This latest conflict between SWBTS and MABTS is indicative of an ongoing feud between the various groups within the SBC that have differing visions for the denomination. At the annual SBC meeting in June, the more moderate candidate for SBC president, Ed Litton, narrowly beat the CBN steering committee member Mike Stone.
Later, SWBTS hosted the new SBC president Litton for a chapel session, causing members of the CBN and those who are sympathetic with its vision to roundly condemn SWBTS in light of the allegations of sermon plagiarization against Litton.
At the time this article was written, neither MABTS or the CBN had made any announcement regarding the cancellation of the “Enemies Within the Church” premiere.
Greenway’s Letter to Spradlin
Below is the full letter from Adam Greenway to Michael Spradlin.
I write to you to express my deep disappointment that the institution you lead has plans to host a “film premier” of “Enemies Within the Church” this Saturday, November 20, in apparent 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. I take strong umbrage to such scandalous and scurrilous slander, particularly, when it is apparently condoned by an institution such as yours.
Furthermore, I believe your late predecessor in office, B. Gray Allison, would strongly disapprove of his seminary’s involvement in matters such as showing this film and supporting the CBN, given what has been attested in MABTS’s own publications. Former Academic Vice President, Howard Bickers, wrote in 1992 concerning Mid-America, “The Seminary prohibits any negative criticism of any Southern Baptist agency, leader, or program by speakers in the classrooms and in the chapel services. 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.” Since these sentiments characterized MASTS during the SBC’s much-needed Conservative Resurgence, should they not even more so now, given that both our institutions confess congruent convictions concerning biblical authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency?
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.
This article has been updated with a correction: Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, while “Southern Baptist by theology” and “holds tightly to the same beliefs” as the SBC, the seminary does not receive funding from the SBC.