Yesterday, in an unprecedented move, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist’s flagship seminary in Louisville, KY, fired four of the remaining conservative professors at the institution. Russell Fuller, Theodore Cabal, Ken Magnuson, and Jim Orrick (who taught at Boyce College) were all terminated by provost Matthew Hall. The seminary offered salary and benefits through July on the condition that non-disclosure agreements, requiring the withholding of potentially damaging information concerning the seminary and firing process, would be signed within forty-five days.
Russell Fuller became the only full-time Southern Baptist professor to sign the Dallas Statement on Social Justice one year ago. Critic of “New Calvinism,” Jim Orrick, along with Cabal, and Magnuson have all stood against the advance of New Liberalism at the school. However, that resistance comes to an end today as the board of trustees almost unanimously voted for their termination in support of Albert Mohler’s plan to cut cost during the Covid-19 quarantine.
Interestingly, various media outlets are reporting this week on Albert Mohler’s endorsement of President Trump’s reelection, a switch from his stated conviction four years ago. Left-leaning members of the convention, like Dwight McKissic have disapproved, while conservatives like Tom Buck have touted the decision. However, some have asked why Mohler fails to oppose those advocating shared Democrat ideas and policies in his own convention and at his own seminary.
Hershael York, Matt Hall, and Jarvis Williams have advocated teachings consistent with Critical Race Theory up until very recently. Curtis Woods, who chaired the resolutions committee which approved “Resolution 9” in 2019, employed “principles of critical race theory to guide” his 2018 dissertation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Woods left his job at the school over a month ago to work for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, but did so on his own accord.
Jonathan Pennington, another professor at SBTS, favors a “Gadamerian postmodern interpretation” of scripture and denies the “one true, objective meaning” derived from the text. Danny Akin, the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Mohler protégé, recently advocated a watered-down version of a postmodern standpoint epistemology, which Critical Race Theory is based upon. Southeastern professors Walter Strickland, Miguel Echevvaria, Matthew Mullins, and William Branch, among others, have pulled their seminary in a leftward direction for some time.
Despite Al Mohler’s changed position on Donald Trump, he has also purposefully ignored or supported liberals in his own convention and seminary while opposing or firing conservatives. Regardless of these confusing actions on Mohler’s part, one thing is clear: The road ascending to the presidency of the denomination has been anything but a smooth ride for Mohler, and one wonders if he ever reaches the end of it, what kind of a convention will be left for him to lead?
Update 4:42 PM: Just received word Ken Magnuson‘s status is undetermined. He will find out in two weeks whether or not he’s fired. He has been put on notice however.
Update 4/23/2020: Russell Fuller’s son, David Fuller, commented on his father’s firing on Facebook.
First, he literally wrote the book on how to learn Biblical Hebrew. It is such a fantastic work that he got an award from Hebrew Union College and they now use his book to teach their students Biblical Hebrew.
Second, and most important, he is unafraid to take a stand for orthodoxy even if it means losing his job. He condemned publicly the wicked social justice movement that now rages among the faculty and leaders of Southern Seminary.
You can see evidence of the stand he took by his name being the only one from Southern Seminary affixed to the Dallas statement. And this was only the tip of the iceberg of the many public and private stands he took to keep Southern Seminary orthodox during his tenure. For more info on the various stands he made, just ask the myriad of students he has taught over the years or the few faithful professors who stood with him at Southern Seminary.
For standing for truth, my Dad was fired by the very school that utilizes the slogan “trusted for truth”. And in a final twist of irony, he was fired by the man he opposed so forcefully from being promoted to provost for his radically liberal views, the self avowed racist, Matt Hall.
Update 4/23/2020: Theodore Cabal has also reacted here:
Due to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary made the difficult decision this week to cut its budget by 30%. Staff and faculty layoffs were part of this cut and included me. I would normally have no need to address this issue, especially at a time when people are losing even loved ones.
But yesterday persons unknown to me described online my layoff as a purge of the last theologically conservative faculty at Southern. The idea that those remaining are heterodox shocked and angered me. The rest of the piece got worse, presenting many Southern Baptists I love and respect as if they were heretics. Before day’s end other bloggers repeated the falsehoods, but none consulted me regarding any of their content. I affirm my SBTS colleagues and the others I know to be exceedingly fine Christians in purity of life and doctrine. To besmirch them in this way is to reveal ignorance and/or dishonesty.
I bear no ill will toward SBTS over my layoff. Cheri and I are looking forward to what lies ahead. And we especially want to thank dear friends all over the world who have contacted us in love and encouragement.
Conversations That Matter Responded to this and other objections here: