Another case of whitewash

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Another case of whitewash

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Oct 24, 2014 8:39 am

I see the trustees resolved the issues raised, not by moderates, but by strict followers of seminary documents.

http://baptistnews.com/ministry/people/item/29414-seminary-trustees-clear-president-in-muslim-student-flap
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby William Thornton » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:16 am

While it is not a whitewash, it is an example of weak trustees. Here's my take on it:

1. No one objects to devoting Cooperative Program dollars in our seminaries for non-vocational students. Some aren’t sure about their future. Some aren’t interested in such now but might be later. We understand all that.

2. Many people object to declared non-Christians being accepted on any basis in our seminaries such being against seminary mission statements, educating Christians. Many would object to the realization that our CP dollars are used, directly and indirectly, to subsidize such students.

3. If SWBTS wishes to have a program for prisoners, they should negotiate with the state and, keeping in mind their mission and governing documents, design an appropriate one. I see no difference in SWBTS doing ministry behind bars than other SBC entities or churches. If SWBTS has to amend their governing documents to excise the requirement for a student to be a believer, then they should not. I will be interested to hear if trustees find a way to manage this. Regardless, it is not altogether relevant to the question of enrolling the Muslim student though it may be used to cover it.

4. I have no objection to seminary presidents being allowed some discretionary admits but these should not be directly opposed to seminary governing documents.

5. The points made about security are highly relevant to this and should have been considered by the president and should be considered by trustees.

6. Trustees are the weak link in SBC life. They desire secrecy and reflexively abhor openness and transparency. Trustee appointments are used as rewards for support, not as tools for entity oversight and management. Trustees are too often followers of leading administrators rather than independent voices. This episode is an example of trustee weakness. They either knew and did nothing until called on it or were negligent in not knowing what they should have known.
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Lou » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:33 am

Is anyone really surprised that this would be the outcome? :roll:
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:42 am

William Thornton wrote:While it is not a whitewash, it is an example of weak trustees. Here's my take on it:

1. No one objects to devoting Cooperative Program dollars in our seminaries for non-vocational students. Some aren’t sure about their future. Some aren’t interested in such now but might be later. We understand all that.

2. Many people object to declared non-Christians being accepted on any basis in our seminaries such being against seminary mission statements, educating Christians. Many would object to the realization that our CP dollars are used, directly and indirectly, to subsidize such students.

3. If SWBTS wishes to have a program for prisoners, they should negotiate with the state and, keeping in mind their mission and governing documents, design an appropriate one. I see no difference in SWBTS doing ministry behind bars than other SBC entities or churches. If SWBTS has to amend their governing documents to excise the requirement for a student to be a believer, then they should not. I will be interested to hear if trustees find a way to manage this. Regardless, it is not altogether relevant to the question of enrolling the Muslim student though it may be used to cover it.

4. I have no objection to seminary presidents being allowed some discretionary admits but these should not be directly opposed to seminary governing documents.

5. The points made about security are highly relevant to this and should have been considered by the president and should be considered by trustees.

6. Trustees are the weak link in SBC life. They desire secrecy and reflexively abhor openness and transparency. Trustee appointments are used as rewards for support, not as tools for entity oversight and management. Trustees are too often followers of leading administrators rather than independent voices. This episode is an example of trustee weakness. They either knew and did nothing until called on it or were negligent in not knowing what they should have known.


William, I think you are in the center of the target. The most vocal critics in this came from those to Patterson's right in the SBC. I remember the anger of some folks during my seminary days in that there was a Catholic nun who was a PhD student at SBTS. Duke McCall was grilled in several forums. No free pass back then, why now?
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Lou » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:20 pm

Color me cynical, but I can imagine that the meeting of Dr. Patterson with the SWBTS trustees might have gone something like this well-known scene from "Star Wars," with Sir Alec Guinness in the role of the redoubtable Dr. P. The relevant portion of the video begins at the 3:00 mark and ends at 3:45 or so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIzAaY2Jm-s
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Sandy » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:59 pm

I agree that the trustee system is a "weak link" in the SBC, as is the whole leadership structure. I've said on many occasions that it gives the appearance of being very provincial and backward, and whether it was before 1979, or afterward, it was a set-up to protect institutional leadership from interference by the people in the pews, or even from the floor of the convention. The list of individuals who served in trustee or committee posts in the SBC for more than a decade prior to the 1979 conservative resurgence was small, with many individuals having served on five or six boards and several committees. The names changed after 1979, but the practice of allowing institutional heads to hand-pick friends and even family members to serve on their boards didn't change.

The private, Christian school where I serve has an admissions policy that is not unlike that of an SBC seminary, in that we require the parents of our students to be active members of a local church and have a general understanding of the school's philosophy of Christian education, along with being in agrreement with the basic student outcome. As Administrator, I'm the "gatekeeper" so to speak, and I have a lot of latitude when it comes to interpreting the admissions requirements. But the governance policy is clear, and in the course of the interview which is aimed at determining the family's qualification, I would not be able to alter the policy in such a way that an individual with a clear, non-Christian religious perspective could be admitted. The way we're set up, the board doesn't directly govern the school, but approves the policy which does, and I function under executive limitations of that policy. Therefore, my job performance is evaluated by my adherence to the governance policy in bringing about the desired performance level of the school. It makes the trustee board look like they are "making it up as they go along" instead of adhering to strong governance policy and making sure administrators do to.
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Haruo » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:33 pm

Sandy wrote:The private, Christian school where I serve has an admissions policy that is not unlike that of an SBC seminary, in that we require the parents of our students to be active members of a local church and have a general understanding of the school's philosophy of Christian education, along with being in agrreement with the basic student outcome.
... ... ...
I would not be able to alter the policy in such a way that an individual with a clear, non-Christian religious perspective could be admitted.

Are you talking about admitting parents or students?
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Sandy » Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:22 am

Haruo wrote:
Sandy wrote:The private, Christian school where I serve has an admissions policy that is not unlike that of an SBC seminary, in that we require the parents of our students to be active members of a local church and have a general understanding of the school's philosophy of Christian education, along with being in agrreement with the basic student outcome.
... ... ...
I would not be able to alter the policy in such a way that an individual with a clear, non-Christian religious perspective could be admitted.

Are you talking about admitting parents or students?


With elementary and grade school age kids, it's more about the parents. After junior high, the focus is on the student. In other words, if we are talking about admitting a fourth grader, we require the parents to be Christians and in agreement with the school's educational philosophy. If we're admitting a high school student, the parents need to be on board, but the student also needs to articulate a testimony of faith in Christ, and an understanding of our educational philosophy.
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby KeithE » Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:16 pm

Personally I have no immediate problem with a Muslim working together with Christians on a biblical archaeological dig. Muslims include the OT in their revelatory books.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_the_Christian_Bible

Now if a Muslim professor attempts student conversion , it should be done outside a Christian Seminary.
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Re: Another case of whitewash

Postby Sandy » Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:46 pm

Basically, what happened with Patterson is within the scope of the seminary's governance documents. The trustees investigated, came to the conclusion that the President did violate the governance policy, but accepted his explanation and didn't take any disciplinary action. The convention, BTW, cannot instruct trustees. It can make a motion referred for their consideration. The old line, moderate Baptist argument defending trustees that were hand-picked by institutional leaders was, "Why put people on the board who aren't on board with the President's point of view, or who aren't cooperative and want to work with him? That's just asking for conflict." So Southern Baptists have their backward, good-ole-boy way of doing things that, in spite of one big change in the names, pretty much remains the same.
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