Will Malcolm Yarnell be fired?

Paige Patterson has little tolerance for employees who criticize SBC agencies. We at Baptist Blogger know firsthand that a critical word spoken about Lifeway while on SWBTS payroll can end in termination. Along the way, Dwight McKissic learned how easily Patterson will censor you for it. Remember this papal bull:

Any trustee or faculty member is free to communicate his concerns to the boards of sister agencies, but it is difficult to imagine a circumstance that would merit public criticism of the actions of a sister board.

Nevertheless, Dr. Malcolm Yarnell has made his criticism of Lifeway public on Bart Barber’s blog by saying:

The recent survey on private prayer languages conducted by LifeWay’s Research division is a singular disappointment. The survey and its release are alternately methodologically insufficient and denominationally unwise. Whatever the real intent of LifeWay’s administration in releasing such a report at this time, it certainly gives the appearance of theological partisanship rather than innocence.

Will Paige Patterson deal with Yarnell’s insubordination? Or will he excuse Yarnell’s criticism of an SBC agency and its administration much like he excuses his own criticisms and efforts to remove Jerry Rankin from the IMB?

10 thoughts on “Will Malcolm Yarnell be fired?

  1. The SWBTS statement is about public criticism of the *actions* of a sister board. In McKissic’s case, this was the passing of the IMB guideline by the IMB, which he criticized. By way of contrast, Lifeway has made no “actions” here as an SBC entity. They have issued no decisions related to policy, hiring, ministry, etc. They simply conducted a survey, and Malcolm criticized the methodology.

    This interpretation is confirmed if you simply read a bit earlier in the paragraph of the SWBTS document you cite. It states: “…neither do we feel that there is wisdom in posting materials online which could place us in a position of appearing to be critical of actions of the Board of Trustees of a sister agency.”

    So tell us, Ben, which “actions of the Board of Trustees of a sister agency” has Malcolm publicly criticized?

    Or are you simply blowing hot air yet again?

  2. Ben,
    I had the same thoughts earlier today when I saw Dr. Yarnell’s treatise. Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for discipline from our esteemed friends on the other side of this debate? Their silence, so their support and publication of Dr. Yarnell’s words are telling.

  3. Ben –
    Dr. Yarnell is probably right about Lifeway’s methodology. Statistical certainty (if there is such a thing) takes more than a few broad questions. As for his comments about their agenda, who doesn’t have an agenda these days? But Lifeway didn’t raise the issue, the Pattersonians did that service. Lifeway’s simplistic survey is a response to a current issue; Dr. Yarnell is just very disappointed in the findings it revealed – no matter how wide the margin of error might be.

    As for the lack of censure of Dr. Y, I like to call it “convenient fundamentalism.” Pattersonian politics rule # 1: Only be rigidly consistent when the ends justify the means.

  4. Paul,

    I’m glad it “reminds” you of that, but will you show me wherein lies the equivalence? Or are you suggesting that we just don’t pay attention to how documents are actually worded? Do we just get to make stuff up? Does it matter to you that the SWBTS statement clearly pertains to criticism of “actions of the Board of Trustees of a sister agency,” and therefore Malcolm’s critique of a Lifeway survey simply doesn’t qualify?

    BTW, I didn’t use or parse the word “is” at all, to make the simple point above

  5. Mr. Blueshirt,

    You are obviously very skilled with words. Sometimes we miss the forest for the trees. We miss the intent for the parsing of the words. I hardly think that what Dr. Patterson had in mind is that public criticism of another agencies words are terribly different than their actions, though since you are a blueshirt there maybe you know more than I do. If you are claiming that there is a substantive difference then I’d be happy to hear your explanation of it (and please understand, I am not asking you to explain the difference in the words. I do think I get that much. I mean please explain to me why the two would be substantively different).

    Also, technically a policy is nothing more than words. Dr. McKissic did not criticize the actual exclusion of missionaries. He criticized the words that were adopted. How’s that for nit-picky?

  6. Mr. Blueshirt,

    You said “By way of contrast, Lifeway has made no “actions” here as an SBC entity. They have issued no decisions related to policy, hiring, ministry, etc. They simply conducted a survey, and Malcolm criticized the methodology.”

    Is the definition of “actions” in your post yours or from the document itself? If it is your then I think it is flawed. How is producing a survey not an action of Lifeway as an agency of SBC? Is not part of SBC when it does those kinds of surveys? Is conducting a survey not an action? If not then are only decisions actions? I think pittleton might of got this situation right with his comparison.

  7. OH and BTW I would surely be against the firing of Dr. Yarnell. He is a very good proffessor and an asset to SWBTS. I just think that maybe the wording of the policy might need revision.

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