Monday, June 18, 2007

A Request to Help Dr. Sheri Klouda and Family

Many of you are aware of the forced removal of Dr. Sheri Klouda as professor of Hebrew from Southwestern Seminary because she is 'a woman in a position reserved for men.' It is my desire in this post to encourage those of you who read my blog to consider making a contribution to help Sheri and her family get through the summer months financially. A few of you were able to help a few months ago and we assisted the Kloudas in getting through the financial crises of having two house payments for six months, but the 2007 summer months have brought a new set of challenges for the Klouda family and this post is an appeal to help our sister in Christ. Our deacons at Emmanuel have officially established a benevolence fund to help the Klouda family, and any contribution to our church to assist the Kluodas will be collected, forwarded to them immediately and will be tax deductible. Details on where to send the support are at the end of this post.

As you know, the Kloudas moved to Dallas when she become Hebrew professor at Southwestern Theological Seminary to be near the hospital where Pinky requires repeated treatment for a severe heart condition. Sheri's job at Southwestern Seminary was her dream job, and her forced removal, and subsequent move to Upland, Indiana and Taylor University has brought a great deal of hardship on the Klouda family that we as Southern Baptists can help alleviate.

The Kloudas have several needs, some which are more urgent than others. While they were able to sell their home in Dallas in April, they were not able not recover any of the money they had put down on the house ($20,000). The Kloudas were forced to sell at a lower price in order to get out of the payment, and though they never intended to make a profit, they were hoping to recover some of the original down payment money to help supplement their income during this summer and to pay off some of the obligations left over from the winter months, including utility bills for January through March of about $900. The Kloudas are renting a home in Upland, Indiana, since buying another home is out of the question. In fact, Sheri borrowed additional money from her retirement during the first six months in Upland to make the house payments in Dallas.

The Kloudas biggest need is to recover financially to help them get by for at least these three summer months (June, July and August), particularly since it is possible Sheri's husband, Pinky, may have to have bypass surgery.

Pinky continues to work when there is work available, despite the need for further tests to determine the extent of his heart problems. His doctor recommended that he get a stress test as soon as possible because the doctor is extremely concerned he will have a heart attack, but this requires he take a day out of work, and possibly, lose his run to Shelbyville each day (Pinky is a truck driver).

In addition, the blood work from January and March alone left the Kloudas with a bill of $600 (after hospitalization), and they need to meet that obligation before incurring further debts to the hospital. The stress test will be covered in part by hospitalization, but the Kluodas will still have to pay a portion of the bill. Though the Kloudas have been grateful for somewhat steady work these last two months, the auto industry typically shuts down for two weeks during the summer and there will be no income during those two weeks, which is rapidly approaching. However, it is during this time that Pinky will be able to have the heart tests he needs if the money is available.

Pinky's current truck load to Shelbyville relies heavily on the schedules of GM, Chrysler, and Honda, which means the work will become sporadic throughout the summer, not including the two weeks stoppage. In addition, some of the auto makers are talking about a strike this coming September. Pinky is exhausted when he is home. He is also losing more feeling in his left hand and arm, and the neuropathy as a result of his diabetes continues to work up his legs. In years past, Dr. Klouda taught in the summer at Southwestern to supplement the Kloudas income, however, secondary hours are rare at Taylor University, where she now teaches. And of course, the salary is significantly lower.

Sheri told me she continues to look for a summer job to help out, but it seems a Hebrew professor is too qualified to work at McDonalds in Upland! In addition, there are many out of work people in Indiana due to factory closures who need those jobs.

Sheri continues to do a little editing and working on a prototype for an exegetical commentary on Isaiah, but that is long range work for which she will see no compensation for a year or so, and Abbey, the Kloudas 15 year old daughter, has been mowing lawns and babysitting so that she can go to summer camp. The Kloudas are involved in their church in Indiana, and Abbey is involved in the youth group at their church and helps Sheri in the church's ministry to unwed mothers in Marion, Indiana. I have spoken with the staff of the Kloudas church and they desire to assist as well, but their benevolence funds are limited.

