Al Mohler: A Spirited Q & A with Students in 1993 – VIDEO

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.

Al Mohler 1993

Al Mohler is the President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lousiville, KY. When he became the President in 1993, the faculty and student body were largely liberal (to varying degrees). Here is a question and answer session between students and Dr. Mohler shortly after his election. It’s worthy of your time and attention. Dr. Mohler answers questions from students dealing with the Abstract of Principles, his lack of age and experience, vision for the seminary, women in ministry, personhood of women, homosexuality, etc.

Direct Link to the Video:

I found this in the Boyce Digital Library at SBTS:

HT: Barry Fields

This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with three children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube.


  1. Roger Simpson says

    Thanks for putting a link to this video up. To me this was a riveting Q & A session. I wasn’t paying attention much in those days so this enables me to get a glimpse as to the landscape in the SBC 20 years ago.


  2. Bennett Willis says

    What was the turnover in faculty during Dr. M’s first years there? Apparently they were more than “largely liberal.”

    • says

      Bennett, Dr. Mohler got a vote of “no confidence” from the faculty within the first 2 years there. I think all the faculty except 4 people voted against him.

        • Louis says


          The only faculty member that Mohler confronted that I know of was Molly Marshall Green. He told her that she had been teaching contrary to the Abstract of Principles, which she herself had signed.

          My understanding is that he met with her. Confirmed the facts. Gave her 2 weeks to resign or that he would bring her up to the trustees. She resigned in the 2 week period.

          No other faculty member, to my knowledge, was fired or confronted.

          The faculty worked very hard to get Mohler fired. Then the faculty worked to get Southern’s accreditation in jeopardy, which was another way of having it blow back on Mohler.

          When none of this worked, and Mohler showed that he was going to become involved in faculty hiring, review and retention, instead of leaving the primarily to the faculty (which was the faculty’s complaint to the accrediting agencies), the hand writing was on the wall.

          I think it took about 5 to 6 years for the faculty who did not like Mohler to move on.

          None were fired, and it was not a sudden process where they all left at once. It was a slow attrition.

          The liberal students were around much longer. It took about 9 or 10 years for Southern to have a “clean” graduation ceremony where all of the graduates behaved themselves. For 9 years there was always antics and agitprop of some sort.

          • Bennett Willis says

            Promptly is a very relative term. Everywhere I have been, a 95% turnover (in a group of about 100) in 5 or 6 years would be regarded as prompt. Perhaps your experience is different from mine.

          • Dave Miller says

            I just appreciate having a posted comment in which the term agitprop was used. I feel elevated, Louis!!

          • Louis says


            Agreed. “Promptly” can be a relative term. That’s why it should be used cautiously.

            For example, if a new professional football coach turned a team around in 5 to 6 years, no one would be saying he did that “promptly.” In fact, he would probably not get 5 to 6 years in today’s world.

            If we stick with the years, that is more accurate and does not risk conveying a false impression.

            Believe me, if there had been mass firings on a quick timetable of liberals at Southern, it would be part of the larger narrative.

            Mohler was smart enough to realize this, and was cautious and judicious. Once the liberals could not control things, they did not want to be there anyway.

          • says

            Diana Garland was fired in 1995 after Molly Marshall was shown the door. There was an uproar on the faculty after Garland was fired – Mohler later would say that the period (Black Wednesday) was the most difficult he had ever experienced.

            There were several evangelical professors hired under Mohler, who had bad experiences at Southern and would later leave for places like Union once Dockery was hired.

            A candidate’s views on women as pastors was initially not a litmus test under Mohler – who approved the hiring of at least a few who were supportive of women in ministry.

            Barry Hankins chronicles the history of change at SBTS well in Uneasy in Babylon – much can be read via Google Books.

          • Louis says


            Mohler claims Garland resigned.

            Also, as you know, Mohler did not seek Garland out. Garland brought the thing on herself.

            When Garland recommended a candidate for a spot at the School of Social work, and Mohler did not agree, Garland went public and rallied social work students to hold a “sit in” outside Mohler’s office.

            Mohler found out about it when he arrived to work.

            The dean of any school who thinks they can do this to the institution they serve and the President who leads the institution is really not thinking very clearly.

