Did Southwest Baptist University (Missouri) Deny Tenure to Behavioral Health Faculty In Order to Promote Unlicensed *Biblical Counseling?*

“Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find.”  Neil deGrasse Tyson

(I’m experiencing some mild pagination issues in this post but decided to post it since it is readable.)

TWW reader “Jerome, knower of lots of things,” referred me to some puzzling actions on the part of Southwest Baptist University(Missouri). Actually, maybe these actions are not so confusing after all when one considers the jaundiced view that some SBC leaders have when it comes to behavioral health. That’s psychology for those of you who were wondering. The word *psychology* is viewed, by many SBC educators, as a cuss word. In some of these circles (maybe many), there is only one way to counsel and that is *biblical counseling.* The Bible is the diagnostic manual for all psychiatric illnesses.

For those of you who want to catch up, please refer to these many posts I have written expressing my deep concern for this type of counseling. For example, ACBC  biblical counseling believes that schizophrenia and delusions are merely being made up by the one who is afflicted. Don’t believe me? In my post on 1/25/21:Why (ACBC) Biblical Counseling Will Continue to Throw Counselors Under the Bus, you will find links to a number of posts, with proof, that I’ve written on the subject. Waaay too much reading unless you are concerned about the direction of the SBC which has been instrumental in elevating what I believe to be sorely lacking biblical counseling training in their seminaries

Here is further proof for why I believe that biblical counseling is the mandated future for SBC institutions of higher learning. Let’s take a look at the firings (or the denials of tenure which are in essence firings).

Three of the Southwest Baptist University-Missouri-Behavioral Health faculty terminated(denied tenure is the euphemism they used.)

The trustees, elected by the Missouri Baptist Convention in a process that sparked controversy in recent years, recently denied tenure to three faculty members and promotion to two others. Word&Way has learned the identity of the five individuals, but is not naming them.

…All three denied tenure come from the Division of Behavioral Sciences, which includes the criminal justice, psychology, social work, and sociology majors. One of those denied tenure had recently received the school’s top teaching award.

…According to the faculty handbook, denying tenure is also a decision for “termination.”

To make matters worse, this school dumped their philosophy program and fired a philosophy professor. No theologically impaired Aristotle or Søren Kierkegaard for these tender minds.

It looks like this school is facing a well-deserved inquiry from the Higher Learning Commission.

From Inside Higher Ed: Tenure Denials Reported at Southwest Baptist (Missouri):

The acting president, Brad Johnson, issued a statement to Inside Higher Ed. It said, “At Southwest Baptist University, we recognize the importance of faculty and celebrate their roles and development. The SBU Board of Trustees is responsible for reviewing and granting tenure each year as faculty candidates are eligible. Several faculty received tenure and promotion during this cycle. Some individuals did not receive tenure or promotion during this cycle. Promotion and tenure decisions are personnel matters, and it is our university policy not to share additional information publicly.” (Ed: yada, yada yada.)

This past week, Word and Way posted: SBU Trustees Reverse Some Tenure/Promotion Denials.

As you will see, nothing much has changed except for some brave students who spoke out against the decisions of the school administration.

…still denied tenure to two professors and still denied promotion to another.

An online student petition created shortly after Word&Way’s report named the three professors who had been denied tenure: social work professor Dwayne Walker and psychology professors Bill DuVall and Debbie Walker. Word&Way has not named the two individuals who were initially denied promotion since they have not been publicly identified.

About 1,500 people signed the online petition in its first 12 days, with several individuals writing public affirmations of the professors.

…SBU’s statement about the Feb. 16 meeting acknowledged the public concerns about the denials, and that the meeting was held “to reconsider the process and outcome of this year’s tenure and promotion decisions.”

… Even three denials of faculty tenure or promotion applications that passed all previous levels would be more than the trustees at the school have denied in decades combined.

I think the school is headed for some trouble. In the meantime, why did they target behavioral health?

Is there pressure coming from the Missouri Baptist Convention and SBC’s Midwestern Seminary which is located in Missouri?

Dale Johnson, ACBC’s Executive Director who succeeded Heath Lambert, is teaching at Midwestern and opened the Center for Biblical Counseling there last year.

Baptist Press reported, in 3/20, MBTS Center for Biblical Counseling:

The Center for Biblical Counseling at Midwestern Seminary was announced on March 3, with the intent of offering the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond a significant resource dedicated to biblical counseling that is rooted in the Word of God and the local church.

The primary focus of the Center and of Midwestern Seminary’s biblical counseling degree programs is equipping students to become biblical counselors who serve within their local churches and communities with a goal of making the church the first place people go for help, rather than the last resort.

