"Seminary in Apostasy"                                                                                                      

Vol. XIV, No. 4, April 2001

 

[Introduction:  Never before have I devoted an entire issue of The Baptist Banner to a single article. However, "Seminary in Apostasy" is so significant, so informative that I want to present it to you, the reader, whole and at one sitting.

This is the journal of a Bible-believing student who went to the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond because it was convenient ... he was living in Richmond at the time. His experiences there, what he learned about liberal Baptists, the narrow-minded, radically leftist indoctrination he experienced are eye-openers.

John Ippolito left BTSR because of its liberalism and is now a pastor.

Virginia Baptists should note that in the default BGAV budget track, WM2, the BGAV sends 10% of the money that goes out of state to support the BTSR, but it only sends 0.98% to all six SBC seminaries combined.

T. C. Pinckney, editor]

 

SEMINARY IN APOSTASY:  Theology Applied Liberally

John Arthur Ippolito

Wake Forest, North Carolina

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

I was raised a Catholic and attended church service 'religiously' until I was seventeen years of age. I also attended Catholic school through seventh grade and served as an altar boy for two years. I am certain that we studied Scripture in school, but unfortunately, I have no recollection of even opening a Bible. The basic stories of the Bible that I did know came from popular religious movies. Nevertheless, my actual knowledge of Scripture was embarrassingly limited, less than negligible.

Evangelical Protestantism and Southern Baptists were as foreign to me as another language and culture that I had never been exposed to or educated on. I had no concept of the Living God, of making a commitment to Christ, of having Jesus as a part of your everyday life, or of being born again. From the age of seventeen I floundered along in the darkness, separated from the Lord and leading a non-Christian life. This went on for about fifteen years until the summer of 1995, I was thirty two years of age at the time.

From the summer through the fall of 1995 my life changed dramatically and permanently. I experienced God's saving grace and became a born again Christian. Starting early on in my new birth experience, I knew I would be sharing this life altering event to other lost souls.

I began attending a local church and was baptized into the Southern Baptist faith on July 14, 1996. Shortly thereafter, God's call for me to share His Word and my personal testimony to the unsaved world became more intensified. I had no knowledge of the Bible or how to preach or teach from His Word. For that reason, and the call to ministry as a life-time commitment, I knew that a seminary education was an absolute necessity.

I also believed that it was very convenient, and also part of God's plan, that my hometown at the time is the location of a Baptist seminary (Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, BTSR). Choosing a seminary primarily for it's location is a huge mistake. During my stay at BTSR I came across several other students who chose BTSR out of geographical convenience.

Since I did not start attending a Baptist church until the fall of 1995, I had no understanding about the controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) that had begun in 1979. The controversy was labeled by liberals as a fundamentalist takeover, but in reality it was a rekindling of the denomination's traditional Christian values.

By the time I enrolled full-time at BTSR for the fall 1997 semester, I had acquired a little more information about the SBC vs. CBF controversy. The impression I had was that there was a small rift within the denomination and the CBF was formed in reaction to the conflict. I thought that Baptist seminaries could not be radically different, just slightly different views on a few theological issues.

Admittedly, before enrolling as a full-time student, I knew BTSR was at the least, slightly left of center. BTSR, and the CBF, tried to portray tradition-minded conservative Christians as evil and backwards. They honestly believe that their form of "new and improved" liberalism was the correct approach to Christianity as we enter the 21st century.

Needless to say, I was very naive in regard to recent Baptist history, Baptist theology, and Baptist seminaries. As it turned out, there is a huge gap between the SBC and CBF. The CBF and BTSR continually attempted to portray their theological beliefs as moderate and mainstream, (although I knew they were somewhat liberal) and in turn label the SBC and affiliated seminaries as part of some vast right-wing, extremist, overly conservative, hard-liner, conspiracy.

As I would soon discover in my first full-time semester, BTSR was the epitome of hedonistic post-modern liberalism. Their ranting and raving condemnation of conservative Christianity was a direct attack on my faith. I held on strong to the end of the semester and began to question who really are the 'extremists?'

Before attending BTSR on a full-time basis I enrolled in several night courses to see if I could intellectually handle the work load. I enjoyed the courses and was basically impressed by the professionalism and wisdom of the teachers. There were a few minor comments made that I deemed as controversial but nothing, for the most part, as being overly radical. I just presumed that if a school was truly 'middle-of-the-road' as BTSR boasted, then I was bound to hear disputable remarks from both sides of the debate.

The most controversial event of the four night courses I had enrolled in for the 1997 -1998 academic year occurred during the fall semester "Women in the Church" course. A gentleman who was part of the dais one night announced to the class that he was a gay minister. This was quite shocking to me, I had never heard of, nor thought it was possible for someone to be gay and a Christian minister.

I guess the reason I stayed at BTSR after the surprising remark by the gay individual was because he said it was the first time he had openly announced his condition to a large group of relative strangers. I assumed the professor (LMB) was also taken by surprise and that she did not necessarily support that type of behavior. She made no comment about the incident the next week in class. However, little did I realize that I would soon be entering a seminary that not only accepted the homosexual lifestyle, but also openly promoted it and desperately tried to legitimize that kind of behavior from a Christian perspective.

As I gradually studied the Bible more, I realized that their brand of feminism was not based on sound Biblical principles. Their rhetoric was trademark 1960's hysteria and emotionalism, coupled with the 1990's attitude of self-centered individualism. God's plan and purpose for their lives was overshadowed by a remarkably egocentric notion that their 'rights' had somehow been violated by mainstream Christianity.

Another professor (EGH), during my part-time night class experience, frequently talked about how the SBC seminaries try to 'close your mind' and 'indoctrinate' the students with their denominational beliefs. This was laughable because BTSR constantly pushed their own brand of unofficial creeds. A top ten list of their own doctrines that I observed at BTSR would read:

Homosexuality as natural and acceptable Christian behavior.

Women as senior pastors as a cause and not a calling.

Eliminating the use of masculine personal pronouns when referring to God.

God as a woman, or without gender.

Universalism.

Only endorsing the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Old Testament as myth and not history.

Skepticism as to the traditional authors of the New Testament, and doubt of its accuracy.

