"I am a former newspaper reporter turned church secretary turned vampire novelist. I wrote my first complete novel, 'Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs,' at night while I was working as the receptionist for a Baptist church. That was an interesting conversation with the pastor." -Molly Harper link
Picture allegedly tweeted by Ligon Duncan's brother shows Al Mohler sitting with CJ Mahaney
This is post 2 for today. Wow!
This letter, allegedly written by Jeff Purswell, is popping up all over the place. Once again, in the span of a week, Dee is startled. Apparently, SBTS is breaking ties with SGM's Pastors' College. Remember, SGM is not Baptist although Mahaney and SGM have given @$200,000 in donations to the seminary. Also, CJ Mahaney has been vigorously defended by Al Mohler who CJ calls the "smartest man in the world." Dee is now seeking fans with lots of money!!
Here is the alleged letter which was posted on SGM Survivors and Thou Art the Man. See if you can spot the eyebrow raiser. Peter Lumpkin should be having a cow at this precise moment. I have highlighted pertinent passages.
I’m writing with some disappointing news. Southern Seminary has informed me that it is discontinuing the formal relationship between Southern and Sovereign Grace. This is a rather complex situation, and I’m unable to share all of the internal factors influencing their decision. Suspicions cast upon Sovereign Grace by the ongoing civil suit, and again by the recent Morales case, have unfortunately produced pressures upon various friends and partners of Sovereign Grace. Such factors appear to have played a role in this suspension.
My conversations with Southern representatives were nonetheless encouraging—they are grateful for Sovereign Grace’s influence and for the pastors who are studying at SBTS, and they hope this continues. This change involves only the formal degree-completion agreement between our organizations.
Here are the main implications of this development:
•The key point is this: Future students from Sovereign Grace no longer qualify for automatic credit transfer or for an SBTS scholarship under the degree-completion program.
•Fortunately, students who have already had their Pastors College credits transferred to SBTS retain those hours.
•Students from Sovereign Grace continue to be welcome to apply to SBTS and may submit transcripts and request to have credits transferred from the Pastors College (or any other institution). These will be treated on a case-by-case basis, just like any other student. The status of the Pastors College as an academic institution from which SBTS will consider transfer credit has not changed.
•Students from Sovereign Grace may apply for financial aid from SBTS. These will also be treated on a case-by-case basis, like any other student.
•In sum, there is no longer a special agreement between SBTS and Sovereign Grace. Pastors College graduates may pursue degrees, credit-transfers, and financial aid like any other student, just not under the auspices of any agreement with SBTS.
Officials at SBTS communicated that they want to do all they can to keep from penalizing current students who transferred credits from the Pastors College. They also desire to give students as much information as possible so that they can anticipate tuition costs. Moreover, they hope that Sovereign Grace students will continue to consider SBTS as they plan their academic futures.
This is obviously a disappointing development. However, we as pastors should not be deterred from continuing to grow in our biblical and doctrinal understanding, whether that be informally or formally, through SBTS or another institution. We continue to appreciate SBTS and are grateful for the relationship we have enjoyed over the past couple of years, and it is possible that that relationship could be reestablished in the future. Even moreso, I am grateful for the blessing of the Pastors College and its unique mission to equip men for pastoral ministry within our family of churches. In God’s mercy, the college was built without reliance upon any single institution, and it will continue to be so.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or anyone on the Pastors College staff.
Yours in Christ,
SOVEREIGN GRACE PASTORS COLLEGE | SovGraceMin.org
Here are some information from Thou Art the Man. Quoting from Associated Baptist Press,
Last November, Sovereign Grace Ministries announced the program allowing Pastors College alumni to pursue a master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary without disrupting their church ministry.
The program allows transfer of up to 35 credit hours from the Pastors College to Southern Seminary, more than a third of the way toward the 94 hours required for the M.Div. in Christian ministry. Flexible learning options including online courses and brief intensive classes make it possible for Sovereign Grace pastors to complete their studies without moving to Louisville.
(Peter) Lumpkin termed the program an “in your face, Southern Baptists” decision. He said paid denominational employees “cannot and should not be empowered to jeopardize either our entities or our name by forging friendly liaisons with people or organizations who pose probable liability to us.”
- I wonder how Sister Bertha, having given her money to SBTS to help educated some nice Baptist boys, would feel if she found out her money was going to educate some decidedly non-Baptist SGM pastors?
- Did you know that you do not need a college degree to go to Pastors College? Could it be that by simply transferring their credits from Mahaney's 10 month course, they can earn about 1/3 of their Masters of Divinity Degree? That is efficient.
- Maybe Al Mohler finally realizes that the people who are concerned with SGM are not concerned because Mahaney founded a ministry. Good night!
No such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C. J. Mahaney. Instead, he was charged with founding a ministry and for teaching doctrines and principles that are held to be true by vast millions of American evangelicals.
Why do these seminaries set rules and then the leadership just do whatever?
And why is that not more of an outrage? I am wondering if the 6 traditional seminaries are really serving the denomination, or just certain individuals….
Might be time to run some folks off and start over in the so called ” Ivory Tower” at SEBTS, SBTS, SWBTS, MWBTS, NOBTS, and GGBTS…..maybe time to shut down a couple of the seminaries….
After a goalless – but by no means dull – first half between Germany and Algeria, you have to say that the relatively unfancied Africans have had the better of the game. An intriguing second half to follow…
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
They are saying Jozy Altidore will play for the US Team against Belgium tomorrow…..
And Algeria is better than anyone is giving them credit for…..
As someone who identifies as Southern Baptist, I was absolutely disgusted when I read Mark Prater’s communication yesterday morning. There is obviously so much more to this story, which I pray will be revealed.
Absolutely astounding that trainee pastors from another denomination – who after training would leave and go work for that other denomination – were entitled to a host of special privileges not accorded to Baptist pastors. In what kind of world does this make sense??
What kind of weird power did CJ Mahaney have over Mohler and what has Mohler to say for himself now?
The SBC needs to hold Al Mohler accountable. He needs to face some committees and be asked some hard questions. I wonder if this could affect the SBTS accreditation? The Sovereign Grace Pastor’s College was largely a sham. Many SGM and former SG pastors don’t have any college training. Correct me if I am wrong…but I don’t think Mark Mullery of Sovereign Grace Fairfax has one. Joshua Harris to my knowledge has no proper educational training. Neither does Eric Simmons, who doesn’t have a college degree. I personally have thought that this is why some SGM and former SG pastors keep things the way they are. They are trying to preserve what they have because they don’t have the educational and seminary credentials to go to many other denominations.
But if I were a member of the SBC I would be asking questions. If I were an alumni of the SBTS I would be livid. I also find it odd how this news is coming out from Purswell. No statement from SBTS, no announcement, no decree. NOTHING! Good thing these guys don’t work in marketing and sales.
As Deepthroat told Bob Woodward in an Arlington, Virginia Parking Garage during Watergate…follow the money.
Thinking the same thing
Could someone explain using small words why this is a bad thing? I don’t really understand why and I’m very curious.
Worthwhile noting that a Baptist seminary professor, quoted over on Todd Wilhelm’s blog, feels this decision by SBTS has nothing to do with the Morales case, civil suit or cover-up, and everything to do with Baptist pastors giving off about the unfairness of the ‘sweet and special deal’ between SGM and SBTS.
@ Albuquerque Blue:
A president of a baptist seminary, who is himself high profile and connected in SBC politics, and who bases a large part of what he has to say in “ain’t it awful about (this sin, this politics, this idea) seems to have been cutting deals with some non-baptists possibly using baptist money donated for baptist purposes to do so. The bunch he has had this deal with is the same bunch who had the pastor recently convicted of sex abuse, and the same bunch under suspicion of covering up sex abuse.
@ Albuquerque Blue:
In addition to that, the details of the deal may have circumvented the academic standards of the seminary, since the transfer credits were given for courses which may be below seminary standards.
Nancy here is the million dollar question….did this affect the SBTS accreditation? That is what many people in the SBC and those currently enrolled in the SBTS need to ask. Do you think Duke University could do this? What about UCLA? Stanford? University of Wisconsin – Madison? Whiskey Tango Foxtrott. Look at what happens when it leaks out that a major university with a division one college football program bends the rules for an athlete! There are many more questions that need to be asked.
While I cannot say for sure that you are the smartest women in the world, you definitely are not the dumbest.
(But I have no money to donate…)
It has to do with transparency. Many, many people give money to Baptist seminaries because they are told this will go to training Baptist pastors. SGM is not Baptist and there are many who would not give to support SGM pastors due to the many issues surrounding those churches. I would have no problem if they said “Your money will go to accepting SGM pastors in order for them to get their MDIV. They will return to SGM and will not serve Baptist churches. My guess is that such a statement would cause a bit of a dustup. Transparency is always important.
Also, they could be accepted with no undergard degree since that is not required by Mahaney who only got a high schol education and the Pastors College grad, which is not accredited, would be given 1/3 MDIV.
Good Lord. As someone who had to sweat blood to get my MDiv at Duke, I’m just sitting here shaking my head in amazement. Taking credits from this “Pastor’s School” and putting them toward an MDiv, when any normal seminary REQUIRES an undergraduate degree to even be admitted? It’s insane.
But I guess I should remind myself of what school is doing this.
Sane isn’t a word I would use to describe Southern.
And before the fundamentalist takeover and the presidency of Mohler SBTS was allegedly a top notch school, at least by baptist standards. With both Patterson and Mohler practicing, I hope, further mea culpas, and with the convention divided even if not equally, I am hoping that there might be some changes for the better in the offing. (I went to a school affiliated with SBTS back in the day. I kind of take it personally.)
I am absolutely, thoroughly disgusted that such a program existed. As an SBTS alumna, I have tried to keep a low profile so that they wouldn’t be able to contact me for fundraising purposes. I am now seriously considering blowing my cover and writing a (signed) letter to the Board of Trustees expressing my incredulity and outrage.