Sheri has given me permission to share this information with others who have expressed concern, and I am using this blog to reach as many as possible. The Kloudas continue to trust God to provide as He so faithfully does, and they are very grateful for those Southern Baptists who helped them several months ago when they were facing a similar financial crises. Sheri misses communicating with her old colleagues and friends during this time, but she realizes they are being constrained by the institution from communicating with Sheri.

The Kloudas covet the prayers of everyone, asking specifically that we pray that Pinky might be made healthy once again, and second, that they might be able to meet the rest of their financial obligations in a timely way. A prayer for additional work for Sheri (maybe more editing, writing, and teaching?) has also been requested.

Sheri closed our conversation by saying to me, 'We have all heard about "pay it forward" and we hope some day to be in the position to help someone else who faces challenges.' Blessings, Sheri Klouda.

How You Can Help

If you would like to contribute to the Klouda Family Benevolence Fund, please send your gifts, large or small to . . .

The Klouda Benevolence Fund
c/o Emmanuel Baptist Church
2505 W. Garriott
Enid, Oklahoma, 73703

Please include your full address if you would like a tax contribution statement mailed to you at the end of the quarter. For those of you pastors who were taught by Sheri, a benelovence contribution from your church or from you personally would be especially appreciated and meaningful.

I will report to you on a regular basis what we have raised through September of this year. We Southern Baptists have generous, compassionate hearts for the needy around the world.

Now it's time to show we know how to take care of one of our own.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...


Please check your e-mail. I've written concerning using Dr. Klouda as a commentary writer for Bible study material that I help produce. Hope we can help in some small way.

OKpreacher said...


I encourage every real Baptist to pray about helping Dr. Klouda. Southern Baptists have never really understood how to read scripture and understand how it related to culture. In the 1800's the Southern Baptist Leaders defended a person's right to own slaves and now many are trying to defend a seminaries right to fire a professor because that professor is a woman. There is no true Biblical Support for either of these actions. Thankfully, Baptist realized they were wrong and repented of their view on slavery. I hope the same will happen soon concerning the Dr. Klouda situation. It is time to end discrimination in Southern Baptist life. Let it start here by Southwestern compensating her for the pain and hardship they have cause her and her family.


Robert S. Duran, Sr. said...

A small check is on its way to this commendable relief fund, from one raised in a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, and now a United Methodist licensed local pastor.

Anonymous said...

I have never been Southern Baptist and probably never will be. However I know what it is like to be strapped for funds. The Lord came through for me when I was about to lose everything. I plan to get a check out Friday to help.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro. Wade - Thanks for your leadership. You are one of a kind. You are to the Southern Baptist Convention what Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. pricked the conscience of a nation - you're pricking the conscience of a convention. I value your friendship and I greatly admire and respect your leadership. Be encouraged. Our church is forwarding a generous donation to the Klouda account today.

Just as MLK was never elected to a political office, but had a greater influence and impact out of office than most people in office, I’m convinced that God is using you to influence and impact our convention for the good out of office in perhaps a greater way than it would be if you were in office. You may or may not be elected to a political office within the life of our convention – and I know you have no aspirations to hold such an office, but when I see the leadership that you’re exhibiting, a political office might interfere with what God has called you to do. You are one of the very few men or women that I know that has the courage and character to stand up for your convictions and not worry about the consequences. Because you stand up for God and truth, God will always stand with you. And know I’ll be somewhere around cheering you on and praising God. Vera and I valued the time spent with you and Rachelle in San Antonio.

By the way, your Dad is a great preacher. I told our church as I introduced your Dad Sunday before he preached; Paul Burleson is a gun so that makes you Wade, a "son of a gun." Please forgive the length of this comment. WDM said...


I must confess, with over five hundred posts on Grace and Truth to You, over one million separate hits on those posts, and over a quarter of a million comments left at the end of the combined posts on this site -- your comment above is now my very favorite.

