Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity.”
Both of us had been living in SBC La La Land for almost a decade when God providentially brought some significant issues to our attention. We certainly didn't go looking for them — they came and found us! That means we were clueless about Dr. Sheri Klouda when she was terminated from her position at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) over five years ago. The more we are learning about what actually happened, the more sickened we are by it. It's one of the reasons why we so passionately write about these important issues that are affecting Christendom.
In case you missed this USA Today article which briefly mentions Dr. Klouda's alleged "mistake", here's the link and excerpt. We highly recommend that you read the entire article to see the latest and greatest offering at SWBTS.
"Professor Sheri Klouda was hired in 2002 and was the only woman to teach at the School of Theology. But last spring, school officials informed Klouda that her contract was terminated because she was 'a mistake that the trustees needed to fix,' the lawsuit states."
Yes, a lawsuit was filed by Sheri Klouda against her former employer, and her case was later dismissed. Here's an abbreviated timeline of what happened to Dr. Klouda:
April 2002 – Dr. Sheri Klouda joined the faculty of SWBTS as assistant professor of Old Testament languages. She received her Ph.D. from Southwestern in May, 2002.
June 24, 2003 – Dr. Paige Patterson becomes President of SWBTS.
September 2003 – Patterson holds a closed door meeting and assures the faculty that their jobs are safe, regardless of gender. (This would prove to be a lie.)
June 2004 – Dr. Klouda is called to attend a meeting in which she is informed that she will not be granted tenure because 'she is a woman.' Ironically, Dorothy Patterson was serving as Professor of Theology in Women's Studies, but unlike Sheri Klouda, Dorothy 'only taught women’. Dorothy Patterson is currently listed as a professor in the school of theology at this link: http://www.swbts.edu/index.cfm?pageid=800
March 2008 – a federal judge dismissed the case agreeing with the Seminary's decision that their actions were based on ecclesiastical decisions protected under the First Amendment's religion clauses.
The reason we are discussing the Klouda controversy during our coverage of Mac Brunson and First Baptist Church Jacksonville is because Pastor Brunson addressed it in one of his sermons. Tom Rich brought this to his readers' attention in his July 15, 2008 post,
http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-10-17T17%3A57%3A00-04%3A00&max-results=50 (scroll down to the date of the post).
Here's an excerpt:
"Sunday night Mac Brunson preached a sermon on church discipline from 1 Corinthians. In the first 2 minutes of his sermon, Mac commented on 1 Corinthians 6, where Paul describes one of the problems of the church in Corinth being that of legal disputes between believers. While not the central verse of his message, Mac said this was an example of just how low the Corinthian church had sunk – that Christians were suing Christians.
But as only Mac can do, he had to take it one step further. Without giving any names he explained that in our Southern Baptist Convention we had a "famous lawsuit" where "one Christian was suing another Christian and an instutition". Mac was referring to the case of "Dr. Sheri Klouda vs. SWBTS and Paige Patterson". Sheri Klouda was a seminary professor hired by the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) trustees in 2002 prior to Paige Patterson taking over as SWBTS president in 2003. Paige Patterson eventually told Sheri Klouda she would not be recommended for tenure as she was not suitable to be a professor of theology because of her gender, and scripture forbade her from teaching men. This ultimately resulted in Sheri Klouda bringing a lawsuit against Paige Patterson and SWBTS for gender discrimination. My intent here is not to argue whether the lawsuit did or did not violate precepts in 1 Cor 6, but to point out a lie that Mac perpetuated from the pulpit about Sheri Klouda. If you do just a little bit of research on this you'll see that Dr. Klouda and her family suffered terribly from this entire ordeal. She is now a professor at Taylor University in Indiana.
But back to Mac's sermon. Mac said Sunday night that the lawyer that tried the case (actually the defendant's lawyer) traveled with him to Greece recently, and Mac says the following (click here to listen to the audio yourself):
"He [the defense attorney] had this person [Sheri Klouda] sit in the witness chair, he gave that person a copy of God's word, and had that person open it to the 6th chapter of 1st Corinthians and he had that person read that [scripture] into the record and he [the defense attorney] asked that person 'now in the light of God's word were you wrong to bring this lawsuit?', and on the record they [Sheri Klouda] admitted they were wrong to bring the lawsuit"
Only one problem. That's a lie. That totally misrepresents Sheri Klouda's testimony in the case. She did NOT admit she was wrong to bring the lawsuit. As anyone who followed the case knows, Sheri Klouda has stated in her testimony in the court and outside the court that the conditions of the situation warranted her taking legal action as she did and that it was not a violation of 1 Cor 6. Its also safe to say that she did not lose the case on the material facts but the court's unwillingness to intervene in church or religious disputes.
Very interesting that Mac chose to lie about this."
Tom Rich invited Dr. Sheri Klouda to provide a response to Mac Brunson's lie as well as the lies told by Paige Patterson, and it is the topic of the Watchdog's July 17, 2008 post, which can also be found at the above link. PLEASE READ IT! Perhaps the most stunning revelation of all in the Klouda controversy is that Mac Brunson was Sheri Klouda's pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas.
There is so much documentation on the internet about this injustice that it will never go away.
Here's an interesting interview with Sheri Klouda by WFAA-TV
Wade Burleson has provided a comprehensive summary of what happened at these links:
Mac Brunson and Paige Patterson have had a long-term relationship. Is the SBC a good 'ole boy network where they are playing games and covering for one another?
Paige Patterson, President of SWBTS, is giving that institution quite a reputation, and it seems to be affecting the enrollment numbers. Here's our question: How long with the Board of Trustees tolerate his intolerance?
A great definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and over again and expect a different result. How many more decades will leaders in the SBC keep doing the same thing? And how long will Southern Baptists tolerate their leaders' intolerance?