Use of BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) instead of BC and AD.

Frequent bashing of the SBC and SBC Seminaries.

One student (MW), commented that instead of acting like the self-proclaimed mainstream moderates they professed to be, BTSR was "leading the charge on the left." The seminary was unequivocally guilty of what they had continually preached against. MW also said that he was at BTSR to be a "sponge" and try to absorb as much knowledge as possible. Unfortunately, the wells of knowledge at BTSR are full of vinegar and not the sweet water of God's Word.

It did not dawn on me until during the fall 1998 semester that the seminary's professors refrain from broadcasting their extremely liberal creeds and doctrines during the night courses because these classes are more readily available to the community. If the seminary forges a negatively controversial reputation in the community then this could hurt them on two fronts. First, it can hinder prospective student recruiting. Second, the seminary may alienate a potential benefactor.

The struggle I had during my stay at BTSR was based on internal as well as external factors. Internally, I went from pure elation and contentment to confusion, anger, frustration, and resentment. It was a great feeling walking onto campus the first time as a full-time student. My last day of secular work was on Friday 9/4/97, and my first at BTSR was on Monday 9/7/97 with classes starting the following day. It was exhilarating to be pursuing God's plan with full force.

However, in about a month's time I began to think that I had made a terribly wrong decision about attending BTSR. I began to feel that I had compromised my integrity by just being associated with BTSR. I was waiting for the curriculum to 'turn the corner,' that is, start being taught from the other side of the spectrum and not just the liberal side. But the 'balance' in the approach to Biblical studies that I had anticipated never arrived.

The professors continued to espouse their liberal theories, and I gradually became more and more disenchanted. I can recall that three times during the semester, in reaction to a professor's comment, I didn't know whether to walk out of class or to vomit. I expected, at the very least, a respect and reverence for the Bible; after all is was supposed to be a Baptist seminary.

Although I was no theologian, I was fortunate enough to have the Holy Spirit reveal to me that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant, and completely authoritative Word of God. This happened to me over a period of time of skepticism and uncertainty. I questioned the true authenticity of the Bible when I first became born-again, but by the fall of 1997, my first full-time semester at BTSR, those doubts had vanished. How ironic that I would discover that the Bible is the Word of God at an extremely liberal seminary.

My struggle at BTSR was heightened because the atmosphere there was not one that I could, in good conscience, thrive in academically. I knew that I wouldn't agree with all of the professors' theories, but I had no idea their views were so radical.

I prayed steadily to the Lord for an answer to my precarious predicament. After some time the Lord answered, straight and clear, that this was not my time and that someday my time would come. I then began to piece together that this was all part of God's plan for my life. Experiencing the fringe side of Christian belief would reaffirm my faith in Him and His Word, and I could use this first-hand encounter with liberalism in my future ministry work.

The external factors were not overwhelming, but they did add slightly to the emotional struggle of that first semester. I was getting married (to Greta) on 12-13-97, the day after the last final exam. Greta and I had just bought a condominium that I would move into after the honeymoon. Greta had changed careers and just starting working at a new job, and my parents had moved to Richmond earlier in the year. These factors I naturally took into consideration in my thinking whether it would be feasible for me to transfer to another Seminary.

The journal was maintained as part of a spirituality course assignment.

The Journal

"For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."  Proverbs 2:6 KJV

9-8-97

Day one. The incoming first year students take a standardized test called Profiles in Ministry. The test will supposedly indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the students regarding their chosen field of ministry. The test is 500 multiple choice questions. I am not concerned with the results because my calling is to preach the truth of God's Word regardless of the results on a test or opinions of administrators. There is no 'grade' scale for the test, but the results will be skewed because of a seemingly liberal bent on the test.

I am very anxious to start attending classes, I do not know what to expect, and I want to jump right in head first. I may be out of my league due to the fact that I started reading the Bible in the summer of 1995 and have no formal Christian education to speak of. God will push me through. I must endure and persevere. This will be the experience of a lifetime.

9-9-97

The first class of the semester is Introduction to Christian Spirituality. The professor (EGH), the 'founding father' of the spirituality movement in Baptist life, emphasizes communion with God first and academics second. This is an ideal way to start the seminary journey, due to the fact that the tendency for many students is to become overwhelmed with the workload and lose sight of why they came to seminary in the first place. The professor opened class with ten minutes of silence with the intent of 'listening' to God.

9-10-97

I started the assigned reading for Old Testament. The author (WB), who was part of a lecture series here last fall, writes and speaks about 'hegemony' often, but he is not at all impressive. The author comes across as being rather egotistical, and he seems to believe that we should all change the way we study and interpret the Bible. He is big on finding fault with a perceived "white European male" standard for interpreting Scripture. He is also a white European male, should we listen to him but not any of the others?

Interpretation is not a matter of race or gender but of honesty to the Lord and for preserving His Word. The writers of Scripture were specifically chosen by the Lord to bring the Word in written form to all the peoples of the earth. Mankind is to honor, obey, study, speak of, and spread the Word of God to everyone who will listen. We must be cautious of what approach we use to study Scripture and how we will preach from it.

***

The motives and intent of some present day theologians should be questioned. Their work at times may be inspired, but not in the same sense that the writers of Scripture were inspired. We should always be skeptical of the skeptics.

The Bible is the first and foremost; it stands alone. The actual authors of the Biblical text, although human, were chosen by God to do His work, and no other theologian or professor can make that same claim. I will not concede that the Biblical authors were negatively influenced by their own backgrounds, education, culture, or prejudices. The biblical authors are not like the rest of us. God chose them to author the OT and NT. God's hand is in the authorship. Scripture is final, complete, and authoritative.

9-11-97

I am at ease here, no first week jitters, no apprehension, no confusion; content in knowing that I am answering the God's call. My concern that I am not pursuing my true calling but rather trying to emulate the Rev. Billy Graham has disappeared. The financial worries and anxiety of taking such a bold step, along with the fear of falling flat on my face had been on my mind constantly until I arrived,

It is comforting to be following the God's plan and gradually discovering the path He has shed light upon for me. One cannot resist the Lord for too long. You cannot fight the call. My Christian faith provides strength and courage, as I am in the Lord's hands now. I can do no other work but to serve the Lord. The Lord is my God, Praise the Lord.

