The presidential search team at the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary plan on presenting Dr. Jason Allen as their nominee to be the next president of the institution. The process has raised the ire of some bloggers, one in particular who has now at least twice posted a list of trustee addresses (which are publically available) while encouraging others to write and express their displeasure. One of the main issues is the desire of the search team and trustees to keep details of meetings and other aspects of the search process in confidence.
Part of the rally cry has been, “If you want us to trust you, you have to be more open.” In other words, lay your cards on the table and we’ll see if you’re trustworthy.
Trust tends to be one of those things in human nature that is hard to gain and easy to lose. It has almost become a cultural norm to expect ulterior motives. Surely people can’t operate, especially in secret, with the best plans and intentions in mind. And if they are truly trustworthy then why would they not want us to know the details of their thoughts and processes?
And we all can probably point to some time (multiple times?) in our lives where we have trusted someone only to have that trust shattered, leaving us hurt and harmed in some way or another.
And so, by nature and experience, we have become an untrusting people in an untrusting world. And that is sad.
In 1 Corinthians 13:7, Paul says, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” In light of the holiness, truth, and grace of God, love is to be the defining mark of us followers of Jesus. So much so, that Paul continues, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (13:13). Then as the Spirit inspires him to list the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, the first trait to flow from Paul’s pen is love. And let’s not forget what Jesus said about love: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).
By Paul’s definition, inherent in the nature of love is trust.
Now granted we should not be naïve. Look, Charlie, if Lucy keeps pulling the football away from you, quit trying to kick it. But the very fact that someone is a brother or sister in Christ should drive our first instinct to be that of love and trust, not suspicion and doubt.
When it comes to our denominational leadership, we believe, at least I hope we believe that these men and women are truly our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore we believe that what motivates them is the same thing that motivates us—a love for Christ and a desire to see God’s glory spread and people saved and discipled. Thus when a group of trustees, of brothers and sisters, ask for our trust, we, hoping and believing all things, should graciously offer it to them.
I have never met any of the current Midwestern trustees, but I have briefly met Jason Allen—he became a part of the leadership at SBTS while I was a student there. I know the upstanding character of Dr. Mohler and the men and women in leadership at Southern. I have seen their heart in action. Knowing that these are men and women who strive for godly character, and trusting that the MBTS trustees are brothers and sisters who do the same, I choose to trust them and the process, and am content letting them keep confidential what they feel should be kept confidential.