The whole situation at LC is a sad one. No matter which side one takes in this controversy, when allegations of dishonesty are being made at a Baptist institution, it is heartbreaking. Our desire in the interview was to shine light on this situation and to quote Alfred from the newest Batman, for “truth to have its day.” We attempted to do this by asking the questions that many have asked us about this controversy. Shining light on this situation is difficult since many questions are being left unanswered. But, here are a few reflections on the interview and the controversy:
- Calvinism & Hyper-Calvinism: Dr. Aguillard states that he believes “Hyper-Calvinism” is antithetical to the BFM2000, but when asked what Hyper-Calvinism is, he did not give a direct definition. However, as you listen to the interview when these questions come up, it seems there are some things that he believes are characteristic of Hyper-Calvinism:
- Unconditional Election– It seems as though he believes that unconditional election is antithetical to the BFM2000 and is a tenet of Hyper-Calvinism. He states that someone who believes God chooses a certain group of people ahead-of-time for salvation would not be comfortable on the faculty of LC. Based on this statement, it seems as though Adoniram Judson would not be welcomed to teach missions at LC nor would Charles Spurgeon be welcome to teach preaching nor anyone who holds to Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement/Particular Redemption– Also, it seems that anyone who agrees with Limited Atonement would not be welcomed to teach at LC. So, it would seem that James Boyce could not teach at LC.
- All 5 Points of the TULIP– It seems at one point in the interview that Dr. Aguillard equated Hyper-Calvinism with a traditional baptistic Calvinist who affirms all 5 points of the TULIP. This is problematic.
- The free offer of the gospel to all people– Dr. Aguillard seems to imply that TULIP Calvinists are not in favor of the free offer of the gospel to all people. This is an unfair mischaracterization of what Calvinism teaches. For example, Dr. Mohler made it clear at the Baptist21 panel that anyone against the free offer of the gospel is a Hyper-Calvinist and an enemy of the gospel. We don’t know a 5-point Calvinist who is against the free offer of the gospel to all people.
- If this is truly the position at LC (I could have been hearing him wrongly), then it would seem that the vision of LC going forward is not in line with the vision of Frank Page’s committee on Calvinism in the SBC which affirmed that Calvinists and non-Calvinists can work side-by-side.
- The question of whether or not this was the reason why the 3 professors’ contracts were not renewed was not answered. But, if holding to Particular Redemption or Unconditional Election was the cause, then it is disappointing because they were hired holding positions that the BFM2000 allows and then were let go after short tenure despite being in-line with the school’s stated doctrinal statement.
- It is perfectly acceptable for an institution to not hire Calvinists (though it would be incompatible with the Calvinism committee’s vision of unity). What is not acceptable is having an unstated litmus test for theological beliefs. If LC doesn’t want Calvinist professors then they need to adopt a new statement of faith that disallows Calvinism or President Aguillard as the authority who holds profs accountable needs to write an explanation of the BFM2000 from his perspective that clearly lays out what is and is not acceptable at LC. This will allow Louisiana Baptists, prospective students, prospective faculty members and donors to know in print where LC stands on these issues.
- Reflections on the controversy:
- Professor of the Year Award- It seems that Ryan Lister did receive the most votes from the student body as professor of the year and was denied the award because the administration determined that students rallied people to vote for him.
- Yes/No Questions- It was disappointing that many yes/no questions were not really answered, but due to the nature of personnel issues and closed-door sessions it is unlikely that people will ever get some of the answers they are looking for.
- Moving forward, I would like to hear from the Cason Foundation. Dr. Aguillard alleges in the interview that they never made a $60 million pledge. How much did they pledge? And, what are their thoughts on things as they stand now?
- I would also like to hear from the Board of Trustees. Why did they not meet with the Cason Foundation to allow them to voice their concerns? Were the whistleblowers (two high level administrators) allowed to meet with the board to share their side of this controversy? If not, why not hear all sides of the issue?
In the end, my prayer for all involved in for truth to prevail, those hurt to be healed, and that LC be used for God’s glory in all nations.