a spade?

Even so, I don't have a problem with someone giving SWBTS the benefit of the doubt here. BUT, AT LEAST have enough personal integrity to admit that there was a mistake. Don't pretend that SWBTS is somehow flawless and impeccable.

Tim Marsh said...

Chris Ryan,

PS. GWTTS is liberal to the Fundamentalists. To the rest of the conservaive world, they are pretty orthodox (even if some disagreement exists in tertiary matters).

Could the far, far right be unorthodox?

Anonymous said...

what the heck is a "snark???" don't tell me this is a new term we are going to have to become familar with to be good SB's and please don't put it in the next BFM!

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"what the heck is a "snark???" don't tell me this is a new term we are going to have to become familar with to be good SB's and please don't put it in the next BFM!"snark: see bold above.


:)

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin M. Crowder said...

Chris Ryan,

Your apology is accepted. My spelling of Truitt was not a typo, nor was it intentional. In fact it never occurred to me to check how it was spelled. I have Truett's Biography by Powhatan James sitting on my desk (from which the earlier quote was taken by GWT, at a speech at the 1920 SBC AM in DC on the steps of the Capitol)

I hope you enjoy your time at TTS. Selecting a Seminary is akin to selecting a favorite baseball team. You tend to become a diehard fan...possibly for life.

And so even if I think the academic freedom associated with Baylor/TTS is in some cases antithetical to my idea of the purpose of Christian education, I am compelled to agree with J. Gresham Machen who believed that the veracity of Scripture transcends the views of the teachings of any man or institution and can quite certainly hold its own. Machen studied under what could only be called liberal schools of theology in Germany and wrestled with a changing theology at Princeton TS at the turn of the century, only to settle in his mind the issue of inerrancy and went on to found Westminster TS and the OPC.

I won't let Covenant TS change my view on believer’s baptism if you won't let Truett TS make you a liberal. Deal? :)

Anonymous said...

Joe, put your faith in God.
Follow the Bible.
You can't do that and support the CR/BI at the same time.
You must choose one master.

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Parker said...

Joe Blackmon:

I find your recent comments so unlike you.

Anonymous said...

I will be finishing my MDiv degree at Southwestern next year and I'm not sure where I should go for the DMin degree. Any suggestions? I live in the DFW area and I would want to be able to continue serving locally in ministry full-time. It looks like Baylor would facilitate that. Any other ideas?

Anonymous said...

Chris, Truett as you know, proudly does not force its students to sign any document (bfm2k) in order to study for the ministry.
Glad you had the discernment to choose such a school.

Here is some info for others to read about Truett:

"On July 24, 1990, the Baylor University Board of Trustees officially reserved with the Secretary of State of Texas the name “George W. Truett Theological Seminary,” in the event the board decided sometime in the future to create a seminary. On March 2, 1991, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary was chartered and a fifteen-member Board of Trustees was named by the University’s Board of Regents to investigate the feasibility of operating a seminary. (On September 21, 1990, the University Trustees had changed Baylor’s charter in order to have greater freedom in the selection of the University’s governing board. By this action the University Trustees became Regents.)

An organizational meeting of Seminary Trustees was held on July 18, 1991, at which time officers were elected and a statement of purpose was developed. A joint meeting with the Seminary Trustees and Board of Regents was held on January 17, 1992, and further investigation and discussion was authorized. On May 21, 1993, the Board of Regents approved the opening of George W. Truett Theological Seminary with the beginning of the 1994-95 academic year. In 1994 conservative leaders were in control of the Southern Baptist Convention. Seminary faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and other SBC seminaries were being required to sign documents indicating agreement with Scriptural inerrancy. The Board of Regents and Trustees were able to avoid this requirement at Truett."

Chris, someone with your gifts deserves to go to a discerning school that will help you to develop your gifts in the service of the Lord, not the CR.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Glad to know that he was visiting with his son. That is great and he should be commended for doing so. My point is that while he could write a post about the "The Shack" that were lengthy and another post critical of ISPN, he did not have time to write of Jesus' resurrection. Seriously, I think some self-examination is in order.

Anonymous said...

Could the far, far right be unorthodox?

YEP.