I arrived on the SBTS campus fresh out of undergrad, with a degree in Religious Studies (the program has now been renamed Biblical Studies) that included two years of classical Greek, as well as rigorous courses in Old and New Testament literature. At orientation, we were all told that we could not get credit for language and Bible courses taken during our undergrad programs, but we could take placement tests that would allow us, if we passed, to take advanced-level electives instead of the survey courses normally required for a master’s degree. I tested out of the New Testament survey and took two electives instead. I tested out of half of the Old Testament survey and took an “advanced” one-semester survey and one elective instead. When I sat the Greek exam, I was the first one in the room to finish, and then breezed through the sight-reading portion (1 John–one of the easiest NT books to read in Greek). The grad student who was administering the sight-reading portion said he was impressed and had never seen an examinee do so well. But when he asked about my academic background in Greek and learned that it was classical and not specifically koine, he placed me into the second intermediate semester anyway (I guess reading Philemon and Acts in my undergrad classical Greek classes–both of which are more difficult than 1 John–didn’t count for anything). On the first day of class, my Greek instructor asked us all to tell him about our previous Greek learning. After I told him what I’d had, he said he wished he could overrule the decision of the student (!) who placed me, but if I wasn’t feeling challenged, he wouldn’t mark me absent. All I had to do was turn in the paper and show up to take the mid term and final exams. I did so, and got an A in the class (which was doing Revelation–another easy translation). The bottom line was that my undergraduate Greek and Bible courses were way more rigorous than their equivalents at SBTS–and at no time did I ever have the option of having my credits transfer. And now it turns out that they’ve been affording SGM pastors–some without college degrees–just such an opportunity, for courses that are in all likelihood less rigorous than even their own. I just don’t know what to say.
Adding insult to injury is this bit: “they want to do all they can to keep from penalizing current students who transferred credits from the Pastors College.” SBTS offered no assistance at all to the students who were enrolled in the School of Counseling before they closed it down. The SBC offered no (job placement or credentialling with another agency) assistance at all to the women whose chaplaincy licenses they suddenly and unapologetically revoked in 2000.
I am glad this program is being terminated, but I am angry that it ever existed.
/rant over (for now)
I have got to agree…..the MDiv program at SWBTS was very difficult when I was there in the 80s. My understanding is the program is now watered down and this is just another example of the watering down at SBC seminaries…..allowing in people without college degrees to graduate programs to work on a masters?
( the seminaries have always allowed a program to train ministers, but no actual graduate degree or undergrad degree was awarded….at least it wasn’t when I was there…)
Assuming what I learned in my extensive administrative assistant and special projects editing work at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary was systemwide related to internal procedures and also accreditation requirements, and that the Baptist seminary system has not substantially changed since mid-2000 decade:
If you did not have a bachelor’s degree, you could not get into a master’s program, only a “diploma program.” Typically, the diploma program was very similar to the master’s program, minus the biblical languages and a few other courses. Faculty could potentially vote to give a diploma graduation candidate a master’s degree if he/she actually did all the required course work for the master’s degree, but that was highly unusual exception and was mostly (if not exclusively) applied to students who started seminary in their 40s or 50s and hadn’t gone to college in their 20s or 30s. In the decade-plus that I worked at GGBTS, I had 2 or 3 friends who were granted master’s, though enrolled in the diploma program. One was extremely capable as a student, despite having no bachelor’s degree, and has since gone on to earn a D.Min. and now teaches master’s students.
There were strict procedures about substantial tuition reductions available for those with membership in an SBC church, because the funding for that reduction came from the Cooperative Program. Enrolled students from other denominations or no denomination had to pay full tuition.
I suspect there are substantive guidelines for acceptance of coursework from other accredited institutions for students transferring into a master’s program.
There are probably other technical factors on the Cooperative Program and on Accreditation that could come into play in the SBTS-SBC-SGM situation. All y’all can update my understanding if things have changed.
It does occur to me that perhaps shades of President Patterson were over this decision, given the recent convention scenario dealing with use of Cooperative Program funds in ways outside the guidelines.
Beyond the cashflow from SGM to SBTS that you have documented here, the other thing to consider is the idea of “installed base” which is more than just current or past cashflow. Installed base means future cash flow and influence and power. It means personal loyalty that is sticky, even when the situation warrants abandoning that loyalty. Bill Gates understood this idea well early on. Installed base becomes a competitive advantage going forward. Of course, this all pertains to business, not to the church, I’m sure. 🙂
I don’t believe Al Mohler will have to answer for any of this because he already has a large installed base of supporters. The thread on this topic at Voices is a truly astounding and actually scary revelation of the phenomenon of blind loyalty to human idols. Why would anyone think this is acceptable?
This also fits with the idea that this change is all about the possible loss of accreditation and the dilution of the value of a SBTS degree by all of the SGM guys. If you lose accreditation, then a lot of your installed base of support gets antsy and less sticky. And future students would be less inclined to attend SBTS. Maybe even the Board of Trustees would wince at that possibility if nothing else fazes them.
Going into this deal, it might have seemed like a good way to increase the number of men with Mohler and SBTS loyalty by adding the SGM guys to the enrollment. But accreditation standards are not as subject to personal loyalties, so the deal ultimately would fall apart on the back end.
Does anyone know how enrollment numbers were trending before this SGM special deal? And, does anyone know how they got around the bit in the Bible about not showing partiality?
When it comes to the puzzle of what hath Mohler and the others to do with Mahaney, I think the answer is that the whole has greater power than the sum of the parts. They have different skill sets and control different market segments via different appeals and constituencies. The synergy of oligarchs, in other words. I’m open to a different model if somebody has a suggestion. It is a mystery.
When you were there was there an undergrad GPA minimum requirement for admission?
And whence cometh this weird idea that 94 hours of anything gets you a “master’s” degree?
I had to do a 9-month taught postgrad diploma, complete with exams, which I had to pass with distinction to qualify for the second stage which was a 40,000-word thesis, to get an MSc in Information Management Systems fae the Cally * in Glasgae. And naebdy at the Cally imagines their alumni are duly qualified to speak for God.
* Sunday name: Glasgow Caledonian University
And finally for today, some late sporting news.
As I am sworn off spoilers, and as one or more readers may be planning to watch the game after work or whatever, I won’t say anything about the score (beyond what I said before, that it was goalless after 45 minutes). But the Germany-Algeria game turned out to be arguably the best of the tournament so far, and that in a tournament that has had its share of top-class games.
From the SBTS website, showing the differential between tuition for students from SBC churches that give to the Cooperative Program, versus students from other churches:
Tuition for Professional Degree and Diploma Programs
* Southern Baptist — $242 per credit hour
* Non-Southern Baptist — $484 per credit hour
Tuition for Master of Theology
* Southern Baptist — $315 per credit hour
* Non-Southern Baptist — $630 per credit hour
SO — this potentially means that if SGM students were treated as if SBC *master’s degree* enrollees, the seminary got shorted by at least 50% of the tuition due, meaning the Cooperative Program basically covered the tuition equivalent of every other SGM student to go back into non-SBC churches. Huh.
We’d have to know the full specifics of the SGM “deal” to calculate the actual percentages, but when May in her comment above suggested it was about the sweet deal they got, at the expense of the rest of the Southern Baptist Convention, there’s certainly something to that …
One does wonder.
Given those tuition figures, IMO the students did not get their money’s worth, based on what some of them believe (or did) if nothing else. And the degree does not qualify for most secular jobs. And add living expenses while in school. Who would do that?
I loved your rant. Thank for taking the time to write it.
I don’t know if anyone else commented on these two thoughts.
One, as someone who donated money to SGM (yes, stupid in hindsight), I object to said money being passed on to SBC! If I had wanted my money given to the Baptists, I would have done so directly!
What is wrong with CJ’s Baptist friends (Piper, Mohler) that they don’t object to his catholic leaning mindset about how the pastors speak to the people “FOR” God. That has always baffled me.
I honestly don’t remember. I know you had to have a bachelors degree, but I don’t remember any specific GPA requirements. No GRE eithet, at least for MA/MDiv, but that’s not all that unusual. Tomorrow I can have a look at my seminary file and see if I saved any of the admissions materials.
Eagle — Just to clarify, Mark Mullery has a degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.
I wonder if this is one of the reasons why I met only a couple of Southern Baptists in my time at Duke Divinity? Numerous Baptists, yes, of many different affiliations, but only a couple from the SBC, and one of them a young woman who received a great deal of trouble for joining us to earn an MDiv with a concentration in Christian Education.
Of course, if Southern Baptists go to Duke Divinity, they have to live with female classmates, as well as Methodists and Episcopalians. I’m thinking some of them might have a problem with that. 🙂
This was true in my day, too. I come from an American Baptist church, but had to pay double the SBC rate. I was OK with that after learning about the Cooperative Program, though. What rankled me more was the “God loves a cheerful giver” sign at the registration cashier station (obviously in the days before phone/internet registration). That example of SBTS “humor” was the first hint that I had entered a foreign land…
@ Brian Auten:
Thanks Brian!! I appreciate the correction!
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
I have not had time to read all the comments so if this has been answered, forgive me.
It is a “bad thing” because the 9 month SGM pastors college is unaccredited. So a special deal for SGM pastors college students to transfer “credits” for masters level work is an outrage. SBC students do not get such a deal. They have to transfer credits from an accredited institution. And they have to have completed a bachelors degree first. Thirty five hours? I found that unbelievable. If I were a former, current or future SBTS student I would be livid.
And here I thought Mohler was a scholar. Even as a political strategist he blew it on this one.
But my guess is SGM pastors college students WILL be attending SBTS in some form or fashion. Mahaney’s son in law has a paid internship (he is not SBC), Bob Kauflin is partnering with the School of Worship, his son’s band does all sorts of paid gigs through SBTS and so on. They have already been given “special perks”. The SBC seminaries are partially funded by SBC pew sitters who think their money is going to subsidize education for SBC pastors, missionaries, ministers, etc. Not SGM ministers.
