“A giant has fallen in Israel. The death of Dr. Duke K. McCall reminds us of the lengthened shadow one man can cast over a great denomination. He, along with Drs. W.A. Criswell and Herschel H. Hobbs, brought the Southern Baptist Convention into the modern age.”
Dr. Albert Mohler, speaking after the death of Dr. Duke K. McCall in April 2013.
Source: The Christian Index
I understand the inherent difficulties the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (admittedly the flagship seminary of the SBC) has of coddling wealthy donors, whose gifts frequently come with strings attached, while at the same time attempting to maintain the ethical Christian posture on sensitive social issues such as the sexual abuse of children or racial justice.
I was thrilled to hear that in February of this year Dr. Mohler, after speaking at length with Rachael Denhollander, a well-known advocate for victims of sexual abuse, realized his error in supporting C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Churches and, along with Danny Akin, made a public apology for their actions. You may recall that Mahaney, Sovereign Grace Ministries, and Covenant Life Church combined to donate over $200,000 to SBTS.
Portions of the statement referred to in the screenshot above are included below. It should be noted that Dr. Mohler is the only individual to have retracted his statement of support for C.J. Mahaney. Mark Dever and Ligon Duncan have, not surprisingly, remained quiet on the subject. As the saying goes: actions speak louder than words. Dever and Duncan are fine public orators but just can’t seem to apologize for supporting a man who has covered up the sexual abuse of children in the denomination he once led.
So, while it seems that Dr. Mohler has done the right thing as it pertains to the sexual abuse of children; when it comes to racial issues Dr. Mohler just doesn’t seem to “get it.” While I give Dr. Mohler credit for instigating a report on the history of slavery in the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, his optics on racial issues remain absolutely terrible.
Below are a few illustrations from past blogs that illustrate my point.
“I believe I see in all this the end of slavery. I believe we are cutting its throat, curtailing its domain. And I have been, and am, an ultra pro-slavery man.”
-James P. Boyce, founder, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
This leads me to the subject of my blog today. In August Dr. Mohler announced that his good friend, Mark Dever has been appointed as the “first Duke K. McCall Professor of Pastoral Leadership.”
Who is Duke K. McCall, you ask? He was the seventh President of SBTS, serving from 1951-1982. He was the President when Al Mohler arrived at the SBTS as a student.
Duke K. McCall was also the founder of a secret society called Dodeka. This secret society was comprised of twelve men. Membership was by invitation only and consisted only of white men who were attending SBTS. I do not think it’s a stretch to label Dodeka as a white supremacist organization. Dr. Mohler was a member while attending SBTS. Mohler, when questioned about his membership in the secret society, downplayed it calling it a social group that was basically a dinner society that offered an opportunity for fellowship, a noteworthy objective. Mohler is a smooth talker, you don’t get to his position without this ability. The question you must ask yourself is was he being truthful about Dodeka? I believe Paige Patterson knew better.
I urge you to listen to the following three short audios.
Matthew J. Hall, provost at Southern Seminary called McCall a “transformational leader.” Hall also stated that McCall’s family had made a generous investment. Translated, that means they have donated a boatload of money to Southern Seminary. Funny how people say all kinds of nice things about a dead man when his family is donating big bucks to the Seminary that employs you!
Jason K. Allen, the President of the Midwestern Baptist Seminary, said in the article below that Duke K. McCall was a cherished friend. Allen also said McCall maintained a close relationship with Southern Seminary and that Al Mohler, Southern Seminaries faculty and administration all held McCall in “highest esteem.” In Allen’s Memoriam about the only thing it sounds like McCall didn’t do was walk on water. Call me a cynic, but can there be any doubt Allen is hopeful that McCall’s family will funnel a little of their wealth to the Seminary he presides over?
Dr. Mohler is apparently gearing up to make a run for the position of president of the SBC. I would guess he will easily win the election. In my opinion, Mohler is the ultimate politician. Does he actually have firm convictions on any issue or is he simply a pragmatic man, willing to say anything that enables him to continue his climb to the most powerful position in the SBC? That’s a question for SBC members to figure out.