Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dr. Hankins, it's time to go...


One week ago today I handed the following letter to Dr. David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention just before, in protest, I walked out of the April meeting of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees (I will publish my thoughts on that event soon). I now publicly present my letter calling on the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention to resign or retire his post. 

April 2, 2014

Dr. Hankins,

     It is with a heavy heart that I contact you today. In the past, I have expressed my concerns to you over the phone, in email and in person. Your actions over the last year have entirely dissolved any vestige of confidence I once had in your leadership. In particular, I am referring to (1) your extreme bias against an historically rich and respected soteriological tradition, (2) the undue influence you have brought to bear on the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College and (3) your manipulation and behind-the-scenes power brokering to satisfy your own agenda. I believe these actions have eroded your ability to be perceived as an impartial and fair minded officer who is responsible for overseeing our cooperative work, and as such, they have rendered you incapable of continuing in effective service as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC). Today, it is with due respect but considerable concern that I call on you to resign or retire your post as Executive Director of the LBC.

     Dr. Hankins, you are one of the finest preachers I have ever been blessed to hear. Your intellect is undeniable. Your decades of service to the Lord are admirable. Your activity and stance on the inerrancy of Scripture is deeply appreciated. However, none of these things outweigh the abuse of power and questionable judgment you have displayed since September, 2012. I had no intention of coming to this point when I first offered my motion in the November, 2013 meeting. My hope was to simply show that our guiding documents do not allow a seat for the Executive Director on any of the four Boards of Trustees and I had hoped that the motion would be all that was necessary to address my concerns. However, since that time, especially after witnessing the activities of the last few weeks, I have come to the conclusion that nothing short of this sort of call is going to bring the problem to light.

     Thus, I present here a number of my specific concerns. I cannot stress enough that I do not offer these concerns with malice or as a personal attack. As stated earlier, I have no negative feelings for you as a person or brother in Christ. I am concerned about the Louisiana Baptist Convention and I feel it is necessary to bring out these concerns at this time. Included in these few selected items are issues that can be confirmed by personal testimony, eye witness account or audio recordings. I now offer the three overarching areas of concern and cite specific examples of each. Also, to be sure that you receive this text I will be emailing you a copy of this letter.

Bias against Reformed soteriology

     First, I believe your fixation on opposing a “particular” stream of soteriology is unhealthy and stifles cooperative work. As one who has been hired to oversee cooperative missions in the state of Louisiana, you have shown your personal bias (both privately and publicly) against those who are from the reformed perspective. I believe that, for the vast majority of Southern Baptists, the Baptist Faith and Message is more than sufficient for our faith and practice. However, in a phone call on July 3, 2012 you stated to me that you would like to see changes made to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in the area of soteriology. You claimed that the current wording of Article IV it is “too broad” and “should be restricted to exclude Calvinists.” Yet, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve “that we affirm that The Baptist Faith and Message provides sufficient parameters for understanding the doctrine of salvation, so that Southern Baptists may joyfully and enthusiastically partner together in obedience to the Great Commission.” Further, you are aware that in 2013 an appointed committee, which your son helped to lead (and did, in my opinion, a wonderful job), presented a detailed and, I thought, thoroughly appropriate statement that, in part, concluded, “We must celebrate the unity we share together in our common Great Commission purpose, while acknowledging and celebrating variety among us. We must clarify the parameters of our cooperation where necessary but stand together without dispute.” Further, they argue, “No entity should be promoting Calvinism or non-Calvinism to the exclusion of the other. Our entities should be places where any Southern Baptist who stands within the boundaries of The Baptist Faith and Message should be welcomed and affirmed as they have opportunities to benefit from, participate in, and provide leadership for those entities.” This is the sort of balance and cooperative spirit we need at Louisiana College and among the leadership of the LBC. What we do not need are individuals that would call a college student an “aggressive rabid Calvinazi.”

