The Criswell College

I have received a few phonecalls in the last two weeks about a meeting to occur at the Criswell College in Dallas, TX, in the next few days. The Criswell College is a subsidiary ministry of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX, and was formerly led by Paige Patterson, who was fired for alleged financial irregularities and an inordinate focus on convention activities to the neglect of the school. Patterson was succeeded by Rick Melick, who was fired for holding a posttribulational eschatology. Melick was succeeded by Richard Wells, who left in the wake of an impasse with his governing board. Johnson, himself a Criswell graduate, was hired away from Boyce College at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY, a few years ago.

If I was making a list of potential participants at this meeting, which would be organized to save/ensure the “future of the conservative resurgence,” I would probably invite, among others, Gen. T.C. Pinckney of Virginia and Judge Pressler. I would try to invite key leadership from the 1980s from across the convention, and I would try to keep the meeting as tight-lipped as possible. I might invite some of graduates of the Criswell College from Patterson’s days, and I would certainly invite the Red Bishop himself. I might invite Jerry Sutton of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville.

I would not invite SBC President Frank Page, nor would I invite Morris Chapman. Ed Young, Sr., would be kept out of the loop, as would Jim Henry and Jimmy Draper. I would probably try to get Jack Graham there, and I would certainly invite Jim Richards from the SBTC.

Of course, I would want to keep it quiet that the Criswell College was hosting such a meeting because any such meeting would be judged immediately as “politically partisan.” Years ago that would not have been an issue because the school was not the recipient of Cooperative Program funds. But since SBTC’s annual budget now includes the Criswell College, I wouldn’t want such a meeting to be very public for fear that churches who support the Cooperative Program would question that use of mission-dollar resources.

Then again, I’m just speculating.

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