For three and a half years, Adam Greenway led a purge at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with the notable firings of Bobby Lopez and David Allen. Brought in to replace Paige Patterson, Adam Greenway oversaw a transition period at SWBTS, installed many allies and purged many conservatives. On Friday, it was announced that he had resigned and taken a position at the International Mission Board.
In a statement, the trustees of SEBTS announced:
The Executive Committee voted to extend an invitation to Southern Baptist leader O.S. Hawkins to serve as acting president. Further details about his appointment will be announced early next week. Hawkins is president-emeritus of Guidestone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention and a two-time alumnus of Southwestern Seminary. The Board of Trustees is expected to name a Presidential Search Committee during its next meeting, Oct. 17-18.
The announcement is perhaps an attempt to dissuade the rumors about how voluntary this resignation was.
“These days are incredibly challenging in the life of our denomination,” said Greenway. “They are also challenging times for academic institutions, particularly theological seminaries. In February 2019, Carla and I accepted the call to come back ‘home’ to Southwestern Seminary with an understanding of these challenges, but also with the strong desire to be part of the solution. What we failed to appreciate was the enormity of the reputational, legal, and financial realities that would welcome us to the Dome—only to be compounded by a global pandemic unlike anything we have ever experienced before. We have done our best to serve Southern Baptists by helping position our seminary for the future, but much, much work remains to be done. Nevertheless, in the Providence of God we sense a release from our duties here.”
He also spoke about his new role with the IMB.
“We will continue to serve Southern Baptists as we have throughout the course of our lives and ministry,” said Greenway. “We believe our next assignment is not a departure from but a continuation along the journey God has always had us walk. We are thrilled that we are going to help prepare Southern Baptist missionaries for their work of addressing the world’s greatest problem—spiritual lostness—with God’s solution, which is the gospel of Christ. As we look forward to beginning a new chapter with Southern Baptists’ favorite entity, the International Mission Board, we ask for your prayers for us in this season of transition, and we pledge our continued prayers and support for our beloved ‘crown jewel.’”
Framing this as a positive, Greenway will move to the IMB where he may not have as much influence as a sitting president of a seminary, unless he’s in a prominent role.
Undoubtedly, he made enemies at SWBTS, a fact exacerbated by likely financial hits resulting from Paige Patterson’s ousting. SWBTS is months away from a replacement that will show us whether the trustees want turn back from the convention’s dissent into liberalism.