     Second, in Executive Session on February 25, 2013 while defending Dr. Aguillard’s action of making a public statement against some form of hyper-Calvinism you [this passage is redacted due to its contents originating from a Louisiana College Board Executive Session]. That you cited such information in your soliloquy defending Dr. Aguillard is intellectually dishonest at best and sheer manipulation at worse. This obfuscation and authoritative use of unpublished statistics in order to influence a vote is not only disappointing, it is deceptive.

     Third, 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.”

Interior Undue Influence on the Board

     First, you asked to address the EC of the Louisiana College Board of Trustees on September 17, 2012. In that meeting you were the primary voice of dissent which influenced a reversal of a proposed resolution regarding Calvinism, which had been tentatively approved by the EC to be presented to the Louisiana College Board of Trustees (and had already been disseminated to us). This resolution had been sent out to the Board on September 7, 2012 for consideration. To suggest that the conclusion of the original resolution was troublesome, since it didn’t state a position but that, in your words, the resolution presents “we don’t have an opinion” is simply not the case. The resolution absolutely posited a position by stating “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the debate over Calvinism, inclusive of labeling for or against Calvinism, will not take place at Louisiana College.” The original EC prepared resolution was more than sufficient to articulate that LC would not advocate for Calvinism and your action was entirely inappropriate. Furthermore, one of the final statements in my motion also stated very strongly (even using some of your own language) that we would not advocate for Calvinism, “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that within instruction on soteriology at Louisiana College the Board of Trustees affirms instruction on, while not advocating for or against, Arminianism and/or Calvinism, the debate of which has encouraged rigorous and healthy exchange of ideas through the history of the church, sharpening theological discourse to the glory of God.” If the concern truly was about LC not advocating for Calvinism then either resolution would have been adequate. Without the Executive Director’s influence to rescind the motion the Louisiana College Board of Trustees would have at least voted on the resolution and it’s passage might have averted a portion the present controversy brought on by the actions of the President of Louisiana College.

     Second, while in Executive Session on February 25, 2013 on two specific occasions where a debatable main motion was made, [this passage is redacted due to its contents originating from a Louisiana College Board Executive Session]. Clearly, as a Board member (even though I believe the LBC Bylaws do not grant you that position) you have every right to present your views. Again, that in and of itself, is not the issue. My concern is that I have witnessed numerous meetings where I do not recall you saying a word and yet since September 17 of 2012, validated by the audio recordings, I have heard your voice far more than any other member. I have gone back and listened to hours of recordings and of the numerous examples I could share, for time sake, I have only pulled out these few instances.

     Third, I would argue that your most egregious action is your [this passage is redacted due to its contents originating from a Louisiana College Board Executive Session]. Further, on the EC recording from the morning of September 17, before you spoke with the members, Dr. Aguillard mentions that he had gone back and looked through emails and noted, “Since I’ve been the president I’ve had two emails asking about Calvinism on campus.” He then admitted that the complaints originated from “Freshman led Bible studies in the dorm and not a classroom issue.” You are also aware that Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 of the Council on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) states: “The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence.” Clearly, your threat was to [this passage is redacted due to its contents originating from a Louisiana College Board Executive Session]. This is absolutely inappropriate action.

Exterior Undue Influence in Convention life

     First, the interplay between you, Tommy French and Joe Aguillard (since the revelation of the recording and story in the Town Talk) is inappropriate. The fact that you would call the Board Chairman and demand the President’s removal is unbelievable, especially after defending him for over a year. Further, that you believe it is within your purview to do so is deeply disturbing… further still, that you actually do have the ability to cause others to change votes or be persuaded to a different perspective simply “upon your call” is even more shocking. Although the Board Chairman has abdicated his responsibility of leading by not keeping us posted on these actions (which is certainly not your fault) that you have continually worked to bring about this change, now against the President, is another clear sign of undue influence.

     Second, the fact that you recently had a meeting where you called in the current President of the Convention and 3 Past-Presidents to argue for Aguillard’s dismissal is unconscionable. I have the names of those men and have heard about the topic that was discussed. To suggest that such an action is not an exertion of undue influence is utterly laughable.

