The non-renewal of the contracts of Kevin McFadden, Ryan Lister, and Jason Hiles caused a real stir a few months back. This was especially true since the non-renewals coincided with public statements from President Aguillard about his position against “hyper-Calvinism”. It was assumed by all that the non-renewal had to do with the tensions between Arminian and Calvinist camps within the Louisiana Baptist Convention. As more information became available and further conversations where had it became clear to me that Calvinism, at least in the case of Jason Hiles, was used as a smoke screen to hide that Aguillard was trying to hurt Dr. Quarles for blowing the whistle. Aguillard chose to attack Quarles by attacking those under him. It is a little less clear with Mcfadden and Lister if the primary motivation was hurting Quarles or if they simply got caught in the situation and it was more theological for them. If it was theological, it was also misplaced to fight over a secondary doctrine, or tertiary as McFadden argues.
McFadden is the first of the three religion professors to speak publicly since this situation came to light. It comes as no surprise that he waited until today to speak as when I spoke out two years ago I was immediately banned from campus.
The Article written by McFadden was posted today on SBC Voices. In the article McFadden takes the measured tone that is appropriate for a theologian in his situation but at the same time he does not pull any punches. Here are a few of the more potent quotes:
Is hyper-Calvinism outside of the Baptist Faith and Message? Yes, and it should be. Hyper-Calvinism is the idea that the gospel should not be offered freely to all people. This doctrine is not within the bounds of our confession. Let me say this clearly: Calvinism is not the same thing as hyper-Calvinism. Any person who says the two are the same is either ignorant or lying.
The problem at Louisiana College is not a lack of integrity in the professors who are leaving. I have worked hand in hand with these colleagues for the past three years. They are not sinless, but they are people of integrity. The problem at Louisiana College is a remarkable lack of integrity among the leadership of the college and the leadership of Louisiana Baptist Convention. And I think this lack of integrity is rooted in something deeper I have observed in the Southern Baptist Convention—a culture of flattery and glad-handing and even outright lying for the sake of personal or political gain.
Let me close with a historical perspective from the Northern Baptist Convention. Conservative Baptists in the North fought against those who denied first level doctrines. But they lost, and they separated from the convention. Unfortunately, many of them didn’t stop separating. After fighting the battles over first level doctrines, they kept dividing and dividing, many times over doctrines that were really matters of indifference.
And this is what some who opposed the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention prophesied would happen. They said in effect that if you cause divisions over first level doctrines, then the divisions will never stop. This prophecy is beginning to come true. I hope you will see that the situation at Louisiana College didn’t have to happen, and it doesn’t have to happen in the future.
Read McFadden’s entire article here.
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