Theologically Sound. Culturally Relevant.

Adam Greenway Soyjak Meme

SWBTS Purges Another Conservative Professor

Adam Greenway has fired many legacy professors from the Patterson administration of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. However, only two pastors have spoken out against the actions undertaken by Adam Greenway and his mistreatment of staff. The first was Dr. Bobby Lopez. The second is David Allen. On July 29th, David Allen would go public against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, an institution which he has devoted much of his life.

SWBTS published their counter statement. (Emphasis added)

Southwestern Seminary is grateful for David Allen’s years of service to the institution and our students and was disappointed that Dr. Allen refused continued service when offered the opportunity to serve as a Senior Professor. Since beginning my service as Provost on February 15th of this year, I have been closely involved in the conversations regarding Dr. Allen’s relationship to the Seminary. I am grieved that Dr. Allen has chosen to publish a statement that so brazenly misrepresents these conversations and the Seminary’s action.

Contrary to Dr. Allen’s portrayal, the role of Senior Professor is a position of honor for faculty members who have served a significant period of time in their roles. At Southwestern Seminary, this position is held by individuals like Craig Blaising, Jack Terry, Ken Hemphill, Dan Crawford, and more. It is unfortunate that Dr. Allen suggests that the service these men continue to render to Southwestern Seminary is second-class service. 

In recent months, it has become clear that Dr. Allen desires to devote his best time and energy to ministry endeavors outside of Southwestern Seminary, including his new Preaching Coach ministry. While we are grateful for Dr. Allen’s ministry through Preaching Coach, in order to best steward the resources of Southwestern Seminary, it was determined that it was best that this new endeavor be pursued in a role that relieved him of full-time faculty and administrative obligations. As all of our full-time faculty know, the expectations placed on them are significant and would be impossible to fulfill if they were devoting significant time and energy to building outside platforms and ministries. We rejoice when the Lord places new callings upon the hearts of his servants, but these new callings, and the time commitments involved, often require adjustments to our previous commitments. The offer of a Senior Professor role provided a way for the Seminary to honor Dr. Allen while he was also provided the time to pursue new professional opportunities. While it was necessary to change the nature of his faculty service, to be clear, it was Dr. Allen who chose to separate himself completely from faculty service at Southwestern Seminary. 

In a special called meeting of the Board of Trustees held via Zoom on June 3, 2022, the administration’s handling of all personnel matters regarding Dr. Allen were reviewed by the seminary’s governing board. The Board affirmed the administration’s determination that Dr. Allen had written to President Greenway a de facto letter of resignation from Southwestern Seminary and affirmed the administration’s decision to accept Dr. Allen’s resignation from Southwestern Seminary, effective July 31, 2022. The Board further affirmed the administration’s decision to deem Dr. Allen’s full salary and benefits received during the 2021-22 academic/fiscal year as severance, thereby releasing him from his institutionally-owed post-sabbatical service obligations.

While we would have preferred that Dr. Allen continue his service as Senior Professor, I fully support the way in which Dr. Greenway has handled this situation and stand behind the decision to accept Dr. Allen’s resignation from the faculty of Southwestern Seminary, effective July 31, 2022. We wish Dr. Allen the best in his future endeavors, including his ongoing supervision of doctoral students at Southwestern Seminary.

Benjamin M. Skaug, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Administration

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

There are glaring contradictions in these accounts.  A (leaked?) letter penned by David Allen back on May 28 provides more context for Allen’s relatively tame press release. The statement by SWBTS claims that Allen’s ministry Preaching Coach was a professional distraction from his duties as a seminary professor that Allen is pursuing in lieu of continuing with SWBTS. But Allen’s letter to Adam Greenway sharply rebukes this notion.

In short, every time I step into a pulpit I serve as an ambassador first of Christ, and second of the Seminary. PreachingCoach has been ancillary at best to those priorities, despite your efforts to now assert otherwise.