     Finally, the fact that you called three of the signers of the Open Letter to, in part, demand a public apology and then issue a press release that at best misstated the letter of one member and at worse presented false information, is interesting. To issue a press release that says that a member “contacted” you and not admit that you contacted the three trustees is irresponsible. A further question I have is why, if you called three members, did you not call the rest of us. The statement that came from the LBC communications office stated that a member asked for language to be removed prior to the open letter’s release. That is not true. No one asked that anything be removed before publication of that statement. The letter, which was not even my idea, had input from a number of members and was about the problems that we have faced which has inhibited our ability to fulfill our responsibilities. Your undue influence is only one of the many problems we’ve had. Furthermore, according to you “two other signees have also extended regrets regarding the remarks.” Such a statement is despicable manipulation of the truth. I understand that the regrets they extended have absolutely nothing to do with the letter itself but that the individuals regretted not talking with you before they signed the letter. I’ve not heard from a single trustee who’ve asked to remove their name.

     Dr. Hankins, although I disagree with you on a number of issues, I have never found any of our differences reason enough to abstain from fellowship and cooperation with you. However, at this point, you have clearly overstepped reasonable activity. Your actions, a few of which I have reiterated here, are out of bounds. Our cooperative tradition and Convention polity has always been a bottom up effort. You have inverted that solemn structure and have amassed too much power and authority. I am asking you to please seek what is best for the Louisiana Baptist Convention and consider resignation or retirement.


In Christ,
Jay Adkins


Brief Commentary:

     My intention was for this letter to remain confidential for a longer period of time but I have come to understand that the Executive Director has already allowed others to read my letter and/or told others about my letter. I have waited for some sort of response but such a response has not come. Thus, in my continued desire to function in transparency, all the while expecting a barrage of condemnatory murmurings (since that is what I heard happened upon publishing an extremely inappropriate dispatch from the current Board Chairman) I have chosen to make this letter public at this time.

     As I note in the letter (and have noted before in public) I hold no personal animosity toward the Executive Director. It is disconcerting for me that anyone would suggest that because I disagree with someone on some particular issue that I also must hold some sort of personal anger for that person. I think most mentally healthy Pastors learn early on not to take things personally. Generally speaking, much of the grief we get has more to do with some underlying issue than it does with a particular personality. I have learned from my dad, and tried to teach the pastor’s I’ve mentored, that when faced with a disgruntled church member we are to look past the person and down into the underlying problem. If we allow ourselves to be fixated on the personality we will never be able to shepherd that individual on to maturity and away from the very thing we are trying to grow them out of. Thus, I find that it is not a difficult thing to have strong disagreements with a person and yet not let if affect you to the point where it becomes “personal.”

     I will again admit that there was a time early last year that my anger did get the best of me and I regretfully had allowed my frustrations to bubble up into an inappropriate attitude toward the Executive Director. I mentioned in an earlier blog that a friend, another LBC Pastor, challenged me on that point and I repented. Since that time this has not been about personality for me. It is about exposing what I believe to be unhealthy and unChristlike traits of power wielding, manipulation and subversive behavior. I can, in peace and forgiveness, say with a clear conscience that this is about a desire to see our convention move away from this type of leadership toward one where hired ministry coordinators actively serve us and not attempt to superintend us. That, my friends is the Baptist way. Bottom up, not top down.

     Just as I have always done, I have redacted any specific reference to any item or action which happened in Executive Session. Of course, one of the most frustrating things for me is that so much of what we have done was done under the “protection” of Executive Session. However, I have been deliberately cautious not to contravene that responsibility. Let me reiterate and I will write more on this soon... I have NEVER broken any Executive Session confidence. I have never spoken about confidential matters that relate to anyone’s contract or employment. I’ve never commented on specifics or even generalities of litigation issues. I’ve never published any financial matter regarding Louisiana College. I have never privately leaked information. I have never initiated contact with any secular media outlet regarding issues at Louisiana College (even to the point of neglecting phone calls from media outlets). I have never contacted or communicated with (nor do I ever even read) any other bloggers who have commented on issues surrounding Louisiana College. Finally, I have never attempted to stir up the constituencies of LC to bring about some action. In fact, you could ask about that to the hundreds of alumni, students and other LBC folk whom I’ve regrettably been unable to reply to over the last year. These are important points that I want to stress in light of those who would be inclined to call me a trouble-maker or for those who have suggested that I have “popped off” or broken some unwritten Baptist Code of not rocking the boat.