9-19-97

Hebrew will be the most challenging course this semester. God help us all.

The Chapel service at school yesterday was a moving experience. Emotions welled up in me, not because of the message, but from the thought that someday I will preach and hold service for my classmates. I was feeling especially close to my fellow students this morning. The Chapel is why we are all here, to worship God, to draw closer, to be under His wing, to share His Word. I was reminded of the preciousness of life; life without Him is meaningless.

During the service I also realized how my dreams had changed over the past 20 years; they almost seemed to change on a monthly basis. Those old dreams were futile because they did not incorporate the Lord's plan and purpose.

9-22-97

I have been neglecting my journal, time to get back on track. I must continue to develop a prayerful, servant life for and with the Lord. I must make an effort to keep pace with the journal.

All theology is worthless unless it can bring you and others closer to God. Introducing people to Jesus Christ with the help of the Holy Spirit and opening their eyes to the Word should be the mission of every Christian. The only life worth living is one that is devoted to the loving and worshipping of our Lord and Savior.

If this school is truly mainstream and moderate as everyone claims, then they will listen to diverse opinions, conservative or liberal. To remain moderate they must also teach from a classical/traditional perspective in studying Scripture, and accept that new theology is not always the best theology.

The Lord can never be fully comprehended by the human mind. He is the Creator of 50 billion galaxies. Mankind can only know a fraction of his thinking, and we cannot pretend to fully understand what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. We can glimpse God through His creation and through the reading, studying, and contemplating on his Word - The Holy Bible.

The professors here, as well as many of the students continually question the authenticity of the Bible. They close their minds to classical traditional interpretation, under the guise of theology, but they do not realize that they are pulling away from the Lord. The Bible should be studied with an open mind and with the Holy Spirit your heart, and not with the desire to prove conservative Baptist thinking wrong.

The Bible can be debated, questioned and discussed, but at times theology can be like philosophy in the sense that it does not reach an answer. Rather, it just continues in a circle of doubt or relativism. All answers to the questions of life are in the Scriptures. When in doubt, have faith in the Lord and trust in His Word. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand with our hearts and mind.

9-26-97

The Old Testament professor (MB) has declared that there is no revelation of Jesus Christ in the OT. A few students, myself included, raised an eyebrow to that statement. From my understanding, beginning with Genesis 3:15 and ending with Malachi 4:5-6, there are no less than 115 OT prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ. I am not sure of the exact number but some theologians would argue that there are more than 300.

The professor's off-the-wall remark does not reflect traditional Baptist thinking. He also implied that there is more myth than history in the first five books of the OT, none of which, he asserts, was written by Moses. He stated that all major colleges and universities recognize the overlapping of myths and history in the earliest known recorded accounts of the ancient world. This may be true but it does not apply to the OT. The implication here is that the Bible is like any other work and therefore not divinely inspired.

I am already growing weary of the constant bashing of God's Word at this place. I seriously doubt that the curriculum will ever turn the corner and provide a balanced approach to the study of Scripture.

A Master of Divinity degree is supposed to prepare those called to serve for a life in ministry. This has not been the case to date. I have learned how to dismantle the Bible instead of trying learn what God is saying to us in each passage.

10-2-97

Liberalism is revisionism. Many individuals here would like to rewrite the Bible in order to adapt it to their own social agenda, rhetoric, or ideology. They believe their new ideas are superior, therefore, they try to twist and readjust the message of the Bible in an attempt to reinforce their preconceived notions. Most of the professors and many students here would probably fall into the category of a flaming liberal.

Is their form of liberalism used for the sake of education? Is it for exploring all the avenues of Biblical interpretation? Were they indoctrinated to the study of God's word as youth? Maybe their egos have skewed their faith and blurred the line between their own published works and the Bible in an attempt to place their own effort in a league with that of the chosen authors of the Bible?

By attacking the Christian belief of the Bible as the Word of God, the professors are attempting to enhance their own writings and religious theories. They also have the audacity to forsake 2,000 to 3,000 years of tradition and to change the authors of the Bible in order to replace the way we read and interpret Scripture.

The historical-critical method of Biblical interpretation, specifically J,E,D,P, and other theories such as the Q document, are treated here with unabashed biases. These theories have no or little evidence to support their outrageous claims of authorship or influence on the Bible. These far-out hypotheses should be taught as completely hypothetical and with a minimal amount of time dedicated to each abstraction.

When in doubt, trust in classical Christian scholarship and not the German agnostic religious theorists. Would Jesus use Scripture if it was not by inspiration of his Father or if there was any doubt of its authenticity?

10-5-97

I will not permit these atheistic liberals to break my spirit or crush my faith. What are the motivations of these professors that grab onto any new and unsubstantiated theory of interpretation? They are part of the elite class who support each other with empty accolades to make themselves believe that they are on the cutting edge of Biblical criticism. Praise a new hypothesis and your name will appear on the book flap, and hopefully the author will return the favor when your work is published. The only market for these extreme theories is the network of liberal professors and their students who are forced to buy these books. (I wish I could get my money back for most of my NT and OT class textbooks).

Gracious and living God, please let your light shine on me and fill my heart with the Holy Spirit to strengthen and brighten my faith, so I can overcome the attempts to subvert your Word with words of their own. I question their faith because they tear down your Word.

10-10-97

One of our esteemed professors laughed at a comment made by a student during class. The student's comment was not intended to be humorous, it was a possible answer to a question presented by the professor. I do not know if the student was offended, but I sure was. The comment by the student was from a traditional conservative Christian point of view which is unacceptable at this so called 'moderate' institution.

This is supposed to be education and not indoctrination. The mindset of the professors here is that unless your point of view is new and radical, then you're not really 'learning.' The elitists here are contemptuous of us ordinary Baptists who are certain of the Bible's sufficiency, authority, and inspiration. Scripture should be read with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and should lead directly to Christ on the cross.

10-12-97

If we rely on humankind for the answers to life's problems then all hope is lost. We are naturally incapable of solving everything on our own. Only the Lord can show us the way. We are not an evolving species. Culture and technology may change, but the sins of the human heart are the same from generation to generation.