Of course, it is the only comment that has anything nice to say about me - :)

Just kidding.

On the serious side, thanks Dwight for your words and for your friendship. It means a great deal to both Rachelle and me.


P.S. My dad said he had a GREAT time at your church. Of course, I told him he would. said...

Thanks to ALL who have said they are sending a contribution.

The need is great.

Anonymous said...


I agree with Dwight's assessment of your great compassion linked with taking action. And, there is indeed great need in this case.

This is the part of the whole situation that was most troubling, in my opinion, of Sheri's unjust termination at SWBTS: an utter and complete lack of compassion for her family's very difficult situation with Pinky's health.

Sheri is a graduate (BA, MA) of the Criswell College and was an adjunct teacher in Hebrew while I was Dean of Faculty at Criswell. She is a gifted person and I had her co-write an entry on "Isaac" for Inter-Varsity
Press's 'Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch' with me. And, from the pre-publication public relations material sent out to contributors to the 'Apologetics Study Bible'(which will be released by B&H early this Fall), I was happy to note that Sheri is (as I am) involved in that important
project, also. I also am aware that she has been of much help to both Drs. Ken Matthews and George Klein in researching and editing their commentaries on Genesis and Zechariah respectively for the New American Commentary series (B&H).

All this is to say that, if any of you reading this have writing or editing needs, I can affirm that Sheri is quite skilled in both areas. I am sending a check to the Fund, but I am also going to try to contact Sheri through her Taylor University faculty email address ( and see if I can help find her at least some reasonably-paying work this Summer.

Boyd Luter

Alyce Faulkner said...

Bro. Dwight,
I'm glad you said that. I apprecite your insight and my husband and I feel the same way.
I've been accused of being in the 'Burleson coalition.' It is for the exact reasons you spoke here that we remain in the 'coalition' for we have for some time seen God use Wade in many marvelous ways and especially speaking on behalf of those who have been used, abused or ignored.
Thanks Wade for bringing this to our attention and Mackey and I will indeed respond.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to understand more and more why so many young pastors and leaders in the SBC continue to be an SBC church Just about every single time it is ONLY because of the CP. I think there is alot more being said here in the Klouda post about the present state of the SBC, especially in the wake of the recent convention gathering. Reminds me of Christs narrowing of the parameters when he said that "they will know our love one toward another."

anya said...

Reminds me of Christs narrowing of the parameters when he said that "they will know our love one toward another."

Amen. What concerns me is that leaders have to 'sin' to follow what they believe scripture says? Dr. Klouda was deceived...if you follow the chronology of this situation.

Do Christians treat each other this way?

I had something similar happen to me at a mega church where I worked. Everyone knew it was wrong and many called me after I left to say so. But they would not speak out publicly because they knew they it would make their positions shakey with the powers that be. Unfortunatly, that is how it works. Mortgages to pay, you know.

I am thankful that Wade can see the unjust behavior and is taking a stand. That is rare these day...sadly so.

Unknown said...


Off topic question - what happened to the "Theologically liberal or theologically conservative post"?

Scott said...


Saving it for another day.

Three posts in one day -- way too many.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the heads up about Dr. Klouda. As has already been said, "They will know us by our love," I can't understand those who believe the Bible is without error can ignore this verse.

It is either true or not. If it not, then we need to cut it out.

I don't understand how we can treat family this way. This is a sister in Christ. If I treated my family this way, they would rightly not believe it is love.


Curtis clark

OC Hands said...

We continue to be amazed at how Christian leaders (at the highest level) can be as hard-hearted and lacking in compassion as has been exhibited. Regardless of your position regarding women teaching theology to men, this was a shabby and cold-hearted way to treat someone who had been a part of the faculty at a seminary.
The compassionate thing to do would have been to provide as much assistance as needed for an extended period of time. Thanks to you and your church for being on-point for this much-needed ministry. We will be sending our contribution very soon. said...

