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 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.