Read carefully the mumbo jumbo coming from Midwestern’s President Jason Allen:
MBTS President Jason Allen said. “One of the primary weaknesses of many counseling programs in academic institutions is having an appropriate mix of theoretical training and practical ministry application. The CBC will attempt to remediate this tension by providing biblical counseling students a venue to grow in counseling methodology while developing skills that maximize their readiness to serve local churches upon graduation.
Translation: Don’t go trying to sneak in any of that well-researched and carefully tried “secular psychology” into our churches. Delusions are made up, I tell you, made up!

Certification or smokescreen?

Now, look carefully at the wording surrounding the *certification” of these future pastors. These students are not certified through the state or country, etc. They are certified only through the thoroughly uncertified ACBC.

Additionally, Johnson noted that the observation and supervision benefits will assist students in obtaining their 50-hour certification requirement more quickly and efficiently—strengthening students in practically applying what they’ve been learning theoretically in their coursework and equipping them to be significantly more prepared to serve in ministry upon graduation.

Johnson further explained that Midwestern Seminary is currently in the process of becoming a Certified Training Center for ACBC. This means that each student’s coursework will count toward certification, and that the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling degree will fulfill all the requirements for graduates to become ACBC-certified counselors.

Is there a close and familial tie-in between Midwestern Seminary and the Missouri Baptist Convention?

There is always a tie-in in the SBC. Let’s look at the biography of John Yeates, the head of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

  • John Yeats serves as the Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention (CEO). His responsibilities include leadership, oversight, and strategic planning for the Missouri Baptist Convention.
  • Part of his responsibilities includes funding, promotion, and support that is vital to the cooperative work of the churches that affiliate with the Missouri Baptist Convention and the six cooperative ministries of the convention of churches: Hannibal LaGrange University, Southwest Baptist University, Missouri Baptist University,
  • Since 1997, he has served as one of the five elected officers of the Southern Baptist Convention (Recording Secretary) and is a member of the SBC Executive Committee.
  • Dr. Yeats received a B.A. from Dallas Baptist University and a Masters of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was awarded a Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a D.D. from the American Christian College and Seminary in Bethany, OK.(this shcool is now closed.)
  • Their eldest son John-Mark is Vice President and Dean of Students at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City.

It would seem to me that the students at the name institution will be bereft of the careful research and science that is behind psychology such as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

I have, and will, continue to document by concern about the decidedly unscientific approach to understanding the complexities of emotions and the brain as offered by such groups as ACBC and other Nouthetic groups. When my daughter was operated on for a large, serious brain tumor at the age of three, her pediatric neurosurgeon and I had many conversations regarding the brain. He told me that there was so much they didn’t yet know about that marvelous organ. He said he almost felt like a caveman as he tried to help those inflicted with terrible diseases. One tiny, wrong move could incapacitate a patient.

We went to a nationally know pediatric neurosurgeon to treat our daughter. We didn’t view the Bible as a diagnostic manual for the brain. We went to an expert and that little girl is getting married this year. I am frankly deeply concerned that the SBC is adopting a nonscientific approach. They believe that the bible is the only answer for those suffering from mental illness except it isn’t. Delusions are real. Schizophrenia is real and these afflicted people aren’t making this stuff up.

Please refer to the posts linked at the top of the article to understand why I make the claims that I have. I truly believe that the mentally ill are in trouble if they go to such counselors.

For those of you who want a licensed Christian counselor,(remember the ACBC crowd are NOT licensed for good reason), they are out there. In my life and in the life of our family we have consulted a Christian psychiatrist and a Christian MSW with great results. However, we have also consulted secular psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists and found success in that venue as well.

To read one woman’s story of what she encountered as a newly minted ACBC counselor, read Julie”s story here.


Did Southwest Baptist University (Missouri) Deny Tenure to Behavioral Health Faculty In Order to Promote Unlicensed *Biblical Counseling?* — 48 Comments

  1. Brings to mind Liberty University and its ending the philosophy degree program:


    “As a result, in 2015, we dissolved our M.A. in Philosophy program due to waning enrollment. At that time, we began evaluating our B.A. in Philosophy Program and working hard to achieve increased enrollments. This effort did not bear fruit. Due to the lack of interest, over several years, in a B.A. in Philosophy, we began in the fall of 2019 to collapse the program and to stop accepting new students as we had less than 20 students enrolled and five faculty to service them.”

    “As such, the professors impacted by the collapse of the program have been offered generous severance packages and are immediately eligible for rehire in any area that they are qualified for at the university, as well.”

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  2. OT: Please read the thread of @mariachong & pray re: takeover happening in her church right now, etc. She also shares how she and her family came to Christ, a heartwarming story. She asks for prayer.

    Maria Chong @mariachong Feb 14, 2021
    “I’m going to humbly ask if you believe in God, to pray for us. My pastors have two small children and a secretive group of very confused elders put them on UNPAID LEAVE in the middle of a snowstorm and a pandemic.”

    @mariachong Feb 21, 2021
    “A pastor who promoted guns and violence at his church in January was invited to preach at my captive multicultural urban church this week. So I’d have to say, based on his previous posts about ‘the storm,’ election fraud and COVID denial—definitely a cult spirit is afoot.”

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  3. Not surprising. My daughter obtained B.S. and M.S. degrees from Southwest Baptist University (SBU); I have monitored developments there in the ensuing years since her attendance. SBU, like many other SBC-affiliated colleges, are following the trend to “Calvinize” their institutions in step with SBC seminaries which have already surrendered to the New Calvinist movement.

    At the time my daughter attended SBU, the institution held mainline SBC non-Calvinist belief and practice. Not so now. There is definitely a move within SBU leadership and faculty – which also influence area SBC churches – to do their part in Calvinization of the denomination by indoctrinating students under their watch.

    The Missouri Baptist Convention and Midwestern Seminary appear to be calling the shots at SBU in this regard. Last year, SBU’s President Eric Turner made a stand against MBC’s strong-handed attempts to control his job at the university and was terminated. MBC had previously installed a new slate of “fundamentalist” (= NeoCal-friendly) trustees, which Turner took opposition to. Unfortunately, he was a good man who couldn’t beat the machine.


    This “war” within SBC does not have the fingerprints of God on it. Sad to see a once-great evangelistic denomination come to this. These darn New Calvinists are arrogant, aggressive, and militant.

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  4. Max,

    Your comment was so informative. There has been a massive shift in the SBC in regards to Calvinism. I watched it begin to happen prior to starting my blog. The Calvinism takeover of the SBC is also happening in a number of other denominations.

    So, tell me who to blame as we continue to see attendance numbers plummet in churches? They’ve had the say for over a decade.

    Their heavy handed approach to the faith is problematic and I see it from the back door when people leave. Then, they contact me and their stories are so sad. Many will not darken the door of a church again. But those boys preached the true word, didn’t they?

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  5. Max: = Nouthetic Counseling

    Obtaining a “certified” Biblical Counseling degree at an SBC-affiliated seminary or college is akin to buying a Ph.D. online … as bad as promoting an unearned doctorate (e.g., RZ).

    And MenaGAWD really really LOVE their Phony Doctorates.
    To the point that you have to assume it’s phony until proven otherwise.
    i.e. If they’re Christian, it’s Phony.

    One actual PhD said that you can tell if a doctorate is fake if the “Doctor” is always pointing to the doctorate and is fanatical about being addressed as DOCTOR(TM). Including an anecdote of one ManaGAWD who even demanded his wife and children always address him as “Doctor”.

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  6. Exhaustive timeline here:


    “Feb. 22, 2020…school learned that [trustee Pastor Mike] Roy was accused of mishandling child sexual abuse allegations against one of his staff members in 2005. President Eric Turner notes Roy ‘was part of the slate of trustees the MBC unilaterally imposed upon SBU without SBU input or approval’ at the 2019 MBC annual meeting.”

    “Oct. 23, 2020 — MBC Executive Director John Yeats writes a letter to SBU faculty and staff. He writes that the MBC is not trying to remove professors. And he attacks reporting by Word&Way, referring to Editor Brian Kaylor as ‘a disgruntled blogger’.”

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  7. dee: Did she like the school?What was her experience?

    SBU was a great school when she attended there! She obtained her B.S., worked a few years, then returned to complete her M.S. During those years, there was definitely a “Christian” atmosphere on campus … great chapel services … effective evangelistic mission trips for students, wonderful real-deal Christian professors. Those were the good ‘ole days before New Calvinism hit the campus. SBU professors are now essentially forced to sign the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 (better known as Al Mohler’s version) in order to keep their jobs. Students sit around dorm rooms reading Piper, non-Calvinist students are mocked by Calvinist students, ministry graduates head to Calvinist-controlled seminaries for their advanced degrees, Calvinist professors sit on elder boards of area churches which were previously non-Calvinist, etc. etc. Calvinization of SBU is pretty much a done deal.

