Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:51 am

"churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability." Preamble to BFM2K.

IMHO, when you remove Christ as the criterion by which scripture is to be interpreted, then you slip into the error of Seventh Day Adventists to regard all scripture as of equal value, thus making "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk," equal in value to John 3:16.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Sandy » Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:24 am

Dave Roberts wrote:"churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability." Preamble to BFM2K.

IMHO, when you remove Christ as the criterion by which scripture is to be interpreted, then you slip into the error of Seventh Day Adventists to regard all scripture as of equal value, thus making "You shall not boil a kid in its mother's milk," equal in value to John 3:16.


Let's put that whole statement in its context.

Preamble to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 wrote: Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.

Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.


The statement acknowledges that Baptists have previously adopted confessions of faith as instruments of doctrinal accountability, though it does not state that this specific confession is to be used that way. In fact, the first paragraph would preclude that interpretation. The "Jesus criterion" is reworded, but is still an integral part of the statement on scripture. It has not been "removed" and the way the statement on scripture is written, does not lead to an interpretation that all scripture is of "equal value" or can be interpreted without context.

There are plenty of cases where the BFM 2000 has been used as an instrument of doctrinal accountability since the conservatives regained control of the SBC. But the SBC leadership prior to the resurgence also used it that way when it was convenient for them to do so.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:51 pm

My point, Sandy, is not how it is used. My point is that this is the first use, to my knowledge, of the phrase "instrument of doctrinal accountability" in Baptist confessions of faith. Someone may know of something I don't, but for the ones I have read, I never recall that phrase. Also, that is precisely the language used in some of the creedal denominations as the definition of a creed. I'm sorry I don't have time today to research the references.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Sandy » Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:19 pm

Here's a blog post by one of the Redford professors, Dr. Zack Manis. Quite a different view presented there.

http://agenuinefaith.blogspot.com/2018/ ... llege.html

This looks like what I thought it might be originally. A professor who was popular with a particular segment of students violated university policy, was warned, continued to violate the policy because he was justified in doing so by his opinion that his theological view is correct and the other professors are wrong, and got fired. So now there's a "rally the troops" movement to try to get him his job back and the default methodology for getting things done in the SBC is to cry "liberal" and point fingers. Wow, how spiritual and godly is that?
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Jul 15, 2019 12:11 pm

Recent statement in a Letter from the President of SBU to Missouri Baptist Pastors, posted at SBC Voices.
The key finding of the committee is the University’s Statement of Faith has not been implemented effectively across the fabric of the University.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Sandy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 1:42 pm

Here's the whole quote in context:

The key finding of the committee is the University’s Statement of Faith has not been implemented effectively across the fabric of the University. The Statement of Faith was adopted in 1921 and recently reaffirmed by Missouri Baptist Convention messengers in 2012. For the long-term health and faithfulness of SBU, the institution must clarify its Statement of Faith to be a clear and compelling theological framework.
In addition, the committee determined, due to the lack of a clearly implemented Statement of Faith, the doctrinal position of SBU has been perceived as ambiguous. This lack of clarity has led to an erosion of trust between the University and Missouri Baptists. SBU and the Missouri Baptist Convention must work together to restore that trust.


So, the university is using a statement of faith adopted in 1921 and not the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Some definition of terms needs to happen here, like what does "clarifying" its statement of faith mean and how has it failed to be "clearly implemented"?

I was a Baptist long enough to know when I'm hearing a message communicated in English with Baptist accents. A Baptist institution was criticized because it fired a professor who spun his dismissal into "they're a bunch of liberals after a conservative." So some conservatives made a stink and threatened to do something but they can't because the school's trustees more or less supported the president and upheld the firing. But there has to be the appearance of doing something to mollify the self-appointed guardians of conservativism in the convention. So we had a "committee" release "findings" which lead to some wordsmithing in regard to the school's statement of faith and put a happy spin on it and we're all good right?