Amy, I forgot all about that! You are so right and I remember that horrible debacle. Those people were just thrown to the curb…many women. But the unaccredited SGM pastors college gets a sweet deal. So very Mohler
Amen! Reminds me of what happened in SGM when contributors purportedly had no idea that at least $100,000 of their collective donations were diverted to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Now we Southern Baptists are the suckers!
This certainly doesn’t help SBTS’ academic reputation. I’m not sure they were ever even close to being a Duke, Gordon-Conwell, or TEDS, but now they are looking about on the level of Liberty’s seminary.
Thanks for the explanations! 🙂
SBTS was once a great academic institution, with serious research and teaching occurring, producing great pastors and teachers. Ph.D.s from SBTS were considered among the top theologians in the world. Of course, that was before Mohler. SBTS was also the home of a great school of social work that was orphaned and picked up by another entity. With Mohler, the key issue is doctrinal conformity, that is, conformity to Mohler, to be on the faculty. So great faculty have either left or been pushed out, for failure to be doctrinal clones of Mohler.
An Attorney wrote:
And all remaining are Yes-Men and Mini-Mes, singing the praises of The Great Man.
An Attorney wrote:
Yes Attorney, you are so right. SBTS once had a reputation for not only scholarship but it’s graduates were known for their commitment to SERVE others. Not to take over churches, institute authoritarianism and convert current believers to Calvin.
But now the reputation is one of indoctrination and authoritarianism and some pulpit committees are wizening up and bringing in consultants to school them on language the deceiving “Quiet Revolution” type YRR Calvinists use to get hired and take over the church. It blows my mind it has come to this all because one man was given so much power not only at SBTS but in the SBC.
Now, after all the damage that movement has done, the club they use to beat folks with is “unity”. Mohler is desperate for his definition of “unity” at all costs. Unity is a clever tactic as it means you have to forget all that has happened even though there is no repentance or real change. Unity helps Mohler keep power.
Why would anyone want to unify with authoritarian charlatans who protect those who protect child molesters. Mohler was so determined to build the Calvin brand in the SBC he did not have enough discernment NOT to partner with the “Apostle” from the “People of Destiny”? Was that not a big enough cult clue for him? He partnered with a shepherding cult leader solely because they were Calvinist! And he was building the Calvin brand. He has been promoted as a brilliant scholar and very wise beyond his years. I think not.
Mohler could not afford to have faculty that were independent thinkers and scholars. All those folks are long gone. Look what has emerged from there since Mohler consolidated power. Everything from Patriarchy as salvic, Mormonistic teaching on gender roles in heaven (CBMW), Eternal Subordination of the Son, one sided scholarship of the Reformation not to mention the lack of historical context of church history but also interpreting scripture! This list is long.
Ever notice how Mohler hires young men in key jobs that have been indoctrinated are loyal to him then they are put in even more powerful jobs later as they are loyal to him? This has happened in quite a few entities and even a seminary now. There were MUCH MORE qualified people but Mohler’s power is that great in the SBC. He owns it.
Add to the irony list what was done to the School of Social Work and now the School of Music and Worship.
Ah hah and ah hah. The local SBC mega, under the new calvinist preacher, changed its web “motto” to CalvaryUJnited. (The former preacher was also a calvinist and a Mohler sycophant and now a demoninational employee.) Anyhow, I kept wondering where that “united” came from. United to what? Were they a shambles before this? What is going on here? Did not know it was a rallying cry or whatever. So I guess they are now more united with Mohler than ever before. A sort of statement of re-committment maybe? (Waves of nausea.)
Before Carver School was the school of social work, it was the school of missions and social work which had previously been the WMU training school. I attended Carver School as a missions major during the summers when I was in med school in order to work off required credits with an eye to being a medical missionary. Mohler trashed the school, after a series of confrontations with the philosophy (so I heard) of educating females for full time christian work in their own right. One interesting story, and one which I cannot verify, had to do with a statement by the then head of the school in which the topic of conversation was a particular Carver School student who announced her engagement to one of the seminary boys. Allegedly the head of the school said that the engagement was “a pity, because she had so much potential.” This comment was transmitted to the now fundamentalist SBTS with tragic results for her.
Again, I know not what the truth may be. I tell the tale as “twas told to me.
More likely united with Calvin and Mohler.
I guess being united with Christ is no longer the ideal?
To a lot of these guys, “Who needs Christ? We Have CALVIN!”
P.S. “Apostle” from “The People of Destiny”? Doesn’t that sound like some grandiose name and title an egomaniac would come up with while admiring themselves in a mirror?
Again, who needs Christ when you have CALVIN?
You know, I do get the feel that their system of theology is in direct competition with Christ in the definition of who the “me” is in “follow Me.” Perhaps I am excessively jaded.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
An Attorney wrote:
When I was at SWBTS, SBTS was ” the” academic institution of the SBC. Everyone knew that. At the time I was there, there was a brief attempt to bring in SBTS professors to teach, if only for a couple of semesters. That ended when Dr. Dilday was fired.
One was Perose St. Amant, who had been Chariman of the SBTS Church History Dept., and had been President of the Baptist Seminary in Switzerland. ( Dr St. Amant had three earned PhDs. SBTS, Edinburgh and Geneva…)
He and Boo Heflin, J. W. MacGormann, the most amazing teachers I ever sat under at SWBTS….none of which would be allowed near a SBC seminary today….
Part of it is this…..when I was in the SWBTS, you pretty much had to graduate from the ” local” SBC seminary for a church to call you….SWBTS if you were in Texas, NOBTS in parts of Louisiana and S. Miss, S. Alabama….etc…..it was as they said off the record, want to be a Baptist preacher, you need a ” union card” from a SBC seminary….God forbid you have a degree from Yale Divinity and you try and get a position at XYZ Baptist Church in Tyler or Beaumont, TX…
The best seminaries are faith-based and academically rigorous. That SGM letter suggests that SBTS sacrificed both these aspects of their institution. And for what purpose?
“I’m writing with some disappointing news”
So THIS is what stirs the emotions of the “DEAN” of the Pastors College?
Not the fact that children have been sexually abused in SGM?
That’s why everyone should read David Wells’ No Place for Truth
Mohler also trashed the wonderful School of Music. When I asked the present Dean of my undergraduate school of music (at my Baptist college) “What has happened to Southern’s music program, he just said, “They don’t have one anymore.”
What got me is the fact he’s so disappointed that SGM students are no longer going to be given special privileges. I mean, why did he think they deserved them in the first place?
elizabetta carrera wrote:
That’s interesting. Do you know why Mohler did that? What are his views on music? Not theologically weighty enough?
This guy Mohler has so much to answer for. It seems he transformed a seminary to the point where it is no longer recognisable. I remember reading about the scores – literally scores if I remember correctly – of professors who left, some voluntarily but mostly involuntarily, as he was ‘Calvinising’ it. What I don’t understand is why there wasn’t a greater uproar. How did he get away with it??
He was the darling of the “conservative resurgence” and the “inerrancy” party. And academic excellence depends largely on academic freedom, within some limits, and not lockstep doctrinal rigidity. So with the freezing of the doctrinal latitude to a very, very narrow stripe, any thinking or writing about alternative understandings, even if solely speculative as to how they would affect the message, was verboten and resulted in dismissal, either direct or indirect.
Exactly, when Al Mohler last spoke at CLC he publicly thanked us for the $100,000 advance that C.J .Mahaney gave him, on behalf of our church, to start Al in the writing of his next book. We all just gulped but completely choked when C.J. Mahaney left with 6 milliom dollars from CLC/SGM to start his church next to Al Mohler's seminary.
We would love to get confirmation of both the $100,000 thank you from Mohler and the $6 million startup fund for the Louisville Church. Can you direct us?
I'm thinking that must have been money that went with SGM to KY. Who gets $6m for a church plant
@ An Attorney:
What we are seeing here in some courses in Bible colleges in the UK is a narrow focus on reformed theology which goes hand-in-hand with a fear of any other type of theology – it seems that anything that is not Reformed is labelled ‘liberal’ and avoided. Friends of mine studying for a women’s ministry course at our local Baptist Bible College have been told, for example, not to read anything by N.T. Wright. This frustrates the life out of me. Why be so fearful of theology? Why the need to control what people read, and have access to? The other scary thing is that people are just nodding and accepting this. The young men training for pastoral ministry are delighted to be taught ‘correct doctrine’ and leave it at that. So what we’re starting to find is that this doctrine is not actually preparing them for the rigours and demands of life as church pastors. They may have all the ‘right-on theology’ but they don’t know how to work with people. Or is it that they don’t have a love for people?
An Attorney wrote:
Heard a good interview with a prof from covenant college. He talked about how seminaries that are connected to a broader university are good because you have learning from a bunch of different disciplines. In his case, he talked about eating with some profs from other departments, and he said something that was outside his realm of knowledge (this guy is a theologian), to which a psychology professor told him he was dead wrong (or something along those lines). The interviewee was thankful for that dynamic. Sounds like the polar opposite to the SB seminaries.
I am no expert here, but I was around before and during and after it happened. So let me throw out an observation or two and maybe others can weave it all into something.
In the way back the baptists had been type A, let us say. This was how it was when I was young up to the time of the cultural revolution in the US roughly in the 60s and 70s.
Then the baptists became type B. Type B was just totally unacceptable to some folks. That is when I packed up my family and departed. It was easy to blame baptist B, in part, on the seminaries who were turning out young preachers who were not solving the problems. It looked like they had too much education and too little religion.
By the time that the battle for the bible people came along (baptist C) they looked pretty good compared to what had been going on. So along came fundamentalism, but it did not look like fundamentalism at first. It just looked like a pendulum swing back in the opposite direction. But over time things changed and people just hung around for all the reasons that people just hang around, and now a new generation has grown up who never knew anything different. That can’t be the whole story, but that did happen and is part of it.
