Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seminary Ouster Follows Trend since 1979, Southern Baptist Conservatives Have Extended Reach

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Seminary Ouster Follows Trend since 1979, Southern Baptist Conservatives Have Extended Reach

Article excerpt

The president of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminary, ousted on Wednesday, is the latest official removed by the conservative forces who control the Southern Baptist Convention.

Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth voted 26-7 to dismiss the Rev. Russell H. Dilday, the institution's president for 16 years, when the 63-year-old official refused to take early retirement.

The request that Dilday retire came as a surprise at the end of a contentious three-day board meeting, but his opponents apparently planned it in advance. Within minutes of the vote, the locks were changed on the president's office, Dilday said.

In a telephone interview from his home near the seminary's 200-acre campus, Dilday said the action had caught him off guard because one day earlier the board's executive committee had given his work a glowing appraisal.

Dilday has been a popular president among the seminary's 4,000 students, and students shouted "Why? …

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