10-15-97

A minister (SW) from a local Baptist Church (WBC) was the guest speaker today at the morning chapel service. What a disgrace! If I didn't hear it with my own ears I would not have believed it.

This gentlemen said that the Bible was "unchristian" and "inhuman." He should be ashamed of himself masquerading as a servant of God. Of course, he can say almost anything he pleases. However, when one is behind the pulpit and claiming to be a Christian, there should be some respect for the Word in the House of the Lord.

Why doesn't he just step out from behind the pulpit? Because if he did he would be considered an agnostic and would slowly drift out of the local limelight. Yet, at BTSR, people shake his hand and pat him on the back at the end of the service. The homosexuals swoon over him because he has a gay student on his church staff.

("Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves" Acts 20:30 NKJV.)

His 'sermon' was a letter that he had written to himself from which he read to us the highlights. He reminded me of a new age guru speaking to his brain-washed disciples. He is the epitome of a grown-up flower child from the 'me' generation. He is the exact opposite of how I would want to preach or minister.

("Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience" Ephesians 5:7, KJV.)

One student did walk out during the service, and I was proud of him. I stayed for the duration.

This pastor's problem is that he has been seeing a therapist for several years now, not because he has a mental or emotional problem, but for his own "well being." I think that the therapist has pulled him away from the Lord and His Word, and he has refocused his attention on the "innerself." This has probably happened so gradually that he does not realize how far he has strayed from God.

His intent for the sermon was to offer advice to students by reflecting on his twenty years of ministry since graduating from seminary. He recommended for us to also see therapists, to stay in shape physically, and to enjoy ourselves. The stay in shape and enjoy yourself part is good advice, but he could have told us that over a cup of coffee in the cafeteria and not from behind the pulpit.

Stay in shape! Have Fun! How about some expository preaching? Is that too much to ask for at a Baptist Seminary from a Baptist preacher? He would be better suited for an appearance on Oprah than in a church sanctuary. He could deliver his psycho-babble message of 'feelgoodism' and self esteem to the "don't judge me" types of the left.

He also made the statement that the Greek abba is not gender specific, but rather an affectionate name for a parent. I think many scholars would be surprised to hear that one. I guess he was tossing a bone to the militant gender-inclusive types in the audience. This "sermon" was the worst one of the semester to date. They seem get more and more ridiculous by the day.

"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matt. 7:15 (KJV).

10-16-97

Gender inclusive language is one of the most obvious forms of indoctrination that occurs in full force at the seminary. Referring to God the same way Jesus did, either as Father or with a masculine pronoun, will stir the radical feminists during class and the professors will make a note of it on your paper or exam. The spirituality professor made the notation on one of my papers that "using the name (God) avoids gender problems."

A self-righteous feminist will either clear her throat or say "what about us" if non-neutral language is used during class discussion. Some students go to a further extreme by saying that God is a woman, or state that God is neither male nor female. Changing the Word of God in an attempt to satisfy your own political agenda or perceived prejudice seems to be commonplace here.

10-17-97

All theology must lead to the same conclusion, that Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins. If any theology does not arrive at this conclusion then it is not theology - only religious theory.

10-21-97

One of our fellow students attempted to legitimize homosexuality in our spirituality class today. She told us about when she was at a gay restaurant in Washington D.C. with her boyfriend and how relieved she was that no men were staring at her. She observed how affectionate and gentle a gay couple was toward each other at a bus stop and during the bus ride. She later recalled a 'wedding' where a lesbian told her that she was a little scared about her 'marriage,' she told the lesbian that she felt the same way about her upcoming vows.

This little gay/lesbian presentation was a surprise to everyone in class because it was not on the syllabus; it was intolerably forced upon the entire class. If there was any warning about the gay/lesbian diatribe then probably at least a few of the students might not have attended that day. But that is how the liberals like to work, wait for a captive audience and then sneak in some indoctrination under the guise of education.

After we separated into our discussion groups no one had any questions or comments, although the professor was eager to have a discussion on the topic. I was tempted to ask what the Bible says about homosexuality, but I am concerned that my faith in the Bible will hurt my grade. At this seminary, the Bible as the Word of God is an afterthought in most class lectures and discussions. What exactly does Christian spirituality and homosexuality have in common?

Some people believe they are so enlightened that they are blinded to reality. They are almost so completely inwardly focused that they cannot justify their beliefs outside of their own ideology. If they were more outwardly focused they would turn toward God and the Bible for their direction and true calling. Many consider themselves to be reaching out to others (like the homosexual community), but sometimes in doing so they turn their back on God. Christians should reach out to all the lost and not with the latest 'feel-good' cause as the reason for their actions. Homosexuals should be provided with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit can deliver anyone from sin through the saving graces of Jesus Christ.

10-22-97

One's faith must continue to grow and strengthen or else one will become more susceptible to the latest liberal dogma that comes along. The Bible is a cornerstone that will keep your faith from blowing in the wind. Christian roots grow deep and strong, which, unfortunately, causes me to question the Christian commitment of some of our professors and students. Their roots must not run deep because they have fallen victim to the rhetorical winds of political correctness, celebrity causes, and theological liberalism.

The liberals at BTSR try desperately to justify their distorted rationale by using exaggerated intellectualism. They usually have no reasonable explanation for their theories, and they certainly cannot uphold them with Scripture. Since they cannot support their claims through the Bible, they believe that there is no higher authority than their Ph.D.'s and their idolized favorite theologian or liberal guru.

The elitists at BTSR look condescendingly on the people who believe the Bible is the Word of God. They strut around with an air of superiority. They are almost Caesar-like, and scorn those who have a dissenting opinion to their radical ideology. They render unto their Caesar-like egos what is worldly and temporal, but they render nothing unto the Lord.

10-23-97

I am disappointed that a once-respected professor has now turned into a bitter old man. He cannot stop bashing the SBC, SBC seminaries, conservative/fundamentalists, and many other traditions that Baptists hold dear (such as the Bible).