     Please know that I am fully aware that it is not likely that the Executive Director will relinquish his post at my behest. I am not that na├»ve. However, I now feel that it has come to the point where someone must say something. Since I’ve spoken up I’ve had numerous calls from men around the LBC telling me about their own concerns and others that have shared their stories with me. Many individuals from many different backgrounds have expressed appreciation for my speaking up and for all that encouragement I am deeply thankful.

Semper Reformanda
Soli Deo Gloria!
-Jay Adkins

Friday, April 4, 2014

Part 4 - The Unraveling


     Please do not read the following as an egotistical statement, but this could not have played any more into my narrative if I had written the script.
     I have been publicly critical of the undue influence of the Executive Director on the Board of Trustees and we now have the most clear example of such action laid bare for us in a relatively recent Town Talk article (I’ve heard that the Executive Director made a threat of a public statement against the President if he didn’t resign but that cooler heads prevailed since such an action would have removed the last vestige of doubt that undue influence had been exerted). This change of opinion, now against the President, has been unquestionably brought about by the Executive Director being personally offended at statements made by the President (we will address that later in this post). Make no mistake… you will likely hear about “new information” or something to that effect, but understand, there has been NO new information… only information that had been ignored or obfuscated by the very ones now upset by a personal attack.
     I’d like to take this post to show my concerns by ‘bookending’ the undue influence of the Executive Director from the genesis of my concern to the most recent activity of undue influence…
     I have been concerned about the undue influence the Executive Director has exerted over the affairs at Louisiana College (LC) since September of 2012. So concerned, in fact that I (1) drafted a motion to censure the Executive Director (but decided not to present it at that time due to the already strained Board relationship which had formed by that point) and (2) offered a motion on the floor of the Louisiana Baptist Convention (LBC) when it met in Alexandria in November of 2013 which pointed to such influence and argued that the LBC Constitution and Bylaws do not allow for the Executive Director to serve on any of the 4 Boards of Trustees (see Part 1 and Part 2 for the long and tedious details).
     My concern over undue influence relating to the Executive Director began when the LC Executive Committee (made up of the three Board officers and the chairs of the Board committees) met the morning of September 17, 2012 for their regular pre-Board Executive Committee meeting (for full disclosure I was not on the Executive Committee at the time. I was appointed to chair a committee in December of that year). Earlier that month (9/7/2012) the full Board received an email from the President letting us know that over the previous summer the Executive Committee had met to develop a recommendation for the Board regarding the issue of Calvinism in the SBC (if you have followed the timeline of when this controversy first started you will recognize the importance of the dating of this email and Board meeting). The following is the text of the original unadopted resolution:
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve to “without reservation reaffirm as our confession of faith The Baptist Faith and Message”;
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve “that we affirm that The Baptist Faith and Message provides sufficient parameters for understanding the doctrine of salvation, so that Southern Baptists may joyfully and enthusiastically partner together in obedience to the Great Commission;”
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve “that we encourage all Southern Baptist churches to continue in faithful cooperation as we deepen our commitment to equip the saints and reach the lost with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ;”
WHEREAS the Louisiana College Board of Trustees wishes to insulate Louisiana College from the growing debate over Calvinism so that it may devote full attention to the cause of “changing the world for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit;”
WHEREAS Comprehensive Standard 3.2.4 of the Council on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) states: “The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religions, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influences;”
WHEREAS being found out of compliance with such Comprehensive Standards might result in sanction or even denial of reaffirmation by the accrediting body;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Trustees reaffirms that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy shall be the only two confessional statements used to define the doctrinal parameters for instruction at Louisiana College.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the debate over Calvinism, inclusive of labeling for or against Calvinism, will not take place at Louisiana College. (unadopted)
