Judge for yourself: Who is telling the truth? Audio, transcripts and emails released.
Tapes verify Lopez told that ERLC held him in low regard.
Dean allegedly on tape told Lopez that Southwestern didn’t want the attention his writings on sex abuse would bring to the seminary and if he continued such public teaching that Lopez would likely need to find other employment.
Provost says seminary holds to biblical sexual view.
Was Lopez’s real sin a violation of the SBC’s 11th Commandment in angering the powerful ERLC?
What you need to know about the scandal at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary involving Professor Robert Lopez and SWBTS adminstration
A dispute between and employee and employer can be messy. It is especially messy when employer and employee tell different stories of what caused a termination. This is true of the case between Southwestern and Robert Lopez. Here’s what we know:
Lopez was very involved fighting the gay agenda. According to the American Family Association, “Lopez had been active in writing and speaking about the dangers of the Equality Act and abuse in the gay community. And he had drafted and submitted a resolution to the SBC supporting counseling to help lead people out of homosexuality. These were all apparently giant no-nos for the SBC, which according to Lopez has embraced the ‘Revoice’ ideology. Revoice is a radical movement to promote normalization and acceptance of LGBTQ terms within the church – creating a slippery slope which many believe will lead to full-blown acceptance of homosexuality.
Lopez claims he was fired because of his insistence he would obey God rather than men and continue to teach against the sins of homosexuality. SWBTS claims he was fired because of curricula changes and internal issues including complaints from faculty and students.
Transcripts and audio of the meetings purportedly between Southwestern Professor Robert Lopez and Dean Michael Wilkinson and between Lopez and SWBTS Provost Randy Stinson were released today (December 6, 2019.) The release included supporting documents including emails sent by Lopez outlining the dispute over articles written by Lopez on matters of national importance, specifically, issues of abuse in the gay community and how Christians should stand for biblical orthodoxy on sexuality.
The transcripts and tapes prove a key element of the allegations. Specifically, SWBTS provost Randy Stinson mentions the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was unhappy with Dr. Lopez.
According to a transcript and audio allegedly of Stinson, “Then, I happen to be around some folks from the ERLC, where your reputation is not good there with those folks. So now there’s a growing concern of mine in terms of a failure to relate constructively to another major entity of the SBC. Which in turn compounds the problem of failure to relate constructively to this institution.”
Why was the ERLC unhappy? Lopez attributes this to his longstanding and public differences over how Christians should view sexuality. What other issue would the ERLC have against Lopez? Would they even know Lopez were it not for his opposition to Revoice and similar theological issues?
Lopez claims the disputes between himself and the administration centered on the ability to share his personal testimony at conferences, other speaking events and through essays or interviews.
According to the voluminous story revealing the transcripts, emails and other data is this summary statement worth quoting: “All the statements, interviews and publications that generated conflict regarded LGBT issues and sex abuse issues. There is literally no record Lopez can find of sustained conflict with the administration of any other kind.” However, Stinson in the transcript tells Lopez the content isn’t the issue. This becomes the crux of the dispute—Southwestern wants to make the dispute with Lopez into administrative procedures, but Lopez is correct that everything the administration objected to involved his ministry on LGBTQ issues.
The Greenway Administration is on tape telling Lopez the school didn’t want the attention his speaking about sex abuse in the gay community would bring to the seminary. That’s a major and stunning admission. The tapes show the school claiming biblical orthodoxy on the issue, but not wanting attention that would come to it if its professors spoke up in defense of biblical sexual standards.
According to the transcript of the September 13 meeting, “Dean Mike Wilkinson: The other thing is the article you wrote. Here’s the expectation of the administration. I think they were [inaudible 00:19:17] that you getting off social media was a good thing, that from that point, you were going to focus on the drama club and your courses, your academic work, and not be involved in other areas. [inaudible 00:19:37] I know that they don’t want that attention coming here.Robert Lopez: “I can’t give it up.”
Mike Wilkinson: “And I understand that. It’s probably going to come down to if that’s an area where you really feel like you need to fight, understand what I’m saying here because I’m not giving you an ultimatum, but it may come down to if that’s an area you want to fight, they’re not going to want to have that fight take place from here.”
In one part of the transcript, the Provost tells Lopez this whole issue is not about content and that the seminary holds a similar view on sexuality to Lopez’s stance.
However, Stinson then redirects the conversation back to the view of an outside entity—the ERLC. From the transcript, Randy Stinson: “I’m not asking you to deny your Christian testimony. I’ve never done that. I’ve never told anybody else to deny you that. So this isn’t about your Christian witness in my mind. It is about your just relationship to this administration. Repeatedly. And even your relationship to another entity of the SBC.”
Stinson indicated he wanted Lopez’s work to be reviewed based on several criteria. These included how SBC entities, leaders and others within the denomination might feel about Lopez’s writings. According to the transcript, “Randy Stinson: There are multiple factors…Who the audience is. The venue. What’s being said. How is it being said? [crosstalk 00:32:19] If it is going to be received poorly by the entity that pays the bills here, in terms of SBC.”
There is a lot more in the transcripts. Pages and pages. Read it and decide for yourself. Who is in the right? Lopez? Southwestern? Both? Neither? Share your thoughts.
TAKEAWAY: Why would it matter what the ERLC thought of a professor working at Southwestern? Is Russell Moore that powerful?