About the music. When I was little, growing up big church downtown baptist in Louisville, the music was piano and organ as classical mixed with hymns out of the old Broadman Hymnal. The school of music at the seminary was training people in church music like that, and perhaps other things also, but we never knew much but what I have just said. Under baptist B the sermon quality dried up and for a while the only teaching of any substance was in the hymns from the hymn book. Then music styles shifted, and with that the last substantive teaching in baptist B dwindled. Under baptist C, then there was a switch to the Baptist Hymnal and in that there were changes in the lyrics of some songs with some stanzas omitted if they contained a theological message that was not approved. The fact that editing was done and who did it was published in the front of the hymnal. So that source of theological ideas was brought into conformity with baptist C. One example, in the hymn “The Church’s One Foundation” the stanza which included “and mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won” was omitted for theological reasons. I used to sit and entertain myself with tracking down the changes (I had the hymn book at home for my own playing purposes).
Then, guess what, the school of music was gone. Maybe because classical organists do not make good guitar players? I really don’t know at this point. But for sure the music style now in baptist C is not remotely like what the SBTS School of Church Music was doing back in the day. And the preaching is not baptist A preaching, and quite a few of us who are not prone to hanging around pining about the bygone days have packed up and moved on.
Thanks for your explanation. I take it C is for Calvinism?
I believe that music was one tool used by the Young Restless Reformed movement to capture young hearts and minds. That and (perhaps surprisingly) alcohol.
The YRR lot are cool with music that would never have been tolerated by the original fundamentalists – drums, guitars, bass are all okay. (As long as the lyrics are theologically correct.) Many young people saw these modern music bands and thought these guys can’t be traditionalist and must be quite cool.
Secondly, alcohol. Mark Driscoll became famous for his love of beer. I have heard other Reformed leaders almost boast about how cool they are with alcohol and enjoy a glass of wine etc. To those reared in teetotal fundamentalist churches where alcohol was regarded as evil, this attitude seemed refreshing. It seemed like these guys couldn’t be legalistic. After all they drank alcohol and condoned rock-type music.
Both music and alcohol are fine of course, because they don’t interfere with ‘correct doctrine’.
It was only later that complementarianism started to be pushed.
Don’t read N.T Wright?! Someone’s full of fear.
No actually, not at all. I just used A and B and C for alphabet letters in succession. That is all. I am not sure how calvinistic, in today’s terms, the earliest stuff actually was.
The C for Calvinism comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Just thought it seemed to fit 🙂
The music has changed so much in the last few years. Modern church and modern pop/rock music are so close, the classically trained musicians are not needed as Dr Nancy says. Play the guitar and yell and you’re good to go…
My late father was an organist at the church I grew up in, which is a pipe organ, (there were more in East Texas than you would realize ) I should say, was, I do not think it is used anymore in that church. At one time, it was fairly high church in its music, but to try and draw the youth, they went to more of a 7-11 type music.
My son has. Bach. Of Music and looked at a couple of seminaries for his MM, but quickly ruled them out.
We both wondered just what they taught in the graduate music programs at both SWBTS and NOBTS…and I know NO still offers a DMA….not sure about SWBTS…
I wonder what people who are looking into the music ministry in that area of the country do? Do they get a bachelors and call it even or are they looking for these people to now get a MDiv? Or a MM from a secular school?
Purity of Ideology, Comrade.
Purity of Ideology.
I think when this movement started out it was much more moderate. I do believe it was in reaction to other parts of fundamentalism that demonized sex, alcohol, dancing, breathing, having fun and oh…yeah living to. Just going outside and enjoying a nice day was sinful and evil for some fundamentalists. So the Hyper Reformed come along and take a more moderate stance on alcohol and sex. The guys I knew who were caught up in Sovereign Grace and Acts 29 liked the movement for that reason. My beef is the following…why does Christianity have to get in bed and between the sheets? They don’t preach about gluttony and get between you and your Big Mac. They don’t preach about materialism and get between you and that new mansion that you now have.
Alcohol became the means to attract people to this movement. I totally agree. And in the process they redefined legalism, and what fundamentalism is. You don’t have to wear a tie to church and can now wear jeans. You don’t have to limit yourself to fruit punch and now you can have beer. When I was into John Piper I was a sick fundamentalist but I didn’t know it. It was like when I was brushing up and looking in Mormonism in college….I was involved and flirted with a cult but I didn’t know it. It was only after I pushed back and walked away from Christianity for years that I saw how jacked up this movement is. The burnout that is coming for people is going to be severe. You had people who committed themselves to jobs and lifestyles that would not have done that otherwise. Their entire concept of “God’s will” and “don’t waste your life” was abused. I think we are starting to see that in the last few years with SGM Survivors and now Mars Hill. But I think things will unfold and it will get uglier. You are going to hear about women being raped because of patriarchy. You’re probably going to hear guys say, “I forced myself upon my wife and forced her to have sex against her will because John Piper says that I rule my wife and she must submit to me.” And with that John Piper’s teaching became the foundation for marital rape. One of the coming legacies are going to be destroyed marriages, and women. Plus you will hear about rape and sexual abuse. You are also going to hear about jacked up dreams, and professions. People who gave up opportunities to practice medicine because they felt like they had to be a missionary or pastor instead. People who gave up legal professions or forced their wife against having a career because John Piper said, or taught this, etc…. My prediction is the following…the in a number of years the leaders in the atheist movement, the next generation of Dan Barkers or Bart Ehman’s are going to be former John Piper, Mark Driscoll followers.
I just looked and SETBS is also getting rid of their music program…..well, letting those students who started, complete their degree….
Deebs, and others….I am going to go out on a limb and propose a theory. Remember this is just a theory after watching fundagelcalism these past few years.
I think in the end we are going to learn that CJ Mahaney corrupted and bought friendships and relationships through money. There was the proof that the Deebs found of CJ Mahaney giving money to the SBTS. Then on Survivors it was revealed how CJ Mahaney bankrolled Wayne Grudam and his salary while he stopped teaching and worked on the ESV for Crossway. But I think that’s the tip of the iceberg. I’m going to bet that in the course of time CJ Mahaney purchased the loyalty of Kevin De Young, DA Carson, Mark Dever, Ray Outland, The Gospel Coalition, etc… Since some of these people were bought with a price and I bet they feel loyal to defend him no matter what comes…child sex abuse lawsuit, allegations of running a shepherding cult, etc… Money talks and for many of these people its all about business. For CJ Mahaney…Sovereign Grace wasn’t about faith or worshipping the Lord. It was about protecting his business – his franchise. Some people when they get out of the NFL open up car dealerships, restaurant chains, etc… Sovereign Grace was Mahaney’s business and he took the money that people tithed and invested it and in the process (I am guessing) purchased his very own Trinity Evangelical Divinity School Professor, Head of SBTS, influential members of TGC, etc… In the end when the curtain is raised I think we’re going to a level of corruption that makes Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall fame come out looking like a saint. And the damage done to Christianity in the US is going to be severe. That is my prediction, my analysis of the situation.
I am so glad that SBTS severed the relationship with SGM. I don’t know why.
I personally suspect that the testimony in the Morales trial had something to do with it. Up until then, Mahaney could tell Mohler there was nothing to the allegations. After the testimony, there were some facts, stated in a courtroom by an SGM pastor, that the molestation was not reported. Mohler was asked at the Baptist 21 meeting during the Convention about child molestation, and he said that reporting it immediately to the authorities was a Gospel ministry imperative.
That meeting came not too long after the Morales verdict and the testimony. Mohler’s being asked that question and the way he answered it was a clear signal to me that something has changed.
I see Mahaney fading in the rearview mirror of both SBTS and T4G. It may take time, and there may be some contact, but not like before. I could be wrong about this, but I suspect that I am correct.
I am one who supports the changes at Southern. I believe that Southern’s return to requiring that the faculty teach in accordance with and not contrary to the orthodox Christianity generally and the Abstract of Principals specfically is faithful stewardship of the institution.
Several Presidents before Mohler – Mullins, Sampey, Fuller, McCall – all had problems with the faculty. Mohler was the first President to become involved directly in faculty matters and challenge the faculty to abide by the Abstract or be taken before the trustees.
Mohler fired very few people. As opposed to McCall, who (I believe) fired 13 facutly members in 1 day, but ultimately did not police the faculty thereafter and the departure from orthodox Christianity remained.
Running a private institution of any size nowadays is tough. The continued increase of private wealth taken by the public sector takes a toll. The number and health of private universities is on the wane.
Southern has done well, and I believe will continue to do well. There are over 4,000 students there now. The giving is strong. And there are large donors who will probably look at Southern due to its prominence and Mohler’s large presence in the culture at large as someone who is committed to orthodox Christianity.
Time will tell.
Don’t anybody underestimate the impact of the 60s and 70s on people. All at once there was VietNam, the pill and the sexual revolution, civil rights, women’s lib, hippies and drugs, the charismatic movement and Vatican II. In short, a hurricane blew through. Just about anything would have looked good to a lot of people if it promised some calm and stability about then. When the preachers took up the old refrain of “open your bibles to ….” it sounded to some people like happy days are here again.
elizabetta carrera wrote:
No they don’t. It is school of worship or something like that. A lot of SGM Bob Kauflin influence in that change. I have a qute a few extended family who graduated from the school of music back in the hey day. When I was a kid we were always attending formal recitals at SBTS. Classical music, chamber music, etc. It was much more about glorifying God through Art in those days. Now music is the step child to preaching. Because as we all know now the “sermon is the most important event of the week”
This is a really interesting observation, Nancy. I suspect it happens in most movements, including genuine moves of God. The bible states in more than one place that Another generation/Pharaoh arose that did not know…
It has happened with the charismatic movement in the UK too, in a different way. Back in the 1970’s one of the distinguishing features of the charismatic renewal (which was widespread in the mainstream churches here and, like any genuine work of God, controversial too) was the unprecedented joy and freedom in worship. From small living-rooms to large halls, people experienced a collective outpouring of praise to God such as they had never known before.