As this has all developed, it seems that the weight of the evidence of actual theological issues at SBU rests on the testimony of a small group of mostly conservative alumni and former students and there has been a broader constituency that has come forward and said that's not an accurate perspective. I have a problem trusting conservatives to be honest when it involves people that they just don't like
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby William Thornton » Mon Jul 15, 2019 2:29 pm

No dog in this fight and no inside information but this looks like an adult, Christian way of handling things rather than recorded private conversation, anonymous websites, and manipulators behind the scenes.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Jul 15, 2019 3:58 pm

I looked around to find the statement of faith of SBU, and found it at the bottom of the page HERE:
University Charter for Southwest Baptist University
Article XVI, Section 2

The Board of Trustees adopts the following Statement of Faith and Belief:

It is hereby expressly declared that Southwest Baptist University is, and must forever remain, distinctively a Baptist institution. It must conserve, defend, and promote the fundamentals of the Baptist Faith, and in all its teachings and policies conform to and be in harmony with the established and acknowledged principles and policies of Baptist churches affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention and with the Southern Baptist Convention.

We hold the following as fundamental Baptist Doctrine:

Belief in the inspiration and all sufficient authority of the Bible in all matters of Christian faith and practice.
The absolute Deity, the Virgin birth, the vicarious death, the bodily resurrection, the visible second coming, and the supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ.
That salvation is only and wholly by grace through faith.
That the human conditions of salvation are—Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
That the individual soul is competent to deal directly with God through Christ.
That all members are entitled to equal privileges in the church.
That the true ideal of the relations between church and state is "a free church and a free state."
That a church is a body of baptized believers associated together in solemn covenant, with Christ as its head and the scriptures as its Law, to worship God, conserve and administer the ordinances of His house, and to preach the Gospel to the world.
The ordinances of the church are two, viz: Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
That baptism is immersion in water, by a scripturally authorized administrator, of a believer in Christ; that its purpose is to symbolize the death of the subject to sin and his resurrection to a newness of life.
That the Lord's Supper is memorial in nature and that the terms of admission to the supper are regeneration, baptism, and church membership.

I also noticed this article:
http://mbcpathway.com/2019/07/15/committee-sbu-must-clarify-statement-of-faith/
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Jul 15, 2019 4:52 pm

SBC Committee on the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 wrote:"The closing sentence of the 1963 statement on the Scriptures has been a cause of controversy. Some have used the language defining Jesus Christ as 'the criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted,' to drive a wedge between [b]the incarnate Word and the written Word,[b] and to deny the truthfulness of certain passages. We use stronger and more historic language in affirming the fact that 'all Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.' As Christ said of the Scriptures, 'these are they which testify of Me.' [John 5:39]


The above is where the heresy lies. It makes co-equal the Bible with Jesus. As if the written words of the Bible are equal to the incarnate Word of God, Jesus Christ. The Bible isn't co-redeemer with Jesus. (Any more than Mary is co-redemeptrix as some Roman Catholics claim.)

Salvation is in Jesus and nothing else. Even the capitalization of "written Word" implies that the Bible is some how equal to Jesus or as much the Word of God as Jesus. Its lousy theology that easily leads to bibleolotry.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby William Thornton » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:22 pm

Nonsense Timothy. The bibiliolatry charge never stuck. It was a silly and fruitless excursion by the mod/libs. It did lead that one mod leader to state that the Bible is not the word of God. Fact is, SBC cons didn't take over anything, the mods fully squandered it with stuff like that. Love revisiting those days, though. The Jesus Criterion sunk the libs ship.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Rvaughn » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:36 pm

I agree with William. I've never known a Southern Baptist who worshipped the Bible rather than Jesus Christ.

Further, if affirming the fact that "all Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation" is heresy, count me as a heretic.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Sandy » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:38 am

There's a wide difference between making the claim that the Bible is equal with Jesus, and making the claim that all scripture is a testimony about Jesus. The silliest argument that was made during the controversy was that Jesus was removed from the BFM. All that we know about Jesus comes from the Bible and the way the Jesus criterion statement was written more or less allowed doctrine to be built around something he didn't actually address. Replacing it with a statement declaring that all scripture is a testimony to Jesus, which it is, clarifies the whole section. Authoritative scripture points to the object of our worship, it is not an object of worship itself and it doesn't make that claim. If you want to know what Jesus said or taught about something, the scripture is the only source and is therefore, authoritative. The BFM 2000 doesn't even go so far as to require a literal, word for word, verse by verse expository interpretation of the scripture, which would be an intermediate step on the way to Bibliolatry.

