The Southern Baptist Convention was rocked Monday as Dr. Russell Fuller exposed harassment of conservatives, theological liberalism and other problems at Al Mohler’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). Here are the five biggest bombshells from the interview. (You can read our longer form report here: Whistleblower: ‘Dangerous’ theology taught at Al Mohler’s SBTS seminary.)
A new hire at SBTS teaches the Bible contradicts itself and the non-historicity of the Book of Job
For defenders of biblical inerrancy, the interview raised several issues of concern. Dr. Fuller said a new hire at SBTS taught the Bible contradicts itself.
“He’s really saying the Bible is contradicting the Bible,” Dr. Fuller said of SBTS hire Dominick Hernandez.
Specifically, Dr. Fuller said Dr. Hernandez teaches the Book of Job repudiates other biblical wisdom teachings, that the author of the Book of Job believed Ancient Near Eastern mythology, and denied the historicity of Job.
Dr. Fuller provided these four conclusions about Dr. Hernandez’s work:
- Hernandez teaches that the authors of Scripture believed in mythological beings and taught about these beings to urge people to turn from wickedness.
- That author of Job expresses his views through the “speeches” of Job and his friends. The speeches of Job and his friends, therefore, are non-historical, which suggests that the book is also non-historical.
- That the author of Job (through Job), “critiques,” “dissents,” “has harsh words,” and “presents the contrary to that which was generally considered to be wise in the Bible.” These statements logically demand that the Bible contradicts itself. Furthermore, the doctrine of divine retribution developed and became prevalent later in the Jewish community. The Old Testament teaches otherwise.
- Hernandez believes that the Ancient Near Eastern materials are “indispensable” to translate and interpret the Bible competently. Moreover, Ancient Near Eastern myths sometimes furnish better sources for interpreting the Bible than other biblical passages interpreting the Bible
Albert Mohler knew about these allegations
Dr. Fuller said that SBTS was fully informed about these issues with Dr. Hernandez’s work. He brought these issues to the attention of other faculty, Dean Hershael York and even the seminary president.
According to Dr. Fuller, “President Mohler knew of these concerns when he interviewed Dominick Hernandez. He hired him anyway. When I was summoned to meet with Mohler, Hall, and York May 22, 2019, Mohler defended Hernandez by saying that everyone in my department disagrees with me. York also told me a couple of times that I had misread Hernandez’s work and that everyone disagrees with me. Sadly, neither Mohler, York, or anyone else on the faculty has made a serious attempt to demonstrate that my reading of Hernandez is inaccurate.”
Dr. Fuller was harassed by the SBTS administration
Dr. Fuller was a 22-year veteran professor. He taught Hebrew and is one of the most respected in the field. However, when Dr. Fuller brought concerns to the attention of Southern Seminary’s leadership, he was harassed.
Fuller said he was “given letters of official reprimand” for bringing up problematic teachings of professors at SBTS. Fuller affirmed there was an attempt to intimidate him. He said his job was threatened for standing against the Leftward Drift.
“I stood up against Critical Race Theory that is being taught there and Social Justice. And not only that. There are other things being taught there like postmodernism. I stood up against that and I think there was a price to be paid for that.”
SBTS offered a few months of severance in exchange for permanent silence
Dr. Russell Fuller and others including Dr. Jim Orrick were offered non-disparagement and non-disclosure agreements. These agreements offered a few extra months of pay and benefits in exchange for perpetual silence about SBTS.
GoFundMe created for Dr. Russell Fuller & Dr. Jim Orrick
Since two professors refused to promise perpetual silence in exchange for silence, Dr. Tom Ascol announced the creation of a GoFundMe to benefit Drs. Russell Fuller and Jim Orrick.
As of 7 p.m. Monday, May 18, 2020, 49 donors have given $5,204 of the $40,000 goal.
Both Dr. Fuller and Dr. Orrick refused to sign an agreement that “Requires those who sign it to promise never to “make any public or private statements (whether oral or in writing) that are derogatory or damaging to Southern Seminary, or any of its administration, faculty or staff, except as required in response to a subpoena, court order, or other legal compulsion….,” according to Dr. Tom Ascol.