Joshua Breland and Drew Wales have been writing about how Louisiana College is burning. It appears that it has already burned down and it just doesn't know it yet, at least from an influence/leadership standpoint. Drew Wales withdrew from classes yesterday. Perhaps Josh is not far behind. I hope not. I hope he sticks this out and the trustess of LC step up and do their job. The Baptist world is watching and looking for leadership - and so far, the only leadership I have seen is from two theology students named Joshua Breland and Drew Wales. Everyone else involved is either complicit in abuse of authority or are trafficking in cowardice from how it looks to me. There is a trustee meeting next week and my hope is that the trustees show strong leadership and hold accountable those who have abused their authority.
Louisiana College is an academic institution. It let go three professors without real cause - except for the fact that they were Calvinists, a theological position accepted in the SBC from the very beginning and never disavowed. Joshua and Drew, AFTER the decisions were made, began to highlight what was happening and called for reconsideration. They tried to speak with leadership, but the decisions were made and they had no voice. So, LC being a public institution making public decisions, Joshua and Drew began to protest on the basis of conviction. My Baptist History classes told me that Baptists have been dissenters since our beginning. Our churches are built so that people can, moved by the Holy Spirit, have a say in things. Joshua and Drew expressed their opinion on the situation. Most colleges and universities actually make room for student dissent of administration decisions. They are not afraid of alternative opinions or of being questioned. They are not afraid of discussion - at least that is how it is supposed to be.
The implications of Louisiana College's decision to clean house of Calvinists is no small thing for Southern Baptists theologically. It should be questioned and discussed and defended by advocates and opposed by detractors. No Baptist body - including Louisiana Baptists - have ever made a decision AGAINST Calvinism. So, a Cooperative Program state baptist college can just do so arbitrarily? By what authority? For Breland and Wales to question this is right and appropriate. For the trustees of LC to NOT question it is an abdication of duty, in my opinion. But, their meeting is coming up next week. Hopefully, they will rectify this.
It is too late for Drew Wales, though, at least as a student of LC. Under pressure of disciplinary action for daring to speak up about a move that has no real ethical or theological defense, he withdrew from school. As Baptists, we should encourage those who take principled stands. During the Conservative Resurgance, how many students of Baptist colleges and seminaries opposed leadership - and were ENCOURAGED to do so? Were they disciplined? What would have happened if courageous, conservative Baptist college students who opposed the liberal directions of Baptist college leadership had been censured and disciplined for expressing concern? Leaders in the Conservative Resurgence would have defended them vociferously. They would have been martyrs in the cause. Where are those same leaders now?
Dissent was acceptable during the CR but it is NOT acceptable now, apparently. Real leadership means that you are not just thinking about yourself but are instead thinking about the good of others. The only ones that I have observed in this who have the best interests of Louisiana College at heart are Joshua Breland and Drew Wales. And, they are being disciplined for it. Louisiana College will lose their accreditation with SACS if they do not quickly reverse course, in my opinion. Also, in my opinion, this is not just about Calvinism but it is about power and control and who gets to wield it. True Biblical leadership is self-sacrificing, courageous, and puts others ahead of self. I have seen that in Breland and Wales as they have tried to act in the best interests of LC and am waiting to see the same thing from LC administration and trustees and the rest of Louisiana Baptist leadership. Leadership is not about position but about doing the right thing and standing for truth, even at expense to yourself.
When do we get to see that from Louisiana College leadership? Or, has their influence/authority already burned down?