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A pastor and influential blogger has accused Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and past president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), of gender discrimination in denying tenure to a female former faculty member at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary.

The allegations were made on the personal blog of Wade Burleson, a pastor in Enid, Okla., who gained attention in Southern Baptist circles last year when he challenged the denomination's ban on missionaries who speak in tongues.

Burleson alleged that Patterson had promised Sherri Klouda, who taught Hebrew, that she would stay on faculty after he was appointed president in 2003, but later refused to grant her tenure.

Burleson alleged that Patterson dismissed Klouda because of his strict interpretation of key biblical passages — particularly that the Bible prohibits women from teaching men in the areas of theology and biblical studies.

T. Van McClain, chair of Southwestern's board of trustees, released a statement calling Burleson's blog entry "filled with inaccuracies" and denied that Klouda was dismissed. "Actually, she did not have tenure and, like hundreds of professors around the U.S. every year, was told that she would not be awarded tenure," he said.

McClain also denied that gender discrimination played a role in Klouda's dismissal: "The second issue involves the desire of (the seminary) to have only men teaching who are qualified to be pastors or who have been pastors in the disciplines of theology, biblical studies, homiletics, and pastoral ministry. This is in keeping, of course, with the statement of faith of the SBC that clearly says the pastorate is reserved for men."

McClain said the school was free to hire only men for these ...

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