WAKE FOREST, NC - Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary has become just another symptom of the raging debate over Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Convention. The seminary Board of Trustees announced yesterday that the graduate school will be splitting into two separate seminaries beginning in the fall semester. The logistics of this fracture have yet to be worked out.
Dr. Danny Akin, saddened president of Southeastern, told TBNN, "This is a very sad day here at our school. I thought we could work through our problems. However, the theological differences were just too great. We could not, in good conscience, remain together on the same campus."
Several inside sources have shed light on the developing situation at Southeastern. One student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "Everyone in the SBC knows that we have one Calvinistic seminary (Southern), and two Arminian + perseverance of the saints seminaries (Southwestern and New Orleans). Here at Southeastern, we tried to find a middle ground on this issue. Most of the faculty and staff wanted to affirm both God's sovereignty and man's free will. I thought we had done that. Unfortunately, we still fell into two main camps that could not be reconciled."
Dr. Stephen Walsh, professor of systematic theology at Southeastern, told TBNN, "The more and more we discussed this issue, the more we realized that about 45% of the faculty and students held to Amyraldism (click here to read about it). Another 45% or so believe that Molinism (click here) is most biblical. Fortunately for this campus, we only have about 5% Calvinists and 5% Arminians, so they have to lie low when these things are being discussed."
TBNN spent some time on the Southeastern campus to get a feel for how the students feel about all this. After interviewing about thirty students, we realized that most of them simply do not understand the difference between Amyraldism and Molinism. Jeremy Sanders, second year Southeastern student, said, "I honestly don't know what is going on. I mean, I know God is in control and that I have free will. Those are both obviously somewhere in the bible. As for Amyism and Molism, I don't really know what they mean or what the difference is."
The general consensus on campus is that since Dr. Akin is the president and also holds to Aryraldism, that faction of the seminary will remain on the current campus in Wake Forest. The Molinist group will have to find another location and form a new seminary. The problem for the Molinist group is reportedly that they cannot find any churches who actually hold to their position; therefore, they do not know where to go. They briefly considered joining with First Baptist - Woodstock, but after they found out about the upcoming John 3:16 Conference, they decided that that was not such a good idea.
Through quiet tears, President Akin admitted, "We tried to work out our differences, but in the end you have to choose a hill on which to die. We just couldn't fold to the Molinists. I love some of those men, but we had to stand up for what the bible teaches. We just couldn't continue to fellowship with those that are leaving. In the end, a split was unavoidable."