Not a class goes by that he doesn't take a shot at one of the above mentioned groups. Like the left-wing zealots here, he only pays lip service to the liberal mantras of 'diversity' and 'tolerance.' What if there are conservatives in the classrooms? Are their beliefs not valid? Tolerance, diversity, and multiculturalism for feminists and homosexuals, but not for those who have differing ideologies.

The professor had the gall to castigate Carl F. H. Henry. He belittled Henry's magnum opus work - God, Revelation, and Authority. The only American theologian whom he somewhat respects is Jonathan Edwards. He is not alone in his disdain for American theologians. The most radical professors consider the German theologians of the 18th and 19th centuries to be almost godlike.

10-23-97

I think that our most popular professor (EGH) may be bitter because he has not received the credit and recognition that he believes he deserves. He says as little as he can when a student mentions a popular Christian writer or preacher (except for Merton), and he has mocked a few others like Charles Stanley and Al Mohler. I think that he believes he should be the best selling author and nationally known Christian thinker who is the 'go-to-guy' when the media needs a sound bite.

It is disheartening to see him like this in the twilight of his career. He is respected and well liked by the students and has the opportunity to be a tremendously positive influence on them. However, he cannot put his bitterness and liberalism aside long enough to do so. This has tainted his teaching and published works.

10-28-97

Many students here talk about how poorly our professors were treated when they were fired or forced to resign from their previous positions at SBC seminaries. However, no one dares to ask if they deserved to be fired or forced to resign from their positions. Judging by some of the comments made by the professors, I find their teaching to be so radical that it no longer resembles sound Christian theology and certainly not traditional Baptist thinking. They reached a point in their careers were it was best for them to just step aside. They should start their own denomination and stop the poisoning of the Southern Baptists with their distorted and irreverent beliefs.

The professors and students make comments that the turn around in the SBC, beginning in 1979, was only about Baptist politics and giant size egos. But no one utters a word in reference to one of the most important reasons for the 'back-to-basics' turnaround within the SBC. That is, the changes started in response to a grass roots effort put forth by the church members. In order to turn the tide the loyalists listened to the congregations and started to steer the SBC back on track, and the elitists formed the CBF.

Our chapel services have turned into one great big love-fest. The pulpit symbolizes the bull-horn, and the staff members are the sign waving hippies. This seems appropriate because several of the professors here are former 1960's anti-American flower children. Peace and love for those who support their cause, scorn and contempt for those who have a differing point of view.

10-29-97

A few of the professors at BTSR are most assuredly former coat and tie radicals of the 1960's. One local pastor (BH), who was a student in the late 60's at Southern Seminary, said that the professors here that were then at Southern protested the Vietnam war to the extent that it interfered with their class lectures. I wonder if they burned the stars and stripes and spit on God loving American soldiers? This God and Country hating liberals of the 1960's called American soldiers baby killers and then supported Roe vs. Wade in 1973.

The new militant left-wing cause is homosexuality. They push it here constantly with news letters, 'focus' groups, gay organizations, and pro-lesbian lectures. The gay movement on campus has reached the point that it is making me ashamed to be associated with the Richmond Theological Consortium (RTC). The Bible is relegated to ancient history and the elite have created a new self-serving theology.

At least two of the 'men' here paint their finger nails, and a few others have tinted their hair color (and I don't mean getting the gray out).

The guest lecturer said that sometimes women need a "rescue operation" during pregnancy. This is a play on words from the pro-life group Operation Rescue.

How can they ignore the Word of God? Can they, in good faith, call themselves 'moderate' or 'mainstream' Christians? Have they been truly born again with the Holy Spirit? Are they certain of God's plan and purpose for their life?

10-31-97

A very disturbing and surprising incident has occurred with one of the professors (SHP). I harshly criticized the work of an author whom we were assigned to read and critique in a short paper. Basically, the author called the L.A. riots 'apocalyptic' in an attempt to define the violence and mayhem as anything but violence and mayhem. I was particularly appalled at the author's abuse of Scripture, by citing Revelation 18:15-20, and completely ignoring Mark 12:31. I guess I should not be surprised when a liberal distorts reality in order to support the latest cause that he has latched onto.

The professor stated that I was suggesting that I thought I had an unbiased view on the matter and I implied that the author had a biased one. The author is obviously liberal and definitely is biased in his interpretation of the events. What I find interesting about the professor's comment is that I never claimed to be neutral. How can I be neutral, I am a Christian. Christians cannot be neutral if they follow Christ and believe in God's Word. (Matt. 5:6, 5:10, 5:11-12).

The surprising incident is that the professor has a different attitude towards me now. Admittedly in class I am fairly quiet, not wanting to be publicly scorned for my Christian beliefs by my leftist classmates, but in the above mentioned paper I strongly disagreed with the author's opinion which she probably highly favors. The professor no longer says hello or acknowledges my presence and will only do so if it is absolutely unavoidable. I would expect this behavior at an Ivy League school but certainly not at a Baptist seminary. I must keep the faith.

On a lighter note. The above mentioned professor is the hardest working of the lot, judging by the amount of feedback provided for the students on returned papers. The other professors jot down a word or two here and there, and maybe sometimes write an entire sentence. The students appreciate professors' comments because they can be insightful and thought provoking (plus we are helping to pay their salaries). Also, this particular professor graded my work fairly and honestly.

11-4-97

The professors I have had at BTSR do not believe that the Bible, in it's entirety, is the revelation of God. They propose that there are only bits and pieces of a revelation of God sprinkled throughout the Bible. This approach likens the inspired (not chosen) writers of Scripture with any other theologian that has written something inspirational. In other words, the inspiration of a modern day theologian or professor who has written something exceptional is comparable to the inspiration of the biblical writers. Their claim is that the Holy Spirit works within other religious writers the same as with the biblical authors.

The Holy Spirit can inspire writers to produce great works, but the Bible stands alone in regard to inspirational work. The liberals do not like the fact that the Lord specifically chose certain individuals to be used as conduits for His Word. They prefer to think that the various groups of scribes accidentally stumbled over a few of God's revelations.

The liberals will exalt a colleague's or a former professor's work with the attitude that you can learn just as much from their theories as from what God illuminated to the authors of the Bible. Certain professors here will push the work of their former professors or of a colleague as if to increase the credibility and stature of their former institutions of higher learning or of their mentor.