            But we were talking about the mythology of Mohler promptly firing all the liberal faculty at Southern.

            Garland’s unfortunate behavior and the results don’t support that mythology.

            Btw, Wills’ book about Southern, large excerpts of which are on Google, is excellent.

            I recommend it to all who have an interest in the history of Southern.

  3. Dwight McKissic says


    I recently learned about a Dr. Marsha Ellis-Smith who was perhaps VP of Academic Affairs–or in a position of leadership/authority at Southern during Mohler’s early tenure–but was subsequently reorganized out of a job. Do you know the history of this female administrator? Was it a friendly or unfriendly removal from office? Did she voluntarily leave? Did her being a female factor into her departure from Southern? What can you enlighten us on with regard to this aspect of Southern/Mohler’s history? Thanks.

    • Dave Miller says

      Dwight, during those times, gender was not the issue in most of those things, but theological perspective – specifically inerrancy, etc.

      There was great hostility there, but it had little to do with gender.

      • Louis says

        A VP of academic affairs? If she was there before Mohler got there, I can assure you she was gone, as she would have been overseeing academic affairs in a place that needed severe academic reform.

        Mohler needed the entire executive team his pick and firmly on his side.

        But it would be good to know the specifics, if there are any.

    • John Wylie says

      Hey Brother McKissic,

      I just looked Dr. Ellis-Smith up, and believe it or not, she is currently on faculty with B.H. Carroll Theological Institute right there in Arlington, TX. She has been there since 2010.

      • Dwight McKissic says

        Brother John,

        Small world. Just learned about her. Didn’t know that she was in my neighborhood. Thanks.

        • says

          She still lives in Louisville. BHCTI is online, so she teaches through them but didn’t leave Louisville.

          Having taken her class in Biblical Backgrounds, I’d find it hard to see her as any kind of liberal. That’s just my perspective, based on her response to various questions and issues raised about the differences in archaeological record and Biblical record.

          • says

            More background–

            was an administrative VP in charge of Institutional Research, also adjunct professor for Boyce College. Left somewhere 2003-2004.

            Definitely left when it was a reorganization that eliminated her position, not a clear “get out” type of firing, and I don’t think Dr. Mohler has ever been afraid to fire people that he felt deserved it. I’m not sure what to make of it.

          • Dwight McKissic says


            You would really take a class in Biblical Backgrounds from a woman? You liberal.-:) Seriously, do you think that the pendulum will ever swing again & a qualified female could teach Biblical Backgrounds at one of our six SBC seminaries?

          • says

            Bro. Dwight,

            I’d go crazy and even take a course from a Presbyterian or a Methodist. :) The Word of God is my authority for life, so my liberal, conservative, male, female, Calvinist, anti-Calvinist, non-Calvinist, Traditionalist, Baptist, and non-Baptist professors along the way all come second. Each one has helped me learn more about subject matter, and each one has driven me back to the text.

            Sometimes because they have encouraged me to look at the text. Sometimes because I’ve needed to take comfort in the text when I received lower grades for holding to what the text says.

            As to the SBC at-large, my predictive prophecy skills are shaky. I do not know what the faculty make-up is at all six, or the general attitude of all six presidents. I think the overriding concern at every SBC school is the conservative/liberal one. How an individual falls on each president’s evaluation of liberal/conservative will weigh on whether they are deemed “qualified” and views on gender-roles would be included in that.

            So, where will the pendulum swing? I don’t know. We need candidates who are academically qualified and Biblically sound. For Backgrounds, professors who know how, and preferably have, to dig in the dirt and interpret evidence but who still trust the text of Scripture to be right. Their education needs to be rounded out by having dealt, academically, with materials that arise from outside of our comfortable loop in the SBC, and they need to be able to present counter-points in class to prepare students for the real questions people will ask. (And yes, people will ask off-the-wall archaeology/history questions, if they have cable or satellite, because they’ll watch the History Channel “Bible” programs.)

            I do not see a reason that professors in that area would have to be exclusively male or exclusively female, nor that one gender would be more qualified. Being in agreement that the primary pastor of a church must be a man, I think there are some pastoral skills classes that should be taught only by men, because they’re the only ones who will have experience in doing the work.

            But Backgrounds?

