Southern Seminary Stands Firm -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
Volume: JBMW 01:1 (Aug 1995)
Article: Southern Seminary Stands Firm
Author: Anonymous


Southern Seminary Stands Firm

Despite opposition from students and faculty, the administration and trustees of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky recently stood firm in their decision to hire only faculty members who are opposed to the ordination of women as pastors.

The furor was precipitated by seminary president Albert Mohler’s decision in March to ask for the resignation of Diana R. Garland as dean of the seminary’s Carver School of Church Social Work. This followed a conflict over Mohler’s refusal to hire David Sherwood of Gordon College, who supports the ordination of women to pastoral ministry.

Garland’s complaints reflected her concern that academic freedom was endangered by these decisions. In an interview with Christianity Today, she said, “There is no room for diversity, even on personal viewpoints that are not related to the confessional stance of the institution.” Mohler also told CT, “I will not accept that a person can teach in good conscience what one does not hold as conviction.”

Thirty-seven of Southern’s 65 faculty members signed a resolution in support of Garland. Protesting students sent letters to trustees and alumni, and held vigils outside Mohler’s office. On one occasion, Mohler graciously sent out for pizza for the protesting students, but warned them in an assembly to abandon their “pattern of self-destructive behavior” and get back to their books.

Trustees take action

On April 18, seminary trustees voted overwhelmingly to affirm President Mohler’s actions regarding Garland’s dismissal (she still holds a faculty position), and put into writing that candidates will be evaluated regarding their views on the Abstract of Principles, and “current pressing issues of concern to evangelicals and Southern Baptists.”

David Dockery, vice president for academic administration, said there was a strong consensus among trustees on these four requirements for faculty nomination:

1) affirming women in ministry and their giftedness but restricting the role of women in the church from the office of senior pastor or overseer;

2) affirming the exclusiveness of salvation in Jesus Christ alone;

3) being clear that the Bible teaches that all homosexual behavior is sinful; and

4) acknowledging that the sanctity of life is pro-life and against abortion except in the most extreme circumstances.

The trustees said that these “are only indicative examples, and [are] not to be viewed as exhaustive.”

President Mohler commented on the role of CBMW in this conflict, “In addressing the contested issues of manhood and womanhood in biblical perspective, I have found g...

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