I would not be surprised if several of the professors here believed in the theory of evolution and not Creationism. Or that the perfectibility of humanity can occur through human progress and social change. There is no hell at BTSR. Sin, Satan, and Hades are never spoken of here. What many here erroneously cling to is that the Gospel is a 'social gospel.' But the Gospel is not a social(ist) gospel.

11-10-97

Deep and strong simple faith is more valuable than complex, pseudo-intellectual faith. The liberal elitists feel that a simple faith is no longer appropriate in our elaborate, pluralistic, technologically advanced, global society. However, society and culture may change but the heart and soul of humanity has not changed since Adam and Eve. We are created in God's image, and He is not an evolving species. The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His Word is for all generations and all nations. Cultures and countries may change, but humanity's propensity for sin will always remains the same.

Some liberals call themselves moderate or mainstream and assume that conservative evangelicals are right-wing extremists. It is important to listen to the language of the these liberal 'Christian' organizations. They will reveal their agenda by the terminology they use and their reaction to those who speak the truth. For instance, dare to imply that homosexuality is anything less than a cause for celebration and you are immediately labeled a Nazi.

The liberals accuse the fundamentalists of selective literalism in interpreting Scripture. The liberals are guilty of selective reading of Scripture. They ignore certain passages, or the entire Bible except for the four Gospels, so that they can attempt to justify immoral behavior.

Liberalism works hand-in-hand with pluralism. Certain individuals at BTSR actually believe that you don't have to know Jesus Christ to reach the Kingdom of Heaven, regardless of who or what idol you worship. All one really needs to do is to be a good person and do good works. Also, those who have intentionally rejected Jesus Christ will enjoy eternity with the Father. No true faith involved, just works.

11-11-97

The professor claimed that the Cold War came to an end because of spiritual reasons and not because of President Reagan's military build-up or political strategy. Granted the truth of Christianity will set people free, but the political, fiscal, and military policies of President Reagan cannot be denied. No single human being has had a more profound impact on the demise of communism in the former Soviet Union than Ronald Reagan.

Mankind will always be prone to spiritual idolatry, especially in today's self-absorbed, anything- goes society. People will say and do whatever it takes to justify their immoral and unethical behavior. Therefore, they will attempt to change God in order to accommodate their own needs instead of trying to change their behavior and follow the standards that the Lord has set for us.

The militant feminists like the idea that God is female because that would mean that Jesus had two mothers for parents, Mary and a female God. This is how they justify in their own narrow mindedness that lesbian adoptions, or child bearing through a sperm bank, is as natural and moral as heterosexual parenting.

Matthew 23:37 - The feminists attempt to interpret this parable as a means to 'prove' that God is a woman.

Feminist do not like the familial role that God has chosen for many women. They prefer to break down the traditional family unit and promote single parenthood, taxpayer funded daycare, and lesbian adoptions.

11-14-97

Professor EGH here has taken another jab at Bill Gates, of Microsoft, for the third time this semester. He said that Mr. Gates makes an "obscene" amount of money and that he only donates a fraction of one percent of his net worth to charitable organizations.

The amount of money that Mr. Gates donates to charity each year is more than what most people will donate in a lifetime. Regardless of how rich Bill Gates is, as long as his fortune is used for good and not evil, then it is basically none of our business what he does with his money.

Why is my professor so obsessed with Bill Gates? Is it possible that he is a socialist? This would not surprise me because many of the left-wing extremist believe, and preach, that the rich are exploiting and oppressing the poor.

11-15-97

George Will made a comment that can best describe the inclusive language movement, left-wing revisionist historians, and the fear of being politically incorrect: "What kind of people falsify a historical document, tampering with a personal statement of unsurpassed poignancy, in order to conform to the clunky language of political correctness? The kind whose moral compass is their fear of criticism, however demagogic."

11-16-97

An interesting study would be to research the motivations of the originators of the J, E, D, P, historical critical method of the Pentateuch. Were they anti-Semitic? (If Moses was not the author and the books are false, then the Jewish people are not the chosen people). Were they agnostics, atheists, or anti-Christian? What was their motivation for theories that are based on such scant evidence?

The liberal theologians brush aside any criticism of the German theologians by stating that conservatives are hostile to the historical-critical method. Skeptical, would be a more appropriate term than hostile. Conservatives will not go against 3,000 years of tradition and the fact that Jesus read from the OT, to so readily and haphazardly embrace the historical critical theories of OT authorship.

Those who blindly agree with the J, E, D, P, theory and quite willingly doubt the authorship of Moses are certain of their doubt. But they remain uncertain as to the actual authors of the Pentateuch. In other words, they claim to be convinced that Moses did not write the first five books of the OT, but then admittedly concede that they do not know who (or when, where, and why) or how many individuals actually wrote the Pentateuch.

The historical-critical method types are obsessed with the slightest nuance in writing style of the Biblical authors. They over-analyze what is not there, and the obvious is completely ignored by these theological liberals. They treat the Bible as if it were a novel and scrutinize the authors' writing styles and then call it theological criticism. The historical-critical method propagators ignore the fact that the Lord chose ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They were divinely chosen as part of God's plan and purpose for His Word to reach all of mankind.

The OT class written assignments are theories based on theories. The more outrageous your assertion, the higher your grade. Traditional Christian thinking is not permitted, that wouldn't be learning.

One student asked the professor about why there was so much emphasis on German theologians. Were there not any American theologians to speak of? The professor replied that the only thing Western Civilization was good at was making bombs.

11-18-97

The chapel services this semester have been far less than stellar. I can only recall two sermons that were actually expository preaching, the others were mostly social commentary and the usual liberal party line twaddle. I understand that the chapel services in this situation are a little less formal than Sunday mornings at a church. Nevertheless, there should be at least a minimal standard of decency displayed.

A particularly upsetting 'sermon' was when a student showed a film clip from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. That may seem harmless enough except that in this particular clip one of the characters used foul language. Two vulgarities in the house of the Lord. That type of behavior is never appropriate in a Christian worship setting. I was so angry and upset that I can not remember the point of his message.

