Guest / Limited Access /
Should Seminary Professors Be Granted Tenure?
Should Seminary Professors Be Granted Tenure?

The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled in July that courts could not legally enforce the tenure contracts of two professors who had been dismissed from Lexington Theological Seminary when the school's endowment dropped. The court ruled that a seminary is a religious institution and invoked the ministerial exception, which prohibits courts from interfering in religious personnel decisions.

"The state should not interfere in the decisions that a religious body makes about who will educate its leaders. However, though tenure may be a legal rope-of-sand in the courts, it continues to have important moral weight in seminaries."
Daniel Aleshire, executive director, Association of Theological Schools

"Tenure allows for greater academic freedom and it keeps especially talented faculty members tethered to the institution, which is good long-term for the seminary. But that academic freedom, like tenure anywhere, can be bounded according to a confession or a statement of faith."
Owen Strachan, professor, Boyce College

"At Southern, tenure is a commitment to the faculty member that the institution would like to make a lifelong investment in him or her, not an escape from doctrinal or performance accountability. There are clear guidelines for remediation or removal if necessary."
Russell Moore, dean, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Seminaries should give tenure to attract good minds but they can make it conditional. Contract requirements can range from ordination, to adherence to a creedal statement but not ordination, to high academic standards as a condition with no religious requirement."
John Witte Jr., professor, Emory Law School

"Given the court ruling combined with ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Also in this IssueJamie Grace Is Holding On
Subscriber Access Only Jamie Grace Is Holding On
Grammy nominee says Tourette's took her 'for a spin.'
RecommendedBaylor to Fire Head Coach Art Briles, Demote President Ken Starr
Baylor to Fire Head Coach Art Briles, Demote President Ken Starr
UPDATE: Briles, Starr, and athletic director Ian McCaw to face punishment after football player scandal.
TrendingNicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life
I had no untapped, unanswered yearnings. All was well in the state of Denmark. And then it wasn’t.
Editor's PickLetters with the Mosque Next Door
Letters with the Mosque Next Door
How a budding friendship between a pastor and an imam brought a community together.
Christianity Today
Should Seminary Professors Be Granted Tenure?
hide thisNovember November

In the Magazine

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.