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  8. It was some years ago that I first encountered Christian Psychology. It’s not a subject I dwell on. (In fact, I just Googled how to spell it. More than just early onset of senility spelling issues, it just doesn’t pertain to my life) Until, a group I belonged to was cologized..you know..Psycologized from the pulpit.

    I assumed at the time, that crazy Christian kids when off to college, circa 1960’s. There they met Sigmond and the whole Couch Gang, and set off to change the World, one couch at a time. They invented Christian Psychology, and we all need to love ourselves.

    I was blown away, while later reading Augustine, circa 390’s, that self love was key to loving God. Love of self was implied in Scripture.

    I believe it was none other then the Prince of Preachers himself, that identified Augustine as the Gospel. He was the first Calvinist, and the first Christian Psychologist. As far as reading the Bible literally, Augustine taught this was enslavement, ala, the Jews. It was to be seen as Signs. And, that some reach such a state of love, they have no further need of the Bible.

    I would assume, Biblical Counseling contradicts the teachings of The City of God, and Christian Doctrine.

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  9. I am frankly deeply concerned that the SBC is adopting a nonscientific approach. They believe that the bible is the only answer for those suffering from mental illness except it isn’t.

    “Show Me SCRIPTURE!”
    “Show Me SCRIPTURE!”
    “Show Me SCRIPTURE!”
    — PastorRaulReesCalvaryChapelWestCovina (all one word), every time someone tried to reason with him

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  10. Muff Potter: a ‘degree’ from SBU is virtually worthless in the real world

    If you are referring to a Biblical Counseling degree, that would certainly be the case. But not so for other degrees. SBU has top-rated programs such as physical therapy that attracts students from around the world – they graduate with well-paying jobs already lined up. That’s also true of their nursing school and education department – teachers trained at SBU are highly sought after by K-12 schools in the region.

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  11. Max,

    That is genuinely good to know.

    I don’t know anything about SBU. I have, though, visited a few adamantly Christian colleges, and there is rather a lot of emphasis on preparing people for careers in medical and legal fields, as well as education and politics. Some of this is surely aimed at overturning American culture, producing pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception, etc.

    And that is why it’s important for Christian colleges to have departments of philosophy, sociology, psychology, modern languages, history, anthropology, environmental science, etc. There’s a distinction between indoctrination and education. God is smarter than all of us, and faith should be able to withstand the most demanding education. In fact, education should strengthen faith by challenging students to think clearly and critically.

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  12. Muff Potter: It depends entirely on which degree(s) we’re talking about.

    SBU’s Christian Ministry degrees no doubt have a distinct Calvinist slant to them these days in their College of Theology and Ministry. As a Missouri college, they have a direct link to Midwestern Seminary (Kansas City) which has been thoroughly Calvinized. I know recent pastoral graduates from SBU who are New Calvinist from head to toe.

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  13. “licensed Christian counselor,(remember the ACBC crowd are NOT licensed for good reason), they are out there. In my life and in the life of our family we have consulted a Christian psychiatrist and a Christian MSW with great results. However, we have also consulted secular psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists and found success in that venue as well.”

    Licensed means the credentialed have studied & put into practical application: the science. Behavioral sciences are based on scientific research/study of behavior. Science.

    Churches seem to take issue with science these days. At least, churches in the USA.

    A Christian tweeted that the rest of the world has approached the pandemic via science, whereas in the USA, the approach has been via church & politics. Different results. Taiwan is a democratic churched society yet their Covid deaths are now 9 total. Different approach.

    FBI profiler Roy Hazelwood researched the RZ types in US society. Professionally. Hazelwood was an icon in the behavioral sciences.

    “Robert Roy Hazelwood (March 4, 1938 – April 18, 2016) was a former FBI profiler of sex crimes and is generally regarded as the pioneer of profiling sexual predators. He worked for much of his career for the FBI, retiring in the mid-1990s.

    “Hazelwood, a devout Presbyterian, … died peacefully while taking a nap in the sun at his home on April 18, 2016. He was buried with appropriate honors at Quantico National Cemetery.” – wikipedia

    Hazelwood, it seems, took both God & science seriously. It’s possible.

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  14. Ava Aaronson: took both God & science seriously. It’s possible.

    A comment about this: Back in my Higher Ed days of getting advanced degrees AND being involved in church, we were encouraged to excel, to be the best in our fields (by secular measure: i.e., study hard, do good work) for the glory of God.

    What happened to excellent professional achievement for the glory of God? Even accomplished medical professionals (epidemiologists, for example) nowadays, are being roughed over by church gangs.