SBU's statement of faith is not the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, nor would I expect it to be. I'm interpreting "clarifying its statement of faith" as offering a current explanation of the meaning of the points in the statement as the University applies them across the board, whether in classrooms, its athletic programs or its social life. No direct connection was made, at least not included in the study committee report, to the lack of clarity of its statement of faith meaning what has been taught in the Bible classrooms of certain professors. Some Baptists think that belief in the "authoritative sufficiency" of the Bible also means there is only one way to interpret it and are threatened by discussions, especially in university classrooms, that legitimately open the door to different ways of looking at scripture. That's why we have Calvinists and Wesleyans, and it is also why American Christianity, without a hierarchical authority, has fractured into hostile conflict over just about everything in the Bible.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:55 am

Rvaughn wrote:I agree with William. I've never known a Southern Baptist who worshipped the Bible rather than Jesus Christ.


You need to meet a few more. I've known more than one Southern Baptist that constantly refers to the Bible as the "Word of God" but seldom uses the same language about Jesus.

I'm not saying anyone intentionally puts the Bible above Jesus. But the more anyone tries to make the Bible perfect, something that is an attribute of God not any created thing, the more there is a blurring of the lines.

I've seen people contradict the very words of Jesus by pulling out another passage of scripture and then leaning on its authority even over the words of the gospels themselves.

Its bad theology. Maybe not intentionally bad. But bad theology.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:08 am

Sandy wrote:There's a wide difference between making the claim that the Bible is equal with Jesus, and making the claim that all scripture is a testimony about Jesus. The silliest argument that was made during the controversy was that Jesus was removed from the BFM.


My concern isn't all that much about what it does or doesn't say in the BFM, it is the way that many who use terms like "authority of scripture" or "Biblical inerrancy" use and refer to the Bible in ways that many Christians would reserve for Jesus and Jesus alone.

And of course the problem that goes along with it is that a certain Biblical interpretative lens is put on the Bible and many assume that lens IS what the Bible says rather than an interpretation. Taking the Bible literally, when much of the Bible wasn't intended to be taken literal, is as much an interpretative decision as any other form of Biblical interpretation.
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Re: Southwest Baptist University fires Theology prof.

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:25 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:My concern isn't all that much about what it does or doesn't say in the BFM, it is the way that many who use terms like "authority of scripture" or "Biblical inerrancy" use and refer to the Bible in ways that many Christians would reserve for Jesus and Jesus alone.


In most cases involving Southern Baptists, they equate "inerrancy" with "literally interpreted" and with "verbal, plenary" inspiration. The Bible is the only source of information we have about Jesus, though it is not a singular source, since each writer of the New Testament based their accounts of his life and teaching on their own observation, or on an authoritative, eyewitness source. And several of the writers, two in particular, make note of the experience of spiritual inspiration and illumination. The Bible's writers, including the NT, claim a higher level of inspiration and the intervention of the Holy Spirit in both the authorship and reading of what they were writing. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. I Cor. 2:13 . And that chapter ends with But we have the mind of Christ. .

What that means to me is that when I study the Bible, I am getting information that is, by the evidence offered, accurately transmitted from its original authors and accurate and truthful as far as being able to trust that what they are saying is true. In order to interpret it, which is as important a part of study as just reading scripture, I need to know the context of the circumstances in which it was written, why it was written and to whom and what was specifically being addressed from this particular perspective by this specific author. I believe that the words which were written are, as Paul said, "spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." That's brief and a simple explanation.

Timothy Bonney wrote:Taking the Bible literally, when much of the Bible wasn't intended to be taken literal, is as much an interpretative decision as any other form of Biblical interpretation.


Yes, it is. And the literal context that is applied is related to the current cultural observation, which is where the error is made. I hear that all the time, "I didn't say that, the Bible says that." . In plain English or in black and white, or red depending on who is being quoted. If Jesus is the object of all scripture, then interpreting something by contradicting his words, accurately recorded within, would be taking his words out of context. But explain how to get people to understand that their pet beliefs are not supported by scripture.
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