Example: ESS, 'eternal submission of the Son to the Father'

ESS is an prime example of a heretical attack on the nature of the Trinity. The orthodox Christian faith does not recognize ESS as anything but heresy.

ESS is a fundamentalist, Dominionist teaching.

Many other examples of heresy against Christian orthodoxy abound in fundamentalism.

Anonymous said...

jfile,

When SWBTS announced last week that there would be no increase in tuition for master's degrees for the 2009-2010 school year, it seems to me that they intended that to mean: "the prices for master's degree tution in 2009-2010 will be the same as 2008-2009." Am I wrong to interpret it that way?

If this is the right interpretation, then it seems to me that SWBTS lied, even if the changes in the Th.M program had been announced over a year ago. This is important because, even if the coming changes were well known, these changes constitute an increase in tution from the 2008-2009 school year to the 2009-2010 school year in a master's degree--which is precisely the kind of increase SWBTS is categorically denying it the article.

A simple qualification in the article would have eliminated the confusion. However, apart from a caveat, it seems that SWBTS was deliberately either: 1.) not telling the whole truth, 2.) speaking falsely, and 3.) doing either of these while comparing itself favorably to other schools who are raising tution.

In light of the above, it seems clear that SWBTS told a BOLD-FACED LIE.

jfile said...

I personally think that it was probably an honest mistake--in line with the earlier anonymous post which gave the two options. The big idea of the release was good news for 90% of the students. I just don't think that they wanted to bog down the good news with a technicality that was announced a year ago. In hindsight, that may have been a mistake considering that there is always someone looking for a reason to criticize SWBTS and the good work that goes on here.

Wade Burleson said...

jfile,

You could be correct. It could be an honest mistake.

However, why compare the "no increase in tuition" declaration with seminaries that increased tuition 5% and 7%? What is the purpose?

I think a simple clarification sentence after the seminary's statement that hourly tuition will stay the same could have been: "The one exception to master's courses tuition fees remaining the same for the next calendar year Th.M. master's course work. Th.M. tuition will move from a $173 per credit hour fee to a per semester flat fee of $2,050 regardless of the number of hours the student takes." Is that not what is actually happening at SWBTS? Is the statement above not clear?

Again, the point of my post is not to argue for or against the merits of the cost of the Th.M. program at SWBTS, nor the decision by administration and trustees to raise tuition at SWBTS. The point of my post is that Southern Baptists need to practice, open, honest and full transparency and simply declare the truth - the whole truth, and quit trying to spin things to always make us look better than others.

John Fariss said...

Dear jfile,

I voted for George w. Bush twice, and I voted for his daddy twice. When the resistance crumbled and no WMD's appeared, I asked people, "What if Britain, the US, and France had invaded Germany in 1938? All the horrors of Nazism and the deaths of World War II would have been avoided, and yet the world would have soundly criticized us for it. Could Sadaam's Iraq be likewise?" So, don't even think that I am a political liberal (or theological either, but that's another subject).

You say, "I bet you think Bush lied about the WMD's too," what exactly are you suggesting? Surely it is not that they actually found WMD's there, are you? Early in the occupation, regularly--seems like every week--the news reported that they had preliminary positive tests from some storage facility, and I hoped and prayed they were right. But every time it proved to be a false positive, usually nothing more than where fertilizer had been stored. As bad a man as Sadaam was, there were no WMD's.

Are you suggesting that the statements were not lies because President Bush was himself duped? Besides that this is an insult to the man's Ivy League Master's degree, who fooled him? Vice President Chaney? The Military-Industrial Complex? The CIA (whose reports suggesting there were no WMDs were either surpressed or ignored)? If you are working on a Th.M or any other advanced degree, you have to be smarter than that.

And if a person repeats a lie, even without knowing it, but at some point realizes it is a lie, yet remains silent--does their earlier "mistake" rise to the level of a lie? I suspect you made this statement as a debating point; but it did not work. You are at least close to painting yourself into a corner with it, and it cost you some credibility, at least with me.

John Fariss

Tom Parker said...

jfile:

I just do not believe you see the problem that this Blog discussion is attempting to address.

You said--"In hindsight, that may have been a mistake considering that there is always someone looking for a reason to criticize SWBTS and the good work that goes on here."