     I am told by one who was an LC Executive Committee member at the time that this resolution was brought about because “Joe Aguillard was concerned about David Hankins’ influence on the Board” (we now have recordings that strongly validate this statement). Further, Aguillard was concerned that Hankins had requested to be placed on the Academic Affairs Committee and wanted to remove all of the “Calvinist professors” then have the opportunity to examine any resume that came in for anyone who would be hired in the Religion department. Clearly, that concern appears to be validated considering the language and structure of the resolution presented.
     After dissemination of the resolution via email, the Executive Director (and the President of the LBC at that time, Waylon Bailey) asked to meet with the Executive Committee the morning of the 17th. In that meeting (which was recorded) the Executive Director told the Committee that it should not present the motion to the Board (remember that we already had been presented the resolution and although I had intended to propose two minor amendments, I was happy about the general tenor and tone of the resolution). The Executive Director questioned the origin of the resolution and suggested that if the Board did anything, it should adopt the “Traditional Statement” (which has been attributed to the Executive Director’s son). The Executive Director had the statement with him in the meeting. To the committee’s credit they did not take up the Traditional Statement, however, to my great disappointment, they rescinded the prepared resolution. Thus, the Executive Director succeeded in influencing the committee in an area absolutely outside of his purview. This successful interference is clear evidence of undue influence in that the Executive Director of the State Convention and the sitting president of the Convention asked to meet with the Executive Committee and influenced them to not continue with proposed action. I have heard from a couple of the Executive Committee members who shared with me that they rescinded the motion out of respect for the position of those who asked to speak. Subsequently, I rewrote the motion and offered it as my own the next day.
     Here is the text of the resolution (in its final form) which I presented after being made aware of the Executive Director’s undue influence:
Resolution on Soteriology
presented by Jay Adkins
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve to “without reservation reaffirm as our confession of faith The Baptist Faith and Message;”
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve “that we affirm that The Baptist Faith and Message provides sufficient parameters for understanding the doctrine of salvation, so that Southern Baptists may joyfully and enthusiastically partner together in obedience to the Great Commission;”
WHEREAS this affirmation came as a response to the question of Calvinism and its impact on the Southern Baptist Convention;
WHEREAS the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19-20, 2012, did formally resolve “that we encourage all Southern Baptist churches to continue in faithful cooperation as we deepen our commitment to equip the saints and reach the lost with the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ;”
WHEREAS the Baptist Faith and Message is deliberately inclusive and has been judged sufficient in its scope regarding a number of debated theological issues in such areas as eschatology, ecclesiology, and soteriology;
BE IT RESOLVED the Board of Trustees reaffirms that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy shall be the only two confessional statements used to define the doctrinal parameters for instruction at Louisiana College;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that within instruction on soteriology at Louisiana College the Board of Trustees affirms instruction on, while not advocating for or against, Arminianism and/or Calvinism, the debate of which has encouraged rigorous and healthy exchange of ideas through the history of the church, sharpening theological discourse to the glory of God.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Board of Trustees reaffirms the appointment and retention of faculty at Louisiana College who hold soteriological positions which are within the doctrinal parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message. (unadopted)
     The Executive Director had to leave the meeting before we were able to deal with my motion and I consented to postponing my motion at the request of a Board member that was concerned that the Executive Director was absent and might want to speak to it. In hindsight, I wish I had not consented. We might not be in the place we now find ourselves had I pushed for dealing with that motion which was simply a restatement of what we would have voted on had the Executive Director not intervened. For transparency’s sake let me say that upon arriving home I sent an email to the Executive Director expressing why I continued on with presenting the motion. The following is the text of that email dated September 18, 2012:

