Oxford Baptist Underground

Originating From a Secret Bunker Dug By William Hosea Holcombe and J.B. Gambrell Somewhere Off the Square in Oxford, Mississippi

Tag Archives: David Hankins

Testing the Waters?

Back in November of 2016, Rick Patrick, executive director of a group called Connect 316, was allowed to speak in chapel at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. Connect 316 is a group that has been promoting Eric Hankins’ Traditional Statement (hereafter called TS) within the Southern Baptist Convention since 2012. It is also important to note that Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern, is one of less than .01% of all Southern Baptists who have actually signed on to the TS.

During Patrick’s talk, as you would expect, he promoted Connect 316 and by extension the TS (watch/listen here). He also attacked Calvinism, calling it a “Trojan horse.” Well okay. Southwestern is an institution of higher learning. In fairness, we would expect to hear from the other side, right?  No.  Instead, Dr. Patterson piled on with this:

“I know there are fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view. It’s called Presbyterian.

“I have great respect for them. Many of them, the vast majority of them, are brothers in Christ, and I honor their position, but if I held that position I would become a Presbyterian. I would not remain a Baptist, because the Baptist position from the time of the Anabaptists, really from the time of the New Testament, is very different.”

After a firestorm ensued, Dr. Patterson kind of walked back his statement the next day. But this raises some serious questions. Here we have a man, Dr. Patterson, who was one of the main players, if not the main player, in the Conservative Resurgence back in the 1980s. This man knows how to play the political game (and yes it is definitely a political game) within the convention. Are we now supposed to believe that he naively invited Rick Patrick to Southwestern unaware of what was going to be said? Remember Dr. Patterson signed the TS. What was the motive for this chapel service?

A few years back, reputable people in the leadership of Louisiana College claimed that the TS was being pushed as the school’s doctrinal statement by none other than David Hankins, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and Eric Hankins’ father. And Hankins might have been successful had it not been for all the other shenanigans going on at Louisiana College.  So for the moment, despite Hankins’ best efforts, the Baptist Faith and Message remains as Louisiana College’s official doctrinal statement.

But it makes one wonder, was this chapel service at Southwestern another testing of the waters to see if there is finally a climate to push something akin to the TS, but this time in Texas?  If so, I would guess the Connect 316ers are a little disappointed with the feedback.

P.S.  As an aside, for those who think they descend theologically from the Anabaptists, please understand there is a denomination which represents that view as well. It’s called the Mennonites.

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What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?

On a website called SBC Voices, in an article dated April 11, 2014, Dr. Eric Hankins wrote the following about the Traditional Statement:

There was never a strategy to have the SBC formally adopt the statement as a litmus test. Never. Two Conventions and almost two years have passed and no attempt has been made at any level (not even at the local church level as far as I know) to adopt the statement formally. 

If anyone should know, it would be Eric Hankins.  He has traveled all over the country talking to Southern Baptists about the Traditional Statement, Calvinism, the Sinner’s Prayer, etc.  But considering that Southern Baptists have long been a cantankerous bunch, you would think that some group of Traditionalists somewhere has whispered in Hankins’ ear the hope that the Traditional Statement could be pushed as a formal doctrinal statement.  Yet Hankins insists “no attempt has been made at any level (not even at the local church level as far as I know) to adopt the statement formally.”

Then on April 22, 2014, at a website called The Crescent Criera trustee of Louisiana College named Jay Adkins published a letter he wrote to Dr. David Hankins, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and father of Eric Hankins.  The entire letter is worth reading, but one section is particularly relevant to Eric Hankins’ statement above. Adkins addresses Dr. David Hankins directly.  He says:

It has been rumored that you had hoped to have LC adopt the “Traditional Statement” as a guiding doctrinal document. Although I do not know how widespread your thoughts were on this matter, I do know that you made that desire known to the Executive Committee (EC). Again, there is evidence from the EC meeting on the morning of September 17, 2012 that you desired to replace the resolution prepared by the EC with the Traditional Statement stating, “I would be happy if we would take something like this traditional statement and just say this is what it is.” For almost 45 minutes you went on about your concerns over Calvinism and even came to the point of suggesting that the Baptist Faith and Message might need to be changed to “tighten up” the soteriological portion by saying, “I think the statements on salvation in the Baptist Faith and Message are fine unless people are using them to give themselves permission to teach things that Baptist generally do not believe.”

Add this to the March 15, 2014 article published in the Shreveport Times, which also suggests the Traditional Statement was being pushed at Louisiana College, and the questions begin to mount.  What kind of questions? How about the questions asked in the comment section of another Eric Hankins’ post on SBC Voices.  Someone posting under the name Chuck Quarles* (comment number 260) asks Eric Hankins the following:

Are you denying that a very serious effort was made to impose the Trad Statement on the Christian Studies Division and Caskey School of Divinity at Louisiana College? Such an effort was most certainly made. This is not merely the topic of rumor. Abundant and persuasive evidence of this effort exists. What evidence, in your opinion, would be necessary to confirm that an effort to impose the Trad Statement at Louisiana College occurred and in what forum would the evidence need to be presented? Are you claiming that you were not aware of this effort?

Especially pertinent to this discussion is a letter written by Chuck Quarles to the Trustees of Louisiana College dated March 4, 2014.

*Regardless of the author in the comment section, these questions need to be answered.

What Hath Oxford to Do With Pineville?

In 2013 at Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, there was a dust up concerning Calvinism.  (Louisiana College is a Baptist college affiliated with the Louisiana Baptist Convention.)  It is believed that three professors did not have their contracts renewed there because Calvinism was allegedly being pushed on students.  Additionally, Dr. Chuck Quarles, who was then Dean of Louisiana College’s Caskey School of Divinity and now teaches at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, was forced to resign. Interestingly, shortly after leaving Louisiana College, Quarles was admitted to the Society for New Testament Studies. Only two other Southern Baptists are members of this society, which is widely deemed the most prestigious society of New Testament scholars in the world.

According to a Shreveport Times article dated March 15, 2014  (“Was Calvinism or politics at root of Louisiana College conflict?“), audio tapes have been made available to the secular press that appear to show the alleged pushing of Calvinism at Louisiana College was totally contrived. Conversely, quoting Dr. Quarles, the article also implies that the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention was pushing the Traditional Statement as a formal doctrinal statement at the Caskey School of Divinity. The effect would have been to narrow the parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message to a place where Calvinist leaning professors would have been excluded.  Please note that the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention is none other than David Hankins, father of Eric Hankins, who is pastor of Oxford’s First Baptist Church and author of the Traditional Statement.

So what hath Oxford to do with Pineville?  If the Times article is accurate, then a controversial document originating from Oxford, Mississippi, may have played a part in the forced resignation of a world-class biblical scholar at Louisiana College, who also happens to be a native of Lafayette County.  To the sizable number of people from the Oxford area who signed the Traditional Statement, is this what you really wanted?  Some of you know Chuck Quarles.  I suspect a few claim to be his friend.  Enough said.