            I don’t see a reason why there would be an exclusion there, except for an overall view that men should not have women as professors. I know that SWBTS has a policy that is like that (not quite sure the exact wording), but I don’t about anyone else. I’m not sure the hiring policies of any seminary will change–there’s no effective internal pressure to change any of the specific seminary policies.

            So what happens? Don’t know. If a conservative female student were pursuing higher academic levels, and saw she would not be accepted at an SBC seminary as a teacher now, she’d likely take her skills elsewhere from the beginning. It becomes a self-perpetuating circle: she then Ph.D’s at another school outside the “family” and teaches outside the SBC, and when the next female scholar comes along, she’ll follow the previous example, until we barely see an effort for female scholars to develop within the circles of the SBC Six.

            That’s the pessimist view. I hope to see something entirely different.

  4. Adam G. in NC says

    Jared, excellent video. I’m a little too young for all of this and have read plenty about this era, but stuff like this is absolutely invaluable in getting a real feel for what was going on.

    Can you direct me to where I could find other videos like this? Maybe about some of the goings-on at SEBTS or the other seminaries…


  5. Dwight McKissic says


    I just finished looking at this video. Several takeaways: 1. There was obviously a majority support for women in ministry, including women as Senior Pastors among those present in the chapel on that day. 2. Al Mohler , even then, was/is an articulate, intelligent, affable, and capable personality. He handled himself quite well. 3. The Abstract of Principles recognized “Bishops and Elders”. Dr. Mohler stated that the Bible did not address race/ethnicity in the same way that it addresses women in ministry. He is extremely misinformed on that question. 4. He declared that Southern Seminary would lead the Southern Baptist Convention. Wow!!! We are beginning to see that happen. 5. He declared an openness to ethnic inclusion at every level in SBC life. That was encouraging to here. 6. I wondered where would the SBC be today numerically, baptisms, Sunday School attendance, women in ministry, etc., if the SBC had stayed the course that they were own prior to the “conservative resurgence”? Jared, Thanks. I got a chance to see a side of the SBC that is virtually non-existent today.

    • says

      ‘I wondered where would the SBC be today numerically, baptisms, Sunday School attendance, women in ministry, etc., if the SBC had stayed the course that they were own prior to the “conservative resurgence”?’

      My church grew directly as a result of the CR. People like myself, fled denominations that succumbed to liberal influences and found a home in a denomination that worked to maintain theological fidelity to the scriptures, and we sought churches that did so explicitly. I know of Southern Baptist churches who are failing precisely because liberal members are still causing division. The churches that are doing well in my area are the conservative ones. The difference between the two is not merely marginal or even somewhat significant. The difference is stark.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        What you are saying is without a doubt true, as it relates to your observations in your area. But, my statement was asking the question from the ACP perspective. If memory serves me correctly(although I could be wrong) baptisms, CP giving percentage wise per church, SS attendance, Seminary enrollment , full time IMB missionaries, discipleship training….virtually all of the vital statistics of the SBC were in far better condition during the time that Mohler made his speech. We laid off 600 missionaries just a few years back. The CR promised exponential growth ANC church revitalization. All of the vital statistics should be trending in the upward direction, but they are not. Yes, we made a strong statement in the BFM 2000 making it clear that the SBC does not embrace women pastors. I agree theologically with every word in that statement. There were those of us who belived that before it was out into the statement. The question though is, was it wise to have added into the BFM 2000. And the corresponding result of moving the SBC to “conservativism” has not boded well for the SBC from a vital statistics perspective.

        In a cost-benefit analysis scenario….would the cost of the CR outweigh the benefits? Would the diminishing returns be there without the CR? Would not increased numbers in baptisms, SS, CP giving, IMB missionaries, etc., have been a better return than the CR? That’s my question.

        • volfan007 says

          I think that the SBC would be a shattered shell of what it used to be, if the CR had not occured. The SBC would’ve gone the way of the Methodists and the Presbyterians….dying…dying…dying….dead.

          I know this, Dwight. If the SBC had not gone thru the CR, and turned more Bible believing, then I wouldn’t still be in the SBC. And, I’d bet that a whole lot more wouldn’t have stayed, either. There would have been splintering and exiting going on that would’ve led to a bunch of different Baptist groups. I know I heard many talking about getting out of the SBC, if things didn’t change soon. And, of course, some did leave the SBC due to the liberal influence.