Doctor Hankins,
     In the interest of friendship and fairness I wanted to give you a head's up as to what I did today toward the end of the LC meeting. I'm sorry you were not there as I had hoped to have the dialog with you. I was unaware that you had plans to leave and the last thing I wanted is to have you think that I purposely presented a resolution in your absence. In fact, when you left I thought about not doing so simply because you weren't there (and said as much to the assembly). Also, as I hope I've shown you, I would never say anything about you that I would not say to you. After having prayed and struggled with the decision last night I felt I needed to continue on with my direction.
     I reworked two of the paragraphs of the original resolution presented by the ex comm. and presented it as my own. This was done for 3 main reasons. First, I think it is a needed statement articulating that we encourage academic freedom and debate and as such it is not a pro or anti Calvinist statement. Second, I feel that it is a well written statement the whole board needed to consider and believe pulling it off the agenda was an unfortunate action. Finally, it opens the door to what was (one of) the elephant(s) in the room. Trustees have been hearing about this topic but there had been no forum in which to discuss it. After a relatively short time of discussion I wholeheartedly supported the motion to "lay on the table" with the option to “take from the table” at a possible special called meeting as allowed in RONR 10th ed. p. 201-210. (probably should have been a “postpone” but you know how that goes in Baptist meetings).
     I want you to know I have the utmost respect for you and appreciate your standing up for Louisiana in so many arenas. But as I told you when we spoke I have deep feelings about this and couldn’t shake the need to share it with the body.
     I just thought it appropriate to let you know about my action so that there is no misunderstanding or charge that I did this with some sort of malicious intent. I am attaching the motion with my revisions. I will most likely ask for a called meeting in mid-October but I want to be sure you can be there. Would you mind letting me know your availability?
     I was told that you were traveling today which was what caused your early departure. I hope you have a safe trip to and from. Blessings!

