I finished up the history of Southern Seminary. I couldn’t help it. It was a riveting read. I knew the conservatives would win in the end, I just couldn’t guess how Providence would manage it.
The story was worse than I expected. When liberal-moderates realized that they were losing both the denomination and its flagship seminary, they embarked on a policy of obfuscation. “Obstructivism,” Wills called it. “Lying” would not be too strong.
“Liar” and “Hitler” have the same pedigree in debate terminology. I’ve long opposed the extremist rhetoric—shouted by right and left alike—that resorts to either. The meaning of “lie” is specific and universally agreed upon: telling an untruth which one knows to be an untruth.
That’s why Rep. Wilson (SC) had to apologize for his infamous outburst. President Obama, like President Bush before him, is certainly guilty of telling untruths. Someone who has to speak constantly, relying on advice from others, can’t help it in this fallen world. But it’s another thing to charge that our president knows certain of his words are false and utters them anyway.
That, however, is just what successive liberal-moderate presidents of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary did repeatedly. They insisted to their constituency that their faculty were doctrinally sound—according to their constituency’s definition of soundness—when they knew otherwise. One even released a statement, signed by the five other liberal SBC seminary presidents, claiming to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. That president subsequently told his faculty that, basically, he had not intention of honoring his words. He felt that any action he took was justified in light of his goal of saving the seminary from the fundamentalists.
Conservatives can be guilty of the same casuistry, but in this case they were the good guys. A fascinating story I highly recommend. And the final line was quite affecting.