Why are seminary students held to a higher standard than the last two Presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention?
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) prohibits the use of Docent Research Group and similar outside research assistance for its students seeking advanced degrees including the M.Th. and degrees requiring a dissertation.
The SBTS integrity statement reads, “I, ________________________ , hereby affirm that the following [thesis/project/dissertation] is comprised entirely of my own, original research except where explicitly noted. To the best of my knowledge, this work does not contain nor was it produced using any unauthorized resources including but not limited to (1) uncited published or unpublished material created by someone other than myself, (2) third-party research (other than explicitly identified qualitative analysis) compiled by a consultant, whether an individual or a group such as, but not exclusively, the Docent Research Group, or (3) any borrowing of ideas or their expression which the original creator might identify as personal intellectual property.”
This statement has been part of the SBTS conduct agreement for several years. It can be found in this 2019 manual for the M.Th. program, according to the source who provided this information to the Capstone Report.
Docent Research Group rocketed to attention during the current Sermongate scandal rocking the Southern Baptist Convention when it was discovered that J.D. Greear used and endorsed the service.
Matt Chandler was found to be another celebrity pastor endorsing Docent Research Group.
B. Nathaniel Sullivan examined the plagiarism policies of all six Southern Baptist seminaries and found that schools prohibit most forms of inappropriate outside assistance.
The SBTS policy requires all students affirm they accepted no improper assistance in completion of an assignment. According the SBTS policy found by Sullivan, “Plagiarism is the use or theft of intellectual property without attribution, both a moral and educational transgression.”
Plagiarism is a moral transgression, according to Al Mohler’s seminary.
Why are students at the flagship seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention held to a higher standard of conduct than the last two presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention?
What does this say about the people who tolerate unethical conduct at the highest levels of denominational leadership?