Another student, who was assisting his sister in chapel, left his hat on during the entire service. There are always candles on the platform during the services. I am not sure of the significance of the candles, but maybe it has something to do with the new age/eastern mysticism that is popular here.

One former student who was the guest speaker for the day said she spends more time reading from Oprah's book club than from books on theology. That is appropriate because the chapel services here are not at all traditional. They are the new post-modern 'Oprahfied' services, lots of pop-psychology and psycho-babble, but no real substance. There is no mention of the Holy Trinity but a lot of rhetoric on the liberal trinity - radical feminism, homosexuality, and political correctness.

They have a captive audience, and they take the opportunity as a license to say anything, regardless if it is anti-Christian or complete drivel. The podium must be a place of honor and not looked upon as an occasion for posturing before your small group of like-minded friends or followers.

Students who somehow have the reputations of being excellent preachers actually gave me the impression that they were speaking into a mirror. The Chapel service was a side show for their vanity, preening , 'feel-goodism,' and self-aggrandizement. They served up a lot of rhetorical soup, but the people need spiritual meat to survive.

I am quite certain one of the guest speakers at chapel was a lesbian. Another case of degradation in the house of the Lord.

11-23-97

An appropriate quote that sums-up the arrogance at BTSR: From the son of Alger Hiss, Tony: (What motivates a liberal?) "I like people when they're in trouble. Because then they have to like you, and you can feel powerful by helping them. I love to visit people in the hospital."

11-25-97

One of the students who ministers to prisoners and death row inmates said that a particular convicted killer that is scheduled to be executed is a 'wonderful, wonderful person.' I can be fairly certain that the person he killed and the victim's family would strongly disagree with that accolade.

Several students had their picture in the paper for protesting the execution, it was a small group and they were holding signs. One of the students in the picture had once stated (we had a night class together in the spring), that he thought there was redemptive value in physician assisted suicide. In other words, spare the life of a convicted killer, and end the life of grandma and grandpa.

"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man" Genesis 9:6 (NKJV).

12-2-97

The professors and associate professors who preached at chapel this semester provided us with spiritually empty 'god-talk' and shameful liberal-socialist rhetoric. Instead of setting an example of excellence in biblical preaching, they only proved how far-out on the fringe of Baptist life they really are.

An associate professor (DP) mocked good old fashioned Baptist traditions like a Saturday afternoon fish fry and other forms of Baptist fellowship. I guess we are just too ordinary for him. The professor of preaching had an excellent illustration but did not relate the story to the Bible.

One of the most outrageous incidents at chapel was when a missions professor had us get into a circle at the end of service and we all participated in a MUSLIM ritual. I do not mind learning about other religious customs during class time, but maybe we should keep the Christian Chapel a place of praise and worship for God. The purpose of learning about non-Christian religions is to develop the best possible ways to evangelize individuals to the one true religion. Shame on the staff of this seminary.

12-3-97

One belief that has spread throughout the seminary is that ten percent of the population is gay or lesbian. This theory has been around for several years. However, several liberals who started this falsehood years later admitted it to be false, they used that 'statistic' because it was just easy to say 'one in ten.'

When confronted with the 'harsh realities' of the truth, ultra-liberals will say that what is really important is not accurate statistics but bringing attention to their latest cause. The ivory tower liberals are a far more superior being than us ordinary humans and lying is their constitutional 'right.'

One statistic that the radical feminists do not like to reveal is the comparison of spousal abuse between heterosexual marriages and lesbian sex couples. The fact is that a lesbian is more likely to be physically abused by her sex partner than a married heterosexual woman by her husband. Repeat this fact and you will be labeled a homophobe or hate monger.

The liberals are remarkably silent about the homosexuals who have abandoned their perverted and predatory lifestyle by making a commitment to, and discovering the truth in, Jesus Christ. They do not consider coming out of homosexuality to be a celebration.

12-5-97

Last day of class before exam week and a fitting end to a tumultuous semester.

An assignment for the NT course consisted of a semester long project on one of the parables of Jesus of our choice. The professor was very flexible as to what the student could do to satisfy the project. The options ranged from a paper or sermon to a wood carving or painting and almost anything in between with the professor's approval. I guess it was relief for some to not have to write another paper. But the obvious question for a student preparing for ministry is the practicality of the assignment.

A fellow student chose to do a dance routine for his parable project. This individual expression-danced (I think that is what it is called) to a song that I think was about one of the parables. I believe it was the prodigal son parable. Although I know and like this person, the entire scenario was completely absurd. This is supposed to be a Master of Divinity program that is intended to prepare students for the ministry. How will a dance routine or wood carving, or any other busy work, prepare one for Christian ministry? The dancing was fine and the student is obviously talented, but I was laughing at the irony of it all - a very liberal ending at a radically liberal seminary. It was the final nail in the coffin.

Today I received the academic catalog from SEBTS. I was greatly pleased to receive it; the timing could not have been better. I stopped what I was doing and read it in its entirety even though I had final exams the next week. I was impressed by Southeastern's Articles of Faith. At least you know exactly what they stand for and can either accept or reject their principles much the same way people accept or reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

BTSR has a short and vague mission statement, you just don't know what you're getting yourself into. They try to present themselves as nice and neutral, and then when you are seated comfortably in class the real agenda comes out.

12-9-97

Two comments, (one by the professor one by the teacher's assistant), on a returned paper provide another clue toward the liberal-socialist mindset that pervades at this establishment. I commented on the faith and beliefs of the Founding Fathers and the importance of preventing the erosion of our nation's spiritual foundation.

The brief feedback about the Christian values of the Founding Fathers comment was - 'including deists such as Jefferson and Franklin?' It is true that Jefferson was anti-supernatural and Franklin had some unconventional religious views. However, fifty of the fifty-five Founding Fathers were members of established orthodox Christian communities. It would be foolish to deny the influence their faith had on the constituting and originating of our great nation. Yet the elites think it is vogue to bash and lie about our Founding Fathers. They consider the Founder's to be mean-spirited patriarchs who hated everyone that was not rich, white, male, or Christian. When will the revisionists stop judging the Founding Fathers by their race and gender?

