published an interesting article last Friday, May 30, 2014 on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's decision to accept a practicing Muslim into their School of Theology and reward him a Ph.D. in theology with a major in archeology.
Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern, is quoted as saying he "made an exception to admission policy" in allowing the practicing Muslim to enroll. In addition, Patterson said "When policy becomes so hard and fast that it is never to be violated, that comes pretty close to legalism."
Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and accept a practicing Muslim "lest we be legalistic," but will rescind a job offer to a music student and professor whose wife was discovered to have been divorced from her first marriage. Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and accept a practicing Muslim "lest we be legalistic," but will release an extraordinary female professor because she's a woman. Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and admit a practicing Muslim, but will release a Southern Baptist educated and trained African American as head of their Cultural Engagement Center for his Facebook posts. I could go on, but you get the picture. Where is our grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ? I'm all for grace for Muslims, I suggest we be even more gracious to those who express a common faith in the Anointed One.
Dr. Patterson is also quoted as saying, "I had not attempted to be secretive about this."
It is my understanding that the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were unaware of the President's 'exception' and the admission of the practicing Muslim. It has also been stated to me by faculty present at meetings with Dr. Patterson that the entire acceptance of the Muslim student was shrouded in secrecy and orders were given to not discuss it. I am more than happy to give Dr. Patterson the benefit of the doubt that he did not 'attempt to be secretive.' It should be pretty easy to clear up any confusion and determine if, indeed, the 'exception' was done in secret. I know how, and will do so next week.
In addition, I think I may ask Dr. Patterson during his report time if he would ever make an 'exception' and admit a practicing 'homosexual' to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and if not, then what is the principled difference between making an exception and admitting a practicing Muslim and not a practicing homosexual?
Both are sinners. Both are lost. Both are in need of conversion and repentance. Both need evangelized.
I'm giving Dr. Patterson some time to formulate an answer, though I believe I know it in advance. The Muslim accepted Southwestern's 'moral code.' Hmmm. When our Southern Baptist seminaries place more of an emphasis on the acceptance of a 'moral code' for admission than in a clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ, we have ceased being evangelical and now have more in common with institutions of liberalism, humanism, and neo-paganism.
Just a quick search of the Southern Baptist Convention's resolutions on seminary education brought up a few examples of what Southern Baptists expect from our seminaries (see below). I would think that exceptions to the 'policies and procedures' of our seminaries would also be exceptions to the stated desires of the Convention.
"RESOLVED, That this Convention cherishes the hope that the great cause of ministerial education may continue to receive the fervent prayers and more enlarged contributions of our brethren generally; that those institutions now in existence may receive a more hearty support; and that the churches in the several states represented in this body, may seek out and properly educate all suitable gifts within their bounds, that they may thus supply the constantly increasing demand of our missionary fields." - The SBC Resolution on Seminaries, Baltimore, Maryland 1853
"Be it further RESOLVED, That the Convention call on the boards of trustees and seminary presidents to implement the charter and bylaws of the seminaries" - The SBC Resolution on Responsibility in SBC Seminaries, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1983
"WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has established and supported six seminaries for the purpose of providing Christian education and preparation for Christian ministry, and
WHEREAS, Members of the staff and faculties in these institutions have consistently demonstrated an exemplary commitment to this noble purpose--individually signing a statement of fundamental Christian beliefs and corporately making an immeasurable contribution to the lives of persons preparing for Christian service, and
WHEREAS, Recent accusations have brought into question the doctrinal integrity of some seminary staff and faculty members in relation to the "Baptist Faith and Message" statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.
Therefore be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention encourage anyone who questions the doctrinal integrity of seminary staff and faculty members to follow the procedures of historic Baptist polity and the guidelines of the Southern Baptist Convention Constitution (Article VII) and register specific charges or complaints with the boards of trustees of the respective seminaries, and
Therefore be it further RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention express its profound appreciation to the staff and faculty members of our seminaries who have persistently and sacrificially taught the truth with love--enriching our appreciation for the Bible as God's Holy Word and enhancing our ministry in Christ's name." - SBC Resolution on Gratitude for Our Seminaries, Houston, Texas 1979
See you in Baltimore.