In Christ,

Jay Adkins

     You can clearly see that at the time my respect had not fully waned. I was congenial (and honestly a bit naive) yet I felt strongly about this issue. I did not receive an email response.
     Is there a problem with either of these resolutions? Are they unclear? If there had ever been a threat to LC by a “Calvinist Conspiracy” do these statements not sufficiently articulate a balanced and reasonable position for Louisiana College (unless, of course, you were someone who wanted the institution to adopt a document written by your son)? The original resolution had been put together by the Executive Committee, they had distributed it to the Board for consideration, the Executive Director intervened and then the resolution was rescinded. My resolution was presented during the same meeting and after being wrangled about by a strawman controversy for over 5 months (due to sickness I was absent for the December 4, 2012 meeting), it was voted down. Anyone want to guess who was the key person that spoke against my motion?
     As an aside, the college President, knowing that the Board was dealing with the issue since my resolution had been postponed, posted the now infamous ‘President’s Pen’ which was hermeneutically questionable, soteriological confused and spoke against some sort of Hyper-Calvinism that was not even part of the discussion at the time. I was very upset that such a preemptive statement was made on the school’s website when the Board was dealing with that very issue. Again, place this in the proper timeline and you’ll get an eye full.
     Friends, regarding the issue of the Executive Director’s undue influence on the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College, I have a litany of examples from which to draw (4 particularly egregious instances which took place in Executive Session). I will be happy to (but will only) share these items if urged to do so by SACS, through subpoena or if requested to do so by the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
     I have already made the statement that it is my belief that if it were not for the Executive Director of the LBC the current President of Louisiana College would no longer be in that role (Part 1). The Executive Director has protected and even defended the President through numerous accusations and has been doing until recently. The following is timeline is very important. Please do not miss the clear turning point where (and why) the Executive Director changed his position from one of supporting and defending the President to that of calling for the resignation of the President.
     On Wednesday, March 19th a pastor was in the office of the Executive Director to talk about the LC issue. This pastor tells me that the Executive Director defended the college President the whole time. Now track along with me… the next day, Thursday, March 20, the Executive Director became aware of audio recordings (and its general content) that purported to have the LC President speaking disparagingly about the Executive Director and a family member (this has now been attested to by the Town Talk article). Now, here it comes… Friday, March 21, I’ve been told that the Executive Director called Louisiana College Board Chairman, Tommy French to demand that the college President had to go.
     Again, may I say that you will likely be told that some new evidence has been uncovered which shows that the President was lying about something that mislead the Board or individuals on the Board (or something to that effect). Again I say to keep in mind, there is NO new information. Every bit of information pertinent to the issues we needed to address has either been presented in the past or was prohibited from being presented by obfuscation and vocal objection.
     Further, I now have evidence of an even more egregious action of undue influence involving a recent meeting in the Executive Director’s office which included 4 very influential pastors (including 3 Past Presidents of the LBC whose names I will not divulge) in which it has been reported that the Executive Director used that meeting to attempt to convince these influential pastors of the need to now remove the President of the college. To add insult to injury, I have recently been told about a phone call placed by the Executive Director to at least one of the members of the nominating team this past year. During this call the Executive Director mentioned names to be placed on the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College urging their adoption by saying something to the effect that these people, “will protect the President.” Can this be defined any other way than as an exertion of undue influence?
     We also now have audio recordings that confirm that (1) there never was a “Calvinist Conspiracy” plotted by the faculty (but a simple exchange of ideas between students), (2) that two LC employees have lied about being told they were to advocate for Calvinism and (3) that the President was very concerned about the Executive Director’s undue influence on the Board.
     Louisiana College would not be in the situation it is presently addressing had the Executive Director not intervened by protecting and defending the President. Now, after hearing about a personal attack on the Executive Director by the President of the college, the Executive Director is using his influence to call for the resignation of the President… this after 14+ months of supporting and defending him.
     Let’s be clear on this point. Whistleblower charges from two respected Vice-Presidents, the continual flop of publicly trumpeted programs, facilities in disrepair, SACS issues, a revolving door of VPAAs and a preponderance of evidence presented by a trusted law firm who’s also worked with our own New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary that purported questionable actions of the President were not good enough to call for the dismissal of the President but an audio recording that defamed the Executive Director is enough evidence? That is a significant question that must be asked and considered by the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Committee.
     Has there ever been a more clear incident of undue influence perpetrated by a Baptist State Executive Director on another Baptist body like that of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Director?
     For this post I simply wanted to ‘bookend’ what has been, for me, the first and then most recent displays of undue influence on the Board of Trustees of Louisiana College. This will be my last post on this subject before our coming meeting of the LC Board of Trustees. I have heard that the Executive Director might not be in attendance for this meeting. I have no idea as to whether or not that might be the case. If he is not there, be assured that it does not mean he has not had influence on the outcome of the meeting.
     One parting final word… those of us who dissented a year ago, although still carrying our concerns, accepted that we were in the minority. Since April of last year we had remained silent… that is up until this past week (remember, the concerns I’ve personally expressed have been focused on the Executive Director’s role in this debacle). Make no mistake, this recent issue has come back into the open, not due to the persistence or frustration of any dissenter but by the President himself. Being unable to let things go and move forward HE has now caused all this to come to a head.
     Scripture speaks of God “hardening the heart” of the Pharaoh. That sort of an action by God, although confusing to or uncomfortable for some, is neither difficult nor untoward for those of us who lean reformed in our theology. Could it be that God has hardened the heart of a couple of individuals in Louisiana? Could it be that he has let the arrogance and hubris of some rise to the point that logic and reason have escaped otherwise decent judgment and thus we are witnessing one of the strangest and most awkward events to take place in recent Baptist history? I really do not see another plausible reason for what we have observed over the last few weeks.
     With that said (and this will be my last public statement until after the coming meeting) I ask that you pray with us for our April meeting. Please pray for wisdom, clarity, openness, reason and logic to be the traits on tap… and may God be glorified.
 

Semper Reformanda
Soli Deo Gloria!
-Jay Adkins