Religious Beliefs & Seminary Admission Policy Sparks Debate
FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Dissent continues among some students and alumni from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Fort Worth. The mix in opinions is over a devout Muslim student who has been allowed to be a doctoral student in the Archeology program.
Seminary officials confirm the student has been in the program for about two years, and is originally from Palestine.
One of the core beliefs for every student at SBTS is accepting Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. But an exception was made for the student whose identity CBS 11 News chose to protect.
Southwestern Baptist Theological is said to be one of the largest seminaries in the world. It was established in the early 1900’s, and this is the first time a known Muslim has been allowed to be a student there.
Pastor Neil Childs said he isn’t against the student being at the seminary. What he disagrees with is the way he was brought in.
“Whether they intended it to be hush, hush… that’s the appearance that they’ve given,” he said.
Childs, a pastor at Temple Christian School in Fort Worth, is a 2010 graduate of the seminary.
“I have no problem with a Muslim student studying at Southwestern, especially if they are going to offer a non-ministry degree like Archeology,” he said. “I think the correct thing that would have made this much better is if they would have addressed this formally in changing their admissions policy if they wished to go this route and allow non-believers in,” he said.
Many critics of the student are sounding off on Twitter, saying things like, “Not sure what to think about it yet,” and “Not all are happy about it.”
Meanwhile on campus, other students, like Matt Flowers, say they welcome his presence. “My prayers are that he may enter one way, and leave in another way.”
Seminary President Paige Patterson issued a full statement in response to those criticizing his decision to allow the student in. Click here to read it in its entirety.
Patterson, who was out of town and unavailable for a CBS 11 News interview, said the student became interested in the Seminary while working with a group of other students at an archeological dig in Israel.
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