The second feedback comment was only - 'separation of church and state means?' Was that a rhetorical question? Should I have made a statement about it in the paper? This is typical of the arrogance and ego of some professors, the brevity and 'tone' of the comment says it all - "You are deserving of only six words of comment, you radical fundamentalist."

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" Psalm 33:12 (KJV).

12-12-97

Exams are over and my sentence at this institution has ended. It was difficult to concentrate on the exams because I am getting married tomorrow. Amen.

A quote from Theodore Roosevelt appropriately summarizes the half-baked education provided here: "When you educate a man in mind and not in morals, you educate a menace to society."

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;

A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.

His praise endures forever.

Psalm 111:10 (NKJV)

In March of 1998 my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the campus of Southeastern Seminary. During the visit we sat in on a Christian Ethics class. The first thing the Professor did after opening prayer was turn to the Bible and start reading a passage. This was quite a contrast and a welcome relief from BTSR. At Southeastern the approach to study is from a believer's perspective, at BTSR it is from a doubter's point of view.

"My worst fears have been realized," was the collective comment I heard from a retired missionary couple and others after I described the horrors of BTSR to them. They had been skeptical of BTSR from the very inception of this reactionary Baptist seminary. Most people did not know what to expect or what the true agenda was of BTSR. After I described the curriculum at BTSR of deconstructing the Bible and the acceptance and promotion of homosexuality, people recoiled in shock. They could not believe what they were hearing. They knew BTSR was liberal, but they had no idea it was this bad.

More than a few people have commented to me - "I wish they (the CBF) would have just formed their own denomination." I could not agree more.

What I found most interesting is that none of my friends or acquaintances that are members of SBC churches had tried to influence me to leave BTSR. They sat back and wanted to see what my reaction to BTSR would be after tenure as a full-time student. A few have said that things must be really bad at the seminary if someone like me found it to be offensive. "Someone like me" - as in an individual who did not become a Southern Baptist until 1996 and someone who did not start studying the Bible until 1995.

I was speaking to a another student at the UTS library several months after the fall semester had ended. We had two courses together and he is a fellow believer that the Bible is the Word of God. He relayed a story to me that was similar to the experience I had with the professor who turned a cold shoulder after my conservative leanings were revealed.

He mentioned how the professor does not call on him by name in class. The professor will just point to him and say 'yes,' but any other student she will call by name.

I was relatively quiet in class trying to take in as much as possible. My friend is the type who will voice his opinion during class discussion. He said that the most militant feminist, pro-homosexual students are very hateful toward him. I can verify that by some of the reaction statements and grumbling made in class by students after he would make a comment or observation. I asked him how he can tolerate the hostility directed toward him? He said that he is just having fun with it and that he will not be intimidated. I'm sure the hysterical feminists will not be able to recruit him for their anti-Christian causes.

"Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:11-12, NKJV.

Another student and friend , Don, whom I became acquainted with during the semester because of his Orthodox Christian viewpoint and my traditional conservatism, was a person I could confide in about the questionable theology promoted at BTSR. He would often talk about the class discussions in his Christian Theology I and II courses.

Don was flabbergasted about what was said during a class discussion on the topic original sin. All of the students had an opportunity to say their piece, most of it being "blasphemous and heretical." When it was his turn to speak he opened the Bible and read from the fifth chapter of Romans. The students were completely offended by the Word and thoroughly rebuked Don for bringing his 'church doctrine' to the discussion. This is typical of the attitude at BTSR, if a Bible truth offends you then just ignore it or label it an outdated church creed.

Don said they never cracked the Bible in Christian Theology, and we joked about how the Bible is not a required textbook at BTSR. He quipped; "Not using the Bible at Seminary is like going to Med. School and not operating on a body."

Another fact about BTSR that amazed us both was that there was almost no discussion whatsoever about sin, repentance, God's judgment, hell, or Satan. If it did not give you a 'warm fuzzy,' then it was not open for discussion. We also joked that - "there is no hell at BTSR."

During the spring of 1998 my wife and I were at a shopping mall and we ran into a friend of mine, Wayne. Wayne's son was attending BTSR at the time and he said that his son was concerned that the seminary was gaining the reputation as the "gay" seminary. The homosexual theme at BTSR was raging to the point that it was hard for the true Christians to avoid these perversion peddlers. The concern that the school is gaining the wrong reputation is legitimate and is not homophobic.

At BTSR was the first I heard of the term "sexual minority." This is supposed to refer to gays and lesbians. It is ignorant to compare a sexual problem with race; race is who you are, homosexuality is something you do. The niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Alveda Celeste King, said it best: "To equate homosexuality with race is to give a death sentence to civil rights. No one is enslaving homosexuals ... or making them sit in the back of the bus. "

There was always an overemphasis on what the CBF calls, "spirituality" at BTSR. Several of the students spoke of having a personal spiritual formation guide or spiritual formation leader. I am not denying that different forms of spirituality are part of Christian and Baptist history, such as silent prayer, obedience to the Lord, and contemplation about His Word. However, the new, almost cult-like, "spirituality" movement within the CBF does not resemble Christian spirituality.

From the way that the students, and one professor in particular, spoke about their form of spirituality, it was more along the lines of Eastern religious mysticism. They believe they can have "unobstructed" or direct line of knowledge from God. These new age spiritualists ignore the fact that we cannot force the hand of God. They want God to make them privy to some form of superior knowledge that is out of reach to everyone else. What I believe happens is that these "spiritual ' individuals become so self-focused that they mistake their own thoughts as a form of communion with God.

I believe this type of spiritual mysticism is what causes a pushing aside of the absolute truths of the Bible in favor of moral relativism. The spiritual gurus become so enamored with the self that they confuse their inward attempt to redefine the Truth as a revelation from God. In their minds they are finding new answers, but in reality God has already graced us with the truth in His Word.

It is important to listen to the language of the liberals. The liberals continually try to imply that there are only two schools of thought, moderate/mainstream (their terminology) and far right. The implication is that you are either a "normal" thinker or part of the extreme right-wing. The liberals never refer to themselves as liberal. At BTSR, the assumption was that post-modern (liberal) theology was the only feasible line of thinking and traditional conservative theology was intellectually inferior.