          So, I’m glad for the CR, and I’m glad that the BFM 2000 as our statement of belief. Women shouldn’t be Pastors.

          In Christian Love,


        • Dave Miller says

          As one who was schooled by liberal Southern Baptists in the 70s, I see the CR as an imperfect blessing. Mistakes were made and the flesh was strong, but had we not taken the stand we took, two things would be true:

          1) The SBC would be in the same state of decline as every other liberal denomination in America. Our statistical struggles today are tame compared to what they would be if we had allowed liberalism to finish its stranglehold on the denomination.

          2) I would not be Southern Baptist, so I wouldn’t care, I guess.

          We can acknowledge mistakes while still giving thanks that God rescued us from liberalism.

        • says

          I don’t have statistics at hand, but an observation of other denominations represented in my area that have aligned themselves with directly politically liberal issues (non-political issues like Word-of-Faith, Prosperity Gospel, etc. aside) are that those denominations have waned significantly as conservatives abandoned them once it became clear that the leadership was resistant to reform.

          There are other factors that contribute to these observations other than whether a denomination moves to allow theological adherence to aberrant social and political forces. For example, lower baptism rates could be a result of cultural trends in general aside from a denominational stance. The degree of accuracy we have in measuring these things is always questionable. What remains is whether we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel and making disciples according to an accurate understanding of the Bible regardless of how many people the Holy Spirit regenerates in the process. If we aren’t faithful to the scriptures then even if we were to gain more people, many may likely be unregenerate and our faithful proclamation subsequently diluted.

  6. Jon says

    On point number three regarding race/ethnicity, I took Dr. Mohler to mean there were no restrictions regarding race in the office of bishops and elders. In other words, a church who refuses to ordain a black man as pastor has no biblical ground to stand on, where as a church who refused to ordain a woman as pastor does.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says


      The lady-student with a foreign accent of African descent in the video also heard what I heard. This was the lady who wanted to be the first person to schedule an appointment with him to discusas women in ministry. She attempted to correct him on the subject of there being an absence of ethnic/racial distinctions addressed in the Bible. We both may have misunderstood him, but that’s what we heard. Thanks for sharing your perspective, though.

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says


      The lady-student with a foreign accent of African descent in the video also heard what I heard. This was the lady who wanted to be the first person to schedule an appointment with him to discuss women in ministry. She attempted to correct him on the subject of there being an absence of ethnic/racial distinctions addressed in the Bible. We both may have misunderstood him, but that’s what we heard. Thanks for sharing your perspective, though.

      • Dwight McKissic says


        May be right. At 1st opportunity I will view that section if the video again. I will also look at what the student said who addressed the remark in question. I will then respond. Thanks for giving me your rake on this.

        • Dave Miller says

          I have developed some measure of radar for racially insensitive comments. I thought Mohler was actually affirming the importance of racial reconciliation. If he was doing anything else, I completely misheard.

    • Dave Miller says

      Dwight, for what its worth, I listened to this a while back, and I think that Jon is accurately representing Mohler.

      He was saying that there is no biblical reason to restrict people from service on the basis of race, but that the Bible does set forth gender restrictions.

    • says

      Dwight, Jon, Dave:

      I took a moment to type up, verbatim, the exchange y’all are talking about here. Perhaps it will be helpful in bringing some clarity to the discussion of his comments regarding race. The exchange begins at 35:30.

      Male Student: “It sounds to me, what you’re saying about the women in ministry issue concerning ordination, that you’re creating at least two levels of ordination, and I was wondering where you were getting at. And secondly, if the convention is to lead and help us make decisions, as far as they’re not going to be ordaining women out there then maybe we should recognize that and you’re going to tell people that, well then what would your stance be—there would be an awful lot of churches out there that would never ordain an African American. What are you going to tell them?”

      Mohler: “Well, first, I don’t see it as the same issue. I do not see ethnic and racial issues as the same as gender issues. There are no texts in the New Testament to deal with in terms of racial issues as there are with women. I find absolutely no justification for any kind of delineation, distinction, or dichotomization among racial lines, and I’ve articulated that position for some time. There are ways, I believe, that Southern Baptists must respond to that in way that, given our history and our heritage, is perhaps our unique responsibility.” [Mohler and the student then continued the conversation on the issue of the ordination of women, without any further comment on the issue or race.]