But increasingly, this began to draw new people to the churches. That was a good thing, of course. A side effect, though, was that these people had never known anything different and they tended to be people who gravitated to that kind of gathering. What they didn’t know about was the hunger and thirst for God himself that had produced that in the first place. So now, as the Holy Spirit wants to move out and onwards, we have a generation in place who don’t want to go with him, because they’re too much in love with the charismatic liturgy, the churchy atmosphere and the feelings they get from the “time of worship”.
I can well imagine that the Fundamentalist Thing began as people were moved to raise up a standard of unchanging truth, and that they did this in step with the Holy Spirit. But the next generation, by analogy to the previous paragraph, were people who were into dogma and rule-making as ends in themselves. So now, when the Holy Spirit wants them to learn more, and understand the logical consequences of the fact that Jesus really did rise from the dead and really is alive and with us now, they don’t want to move. Instead they just invent new heretical labels with which to demonise anyone who’s Not One of Us.
Here is the flip side of that. Some years back I read an article in the journal of the NC medical society concerning a survey they had done of primary care physicians (FP and general internal medicine if I recall). The results were interesting. Q: If you could find another job would you leave medicine within the next three years? A: Approximately 50% said yes. Q: Have you encouraged your children to choose medicine as a career? A: Almost nobody had, extremely small percentage which I have forgotten the actual number. Q: If you did not encourage your children to choose medicine as a career, what if anything did you encourage them to choose. A: Law, overwhelming majority.
I thought it was funny, because my son was in law school at the time. Medicine is not for everybody. An old saying is that medicine is a jealous mistress. Not everybody wants that.
Hi Louis, Just a few thoughts on your comment:
“I am so glad that SBTS severed the relationship with SGM. I don’t know why.”
The “ties” have not been severed. The agreement with the SGM Pastors college has been withdrawn. Plenty of “ties” are still in place with Bob Kauflin, his son and some of Mahaney’s family.
“I personally suspect that the testimony in the Morales trial had something to do with it. Up until then, Mahaney could tell Mohler there was nothing to the allegations. After the testimony, there were some facts, stated in a courtroom by an SGM pastor, that the molestation was not reported. Mohler was asked at the Baptist 21 meeting during the Convention about child molestation, and he said that reporting it immediately to the authorities was a Gospel ministry imperative.”
It was obvious the molestations were not reported long before the trial. In fact, MOhler basically spit on ALL the victims stories with his comments to media and continued defense of Mahaney. If it takes a trial to do the right thing, then we have a bigger problem with Mahaney. I suspect withdrawing the sweet deal with the pastors college was more about the outcry from SBC pastors, Alumni and students as word got out.
“That meeting came not too long after the Morales verdict and the testimony. Mohler’s being asked that question and the way he answered it was a clear signal to me that something has changed.”
Too little too late. It is meaningless. Don’t know why anyone believes a word out of his mouth. HE dissed victims many times starting 2 years ago. He and most of the YRR movement went out of their way to protect and defend Mahaney. What was it about “Apostle” of “People of Destiny” Mohler did not get? He told Peter King back in 2011 for the Courier JOurnal that the SGM bloggers just did not like Mahaney’s “strong leadership”. So how can he plead ignorance? Did SGMwikileaks sound normal to him, too?
“I see Mahaney fading in the rearview mirror of both SBTS and T4G. It may take time, and there may be some contact, but not like before. I could be wrong about this, but I suspect that I am correct.”
Yes, let us pretend that we never promoted Mahaney or Driscoll’s ACts 29. The pew sitters are ignorant. WE will find some issue to redirect their attention. Nevermind integrity, truthfulness, justice, honesty, etc. Those are for losers.
“I am one who supports the changes at Southern. I believe that Southern’s return to requiring that the faculty teach in accordance with and not contrary to the orthodox Christianity generally and the Abstract of Principals specfically is faithful stewardship of the institution.”
The abstract is the Founding Calvinist document of SBTS which is not at all SBC seminaries and some think it is different than the BFM. But then, I guess you have to admit that SBTS did pretty well when they were ignoring the Abstract. Al Mohler dusted it off and enforced it and lots of people were sent packing.
“Several Presidents before Mohler – Mullins, Sampey, Fuller, McCall – all had problems with the faculty. Mohler was the first President to become involved directly in faculty matters and challenge the faculty to abide by the Abstract or be taken before the trustees.”
Honeycutt, too? Mohler worked for him. Guess Mohler was liberal?
“Mohler fired very few people. As opposed to McCall, who (I believe) fired 13 facutly members in 1 day, but ultimately did not police the faculty thereafter and the departure from orthodox Christianity remained.”
Oh boy. ARe you citing only faculty? Many left when Mohler came!~ ARe you including the Carver school? Oh, those were just layoffs. Or how about the 35 laid off a few years back while he spent 150 mill on campus beautification? Those people had kids and mortgages.
“Running a private institution of any size nowadays is tough. The continued increase of private wealth taken by the public sector takes a toll. The number and health of private universities is on the wane.”
“Southern has done well, and I believe will continue to do well. There are over 4,000 students there now. The giving is strong. And there are large donors who will probably look at Southern due to its prominence and Mohler’s large presence in the culture at large as someone who is committed to orthodox Christianity.”
Nope, without Boyce it would be in big trouble. And undergrad was never the intention of the SBC seminaries.
As usual you spin the Mohler position quite well while admitting Mahaney has been an embarassment you wish would go away. How are things on the Foundation board?
To take some of the music they are doing now and to take some of the methods of presentation of that music and not only call it worship but by inference limit the concept of worship to that music; that is an injustice to both music and worship. Maybe they do it better down the road or around the corner, but what I have seen at SBC mega here is pitiful. And the congregation just stands there and endures it. Nobody at all that I can see (only been there a few times) can get a grip on it. Endurance like that is not worship. It may be a valuable christian discipline but it is not worship. No wonder they dim the lights when they do it.
Single For Now
I am heading off to bed. I am concerned about the trajectory of your comments. You show precious little love to those who struggle but you sure know how right you are. You must feel really good about your own life and you seem to enjoy telling everyone else who are not as godly as you. I bet you are sure that you do not come across like that because, by telling everyone the harsh truth, you are keeping them from hell.
I want you to contemplate Josh’s words. He does not feel welcome by you or the church. And I think you can do better than that.
I am going to put your comments into moderation because I do not want things to deteriorate any further. Unless one of us is awake, your comments will not be approved until morning.
“Don’t anybody underestimate the impact of the 60s and 70s on people. All at once there was VietNam, the pill and the sexual revolution, civil rights, women’s lib, hippies and drugs, the charismatic movement and Vatican II. In short, a hurricane blew through. Just about anything would have looked good to a lot of people if it promised some calm and stability about then. When the preachers took up the old refrain of “open your bibles to ….” it sounded to some people like happy days are here again.”
Based on the stories at Recovering Grace, this was why so many evangelical Christians of the time found Bill Gothard to be attractive. With him selling an entire system of Christian living that “guaranteed” stability, peaceful lives, etc. in a chaotic world, the overwhelming legalism could be overlooked.
Good point to be sure Eagle, but it does beg another question: Why do some personalities do such drastic 180 degree switch-a-rooneys? It doesn’t seem to matter what brand of ‘true believer’ they do the switch from. Here in the LA area there’s a Christian radio talk-show host who recounts his days as a fervent atheist who loved to ‘hate’ on Christians and never missed an opportunity to ridicule them for their beliefs. Now the guy is a full-on fundagelical who leans neo-reformed and loves to argue for it. Go figure as they say.
Folks like Louis live in the state of denial. They are either clueless or choose to be clueless.
Definitely. At first, the ‘gender roles’ stuff wasn’t part of it either. But religious movements, when they are not of the Holy Spirit, inevitably will embrace and promote misogyny.
I totally agree with you that domestic abuse, sexual abuse and rape within marriage will all be outcomes of this patriarchal movement.
Regarding people changing their jobs and plans in order to conform to this movement, I’ve read quite a few accounts of people – women in particular – abandoning life-long dreams to conform to the restricted SAHM role. ‘Joyful submission’ has not led to joy or fulfilment, rather depression. One example that sticks in my mind is actually one of CJ Mahaney’s daughters who wrote that when she was growing up she dreamed of being a missionary in a foreign country until it was knocked out of her and she realised she had to stay at home and raise children.
Speaking strictly from a business perspective, it’s clear that the Protestant model is now merging theologies (non-denominational, mainline denominations are dying) and going to a more popular approach to music. So Southern had to revamp their program to answer the “market needs.”
From a cultural perspective, Protestantism does not value tradition in the way Catholicism and Judaism do. So I think this is a normal trajectory. In no way do I think my Protestant brothers and sisters lack zeal and devotion to Christ. But, as David Wells says, are the victims of cultural and theological developments — not necessarily good.
You realize how MUCH this will affect our Christian culture, don’t you???? When I was little singing in choir REINFORCED the truths I was learning in Sunday School and Church. Those songs have remained with me my whole life and have made that doctrine stick. They have been a source of comfort in trying times. I have quit pointing my finger at the secular culture for destroying our Christian culture. We are doing from the inside ourselves.
Reading these comments here about what is happening to Protestant church music is only confirming what, 15 years ago, I saw beginning to happen. This truly saddens me. This isn’t about the music. It’s about our whole Christian culture. On the Roman Catholic side, there is a shift to beautiful traditional music (yes, I like Praise and Worship, too) that teaches the truths of the faith in a timeless and transcendent way.
Yes. And the resulting rise in divorce, no doubt.
@ elizabetta carrera:
Amen. I’m a good Methodist and have a copy of our hymnal with my name embossed on the cover (a gift upon graduation for faithful, if tuneless, choir membership).
I can call up some scripture to mind, but when I really really need to feel the love and support of the Father, “It is Well with My Soul” and “Be Thou My vision” are what come to mind.
In those cases, I can only hope there is divorce. I fear instead that women will be too cowed and theologically bullied to do so.
