Recently the story broke about the enrollment of a Muslim student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The story causes anyone familiar with SWBTS to pause in bewilderment as to way the seminary has decided to make such an apparent compromise. To be frank and to the point, compromise is precisely what this is— secular media also taking notice of the compromise, the story was
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. There is simply no good explanation for the decision by SWBTS to open its doors to Muslim and consequently Mormon students (with more students apparently on the way). There are monumental concerns here. How is it possible for a Baptist Seminary to move in this direction? What are the theological compromises that have been made in order to make this decision a reality? Is the seminary really that desperate for students that they are now recruiting Muslims and Mormons? Should the seminary now open the doors to every other religion; paganism? Hinduism, Buddhism? Satanism (so long as they agree to abide by simple “moral code of conduct”)?
This is the logical demise of syncretism. It also brings up another question of massive practical importance; namely, that of the responsive local church. Should local churches who object to such a decision continue to support the Southern Baptist Convention or protest it until it gets its act together? This is an extremely relevant point because the inclusion of Muslim students is a decision which has been viewed by the seminary as a way to enhance itself and the Southern Baptist movement general but may in actuality be detrimental to it. Irony of Ironies! Remarkably the president of the seminary Paige Patterson seems to suggest that admission to the archaeology department is not all that important and that he has made such exceptions before. The fact that he is enrolling in the archaeology department should not be surprising to anyone. After all, where else should this Muslim student begin to study? At the theology department? New Testament department? Apologetics department? Of course not, he is simply using the school for his personal ends but in the process he is advancing the cause of Dawa and the Muslim infiltration of the West. Patterson’s reason for making this exception includes the fact that the Muslim man got along with other SBWTS students abroad. But this should not at all be a factor in allowing this Muslim man to enroll at SBWTS. Pray for him, evangelize him, show him the love of God; but by no means take him in and make him part of the student body.
This decision goes against the standard policy of the seminary, which means this was a unilateral decision made by the president himself.
Patterson has clearly decided it is no longer necessary to profess faith in Jesus Christ in order to be a student at SWBTS; something a devout Muslim simply cannot do.
This is an unfortunate decision indeed. It is unfortunate because as with all compromise it is never in a vacuum and scarcely remains alone; there will always be copycats that take the issue further the next time around. In an age where religious freedom is constantly under attack, where the “Gay Christian” is on the rise, same-sex marriage is being legalized and celebrated everywhere—now is certainly not the time (and never should it be) to do away with the distinctions of the Gospel and the Church of the Triune God of Scripture. The reality is that the infiltration of Islam into the higher institutions of learning in the Christian world is like a dream come true for those engaged in Dawa and spreading the Muslim cause. Like it or not, Patterson’s decision is helping Islam, it is opening doors to Muslims, and furthermore it is setting a low standard for other seminaries around the world. We can only hope and pray that Southwestern changes their decision and preserves and upholds the written policies of the school.
Emilio Ramos is the preaching pastor of Heritage Grace Community Church. Pastor Emilio is committed to the expository and exegetical teaching of the Word of God. Emilio is also the author of Convert, From Adam to Christ and the founder of redgracemedia.com- a media ministry devoted to the glory of God’s redemptive grace through Jesus Christ. He and his wife Trisha live in Dallas, TX.