      This was a follow-up question to his specific statements on New Testament texts concerning the ordination of women for the role of pastor. Thus, I think that a fair interpretation of his statement, taken in context, would be that Mohler was simply stating that, when it comes to the question of New Testament qualifications for the pastorate, there are no passages concerning race that are equivalent or analogous to the passages concerning women. He never said that the Bible, or even the New Testament, was silent on the race issue, only that there were no New Testament passages limiting the pastorate along the lines of race/ethnicity.

      • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

        Zach, Jon, and Dave,

        I stand corrected. I not only read Zach’s transcript(thank you Zach), I also looked at that section of the video again. The context clearly lends itself to the interpretation that Dave, Jon, and Zach suggest.

        Therefore, what I stated earlier was completely inaccurate regarding Mohler being misinformed regarding the presence of ethnic/racial , or rather the absence of ethnic/racial distinctions in the Bible. It was not my intent to speak ill or despairingly of Mohler. It is my responsibility to speak truthfully regarding him and all brothers and sisters. Inasmuch as I unintentionally failed in my responsibility, I admit my failure; apologize to Dr. Mohler for the misinterpretation of his words; and ask his and the readers of Voices forgiveness.

        Again, I appreciate you guys–and with some unusual energy/effort on the part of Zach–loving truth and the integrity of our communication on this blog enough to point out the error of my ways. I specifically ask the three of you to forgive me as well. Charge my error to my head, and not my heart.

        Finally, I also listened again to the lady of color, with an African or Caribbean accent, also address Dr. Mohler as if he said that there were no text in the Bible that dealt with racial/ethnic distinctions. She also misheard what I misheard. A lesson that I learned here is that, perhaps those of us who are people of color…our antenna goes up when race/ethnicity is being addressed. Consequently, we hear only that that pertains to the race/ethnic issue, and minimize-at least for the moment-the larger context. This was a valuable lesson that I learned. It also shows how members of different races may hear the exact same thing, but yet have differing interpretations. Thanks again. Deeply appreciate your loving me enough to correct me.

        • Pastor Bill says

          Brother Dwight,

          I realize I am more of an observer than anything else here at Voices. But I wanted to capitalize on this opportunity to thank you for your kind, humble, charitable writings and exchanges. And while I cannot speak for the others in this particular thread! your response here is but a small sample of what I am talking about. I do not see anything in your comments requiring an apology. Your comments were charitable and in good faith; you did not immediately jump to conclusions or dismiss a variant viewpoint. I perceive that others were willing to address you directly with helpful information because they trusted you to receive it well, and that is much to hour credit and to the honor of our Lord.

          Again, I only know you from a distance but everything I have witnessed from the blogosphere to the convention floor has always been in keeping with integrity and charity worthy of a messenger of the gospel. I praise God for men like yourself and am proud to consider you my brother in Christ.

          Grace and Peace to you.

        • Tarheel says

          Wow. Extremely gracious and well articulated apology. I have just learned from you, sir. Thanks for the godly example.

          I agree with your assessment that without larger context evaluation of brief comments one can end up with the wrong conclusions…

          I know I have jumped to wrong conclusions without sufficient context and proper analysis on more than one occasion.

        • Jon says

          Bro. Dwight,
          I don’t comment on here too often but I do read the blog a lot, and I certainly appreciate the insight and Christ-like additude that you bring.

        • says


          I’ll just echo what Pastor Bill, Tarheel, and Jon already said. I didn’t see anything in your original comment which requires an apology, but I do appreciate your public display of humility. I jumped into this discussion not to correct but to attempt to bring clarity to the issue. With open, extemporaneous dialogs like the one in this video, meaning and intent can often become hard to discern.

          • Dwight McKissic says

            Zach, Jon, Tarheel, Pastor Bill,

            I appreciate your pausing to acknowledge my apology. The transcript helped tremendously. Thanks again for it.