It is not a might have been a mistake. It is a mistake!!

Spin it how you like but what was done is wrong and someone needs to step up to the plate and admit it.

Are you studying to become a minister? If so, is this how you would handle this same situation?
I pray not!

jfile said...

Well, this post was just published yesterday. Why don't we give SWBTS a chance to respond? It's only been a day. The end hasn't come yet. I hope that someone does release some kind of statement clarifying things. If it was a mistake I suspect that a response to this discussion will come within a few days. Until then, I'll just wait and see--hoping for the best. I've got to get to work on my studies here--including a thesis on John Gill (Wade should appreciate that. I have a VERY positive appraisal of Gill, myself).

Tom Parker said...

jfile:

If I was a betting man and I am not, SWBTS will not address this issue. I too shall wait and see.

Anonymous said...

The SWBTS leadership is a law unto himself. Only one man will made the decision whether or not to respond. Arrogance and power does not feel it answers to Anyone.

But, people are watching.
Thanks Wade for exposing this.

Trey said...

Hey everybody... I am actually a student who will be going to SWBTS in the fall (and a calvinist to boot) and I just received this email and I hope it clarifies the issue somewhat. While the article mentioned did not make the distinction, there is a line at the bottom of this email message that explains that the Th.M. is not included in the tuition freeze. You can find the image from the email here:

http://i44.tinypic.com/2059gky.jpg

I read this blog fairly often and have commented in the past and I have to say that I get more and more discouraged by the divisive and abusive remarks that some people make on here. Why can't we simply agree on the fundamentals, loving hash out the rest, and stand together against true heresy? Some on here have so much hate in their heart that they need to put it down and learn to love their brothers and sisters. In case any of you are not aware, there will not only be ultra-right wing SBCers in heaven (and I say this as a right-wing SBCer :).

Remember that in John 17:22-26 Jesus prays that we will be perfected in unity so that the world will know the veracity of Jesus' incarnation. Is that really what we are displaying here?

John Fariss said...

Trey, I think a lot of us--including Wade--have been saying that we can be Baptists, even Southern Baptists, and still be able to agree to disagree; that we can debate, even passionately, about our beliefs; that, given our personalities and circumstances and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can emphasize different aspects of the faith--and still acknowledge that we remain brothers and sisters in Christ. Unfortunantly, it seems that not all our brothers and sisters are agreeable to this.

John Fariss

Trey said...

John,

I definitely do want to clarify and state that there are numerous people who comment who show true Christian charity and unity and I definitely do not mean to throw such a blanket criticism on everybody. My words are reserved for the minority that seems to exist solely to tear down their brothers and sisters.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Trey...SWBTS is not perfect and yes decisions are made from wayward and/or imperfect motives. I too have been angered and confused at the decisions made by SWBTS, the convention, and by individual leaders. But at a closer glance I too fall short constantly and there is no way I could stand blameless under the scutiny that many of you place on SWBTS and her leaders. I have read these blogs and remained silent, but please look at where this venom is taking you. Even if all of your claims and accusations are true please listen to someone who has been forgiven much and forgive these people or institutions who have obviously offended or wronged you. God is in control and gives and takes authority as He sees fit. With that being said move on to other things and let Him discipline His other children. Sometimes when I know I am right about something, I take on a prideful mindset and use the truth to do harm instead of good. I spend more time feeding my frustration than I doing praying for the one doing the frustrating. May the God (who loved His enemies) grant to us the ability to repent! (I mean no offense, but seeing this kind of exchange after contemplating what Christ has done for His Church
{i.e.Easter Weekend}-- makes this believer sad.) For those of you who do not need to repent and are righteous in all of your judgments against SWBTS and her leaders--please disregard this post!

debbiekaufman said...

It's not just the decisions made that are the problem, it's the silence and hiding of those decisions. That is wrong and no different than lying in my opinion. Being silent is not the answer.

greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greg.w.h said...

In an attempt to answer in general the sense that some folks feel it is negative to ask penetrating, diagnostic questions, recall that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis is credited with this extremely sharp insight into why questions like the ones Wade ask are appropriate:

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant."In answer to a previous question regarding limiting CP scholarships to the main GGBTS campus. I discussed this with my dad (who worked most recently--like for the past decade or so--in the Northwest Baptist Convention office where the Washington GGBTS campus is located until his retirement from there this past December) and he believes that the CP scholarship funds might be limited to students at the main campus for all of the seminaries.

