The Baptist Press reported that Dr. Jason K. Allen was chosen as the nominee to be Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s next president,1 but does he meet their ‘Presidential Profile’?
While questions have been raised about Allen’s qualifications, questions have also been raised about Allen’s theology and the Midwestern Trustees’ silence on their vetting process. Below I will briefly comment on the Presidential Profile, trustee silence and Allen’s theology.
The Presidential Profile
Midwestern’s website lists the “Key Responsibilities of the Next President” with the following major points which conclude with their ‘Desired Qualifications’.2
- Spiritual Leadership
- Institutional Leadership
- Fundraising/Enrollment Leadership
- Academic and Institutional
- Visionary Leadership
Each point on the above list has several bullet points of their own. Whether or not Allen adequately satisfies each of these responsibilities may be tough to answer without all of the information given to the trustees. Of course, the problem some Baptists seem to have is that they want access to the same information given to the trustees.
So how much information is enough? All of it? Why have seminary trustees if we
can’t don’t trust them to faithfully carry out their duties? One could go through Allen’s profile in the Baptist Press and compare it to Midwestern’s profile to attempt to discern whether or not he adequately meets those responsibilities. Maybe such a comparison would would bring some valid concerns to light – maybe not.
Should all of Dr. Allen’s records that the trustees have be sent to any Southern Baptist who asks? On what basis? Some may say that Allen’s records should be opened because “he works for Southern Baptists.” Maybe the “he works for us” argument should be used across all Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) entities for every single employee because – they work for us! In the meantime, let the trustees work.
The trustee silence may be more accurately labeled as confidentiality. As a matter of fact, Midwestern’s website explains that there is a level of confidentiality in the presidential candidacy process.
All candidate information and conversations are handled confidentially, and you may contact the chairman of the Presidential Search Team at any stage of the process for more information and to ask questions.3
If information and conversations are held in confidence from candidates themselves, why would outsiders expect to be privy to such information? The “they work for us” argument has already been address above. It is reasonable for there to be a level of confidentiality between an employer and a potential employee. Let the trustees work.
Dr. Allen’s Theology
Dr. Allen theology is by far the easiest to discern. He is a Southern Baptist who is currently employed by Southern Seminary. As a SBTS employee Allen must theologically agree with the Abstract of Principles and the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Midwestern also affirms their doctrinal stance on their website as it relates to the SBC.
As an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), Midwestern operates in covenant with the churches of the SBC and has keyed its purpose, as well as its doctrinal and moral stance, to official Convention positions and actions.4
Midwestern should have no problems with Allen’s theology since he already holds to their Southern Baptist doctrinal positions. On this point, it seems the trustees have done their work.
There are no guarantees that Dr. Allen will be the next president. However, I doubt that badgering the trustees for more information about Allen is going to help one way or the other. Now is the time to let Midwestern’s trustees finish their work with their nominee.
- T. Patrick Hudson. Jason Allen nominated to lead Midwestern Posted on Sep 5, 2012. bpnews.net ↩
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Presidential Profile. mbts.edu ↩
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Candidacy Process. mbts.edu ↩
- Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. About Midwestern. mbts.edu ↩