Racism, Southern Seminary, And The Perseverance Of The Saints -- By: Kenneth W. Yates

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 32:63 (Autumn 2019)
Article: Racism, Southern Seminary, And The Perseverance Of The Saints
Author: Kenneth W. Yates

Racism, Southern Seminary, And The Perseverance Of The Saints

Kenneth W. Yates


I. Introduction

In December 2018, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, released its “Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary”(hereafter RSR).1 As the title suggests, the RSR deals with how in its past Southern Seminary and its leaders were involved in the issues of slavery and racism. Specifically, the report tackles the problem of how Southern Seminary excluded black students and taught that such students were inferior to their white counterparts.

As an alumnus of Southern Seminary, this writer finds the RSR of great interest. But it is also of interest because the issues raised in this discussion relate to Free Grace concerns.

Southern Seminary is not a Free Grace institution; it is Calvinistic. However, it seems that the results of the self-analysis which the seminary subjected itself to challenges one of the central tenets of Calvinism, i.e., the perseverance of the saints.

In this article, I will discuss the findings of the RSR. My goal is to show there is a contradiction between holding three beliefs: first, that the founders were heroes of the faith; second, that they were guilty of gross sin; and third, that genuine believers persevere in faith and good works until death. After explaining the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, I will try to develop how this impacts the debate between Free Grace Theology and Calvinism on this important tenet.

II. The Findings Of The RSR

The RSR paints a very dark picture of Southern Seminary’s past. The authors of the study are to be commended for their honesty.

A. The Authors Of The RSR

R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is the president of Southern Seminary. He commissioned six present and past faculty members to write the RSR. Mohler contributed to the report, writing an introduction to their findings.

B. Mohler’s Summary

Mohler is very blunt in his introduction as he summarizes the findings of the six faculty members. He concludes that the seminary has a long history of sin.

He acknowledges the sins of the founders and the need for Southern to repent for what these men and many who followed them did. But he goes even further. He says that the Southern Baptist Convention reported back in 1995 the same thing he is saying now. The Convention was guilty of the same things, and the seminary is following the Convention’s example.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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