Fired Not Retired

In technical terms, David Allen repeats on multiple occasions what the process for becoming a “senior professor” is and entails. 

To be clear, had I been informed prior to my sabbatical my full-time employment would be terminated and I would be unilaterally moved to retirement status upon completion and owe the Seminary two years of service to repay the sabbatical, without fulltime salary, I would have never accepted the sabbatical leave. That interpretation of “seminary policy” was never considered, proposed, or discussed with me, the trustees who approved my sabbatical, or anyone in your administration. This makes sense, as no one would under such conditions ever request let alone accept a sabbatical.

For these reasons, I consider your actions toward me to be unethical, illegal, and frankly, unchristian. Our subsequent conversations and communications have done nothing to change my conclusion. In fact, they have only heightened my convictions.

Towards the end of the letter, Allen would succinctly summarize the events as:

Essentially, what you have done is fire me, proposed to turn around and re-hire me under a new title and in a role of retirement, yet obligate me to faculty service as if I were full-time, and all for the pay an adjunct faculty member receives for teaching on a contract basis. That you consider such an arrangement respectful, equitable, or even Christian, is beyond me.

David Allen is understandably displeased with the “your fired, now retire” arrangement and on many occasions points out how the position is voluntary upon choosing to retire. He cites the seminaries faculty manual on sabbaticals and retirements to support his arguments in no uncertain terms. The SWBTS considered Allen’s refusal to accept a senior professor job as a de facto resignation.

Adam Greenway’s Purge Continues

David Allen was a longtime professor at SWBTS, and he characterizes Adam Greenway, based on his own alleged words, as distrusting of people he did not specifically hire. While the letter did not stray into cases like Bobby Lopez, it did touch on how Greenway specifically wanted to change Allen’s role.

On March 6, 2020, when in our meeting in the Provost’s office, you informed me that you were granting my sabbatical request, and would be recommending my sabbatical to the Board of Trustees. Notably, you did not say anything about a change in my status upon my return. In that meeting you also informed me of your decision to close the School of Preaching. You said the decision was not punitive, did not reflect negatively on my performance, and was a matter of a difference in organizational philosophy from the previous administration. Additionally, you stated that although I would no longer serve as Dean, you would not be reducing my salary. You stated I would retain my current salary, “in appreciation for my service past and present to the Seminary.” I thanked you for your kindness in this. Imagine my utter astonishment when, three weeks to the day later, March 27 at 4:45 pm, I was informed by the Provost by phone that my salary was being cut after all, effective immediately—a total cut of 25% (23% salary and the loss of 2% annuity income). I was told the decision was final. When I requested that the Seminary wait until the new academic year began on August 1 for the salary cut to go into effect, I was told “no,” but that the effective date would be May 8. I considered then, and I consider now, such action a breach of promise and a lack of integrity. It is especially grievous to me that after 18 years of service to the seminary, my current salary is significantly below my starting salary 18 years earlier.

The SWBTS statement made no mention of the salary reduction while also implying that Allen’s moonlighting was the reason for his departure. Additionally, it is clear that the job title and function that David Allen held was terminated. He had no position at SWBTS when offered the senior professor role.

Devoured By The System He Upheld

David Allen may be a theological conservative. Indeed many theological conservatives have rallied around him. But he has consistently defended corrupt institutions, particularly against Christians calling out wokeness in Southern Baptist seminaries.

David Allen tweeted his defense of SWBTS (during his sabbatical) while seminary president, Adam Greenway was attacking the Enemies Within The Church documentary. His defense of SWBTS against the accusations of Marxism while the Enemies Within The Church documentary featured an interview with Bobby Lopez who was fired and mistreated by Adam Greenway brings a level of irony to this story.

David Allen’s firing from SWBTS may be a sequel to the firing and subsequent slander of Bobby Lopez, but David Allen was a company man who had far greater faith in the institutions that would ultimately spit him out.

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