    Go figure. What in the world … and how did we get here? Makes no sense.

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  15. Sowre-Sweet Dayes:
    What is new?

    SWBTS used to have a state certified top counselling program in TX. It got completely gutted back in 2010(2009?).

    Again, “Science” Falsely So-Called or WORD! OF! GAWD!

    After crap like this, how can anyone with more than two active neurons above their brainstem take Christianity seriously? It’s like Smartphone Zombies, except with a Bible (and Celebrity Christian Leader du jour) instead of a smartphone screen.

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  16. We live near a smaller SBU satellite campus. The chilling effect of all those calvinized shows in the local SBC churches. Folks are friendly to begin with but if they figure out you are not calvinized they quickly freeze you out. Preachers will turn and walk away rather than speak to you. I have watched them as their eyes change when greeting someone from warm and friendly to looking like they are zombies. Alive to fellow travelers, dead looking to everyone else.

    Most of the little churches dried up around here about the time they calvinized. The one larger one boasts how it is growing and bringing in new members. They are doing the latter, but overall attendance and membership is I believe way less than half what it was. And that was before covid19.

    I watched as a calvinized pastor struggled to keep from tapping his feet or hands to some southern gospel, and as his own kids made fun of him from several pews away. Seems “daddy” left when he went to SBU and “father” took his place. Truly sad to listen to them talk.

    Max, you are right about the SBC. We need to hold a funeral for it.

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  17. Muff Potter: How did Mohler accrue that much power?

    I think in Mohler’s case that he made a big impression during the Conservative Resurgence when he became SBTS President in his 30s and cleared the seminary of liberal and moderate faculty … being particularly harsh with female professors. He accrued some brownie points among the SBC elite at that time and proceeded to pile them up with his intellectual charm. The Conservative Resurgence was really a Calvinist Resurgence and Mohler was the man to champion Calvinization of the denomination … with that came power and prestige … which of course doesn’t impress God at all.

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  18. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), a graduate of Gordon-Conwell, and a Christian who believes God gave us our brains for a reason, I find this terribly ignorant, but sadly, unsurprising. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church (FBC-Durham) and watched as it went from an intellectually and spiritually stimulating place of worship, love, and fellowship to a place I am honestly terrified to return. One thing that angers me, though (and this is just one of many) is that Dr. Davis was rather critical of my “worldly” view of psychotherapy. I asked him if he saw only doctors that practiced from a Biblical perspective and he laughed. He never answered.

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  19. Anglican By Choice: I asked him if he saw only doctors that practiced from a Biblical perspective and he laughed. He never answered.

    Here’s what people never say when the ambulance shows up:

    “Oh no, lady, I see that ring! I’m not letting a married woman in pants strap me to that gurney! Go home to your children! You there… yes, you, the man! Are you an NIV guy, KJV only, or what?”

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  20. Friend,

    LOL! Andy is a very intelligent man, and I cannot tell you how terribly sad it has been to watch the church I was raised in turn into a Hive of Hateful Calvinists after being a center of Free-Will Frolicking. The relationships that had held fast for years were destroyed merely by Dr. Davis’ insistence that to truly be Christian we must follow his view of Biblical Truth. It was utterly heartbreaking. There are so many things I have read here regarding Andy’s takeover of FBC-Durham, and I wish what has been written is all there is to be told. Sadly, it is a mere fraction of what I know first-hand. No church is perfect, and no human is. However spiritual abuse is very real and it is VERY alive and well in that congregation.

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  21. Anglican By Choice: I was raised in a Southern Baptist church (FBC-Durham) and watched as it went from an intellectually and spiritually stimulating place of worship, love, and fellowship to a place I am honestly terrified to return

    A lot of traditional Southern Baptists are just now waking up to this sad situation as New Calvinism sweeps through the SBC. Following Christ, genuine worship of Him, love and fellowship between believers are things of the past in SBC life.

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  22. BREAKING NEWS: Protesters Gather Outside Southwest Baptist University

    “A group gathered in front of Southwest Baptist University Friday afternoon. They were protesting recent actions by the board of trustees and the removal of professors. It’s feared the university is shifting toward indoctrination instead of education.”


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  23. What is going on at SBU … indeed, in all of SBC life … is a form of “cancel culture.” Indoctrinate a generation into reformed theology and you will eventually cancel the non-Calvinist whosoever-will-may-come culture that identified Southern Baptists for the last 150 years … before Al Mohler and his band of Mohlerites decided to take the SBC back to its pre-Civil War Calvinist roots, without asking millions of Southern Baptists if they wanted to go there!

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