            For those of us who choose to dialogue via this blog, although many of us have never met each other, I think that it is very important than our conversation be respectful, honest, true-to the best of our knowledge, cordial, reasonable & fair. It was in that spirit that I felt compelled to apologize & set the record straight. It is easy for the well of communication to get poisoned if someone misrepresents another persons viewpoint. When that happens & it is made clear….it becomes then encumbent upon the one who misrepresented to acknowledge the error & correct it. This is what I attempted to do. But without Dave, Zach, & John pointing it out to me in a nonaccusatory fashion, I would not have even realized my mistake. Again, acknowledging the apology was something none you had to do, or were expected to do. But I appreciate what you’ve said regarding the apology.

  7. aaron says

    Great video. Glad to see the discussion was respectful. I wonder how different things would have been with the internet and blogging if this discourse would have happened today.

  8. says

    Brother Jared,

    Thank you for posting this video. Al Mohler has been a consistent voice for Southern for some time now, and listening to the beginning of the voice in the early 90’s remains consistent with what the tenets of that institution even today.

    The most important statement made by Mohler, in my opinion, is that “a seminary does not call Pastors, they train Pastors”. So very true! Seminaries and their political and philosophical moorings come and go. Of the three seminaries that I know best,.. Southwestern, Southern, and Masters, all of those seminaries have gone through good times and bad times relative to scriptural fidelity. The church is by mandate the only institution that is given authority to call Pastors, and it is that institution that retains that responsibility. The local church is actually the best opportunity over time to create seminarian fidelity,… so we should move more in that direction anyway.

    For now,…the best you will get from a seminary is the quality of the teacher at a specific time. In other words, that man or woman able to discern the scriptures in a consistent and accurate manner without political affiliation.

    Choose your education wisely.


  9. William Thornton says


    “Thus, during my years as a seminary student, I accepted the position that was presented as “standard,” scholarly, and acceptable. Worse than that, I actually helped lead a protest of the 1984 SBC resolution on women in ministry.

    Then, I also had to change my mind. Embarrassingly enough. I, too, was caught in the act of changing my mind.”

    Folks (Mohler and frank page for two) can and do change their minds.

    There’s no question that AM marshaled SBTS into and through a very turbulent time. It’s interesting to see comments for those who were too young. CB, myself et al will remember when inerrantists were not held in very high regard.

    • says

      It was a turbulent time for Baptist’s who held a high view of scripture. The cultural forays of the day were fast at work in the many seminaries during last 40 years of the Twentieth Century. It is great to see better scholarship and more consistent hermeneutic practice building within the SB seminaries. Politics continue to be pretty thick,..but it is becoming more difficult to defend a low view of scripture.


  10. Tarheel says

    Mohler has led SBTS and, yea even the SBC well….but The “battle for the Bible” is not over…even today….For example –

    Scripture is not only inerrant, but also sufficient and compete ….this is why those who claim to consistently hold those positions should oppose the announcements of new revelations and words of prophecy as they undermine those truths.

    It saddens me to see “inerrantists” by practice deny the sufficiency of scripture by embracing such undermining positions.

  11. says

    While I greatly respect people who differ, it is our responsibility to be honest and gracious in our disagreement.

    To argue, or even imply (as several did in the video and as many still do today), that “if you were a thinking, spirit-led, enlightened, and honest person you would see things my way.” That attitude is nothing but intellentucal and emotional bullying. God save us from our over-inflated sense of our own inerrancy (to which none of us are immune).

    Also arguing that God has told you anything without humility and accountability is completely arrogant. A temptation we must all constantly guard against, whether we are leading a church or a Sunday School class or discerning a calling.

    Just my two-cent after-watch thought.

    • John Botkin says

      Agreed. I hope if the situation were reversed today, SBTS students would project a different ethos and tone.

  12. Rick Patrick says

    “I want a Southern Seminary that is NOT JUST A PART OF the Southern Baptist Convention, but LEADS the Southern Baptist Convention.” (13:21)

    See, I just want it to be *a part of* the Southern Baptist Convention. I don’t think it is the role of a seminary to lead the convention.

    “I want us to fulfill the mission we’ve been charged by this denomination, and to do so with a level of excellence and effectiveness that ONLY SOUTHERN SEMINARY, perhaps, is capable of achieving.” (14:07)

    Why the exclusivity here? Why would Southern be the ONLY SEMINARY, perhaps, that could achieve this level of excellence and effectiveness? Why would it not be content to be one of a family of six seminaries equally committed to excellence and effectiveness?

