Thursday, June 14, 2018

About the Presidential Succession at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

For the three people in the Southern Baptist Convention who ever thought this might be a good idea (Hi, Mom!), I want to declare early and definitively that I will in no way whatsoever be a candidate for the presidency at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I hereby offer my Sherman Statement: If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve.

It's not that I would find the assignment distasteful. To everyone who has mentioned it (Hi, Mom!), I'm deeply flattered. If there is a man among us who doesn't have an ego, it isn't me. My ego loves the idea that anyone would think of me in that way. What's more, I love SWBTS, love the mission of SWBTS, love the students of SWBTS, and love the faculty of SWBTS. I'd be in the middle of the school I love, giving of myself to lead it. I think I'd enjoy that. Whoever steps into the helm at SWBTS steps into a blessing, in my opinion. What's more, I think I wouldn't entirely stink at it. But I will not in any way entertain the idea.

My reasoning is simple. I have played an instrumental and public role in causing the office of the president to become vacant. It strikes me as unseemly for anyone involved in vacating an office such as this one subsequently to fill it. Such happenings fuel conspiracy theories and undermine confidence in our polity and our convention entities, and I want no part in doing that. There are people who can do as good a job or better who have in no way whatsoever been involved in this. I love the school too much not to defer to one of those other potential leaders, whoever they may be, such that the transition is clean and above reproach (a good, important, biblical word).

What's more, I'm happy at First Baptist Church of Farmersville. If you're happy, stay happy.

It's not just the presidency, by the way. I do not plan to join the faculty, join the administration, or any other such thing. I plan to be (very soon) the former trustee who hangs around at campus events and who gives his widow's mite to the school. I'd leave the door open maybe after my term of service as a trustee has come to an end to teach the occasional adjunct class as I did before I was a trustee, if anyone would have me.

Why make this declaration? Because Southern Baptists can sometimes be a rumor-loving, conspiracy-imagining people. We're better when we don't do that, and I want to be a part of making us better.


Bob Cleveland said...

Very good, most appropriate, and well spoken, sir.

Unknown said...

But you could hire some excellent female adjunct profs. My mom has a recommendation. ��


rick white said...

To my knowledge I don't think I have had the pleasure to meet you. I was not in Dallas but I watched most of the proceedings on line and prayed especially for SWBTS and all involved. I spent two terms on the board at SBTS and served in multiple positions including my last three years as Chairman. I was Dr. Mohler's chairman his first three years at Southern and you know the history of those days. I pastored FBC Franklin (aka The Peoples Church for almost 33 years). I shared all of that just for the purpose of mutual identification with you.

When you stepped to the mic on Wednesday and spoke to the SBC I don't know that I have ever witnessed a more courageous act in all my years of ministry. I know of your deep love for Dr. Patterson and I am sure that your heart was conflicted and broken. You demonstrated a level of integrity that will serve as a model for generations to come. You have my utmost respect.

I will continue praying for you, the Patterson's, and all the SWBTS family as you walk into the future.

Blessings friend,
Rick White

Mary Smith Shelnut said...

Thank you for the wisdom and foresight to write this statement. And for the courage and integrity you demonstrated at the SBC 2018 convention. I, too, watched and prayed fervently for you and all SWBTS EC and Trustees. May God lead us to deeper communion with Him as we commit to love Him and one another better.

Christiane said...

Quo vadis?

the Good Lord has a way of confronting you if you try to run away from where you are needed most during a critical time in the Church, Pastor Barber

if you hear the Lord call your name, stop and receive His gift of courage to do what He calls you to do, even if it is a sacrifice on your part

LivingDust said...

As a Southern Baptist, I was saddened by the SWBTS Trustee decisions regarding Dr. Paige Patterson. Because of Dr. Paige Patterson’s stand on the Word of God and other issues, he has many long-term enemies. I’m sure they continue today in celebrating his removal and public humiliation. Pastor Barber, you can be sure of this - there are Christ-following men who disagree with your public statements, disagree with SWBTS Trustee decisions, and unapologetically stand with Dr. Patterson. Mark Jumper, Kingwood Texas (

Lee said...

I can't imagine a more difficult task for a group of Southern Baptists anywhere than finding a president for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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