Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Conservatives Continue Domination of Baptists

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Conservatives Continue Domination of Baptists

Article excerpt

Conservatives continued their 15-year dominance of the Southern Baptist Convention, which met here last week.

Since he became president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., two years ago, the Rev. Dr. Albert Mohler has been trying to pull the denomination's theology even further from that of mainstream Protestantism.

Founded in 1859, the seminary has 1,800 students and is one of six for the denomination. Mohler refuses to hire any professor who thinks a woman can be a pastor and threatens to fire anyone who disagrees with him publicly. This year he forced out a woman theologian and a woman dean in social work.

He demands that all seminary theologians teach that God elected only certain people to salvation and preordained some to damnation. Most Southern Baptists were taught that free will and human decision were important, too.

They include the Rev. Billy Graham and the Rev. W.A. Criswell, former president of the Convention and pastor of the denomination's largest congregation, First Baptist of Dallas. Both preachers, as well as Mohler, got warm receptions after sermons in Atlanta last week.

"When a denomination begins to consider doctrine divisive, theology troublesome and conviction inconvenient, consider that denomination on its way to a well-deserved death," Mohler said in an address.

Several of the seminary's alumni leaders, including the alumni president, resigned last week in reaction to what they called Mohler's "hyper-Calvinism" and to what they view as his lack of pastoral concern for faculty and students. His treatment of scholars could threaten their school's accreditation by an interdenominational board, alumni fear.

"It's not supposed to be an indoctrination center, but a graduate school," said the Rev. Dr. Walter G. Nunn, the resigning alumni president. "When I was in school . . .students and faculty alike were taught how to think, not necessarily taught what to think. …

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