He commented that he felt that the funding mechanism for the seminaries hasn't kept up with the reality of some very large and effective satellite campuses such as the Atlanta campus that has a larger student population than the parent NOBTS and the Houston campus that is nearly as large population wise as the parent SWBTS campus.

He also pointed out that the opportunity of online learning is a reality and can be a very cost-effective way to train our future pastors, ministers, and missionaries. I'd add that training them "in situ" in their home churches seems a better model to me than the geographically centralized seminary, a point I've made several times before on various forums.

We had an extended conversation about the philosophy of tuition and tuition increases as well which I won't share in its entirety. But the general sense of our conversation is that the seminaries should be as self-funding as possible given the economic reality of the many expectations that the Cooperative Program meets.

He also offered that anyone interested in how funding works should feel welcome to call the offices of any of the seminaries and discuss this. I thought his observation that the funding approach might not have kept up-to-date with the reality--especially of the satellite campuses--as being especially insightful.

Greg Harvey

Michael said...

Deb-
The acts of silence and hiding are in fact either born from decision, accident, or something forced on you by others/circumstance. I take it that you believe that they(SWBTS leaders) have either made a decision to hide something or to be silent. Either way, it is a decision. To be clear my post was only to those of us (myself included) who need to repent of having a critical spirit (not to you!) Lastly, I disagree partly with your last statement--because sometimes silence is the right answer! We are to abstain from pointing out/removing splinters in others (eye) until we have removed our own (log)! I have a lot of work to be done on me before I start on SWBTS and her leaders. Until then I will simply continue to do what I know is right:
*Love God and others in word and deed
*obedience to my scriptural convictions by giving grace and showing love in all situations as defined and demonstated by Christ
*fight against the temptation of this world - lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life
*to pray that God will raise up leaders where, when, and by whom He pleases for Christ sake!

Anonymous said...

" We are to abstain from pointing out/removing splinters in others (eye) until we have removed our own (log)! I have a lot of work to be done on me before I start on SWBTS and her leaders."

Friend, this would mean no pastor could preach against sin

Lin said...

"He also pointed out that the opportunity of online learning is a reality and can be a very cost-effective way to train our future pastors, ministers, and missionaries. I'd add that training them "in situ" in their home churches seems a better model to me than the geographically centralized seminary, a point I've made several times before on various forums."

Absolutely!

Michael said...

Friend - that is why I am no pastor! If you look at the post(s) I was speaking of my own tendacies...however, I do believe that a pastor should confess and be in fellowship with Spirit before he preaches about sin~ I was not suggesting that one be sinless only honest and repentant(that passage is not about attaining perfection it is about humility and repentance)...and once again I ask those who did not need to repent of a critcal spirit to disregard the post! So, If you see clearly enough to remove the speck from anothers eye and blogging is the method you have chosen to do so...then blessings and God be with you! Sorry, this is my last post because I quickly start to do the same things that I am speaking against---story of my life!

Anonymous said...

"...and once again I ask those who did not need to repent of a critcal spirit to disregard the post!"

What do you consider a critical spirit? Would that be pointing out the deceit, secrecy and abuse in religious organizations?

Was John being critical when he called out Diotrephes? Paul when he called out Peter publicly?

We can call just about anything a critical spirit except what is total agreement. And in doing so, we protect the evil and/or deceitful doings among us.

It is a serious question I hope you will consider. Martin

Johnny said...

Greg.w.h –

I for one have no problem with penetrating diagnostic questions that need to be asked. But as I noted before, the tone of this blog has changed from that to something much different. Just look at some of the comments of this one post.

