Podcast: Social Justice and the Downgrade of SEBTS

Jon shares about his experience and concerns for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Southern Baptist Convention, and evangelicalism in general.




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  1. Let me know when and where you want to debate Confederate statues, etc.

  2. Brother... so many of the statements are taken out of context. You seem to have some underlying issues that go beyond the scope of the things you said in this video. I have been at SEBTS since 2014 as well and while I can not refute your experience I would definitely love to have a conversation with you about many of the things you said. Your video was deeply saddening and I strongly second Dr. Aucoin' comment about a debate...

  3. Jon asserts that there have been numerous chapels on social justice at SEBTS and cites....well... just one, and it wasn't even on social justice. The pastor he named literally read just about every passage in the Old and New Testaments mentioning justice, with very little commentary. He said he wanted the Scriptures to speak to us. In contrast, Jon asserts “this pastor assumed a neo-Marxist view of justice”, and “sneaked in a neo-Marxist view of justice.” No, he read what the Bible says about justice.

    Jon says he never heard abortion or homosexuality spoken about in chapel, but social justice "quite a bit." Well, as someone who attends chapel regularly, I can tell you Jon is mistaken. Someone who is going to make serious, credible accusations against a school, particularly one entrusted with the gospel, should do more than engage in hearsay. Perceptions are OK, but not enough. Apparently his perceptions of chapel and mine are different. The truth of the matter is revealed with facts. If Jon wants to level such charges then he should do his homework, identify when those subjects were addressed in chapel and pass those numbers on to his audience.

    Jon says SEBTS uses what he calls buzz words, namely "gospel issue" and "engaging the culture" because "they want to be loved by the world." What a serious, erroneous, insulting accusation. He also asserts that SEBTS considers opposing Trump's wall a gospel issue. But when it comes to providing a single shred of evidence to back this up..., crickets.

  4. One thing Jon got right was when he complained that for some evangelical Christians what they do politically is "not a binary choice". That's right, unless you think one should always blindly support the Republican candidate and the "Republican" position, which seems to be what Jon thinks should be done. I can only speak for myself in saying that I have never voted Democrat, but I have not always voted Republican and Republicans are not always right. Because a student told him that Republican is not Christian, Jon has concluded that SEBTS has "adopted the Democratic Party platform."! Poor logic and slander make for a bad combination.

    Jon tells us he "went to a professor about these issues" but never identifies what those issues were. What he said immediately preceding this (around the 1:03 mark) is that he heard the phrases "white privilege" and "empowering women" quite a bit at SEBTS (yet only one example given, and it wasn't even him hearing either phrase, but merely seeing it once). I assume that is what he discussed with this professor. Jon then says how startled he was that this professor said "he would probably be fired if SEBTS knew what he really thought." Jon emphasizes that this should shock and scare anyone. However, Jon gives us no indication of what this professor really thought? Maybe the professor holds to some beliefs that are contrary to the seminary's confessional statements. Should he not be fired if that is the case? He also said he would PROBABLY be fired. This may very well be mere rhetoric, not to be taken literally. The professor has not been fired and does not know if he would even be fired if found out. He is speculating. Yet, Jon is shocked and expects everyone else to be shocked because one professor who holds to some unidentified beliefs might possibly, just maybe, be fired for those beliefs. I need a little more to go on before I get shocked by this.

  5. Jon addresses a podcast I did at SEBTS. He asserts that I said "Confederate monuments should go on the ash heap of history." He points out that this was the title of a newspaper article someone wrote based on my podcast but then adds "And that is exactly what it said." It’s clear he is referring to my podcast, though he erroneously says "article." Jon is knowingly being deceptive here. I personally reminded him that in the podcast I said that only some monuments should be taken down and when asked what should be done with them I said that some of those could be destroyed if they were not historically or intrinsically valuable (some C monuments are duplicates made from one mold). So, Jon knows I never said all Confederate monuments should go on the ash heap of history, yet to paint SEBTS in the worst possible light he knowingly distorts the truth. The evidence is the podcast which is still up and available for anyone to listen to and determine which of us is right about this matter.