Muff Potter wrote:
The person you describe hasn’t done a 180 at all. He’s just hopping on the other leg.
My brother and his family finally broke down and joined the Methodist Church. When I visit the music is so close to what we sang as a child growing up. I guess I need to go ahead and find local Methodist Church to start to visit.
My grandmother was Methodist. She taught children’s SS. As a young child being raised Catholic, her SS class was the first time I remember hearing about Jesus.
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
In my twenties I got to know a former Neo-Nazi turned evangelical, and while I would not want to comment on the sincerity of his faith*, the outward signs were that he had just exchanged one ideology for another.
* We can’t look in another’s heart, and at least his newfound orientation was a lot more benign than his old one. But he still showed that “us vs. them” attitude, the will to “win” (whatever that means as a Christian I don’t know).
But then again, when I was young (late teens, early twenties) and considered myself an evangelical, attitudes of “us vs. them” and being a terrible-pain-in-the-behind know-it-all were not exactly strangers to me.
elizabetta carrera wrote:
I have to say do not forget Orthodoxy and Anglicanism as on the tradition end of the spectrum. This is to bring up the issue that the attitudes to tradition occur on a continuum within protestantism. At one extreme there is the stated position that tradition should (imperative) not have a part in decision making but rather sola scriptura. That the churches that have relied on tradition have fallen into error because of it. At the other end of the spectrum is of course the Anglicans who even adhere to apostolic succession for ordination of bishops, if I am not in error. And somewhere along that line are the Methodists (my group) who take the position that belief is based on four things: prima scriptura, tradition, reason and experience. What I am saying is that protestantism is hugely complex and everything is on a continuum.
I am not saying that you are not aware of this. You seem to be extremely knowledgeable. I am using your comment as an opportunity to get this information out in case there are readers here who do not know this.
I went from Baptist to Methodist, and my Methodist church is very like the Baptist church I knew as a child. And I like the people. That said, however, my children and grandchildren have “gone over” to the Episcopal church, and I do visit there some because I find liturgy and the eucharist far closer to worship than anything else.
But even the most radical “sola scriptura” fundagelicals want to use the KJV because? Because it is the traditional scriptural translation that their grandparents used. And many protestants and related tend to default to the traditional understanding of scripture passages that we now know to have different meanings or applications than previously believed. (e.g., submit means kowtow to).
@ Muff Potter:
The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.
The switch was not 180 at all. It was more a reconciliation of thinking and feeling.
An Attorney wrote:
There is a conspiracy theory aspect of it also, that subsequent translations were deliberately manipulated by evil persons for their own purposes. Never mind and don’t try to tell them about the problems with KJV translation used to strengthen the protestant view of some things at a time of religious turmoil in England.
Switching to Methodist is not that big a deal. There were Methodists in the family for years and years, even had a great grandfather who was a circuit riding Methodist minister in the 1800s….my mother was the Baptist. Her mother converted grandad….so of course all the kids (5) are SBC. But the rest of her family…Methodist….
My mom always joked “Baptists convert ’em and Methodists bury ’em.” (commenting on the trend in her rural southern experience for people to switch from Baptist to Methodist after coming to the faith generally.)
You are fortunate in that. I think the methodists tend to be good people.
Albuquerque Blue wrote:
The problem is in the accreditation and the integrity of the academic process, as well as the ethics of the situation as a whole.
I’ve been in higher ed for over a decade, if a school offers credit, especially graduate-level credit, for less than graduate level work, they risk losing their accreditation. It’s highly doubtful that any accrediting body (except for an illegitimate one such as those that accredit diploma mills) would see the Pastor’s College studies at SGM as anything approaching graduate level work, and probably not even university undergraduate level work. Are the instructors there legitimate academics with graduate degrees? Is the work academic, or just, as has been so oft stated, indoctrination into the SGM way of shepherding? If the latter, then even if the work was quite rigorous, it would still not qualify as academic work. SBTS was giving students from SGM, who were probably not even doing legitimate undergraduate level work to receive their certifications, significant credit towards academic degrees. This is foolishness writ large.
The plan was unethical in the larger sense. Setting aside my profound disagreements with the theology and practice of SGM, it’s still unethical to give SGM PC graduates graduate credit or special consideration which they do not merit, and treat others who have had far more serious educations as second class. One could receive an undergraduate degree with honors from an elite Christian college such as Hope College or Wheaton and be disadvantaged in terms of transfer credit at SBTS as compared with a PC “grad” who had no college degree? How is that right or ethical in any way?
One more thing: What SBTS was doing is stupid. SACS, the accrediting body, does not take such matters as the SGM PC = grad credit towards a Master’s policy lightly. I teach at a secular university accredited by SACS, they have a reputation for being brutal, and having done assessment work to meet SACS standards for the last three years and served on committees where retaining accreditation is a major part of what you’re doing, I can say SACS tough reputation is earned. SBTS may have placed their entire master’s program in jeopardy because of this foolishness.
My bet is the dropping of the SGM PC Policy was a lot more about an attempt to avoid penalties from the accrediting body than about the Morales trial.
I took a bit of flack a while ago when I described Al Mohler and Paige Patterson as “despicable”. But really, this was a despicable act in addition to the numerous other despicable acts committed by Mohler in his neo-fundie, anti-women jihad, so how many despicable acts does it take by one person before one is forced to realize that those are the fruits of a despicable person?
@ An Attorney:
“But even the most radical “sola scriptura” fundagelicals want to use the KJV because? Because it is the traditional scriptural translation that their grandparents used. And many protestants and related tend to default to the traditional understanding of scripture passages that we now know to have different meanings or applications than previously believed. (e.g., submit means kowtow to).”
I think Christian culture is prone to mistaking what is true and legitimate for what is sentimental and comfortable.
You should get that printed on a T-shirt! Or at least a coffee-mug.
Well, as time passes, I’m finding the value of the J.D. I got over 25 years ago is slowly being worn away. Not that I’d ever go back to practicing law, but the American Bar Association has accredited so many more schools in that time and the schools have lowered their standards to keep enrollments high. This has led to more newly-minted lawyers unable to find work to pay back their six-figure law school debts.
Now the ABA is going to allow law schools to admit up to 10 percent of entering classes without an LSAT entrance exam. I wish I was lying:
So it’s not just SBTS which is lowering the standards; it’s happening all over, and in large part it’s about keeping the money rolling in to prop up the educational institution. I’m assuming there was *some* sort of financial benefit to SBTS for taking those SGM students.
I also have to wonder how other seminary students at SBTS felt about taking classes with men who may not have even attended or graduated college.
What’s funny is that N.T. Wright is one of the great conservative scholars. He is, in fact, too conservative for my Catholic boyfriend, whose tastes run more toward Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan (aka scandalous heathern libruls).
Given how oversubscribed the legal profession is and the changes being allowed by the ABA (some doc review now done in India!), I would absolutely recommend people not waste their time going to law school unless a) they had a full ride to a top three law school–including a living stipend b) someone else was paying for it and/or c) they had a standing offer at a family law firm upon graduation.
It is absolutely NOT worth it. I have a friend who graduated three years ago and after his year clerking on an appellate court, he has not found work. This is a guy who passed the New York and New Jersey bar on the first go-round (and took both in the same week). If a smart guy like him can’t get a job, everyone else is
(to finish what I wrote before I pressed Post Comment)
“out of luck.”
GASP! I think students get kicked out of SBTS for even looking at anything written by them 🙂
On a serious note, I really like Marcus Borg but Crossan’s a bit too far out for me, but I like him if only for the fact that he drives the neo-fundies into fits of apoplexy.
He is, and he is one of my favorites. But his work on Paul blows a hole in some of the legalistic slant in fundamentalism. When he says what law was Paul talking about when he talked about law and what did he mean when he said what he said, IMO leaves some fundamentalist thinking run over on the highway.
I hope your friend got the hint and started reading Wright.
Very true, and you make a good point: it’s in large part about The Machine taking on a life of its own and people come in time to serve The Machine without regard to logic or reason, even to their own demise. Steinbeck wrote about it in another context: “The bank – the monster has to have profits all the time. It can’t wait. It’ll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can’t stay one size…. The bank is something else than men. It happens that every man in a bank hates what the bank does, and yet the bank does it. The bank is something more than men, I tell you. It’s the monster. Men made it, but they can’t control it.”
A lot like what we see when these churches and seminaries and ministries become Big Things. Over time, the Mohlers and Driscolls become slaves to The Machine they helped to create. Jim Bakker said words very much to the same effect after his fall.
Even when you get a job as an attorney, there’s no guarantee you won’t hate it a few years down the road. I’ve met many in my former profession who loathe what they’re doing and wonder how they can get into my racket–which unfortunately drives down the pay for my line of work!
I hear that. When my lawyer daughter-in-law had to take an extended maternity leave with her first child for medical reasons, she lost her job because of cutbacks due to the current economic woes. She was doing family law for Legal Aid (and had been a social worker prior to law school and was good at the job.) When she got to where she could go back to work the only thing she could find was scut work at a larger law firm for peasant wages and long hours. Really, not just some excuse. Now “works from home” writing articles for some legal web site, but there is neither much money nor any future in that.
My son has succeeded, partly by finding the right specialty for him and partly by developing a particular skill of being better able than most to deal with doctors (and such) on the stand. That very thing got him a call back from the feds for his current job. I wonder how he got that idea?
The discussions that I have heard between the two is that the practitioners of law are becoming so aggressive to each other that it can be very unpleasant, more so than when they first got out of school.
But then, medicine has become rather like working on the line in some Detroit auto plant. I kid you not. As a patient I get run through on a conveyor belt and I listen to the docs complain about the necessity to do that.
It is not the caliber that it was. . .
I really hesitated to comment on this topic, but here goes. I was a student at SBTS earlier this millennium. I dropped out. I dropped out for several reasons:
1) Lack of cultural integrity – the aristocratic ethos at SBTS is antithetical to the gospel.
