MABTS was a new, different kind of Southern Baptist seminary in 1978 when I matriculated. I persevered through three plus years of seminary education, complete with Greek and Hebrew. It was a great time. I graduated in 1981.
Gray Allison, founder and president at the time (he died in 2019) was a great man by any measure. He started the seminary with nothing – no money, no Cooperative Program, no denominational backing, just an idea for an alternative to the six SBC seminaries. Somehow he made it work.
Now, MABTS is a partner with the Conservative Baptist Network. Fine. I understand appealing to a niche to gain enrollment and financial support. I would wish them well, though two decades after the Conservative Resurgence all six SBC seminaries are conservative.
When I looked at a seminary education 35 years ago as an SBC neophyte, Southwestern was always said to be the most conservative. Friends of mine attended there. I went to MABTS. That school is featured in the weird, conspiratorial film trailer promoted by the CBN that is being shown on the Mid-America campus. Absurd!
Adrian Rogers, arguably the greatest Southern Baptist of my lifetime is also featured in the film trailer. Adrian has been dead for sixteen years. I don’t have the words to describe my feelings about his image being hijacked to promote this Marxist scare film.
The CBN has always been a bit of a clown act although there are some that I respect. Haven’t we had enough of this, brethren? Support for former SBC leaders like Patterson and Pressler was solid until it simply became too embarrassing for reputable people to continue to be identified with them. That path is well-travelled, CBNers. Keep going and you’ll get there.
One feature of MABTS was the school song, “To all the world for Jesus’ sake…”, robustly sang at all alumni gatherings by throngs of male grads – the few, the proud. One line in the song advocated, “His love proclaim, Mid-America bear His Name.”
Might need a rewrite on that.
Gray Allison had a firm rule: no public criticism of SBC entities, the Cooperative Program, or the SBC in general. I was present when he stopped a chapel speaker who violated that. It is unthinkable that Dr. Gray would sit still for a movie on his seminary campus like the one coming Saturday.
I’m going to have to get my profile here on SBC Voices changed. Working on that.
The independent, though thoroughly Southern Baptist, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, TN is often confused with Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the six SBC seminaries, in Kansas City, MO. MABTS is the one that is partnering with the CBN.
What this retired pastor would like is an SBC without melodrama. Aren’t there enough lost people in the world to find a way to get along and cooperate. This kind of thing is death to cooperation. Our two main entities, IMB and NAMB, are receiving record offerings, doing great. Let’s not mess up with silly movies and blatant, even vile, self interest.