Anonymous, I deleted your post. You may comment again on the same matter, but I request you use a little more grace toward administration at SWBTS.

Anonymous said...

can you tell us why she is suing the seminary & what was her severance package
maybe with this information the Seminary & its leaders may not be as bad as they are made out to be. said...

I am not in a position to answer regarding the reasons for a lawsuit or details about severance - if any.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...

Do we not all shoulder the blame for this? In our efforts to become more pure in our doctrine we have in fact created the opportunity for people in these positions to make the decisions that are now causing this harm. I am saddened deeply by what has happened here but we must not forget that often in good faith we are the ones who are fault. Unfortunately, I don't think any of the folks or the person who made this decision really cares about Dr. Klouda's situation because in their/his mind he is "dying on the right hill" and we have empowered them/him to take that stand. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

There's a check for $100 in the way from Greenville, SC. Thanks for doing the right thing in a situation that has wrong all over it. It's stuff like this that's making a life long SBCer like me look at jumping ship... but where do I go? I believe in our missions programs... but our agencies and seminaries are turning a lot of people off. The new battle in the SBC is LEGALISM (no longer LIBERALISM)... Thanks Wade for what you are doing in this fight. There are many people praying for you (including me!)

Anonymous said...

Correction: "There's a check for $100 ON the way from Greenville, SC."

Debbie Kaufman said...

We are not the ones at fault Anonymous. I am not the one at fault. Doctrinal purity was never wanted by anyone on this comment board. said...

Right now, with all the commitments that I have received via either email or phone we have received nearly $7,000 for the Kloudas.

Sheri and Pinky are very, very moved by your generosity. She is scheduling the much needed heart tests for Pinky because of your gifts.

I would like to raise an additional $3,000 to help carry them through the summer, and if you feel impressed to give, you may send it to Emmanuel, we will receipt your gift, give you a tax credit and forward the funds to the Kloudas.

Sheri would like to be able to reimburse the money she has taken from her retirement ($20,000), so any funds beyond the $3,000 will go toward that debts.

Nevertheles, on behalf of our deacons board, our church, and the Klouda family I say 'thanks' to everyone who has committed to give.

May the Lord bless you a hundred fold.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Jeff Rogers said...

As a member of Emmanuel baptist church...(I have been gone since 2002 and have yet to join another church...but I may be close). I have seen the compassion of Wade Burleson upclose and on occassion have experienced it for myself and my family. Let me tell those of you who frequent this blog, while Wade has a very compassionate heart. It is not just Wade. It is the entire staff at Emmanuel of Enid. It is a distinct characteristic of the congregation at large as well. Perhaps this is the influence of the shepherd, or perhaps it is just the result of majoring on the grace of God over all of those other things that tend toward division and animosity. The overwhelming impression that I hear from most people when they visit Emmanuel is of how gracious the people are, even if they never meet Wade. I also have had the privilege of knowing in a casual way Wades dad, and there is no lack of Grace in that mans life and ministry. (I know...this is not new to most of you). When I saw this effort to help the Klouda family being headed by Wade and administrated through Emmanuel of Enid, I was not in the least bit surprised. It just seemed like what they always do. Ask Pastor Cyril who is now here in our country from India about the hospitality of Emmanuel and you may get more first hand testimony of Gods grace in his people of Enid Oklahoma.

RKSOKC66 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for Sherri, My wife and I knew here when she was hired by SWBTS. I empathize with her and pray that God give her and her family the grace and endurance to withstand this test. I have decieded to leave the Southern Baptist fellowship because this situation is not that new to me. SWBTS has fired so many professors, without regard for the state of their families. I would encourage all parties reading this blog to remember this and offer wise words to freinds that are interested in attending SWBTS, or serving on faculty there. There are so many great seminaries out there, none of them belonging to the National Southern Baptist Convention, students have great options. The only way that the administration of SWBTS will understand that this is wrong is if we as a group say this is not acceptable by not attending their seminary. My wife and I will continue Praying for Sheri and her family.