2) Lack of academic integrity – not only was the coursework and expectations pathetic, I heard from three different professors something like, “Well don’t tell Mohler I said this”, indicating pretty clearly that academic freedom and integrity was not important. Not only that, but there were several professors that were shockingly unqualified. But because they were young committed Calvinists with the proper culture war position, they got powerful roles.
3) Lack of theological integrity – CBMW (which is basically all make believe), ESS (pure heresy), and the constant harping on socio-cultural norms instead of Christian ministry, etc.
4) Lack of ministerial integrity – things like slashing the music program affect the very nature of Christian worship (and yes, I do believe every pastor should have enough music instruction to foster worship through music); cutting accredited counseling programs etc. means that many Christians will have less access to quality care, etc.
5) Lack of social integrity – there are things Christians say and do that will upset the world. However, Mohler especially seems to go out of his way to be ignorant, stubborn, and ungracious to the world. He uses his platform to wage culture war instead of to promote the training of ministers of the gospel – which is his actual job.
All in all, there will always be things at any seminary that one disagrees with, but at SBTS the quality of education was several orders of magnitude below my undergraduate degree, and I went to a fundamentalist Christian college. That should tell you something.
The lowering of standards in HS also helped usher me out the door.
I was already having health problems when the idea of standards started to take a rapid drop.
Every parent wanted their kid to make an ” A” or pass or whatever without any real academic effort.
It makes me wonder now about all the people who get their online Master’s in School Administration. Several Texas universities turn out school administrators like cord wood. There is even an attempt by several of the schools to see how much cheaper their school can offer the degree than the next Texas college.
The only two to charge pretty much regular tuition are Texas A&M and Tech…..
Lamar, SFA, Sam Houston, A&M-Commerce, etc are all in a competition to see how many they can turn out..it makes me wonder what in the world the state needs with all these administrators….meanwhile the state needs Spanish, ESL, Special Ed., and of course Math and Science teachers…but we got principals running out our ears…
The same thing exists for Masters of Business Administration (MBA). I think the programs are just out there first, to make the university money and second (and at least with the MBA) provide an expensive generalist credential beyond the Bachelor’s degree to justify giving a promotion. Ironically, the two people I know who got MBAs in the last couple of years did not get the promotions they were looking for, but instead moved jobs at about the same salary.
And I have confirmed their accrediting agency is SACS. I would have thought that if SACS came down like a ton of bricks on Mohler and SBTS, the program would have absolutely been scrapped and there are still vestiges of it. Something else is going on, I think.
@ Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist:
All of this is true, but why are they doing it? There is too much of this to think it is an occasional act of bad judgment.
Think about this. In our state they have the idea to make it look like every possible student will be going to college. Soooo, guess how some special ed students get through four years of math including calculus, four years of english while some do not speak english and at least two history courses I could not pass at the HS where my daughter teaches. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
I honestly don’t know, although it must certainly have something to do with money. It almost feels like intentional sabotage to me – because as you point out, it is too consistent, and nobody is that consistently moronic. I also felt like the totalitarian approach to theology was unhelpful and dishonest – SBTS is a baptist school, and baptists have always stood for individual soul liberty/priesthood of the believer, and there have always been multiple perspectives under the SBC umbrella. I feel like the all calvinism all the time approach was horribly stunting to anyone actually designing to be a pastor.
It is precisely because of my disabilities that I decided not to follow my dream of teaching middle or high school. The stress would absolutely kill me. My favorite high school history teacher quit to teach the exact same courses at two junior colleges because he actually had permission to assign failing grades to students who earned them.
@ Nancy & K.D.:
In my experience, per religious schools, only mainline liturgical ones (Catholic, Episcopalian, Lutheran) have decent sacred music degrees (though I did recently find out there are a few liberal PCUSA exceptions). The Christian college music degrees I’ve seen, have looked pretty bad. One at a YRR seminary was basically just a theology degree with two keyboard proficiency classes tacked on the end. Also known as a joke.
Addendum @ Nancy & K.D.:
I suspect this is because the mainline churches, in many cases, are the only ones left that haven’t created a hostile environment toward traditional music and musicians, turned them into second-class citizens or rendered them invisible, and/or actively driven them out. This is why I rarely work as an organist in conservative churches – I’m not wanted. And why traditional church musicians employed in the field, all know how to spot a Fundy Militant CCM-Onlyist attempting a coup.
Exactly on point!
Law Prof, I have a bit of experience serving on comittees assessing for SACS standards (yes brutal) from about 15 years ago so while out of touch with it now, I was wondering the exact same thing you have mentioned here.
I saw a while back that the SGM pastors college had guys like Grudem and Dever teach classes so it gave me a thought….
Could it be these 35 SGM pastors college “credits” transferrable to SBTS were taught by SBTS adjunct faculty and that made it fly under the SACS radar? Or would it even matter?
He is also very much the gentlemen when it comes to disagreement and loves debate. Even James White was not his rabid self when they appeared on Unbelievable to debate. It does not seem to be about winning to him but about understanding and seeking truth. I have only seen him get frustrated a few times and it was always concerning what Piper has said about him. :o)
All this talk about the downgrade of music/church on this thread reminds me of NT Wright talking about how important beautiful& excellent Art/Music is for us to reflect God back out into the culture.
My mom was organist there before she married. Way back in the day.
Seriously, I’ve often felt that arts (visual, literary, musical, etc.) are one of the most important antidotes to evil. Thus, the removal of/absence of the arts may tell something about a theology’s practical lack of understanding human nature and aesthetic feeling. Which typically means that all the identity eggs are in the abstract intellectual basket.
P.S. Which also makes sense as to why arts-music-storying tend to play a crucial role in healing for many of us from spiritual abuse survivor backgrounds. Our identity was imploded, our mentality was corroded, our emotions were overloaded … and the arts helped restore our soul and refresh our spirit as life-giving, balance-inducing emotional and aesthetic waters after a death-defying drought.
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
His actual job would not get him on Larry King or in Time Mag. The culture war did.
Yes! Oh yes!
I wish I could find that video segment by NT Wright where he discusses the arts/music to share here for any thirsty souls like mine. I just don’t have time to track it down as it was saved on another computer. It is in his “Surprised by Hope” video series –some of which are on youtube.
I am from way back in the day. It may have been your mom I was so impressed with. Between the actual place itself (stained glass, walnut stained wood, balconies) and the music and what my family thought were good sermons, I was convinced that God himself met with us every Sunday. Of course, he does, but I was just so impressed with that.
She was there during WW2 and up to ’50 (during and after college). It was the “in church” those days. Lots of young women living in boarding houses, doing war work or attending school in the area. Friends for life, they became. Lots of big weddings there when the “boys came home”. She loved that huge pipe organ.
All are welcome. 🙂
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
What a mental image!!
Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:
This, to paraphrase Tolkien, grieves me more than many things that might seem worse. A seminary should be a gathering of elders and teachers – like the council at Jerusalem described in Acts 15. That one man dominates in this way is tragic; because what will the knock-on effect be among all the localised gatherings of believers that expect teaching and leadership from the alumni of SBTS?
Proverbs 18 opens with:
The evolution of SBTS, and other organisations swamped by the “conservative resurgence”, suggests evidence that one doesn’t have to be a “none” to scorn genuine christian fellowship. Fellowship (a word so grossly and trivially overused here in the UK that I find it cheap and distasteful) cannot happen without mutual honour and submission. One can be the head of a christian organisation, being surrounded by christians all day long, and still be a man who has separated himself to seek his own desire.
It was your mom. I was born in 1934 and we were at Walnut Street until I started hanging out as a teen with the local crowd out at a little church in Okolona where we lived. That would have been in maybe 1948. So it had to be your mom. She was awesome. The music was awesome. People could go into the worship service a little early and enjoy the prelude music, which we always did, and I wanted so badly to be able to play. It was one of the things that kept me going on violin until I eventually gave it up for other reasons. My dad taught the men’ bible class at a mission of Walnut Street’s down in the West End and beat it on back in time for the early organ music. This is so incredible.
So let me say about here in my current town. We have three (that I know of) schools/universities that offer undergrad degrees in music, one professional concert pianist who also teaches at one of the colleges, and we have the NC School of the Arts which is a huge asset. We have a local symphony orchestra which also brings in guest performers, and lots of people who one might call bi-vocational musicians. We have arts this and arts that, and live music in lots of restaurants and even street musicians now and again and here and there. It is a part of the local economy.
And (lament) even so the local SBC mega ignores all that and wallows in whatever you call that mess they do. Point being: it is intentional, not for lack of opportunity and not for lack of community interest. I think somebody or something is deliberately trying on many fronts to destroy the church.
Seems to be that school administration instead of real, actual teaching is the only growth industry in many parts of the western world. Makes you wonder how these western countries want to compete against the likes of S.Korea or China.
“Seriously, I’ve often felt that arts (visual, literary, musical, etc.) are one of the most important antidotes to evil.”
interesting…. can you expand on your thoughts here?
I’m working on an article about this, but here’s the main flow of the rough draft of my argument, in brief and as non-technical as I can make it at the moment … and because I’m in the middle of a book-editing deadline, may not be able to follow up on this right now. Sorry about that, but my choice is either something now and maybe more later, or nothing now and who knows what when. Okay, nuff intro. On to the stuff.
* Spiritually abusive authoritarian individuals and their systems use extreme black-or-white thinking.
* Extreme black-or-white analytic thinking splits things apart, and therefore makes its followers highly susceptible to dualism — categorizing things into polar opposites, then valuing only one partner in the polarity pair and denying or minimizing the other.
* This kind of polarizing, either/or, this-or-that mentality is reductionist. It denies complexity, which requires a both/and paradoxical perspective.
* Paradoxy involves BOTH identifying different elements of being AND keeping those elements connected in a dynamic tension with one another.
* Behind reductionism is a drive to simplify complex things, but it overdoes it and so overfocuses on individual elements and loses the system connections.
* Humanness in its full, complex existence involves our mind, imagination, emotions, aesthetic feeling, and will in its immaterial elements, and our body in its material elements.