“Yes, you will need to find another place to land, if the SBC cleans up its act, for you are the type the B.I. loves. You serve an evil master. (Tue Apr 14, 01:43:00 PM 2009)”

“These are horrible, evil, immoral, greedy, unethical, unChristian, politicos. For all we know, they are nothing more than the tools of the Dominionists.” (Tue Apr 14, 01:48:00 PM 2009)

“Explain your comments, with documentation, or fall into the B.I. toadie classification of them what thinks people is stupid and the more you repeat a lie, the more the dummies will believe it.” (Tue Apr 14, 04:19:00 PM 2009)

“What are you, some kind a fundie moron?” (Tue Apr 14, 08:49:00 PM 2009)

“Try believing in the Bible and stop worshipping these jerks.” (Tue Apr 14, 08:54:00 PM 2009)

“no wonder you are CR if you can't tell the difference between the truth and the lies no wonder” (Wed Apr 15, 12:40:00 AM 2009)

And on and on and on.

There is no thoughtful questions or dialogue there. Just pure hatred against people who are different.
Now I realize that Wade doesn’t pull this sort of stuff, but he is responsible for his lackeys flocking to his banner. Just like Patterson is responsible for his lackeys flocking to his banner.

Whether you’re a Baptist Identity or a Burleson Ideologue, the tone and rancor are all the same, the only difference is what everyone is yelling about.

The same attitude pervades both groups – you’re all the same, your all B.I.

That’s why I said before that I no longer think Wade has an answer for the real problems of the SBC.
If there is a more “moderate” resurgence, it will be in name only. Truth be told it will be one angry power hungry group supplanting another angry power hungry group that itself supplanted the angry power hungry group that was there before it.

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

Anonymous said...

Martin -

A critical spirit (to me) is when truth is used to communicate without love for the person-- sometimes my motives fall short redemption of that person---in other words I sometimes long for them to be tore down instead of truly wanting God's best for them! I guess I kinda hope they get what is coing to them, insead of wanting them to be redeemed! Does this ever happen to anyone else? If not, I guess I should be quiet like I said I would last post, but I did want to answer your query!

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

You are quoting anonymous commentors.

I find it best to ignore anonymous comments.

If you shape your view of the world, expend your energy, or in any way get twisted because of anonymous comments, then you have played right into the hands of those who do not sign their name.

If you ask why I allow anonymous comments, it is simply because I have neither the time nor the energy to moderate comments, and live by the rule I have suggested for you.

I think you will find that over the years on this blog most anonymous commentors have taken me to task, not the other way around.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, Johnny, who are you? Do you serve as a pastor? Where? Tell us a little about your family, your background, your education, your ministry.

I just realized I paid far too much attention to your comment, which is in effect anonymous as well.

Grin.

Trey said...

I think what is getting lost here is the actual situation at hand. The blog and discussion is about SWBTS and whether they were purposely being deceitful about raising the tuition for Masters degree. However, let's break it down a bit.

Did the article in question include the info about there not a tuition increase? No, it did not.

Did SWBTS inform their current students about the Th.M. change? Yes.

Did the emails sent out to prospective students (like myself) include the fact that the Th.M. is excluded from the tuition freeze? Yes.

I realize many here think that SWBTS and most all SBC leaders are the evil empire and are out to steal, kill, and destroy, but I think this was simply a slip up in the article. All current and prospective students have been informed. NO ONE has yet mentioned anything about the fact that this has been clarified by email because that would stop people from being able to argue. If this happened at SBTS or SEBTS then this would not even be an issue... and no, I am not some SWBTS lacky but I have chosen to go there as a Calvinist student in spite of the warnings otherwise.

I realize that the SBC does have its issues these days, but turning this into solely a political fight will end in division and pain for all involved. Why do we not appeal to our great Mediator and High Priest and look inward before attacking? We may just find that loving others may either fix the problems or at the least heap burning coals. Either way, it is a lot more obedient and Christ-like than tearing others down.

Trey said...

BTW, just to reiterate, in case anyone would like to check for themselves the email can be found here:

http://i44.tinypic.com/2059gky.jpg

Wade Burleson said...

Trey,

The new SWBTS Th.M. student who contacted me was not aware of the change. He assumed the rescision last year of the Th.M. tuition increase because of the protest against it was still in effect.

I wrote the post for him and his friends.

:)

Maybe he should have talked to you.

In His Grace,

Wade

Trey said...