    Jon accuses me of not knowing hermeneutics, of not acknowledging authorial intent when it comes to the erection of Confederate monuments. One of my secondary arguments is based precisely on authorial intent. For Jon authorial intent on C monuments begins and ends with the plaques or inscriptions on them, which spoke of duty, honor and sacrifice. But as any good historian knows, there can be more to authorial intent than what is presented by the author. Historians have clearly demonstrated that the United Daughters of Confederacy, which was responsible for most of the currently-controversial Confederate statues, had by the 1890s transitioned from memorializing Confederate soldiers to spearheading a comprehensive campaign to rehabilitate the Confederate cause. They published pamphlets and pushed for the use of school textbooks (among many other efforts and activities) that minimized the horrors of slavery, maximized the alleged horrors of Reconstruction, asserted the legitimacy of unilateral secession, etc. The UDC went from tending graves and assisting veterans to promoting a pro-Confederate narrative. The erection of Confederate statues in PUBLIC places, not in cemeteries or on battlefields, was part of this campaign. That is the authorial intent behind most of the controversial statues. The UDC was seeking to firmly establish in Southern minds at least that the South was right - right about slavery, secession, etc. Read the following scholarly books published by university presses and written by professional historians: Dixie's Daughters, Ghosts of the Confederacy, Race and Reunion, among others.

  6. Piggy-backing on what I said about hermeneutics below, Jon asserts that anyone who rejects the notion that Confederate monuments were placed on government property by the UDC and other similar groups for no other reason than to promote duty, honor, and sacrifice is "imposing modern interpretations" on them. He then implies that those who do this to statues would or do do this to the Scriptures. If successful, he says, "it would destroy the whole of Scripture." (1:06). This is baseless alarmism, centered on a false analogy between the Word of God and the message that people with an agenda wrote on plaques. If you don't accept the word of the latter at face-value, then you won't accept God's word at face value. This is illogical and really a wicked attempt to smear as theological liberals those who have a problem with Confederate monuments put on public property to clearly send a message to the public, and not just about duty and honor. It is guilt by association and character assassination.

    Jon complains that after he "wrote a little blog" he was contacted by someone at SEBTS who said he should not have done that. Jon said, "mind you that this was on my personal blog." Well, this personal blog was also a public blog and was also posted on his Facebook page and on other websites. In the first paragraph of the blog he named me by name and said "it deeply disturbs me that my tuition money is also going to pay for the salaries of people like him who promote political correctness." He goes on to call my arguments "absurd," and says I "played fast and loose with the facts," and that in my arrogance I slandered Chrisitans. So, in a variety of public forums noticed by SEBTS students Jon attacks an SEBTS professor and then is shocked that he got a call from someone saying he should not have done it - not that he was punished, or expelled or anything else. But, gasp, got a phone call. He then goes on to say "this is how schools go liberal." In my case, he says when professors don't have a "Christ-centered historiography." (By the way, Jon uses the word "historiography" throughout the video in ways that clearly indicate he doesn't know what the word means). So, if someone like me asserts that some Confederate statues should be taken down it is because I have embraced some secular notions, and don't have a Christ-centered historiography, whatever that is. I explained to Jon and in social media posts that my position on this issue stems directly from my faith as a Christian. But that can't be in Jon's mind because the Christian position is clearly that all Confederate monuments must remain up. I strongly encourage you to read Jon's blog post and my lengthy rebuttals in the comments sections, rebuttals that he has never acknowledged. http://www.worldviewconversation.com/2017/09/seminary-professors-should-interpret.html

  7. Forgot to mention that at the 1:12 mark Jon says that in his blog he did not "write about him [me] in particular" yet as I said, and can be seen in his blogpost that I've linked below, he did indeed write about me in particular. He named me in each and every paragraph, including the one in which he said I played fast and loose with the facts -

    At the 1:14 mark Jon asserts that he learned that if you don't toe the line on social justice at SEBTS you get branded as a heretic and could get in trouble with the school. His evidence is that he got a phone call in response to his post about me. He got the phone call not because he failed to hold the right opinion on Confederate statues, but because of his public insults towards and demeaning of a professor, or more importantly, a fellow Christian. In short, it wasn't the position he took as much as it was the un-Christian manner in which he denounced someone with which he disagreed.


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