* The either/or requirement of reductionism forces people to make such choices as mind over emotions, the immaterial (e.g., thinking) over the material (e.g., the body), abstractions and philosophy over the concrete and culture.
* Paradoxical thinking that recognizes human complexity means we keep all the elements of our being in dynamic tension.
* Various forms of art typically engage multiple aspects of who we are. For instance, images often interconnect abstract ideas and emotions with concrete subjects, and call forth an emotional response. Music often functions like an “emotional soundtrack of the soul.” People’s stories (and so works of literature, movies, etc.) engage our mind while also sparking our curiosity and imagination about what will happen next and arousing empathy or antipathy as we identify or dis-identify with the characters. Liturgy as “embodiment art” involves physical movement that reengages our body through our senses in sacred/set-aside space while we also engage ourselves with other people likewise being moved.
* What this essentially means is that by engaging multiple elements of our being simultaneously, arts help re-glue our fragmented pieces of humanness back together. Reductionism fragments us and forces us to embrace only chards of ourselves; arts reconstitute us, and fill our scars with Kintsugi gold.
I’ve seen discussions as to the soothing and healing nature of arts for those of us who are survivors of any kind of trauma, abuse, grief, etc. So that’s not particularly novel.
But, as far as I know, this is an original explanation as to *why* art-images-stories-music etc. “work” the ways they do. It’s based on a paradigm analysis system that I’ve been developing for 15 years as a “primary resource” system based on processing my own experiences. (Meaning I didn’t do this as a “secondary” process by doing a mega-book report that synthesizes other people’s experiences and thoughts.)
I use this paradigm system to “profile” different information processing styles that drive our systems of abstract beliefs and concrete values; and how those inherently drive different kinds of organizational system strategies and structures and processes and procedures; and how those distinctively shape our cultures and our modes of collaboration, isolation, or domination. So I really do consider how any/all of this works together as a system.
For the most effective transformation to occur, you eventually have to get to the very bottom three things that drive the entire system: epistemology (i.e., information processing mode), and then values and beliefs. From these things – in my opinion – all else flows. And for us to move from wherever we find ourselves in this “spiritual GPS system,” to get to the goal of Christlike character and lifestyle involves reintegrating all the pieces that various other epistemologies want to “split and forgit”! Hence, arts will be important in both moments and movement of healing in our journey together with Jesus and toward Christlikeness and transforming culture for the Kingdom. Like Jesus’ outer cloak, it’s all woven together as a seamless garment …
I believe this paradigm system and the strong influence of information processing modes helps explain the insidious nature of authoritarian systems. All we see on the surface at first is the culture and organization and partnerships of what turns out to be a “malignant ministry.” Then we maybe start seeing underneath how the dynamics of hierarchy and authoritarianism function: splitting men from women and only valuing men, splitting adults from children, insiders from outsiders, “leaders” from “followers,” etc. But even that is all driven at the very deepest levels by a core mode of thinking that is reductionist, either/or, and DESPISES paradox and complexity — because paradox gives the “power” of recognition of existence to all elements in the system. And arts engage multiple layers and so are an antidote to evil, which (in my opinion) always seems to be about negating and eliminating layers.
Okay, so there’s half the essay! Who knew …?
This was a big factor in why I ultimately couldn’t stay in the PCA. Whatever good things can be said about Reformed churches, as a group they have been against the arts basically since their inception, unless they liberalize like the PCUSA and UCC. I am going with my choir to England this summer and we will be singing in a cathedral (Ely) that Cromwell used as a stable. That pretty much says it all right there. And the stories of Puritans destroying organs in England make me so flaming mad, even though none of it was done to me personally. I have good friends who are Reformed, and of course none of this is their fault. But I don’t think I can ever quite forgive the theology as a whole for its artistic crimes.
Yup. They don’t give a rip about traditional musicians anymore. They don’t want us and we’re not welcome. But we will be berated up one side and down another for going to one of those evil liberal churches when we leave.
And they don’t understand that many to many of us music is the most important part of worship….after going to the seminary and taking ” preaching classes” it sort of reminds me of the man behind the screen in the Wizard of Oz…..
My husband says it is never an issue at his CPA firm if a candidate has an MBA. Won’t really make him or her a better job prospect in their eyes.
The reason most accountants get MBAs is because it helps them meet the 150 cr hr requirement that most states require to become a CPA. A bachelor’s is usually 120 – 130 cr hr, of course, so the student is pulling up about a year short of their credit hour requirements after the first degree. If you otherwise have 150 cr hr, however, and can pass the CPA Exam, with or without an MBA or some form of Master’s in Accountancy, that’s generally considered every bit as good.
My husband says it is never an issue at his CPA firm if a candidate has an MBA. Won’t really make him or her a better job prospect in their eyes.
The reason most accountants get MBAs is because it helps them meet the 150 cr hr requirement that most states require to become a CPA. A bachelor’s is usually 120 – 130 cr hr, of course, so the student is pulling up about a year short of their credit hour requirements after the first degree. If you otherwise have 150 cr hr, however, and can pass the CPA Exam, with or without an MBA or some form of Master’s in Accountancy, that’s generally considered every bit as good.
I don’t think SACS would play that game.
SACS reviews my university every five or so years, I think that’s pretty typical (some go longer stretches between reviews, I know not why). I think we come up next year, which is why there’s been such a rush of activity and concern here and why one of my colleagues was given a course release to spend time chairing a university accreditation committee. Big hubub. We could do some goofy stuff in that time and not get really slammed until we come up for review.
It looks like SBTS last came up in 2013. Does this graduate-credit-for-shepherding-cult-indoctrination-program predate that? If so, I’m nonplussed that SACS would give it the thumbs-up or hold their noses and allow it.
I often wonder what has happened to all the organs ripped out of churches over the last 30 years or so. I have mental pics of organ graveyards. Call me old fashioned but I LOVE the organ.
Brad, God bless you for the work you are doing. What you wrote speaks to how powerful our minds really are and how stifling the authoritarian black/white systems thinking are to them.
I do not think it has been in full swing as in any credits transferred. From what I can tell the annoucement was scrubbed from the pastors college site so it is hard to tell when exactly it started but if memory serves, it was to be this year.
Found it. NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope session 6 where he talks about art, literature, music and beauty and its importance to the kingdom.
I do too Lydia. From Bach’s Toccata and Fugue to the Doors Light My Fire, there’s an ocean of good stuff!
Say “Hi” to it for me, btw – I sang there with the church choir I was part of back in the 1980’s! Of course, I was singing treble then. Ely cathedral is unique in that its central tower is octagonal. Back in Cromwell’s day, before the fens were drained, the cathedral was on an island; it’s still called the Isle of Ely. Because the surrounding countryside is so flat, the cathedral tower is a prominent landmark for many miles around.
And if you happen to visit Cambridge while you’re in the area (Ely and Cambridge are only half an hour apart), I was at Magdalene College. In room F1, Benson Court, in my first year. (I hope this is helpful etc…)
There are several classical music shops in Cambridge, as you might expect…
Nick Bulbeck wrote:
Sooooo, did you make toast by putting bread between greaseproof paper and ironing it? Do tell some student stories!
We still have a few good organs in my town. And there is a Moravian historical restoration here that has as one feature a really old ole time instrument on display. But what would be know, we are just a bunch of ignorant southern hillbilly rednecks, so good enough for us.
There is hope!
There is an older baptist church here that has incredible music (with organ, too!) and even brings in the first seat local orchestra for quite a few occassions like Easter, Christmas, etc. The irony is they split from the SBC after the CR and are part of the CBF. I use “irony” because these so called former SBC liberals are the ones who “conserved” traditional/classical music in church. :o)
Sounds good. And there are still an adequate number of us (I for one) who hire string quartets to play at their children’s weddings/receptions actually inside the church buildings. The people do not seem to feel that they have been contaminated. The enjoy it. Of course, it was baptist but not SBC. I like the saying that SBC left us, we did not leave them. Well, I left them, but I mean in reference to non-SBC affiliated baptist churches.
The best traditional music, pipe organ, etc., in a Baptist church in my town is at a church that is dually aligned with the CBF and the Alliance of Baptists (the real libruls in Baptist life). The Palm Sunday service was all very traditional choral/organ music for a full hour or so, with minimal verbal remarks and some scripture.
I attend as a choir member a small SBC church that still uses a very traditional worship service. Accompaniment is by a piano and a simulated (electronic) organ. In another local SBC church the service features a 1/2 hour of screaming praise team accompanied by drums and guitars “leading” 7/11 praise choruses. Perhaps after such an ordeal the 1 hour sermon is viewed with relief. It appears to me this reflects a much older congregation with pre conservative coup values and the output of the post coup SBC seminaries.
Your descriptive terminology reminds me of Elijah and the prophets of Baal from 1 Kings 18.
27 And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and ( N/A portion) 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.
WOW — that was rich! almost too rich. I feel like I’ve just eaten prime rib loaded with horseradish after a month of eating celery. i’ll have to re-read it in small bits. Thank you very much for taking the time to write that out.
There was so much I think I could comment on, but i’ll start here:
“…hierarchy and authoritarianism function: splitting men from women and only valuing men, splitting adults from children, insiders from outsiders, “leaders” from “followers,” etc. But even that is all driven at the very deepest levels by a core mode of thinking that is reductionist, either/or, and DESPISES paradox and complexity — because paradox gives the “power” of recognition of existence to all elements in the system. And arts engage multiple layers and so are an antidote to evil, which (in my opinion) always seems to be about negating and eliminating layers.
the mental picture I get out of all that is someone who is afraid to learn to swim. They are afraid of the water, of the feeling of lack of control, of being subsumed by something they can’t control. And afraid of the spluttering scene they would make in the process. And so they resolutely stay in the boat, with their napoleon hat firmly in place, hand-in-waistcoat. Much easier to stay in the realm of control, and pretend the water doesn’t exist.
makes Peter’s stroll out on the water all the more striking.