Wade,

I was not questioning your sources or the information supplied by them. I was just stating that there has been an email sent out today (at least I got it) that was very clear. I was just trying to point out that there have been current Th.M. students who have commented today saying they were made aware of the change and perspective students like myself were made aware today. Perhaps that was in response to the controversy. However, I was just hoping to help shed some light. I don't doubt that there may have been a communication problem, but I just don't see how it can be filed along with the other grievances people have had in the past. Sometimes a slip up is just a slip up.

Matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Johnny said...

Wade –

Golly, why don’t you ask for my social while you’re at it? You're not going to start calling me a coward now are you? That would be B.I. - utiful.

Yeah, I’m not going to give you my full name. I’m on Moran’s blacklist here in MO & have no desire to make it on anyone else’s, including yours.

But, if you’ll post your credit card number for me, I’ll use it as a security for some money that I’ve got in escrew in Nigeria. Yeah, once my fortune is freed up I’ll give you $10,000 and all my contact info. :)

Seriously though, these anonymous flamers will be first in line for trustee spots once Patterson et al are gone.

Think about the people rallying to your flag, do they really represent what you want the SBC to be?

Peace

Matt said...

The new SWBTS Th.M. student who contacted me was not aware of the change. He assumed the rescision last year of the Th.M. tuition increase because of the protest against it was still in effect.Wade, I wonder why the new SWBTS Th.M. student contacted you in the first place. Could it be that your reputation as an inciter precedes you?

And Jerad, trying to bring any type of logical or rational thought to the comment threads of this blog is beyond fruitless. In fact, it's more like throwing pearls before the swine.

debbiekaufman said...

Trey: Because it is SB money that goes to support these seminaries that is some slip up. And the issue for me is that there still has been no changes made, at least to my knowledge in Dr. Patterson or Mrs. Pattersons' lifestyle. Yet CP money that each church member gives to is going to support SWBTS. It is our business to know. Know everything.

Wade Burleson said...

Trey,

Glad to hear the email went out today. I look forward to reading the press release announcing the changes as well. I also think it would probably be wise not to compare us with other seminaries when we do issue it.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Matt,

The difference between a defender and an inciter is found within the mind of the definer.

:)

How's that for synchronization and alliteration?

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

I keep no blacklists. I just think when people like yourself are known, it tempers one's words.

Of course, there are a few exceptions, but in time, even the exceptions learn it is always best to write about issues and stay away from attacking the character of people.

And, to call for open and transparent communication is not attacking people, it is addressing an issue we face.

Wade

Johnny said...

Wade -

My last comment had some snark in it, for which I apologize.

But of all the comments in this post, it is my words that are deemed intemperate?

As I said before, I am a long time reader, and I recall you posting at least one article from an annonymous source.

When some said that this was uncouth, that the writer was a coward and on and on, you encouraged the protesters to consider the truth of the words more than the identity of the writer.

All I ask is that you extend to me that same courtesy.

And I do appreciate your tolerance of me to this point.

Wade Burleson said...

Johnny,

If I recall, the incident you mention was a seminary professor who was in danger of losing his job for speaking out.

Normally, unless there are serious concerns for personal or financial retribution, it should be expected for brothers and sisters in Christ to sign their names to what they write.

There are a few courageous others, even in the face of personal and financial retribution, who will sign their names.

Those are the ones that we should be most definitely respect.

Wade

P.S. Apology accepted.

Alan Paul said...

It's always interesting when one accuses someone of doing something and then turns right around and does the exact same thing. A lesson can be learned from that. I will leave it to the accusers/offenders to figure out the lesson.

Anonymous said...

alan paul, you just snark-ed!

Anonymous said...

I attended SWBTS as an MDiv student (biblical languages track) 1991-1993 (graduated in December '93). The ThM degree was started during that time in order to aid students who intended to teach rather than serve as senior pastors (so it was said at the time); the ThM degree would be a degree more related to research and writing than the MDiv degree was. No one I know of thought at that time that the ThM was an "advanced master's degree" (even if it was, finishing a 92-credit hour MDivBL in 3 years = an advanced STUDENT! If a ThM student can't finish in 1 year--and certainly in 2--how could I finish in 3 years, with 3 of the 4 members of my immediate family in the hospital during the final 6 weeks of the last semester, and my younger daughter being born during the week of finals? Other friends took even more classes during each semester!).

