Faculty members at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth will be required to sign a pledge to teach in accordance with the updated "Baptist Faith and Message." The statement, amended by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in June, directs wives to "submit graciously" to their husbands.
Faculty who can no longer subscribe to the SBC's articles of faith are expected to "voluntarily sever relations with the institution," says President Ken Hemphill, citing the faculty manual.
Two professors have announced they will leave the seminary rather than sign the statement. Alan Brehm, professor of New Testament, is resigning because of a "crisis of conscience over the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention and over recent events at Southwestern." He called the requirement to endorse the revised pledge a "clarifying event." Dan Kent, professor of Old Testament, is retiring and says the pledge is a factor in his decision.
The SBC-controlled seminary has long required entering faculty to sign the articles of faith, which have not changed since 1963. Faculty are not required to re-sign the statement each year. But some professors disagree with the amendment's biblical interpretation and contend that the statement has been changed since they were hired and granted tenure.
The seminary's trustees have added a phrase to the bylaws to indicate that the Baptist Faith and Message, which is the school's statement of faith, "may be amended from time to time."
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