    • Matt Svoboda says

      Come on, Rick… What do you expect the president to say?

      “I really hope we are just like every other seminary in the convention.”

      Of course not… You hire a president that wants to lead the seminary that wants to lead the convention.

      • Rick Patrick says

        What do I expect? Something like this…

        “We hope to SERVE Southern Baptists by providing outstanding theological EDUCATION to the students enrolled at Southern.”

        The focus would be on SERVING rather than LEADING. It would be on EDUCATION rather than the CONVENTION. It would set high goals for Southern without claiming to possess, perhaps, an exclusive level of excellence others are apparently incapable of achieving.

        Call me nit-picky all you want, but the words of Mohler’s vision are elitist.

        • Nick Horton says

          I’m not sure why this is debated. I had a lot to say and then I realized that it’s not going to change anyone’s mind. I, for one, am glad to attend a Boyce College with doctrinally sound faculty. I don’t have to agree lockstep with all of them on every issue of doctrine, but I do require they affirm orthodox Christian belief and hold the Scripture as inerrant and sufficient.

          That happened under Mohler at SBTS. Otherwise I might have to go somewhere else outside the convention, heck, at 34 I may have never stepped foot in a baptist church with a continued liberal presence in the seminaries.

    • Dave Miller says

      I would guess that if you looked at some of Paige’s inaugural statements at SWBTS, you could find similar nits to pick.

      • Rick Patrick says

        Feel free to peruse the article linked below. There are statements about educating students, but nothing about *leading the convention.* There are statements about the “highest educational standards” but nothing about excellence that *only Southwestern* could achieve.

        Sorry, Dave. Paige Patterson simply does not come across as an elitist. He did not make any remarks like Mohler’s.

  13. says

    Since the early 90’s … one thing that can be said for both Mohler and Patterson, is that their unique leadership styles have made long lasting impacts on both institutions. These men are actually standing closer theologically than they are apart, since they stand in the same room yet peering out different windows. Most of the excitement exists only as men and women enter the room eager to tap each of them on the shoulder.

    God’s call to ministry is not about tapping shoulders.


  14. says

    Whatever doctrinal differences I might have with Dr Mohler, I have great respect for him – not just a statement of respect as keeping with propriety but a genuine heartfelt respect. What his appointment symbolized at SBTS and the trust give him were huge in 1993.

    I am glad and blessed by his leadership. I am glad that he wanted to lead, even at that uncertain and tumultuous time. To lead the SBC does not mean the only leader or even the primary leader. It just means to stand up with other leaders and be faithful. And that is what that time required – leadership. I am glad that SBTS lead in the conservative resurgence and hat it leads (along wih other seminaries) in biblical fidelity and cultural engagement and training ministers and missionaries.

    I praise God for SBC leaders like Mohler, Patterson, Luter, and Page and I refuse to judge them on nonessential differences where disagreement is allowable. When I speak in disagreement I pray I will argue charitably and fairly and for the benefit of all – especially to the benefit of the one I disagree with. If I cannot speak with love and grace then I hope I will not speak at all.

  15. Andrew Green says

    I never knew Southern had a secret society! Gee I wonder why I was never invited to be apart of it?

    I was actually amazed at how brazen and brash the students were towards Dr. Mohler. It is amazing to think that I went to this same seminary only 12 years later. Dr. Mohler is an amazing leader and an amazing theologian. I look forward to his systematic theology coming out one day.

  16. Roger Simpson says


    Of course you never knew about the secret society. Why? Because it was a secret!!

    On a more serious note: What was going on with this so-called secret society? Who was in it and what was the purpose of it?


  17. says

    I was expecting something much worse in the video. I thought that the dialogue remained respectful and at no time did it turn ugly. There was candor and passion but not ugliness. One person mentioned Dr Mohler’s age at the time. I think he was 33, which I am right now. It’s hard for me to imagine me doing what he did at this point in my life, but it’s apparent that God gifted and anointed him for that very task. Praise God that we can do all of God’s will through Christ who strengthens us!