When I started SWBTS in January 1991, tuition was $700 per semester ("take all you can get for $700"); the cost per semester was raised to $900 per semester by December 1993--my wife and I sold our fairly new console TV in order to pay tuition one semester, and got loans from the seminary during the last two semester in order to pay the bill (had to be paid back during each semester).

I was 30 years old when I started at SWBTS. I always have felt that my family and I paid my way through seminary even though the cost charged to me was half of what it would have been due to the CP contributions, as my family and I had made CP contributions via our tithes for decades before. That's the reason I never read SWBTS's appeals for donations based on "what I owe good ol' Southwester"--I did my time, did my homework, and paid my way (I also don't read the seminary's news magazine when it's mailed or emailed--as the major changes since 1994 have been unnecessary, in my opinion, starting with Dr. Dilday's being fired).

I'm with Wade: let the seminaries charge what the can get (the "market" will correct), but everybody be honest and upfront about it all. Christians ought to be able to do that.


David

Chris Ryan said...

Tim,

While I disagree with some Fundamentalist interpretations, I wouldn't go so far as to say they are unorthodox (at least in all respects). I think their methods are largely unorthodox and unkind. I think their demands for thought conformity are unorthodox. But I can't say that their theology varies from orthodoxy all that often (everyone probably does at some point), they just differ from my theology.

That is the difference between Conservatives and Fundamentalists. To the fundamentalist, only their interpretation is orthodox. To the Conservative, orthodoxy has some room for interpretation within its parameters.


Kevin,
I won't become any more liberal than I already am (just ask Robert or Joe B how liberal that is). But with that, you have a deal.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and: during the final 1 1/2 years of that MDivBL, I drove 150 miles each day to attend classes (moved to a community 75 miles from the campus to serve as a senior pastor; had started serving as a 3.8 GPA student and finished as a 3.2 GPA very tired student--but was done).

Another fellow I know drove 4 hours one way on the days he had classes during his last semester before graduating; some guys were driving from San Antonio to Ft. Worth during at least one semester back then.


David

Anonymous said...

You guys are beginning to sound like a bunch of 7th grade girls with all the name calling. I get so tired of people standing around wanting "transparency" all the time when basically that is a bunch of baloney. We wouldn't know true transparency if it bit us.

By the way, when I graduated from SWBTS the fee was $25 per semester and you could take as many hours as you wanted. Don't you just wish you could have that bargain today! But at least we were transparent back then...

Thy Peace said...

As I was perusing some old posts, I found this comment, that answers the question of Pastor Driscoll as he said:

“They are sinning through questioning."

In the below comment, is the link that shows you how Driscoll made that comment.
-----------------------------------
Anonymous said...
Wade Burleson said:

"Hopefully, he will tell me the NY Times is a misquote."

It has been a couple of months.
You never got a call back, did you?
It was not a misquote.
And his comments were not taken out of context as some have suggested.
That's what is scary, and really sad.
You can actually watch and listen to those quotes on these video clips:
Mark Driscoll -- Misusing the pulpit to silence members. [Link title edited by "Thy Peace" + Next link added]. If that link does not show the video try this.
Tue Apr 14, 07:56:00 AM 2009
.

One Salient Oversight said...

One the subject of the Iraq War, I suggest readers get up to speed on the facts. The Wikipedia article is useful.

In the months leading up to the Iraq War, evidence seemed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Iraq had WMDs. Yet even before the war began, analysis of this evidence was deemed to be fraudulent - some one had deliberately created false evidence of WMDs.

At the same time, George Bush was acting very belligerently towards Saddam and Iraq. In his pronouncements there was not one hint of doubt about the issue. Bush never said "we need to examine this issue more carefully before acting" - he was gunning for an invasion from the get go.

The Plame affair showed that the White House was complicit in distorting the facts about Iraq.

Think back to the 1960s. If someone had said to you back then that the US government deliberately engineered the Gulf of Tonkin incident in order to ramp up activities in Vietnam you would've been called a hippy communist traitor. Yet history now shows that is exactly what the US government did. Given this fact, is it so hard to believe that Bush and his staff deliberately engineered a military confrontation with another nation?

happy gram said...

"The War Within" by Bob Woodward.
Interesting.