Home Christian News Baptist Seminary Presidents Feud Over Controversial Film Containing ‘Untruthful Attacks’

Baptist Seminary Presidents Feud Over Controversial Film Containing ‘Untruthful Attacks’

Adam Greenway Michael Spradlin Enemies Within the Church
Michael-David Bradford, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), is calling on Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) president Michael Spradlin to withdraw support from the film “Enemies Within the Church,” the trailer of which implies that SWBTS is a Marxist institution. 

MABTS is set to host a premiere of the film on Saturday, November 20, and the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) has been promoting the premiere. While MABTS does not receive funding from the SBC, the seminary is “Southern Baptist by theology” and “holds tightly to the same beliefs” as the SBC. MABTS president Spradlin is also a founding member of the CBN steering committee, the latter of which being an SBC entity. 

The film’s trailer received stern criticism from many Southern Baptists, particularly the students, alums, and faculty of SWBTS, as one shot of the trailer features footage of SWBTS’s campus while the narrator urgently warns that some Christian educational institutions have abandoned the historic Christian faith in favor of Marxist cultural ideologies. The trailer also claimed that pastors have been “brainwashed” by Marxism while featuring footage of Matt Chandler, who pastors an SBC church. 

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In a November 17 letter to Spradlin, a copy of which Greenway posted to Twitter, Greenway expressed “deep disappointment” that MABTS plans to host a film premiere of “Enemies Within the Church” in coordination with the Conservative Baptist Network. 

“The film’s trailer contains campus footage of the institution I am privileged to lead overlaid with narrative insinuations of ‘Marxism,’ presumably intended to leave viewers with the mistaken impression that Southwestern Seminary is something other than orthodox, Baptist, and evangelical,” Greenway wrote. “I take strong umbrage to such scandalous and scurrilous slander, particularly, when it is apparently condoned by an institution such as yours.” 

Greenway then drew Spradlin’s attention to previous MABTS publications as support for his argument that Spradlin and MABTS should withdraw support from the film and cancel the premiere. 

Quoting Former MABTS Academic Vice President Howard Bickers, Greenway wrote, “‘The leaders of the Seminary believe that the institution best fulfills its purpose, when a Christlike spirit and a stance of positive support are engendered. Consequently, the energies of the Seminary are focused upon the training of students rather than upon participation in divisive issues within the Convention.’”

Greenway then called Spradlin to act upon these principles, since both SWBTS and MABTS “confess congruent convictions concerning biblical authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency.”

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“I prayerfully ask you to reconsider the decision to show this film and to withdraw support from those working to divide our Convention by engaging in untruthful attacks against SBC entities like Southwestern Seminary,” Greenway concluded.