Vol. 2, No. 4 September 1999
Letter from Barbara and Dan Kent
Many of you are aware of considerable changes in our circumstances in the past year. We feel the need to give you, our family and friends, a detailed explanation of what has been going on and why.
For the past twenty years the Southern Baptist Convention has been in turmoil. An extreme right wing group successfully took over the convention and has almost completely ousted everyone who would not get in lock step with them.
For Southwestern Seminary, where we worked for a combined total of 34 years, the major blow came in March of 1994 when our effective and beloved president, Russell Dilday, was fired.
It was a traumatic time. Some of our colleagues resigned in protest over what had been done. We admired their convictions and understood their feelings. However, we felt led to do the opposite: we stayed on in protest. We felt that someone had to try to keep things going as best they could. We made a commitment to each other and to the Lord: we would serve until we could no longer do our work with integrity. We would serve until we were asked to do things that would violate our convictions or violate the character of Southwestern. For Barbara that time came in July of 1998, and for Dan in 1999. We retired, and have never had a moment of doubt that our decisions were right.
Southwestern has radically changed. It is nothing like the place it was. We have been formally associated with the seminary since 1957. During those years, through the middle 1990s, it was the most wonderful place, both academically and spiritually, that you can imagine.
The Convention takeover group, their trustees, and their administrators did something that we would never have believed possible: they made it easy to leave.
Barbara served as Director of Student Housing at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.
Dan served as Professor of Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. He recently retired after refusing to sign the 1998 family amendment to the Baptist Faith and Message that requires wives to “submit” to their husbands.
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