Southern Seminary: Past and Present

“Old Southern,” the nickname I use for the seminary prior to Dr. Mohler’s presidency, has now been endorsed by the Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO), as Russell Moore observes. I recently met a two-time graduate of “Old Southern,” who immediately upon shaking my hand launched into an apologetic for “the good ol’ days” before those darn fundamentalists took over with their hard-nosed, Bible-thumping, judgmental, hateful agenda (he didn’t put it like that, but I am familiar enough with the conversation to know what people think of us). If that’s what people think of us, then they are entitled to their opinion.

But I often hear the argument that “Old Southern” was the faithful bastion of Baptist principles prior to the nasty fundamentalist invasion. This will not do, and LEO‘s endorsement of “Old Southern,” combined with a nasty insult hurled at present Southern’s president, faculty, and students, helps to make my point. LEO is an alternative newspaper that is on the fringe of the left wing. The vast majority of Southern Baptists are not, nor have they ever been, on the fringe of the left wing. LEO‘s endorsement of “Old Southern” is, in my mind, akin to an endorsement from Fidel Castro. It only serves to confirm the truth that “Old Southern” was way out of touch with the Southern Baptist Convention. Like it or not, the six Southern Baptist seminaries are accountable to the denomination. As confessional institutions, they gladly submit to the authority of the local churches they represent. The conservative resurgence was essentially a grassroots movement in which ordinary Southern Baptists in their ordinary local churches let their voices be heard: they wanted, and still want, a seminary that is faithful to the absolute authority, infallibility, and inerrancy of Holy Scripture. The Louisville Eccentric Observer thinks I am, well, rather eccentric. But I guess that’s what we should expect from a world that doesn’t know the Savior.

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