Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Al Mohler and the Nemesis of Liberal Theology

Yesterday, Robert Parham had a very good article on the financial problems that many seminaries and divinity schools find themselves in right now, particularly with our nation's economic crisis. You can find the article here:

Parham called attention to an earlier blog written by Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY in which Mohler essentially argued that the decline of mainline denominations and seminaries is due to the liberal theology embraced by such institutions. Here is the link to Mohler's blog:

Mohler echoes a familiar theme here. During the takeover of the SBC by the Fundamentalists, the mantra was always that the SBC was in danger of embracing liberal theology and if it did so, it would decline. Therefore, the Fundamentalists needed to "save" the SBC. Well, they saved it all right! Now, the SBC itself admits that it is in decline. See the story here:

Mohler wrote his blog in April, 2008. In December, 2008, Southern Seminary announced that it expected a budget shortfall of nearly 9%. Just a few weeks ago, Southern announced a layoff of 35 administrative staff positions.

Southern Seminary is not the only theological school in the SBC fold with financial problems. New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is encountering a financial crisis of sorts in which the president has announced that he will take a 10% salary cut and require faculty members to follow with a 5% decrease. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, is cutting approximately $4 million from its budget and has closed the child care center on campus due to budget shortages.

Granted, the decline of the stock market and our nation's financial crisis have contributed to the crises that these schools are faced with. However, I believe that if I were the president of Southern Seminary, I'd write a blog retracting my earlier argument that the decline of mainline denominations and seminaries is due to an embrace of liberal theology. Perhaps there are other factors that need to be examined.

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