FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) – In an open letter released today (Nov. 17), Adam Greenway, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has formally requested Michael Spradlin, president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, to reconsider the showing of a film on the Mid-America’s Memphis-area campus Saturday (Nov. 19). The release of “Enemies Within the Church” comes with “apparent coordination” with the Conservative Baptist Network, Greenway said.
In the letter, Greenway expressed his “deep disappointment” that the institution would host the premiere of the film.
A 2019 fundraising page for the film says it will expose postmodern agendas “commonly known by the terms social justice, intersectionality, critical race theory and Neo-Marxism,” and “expose those who are selling out the Church to postmodernism – and the money behind it.”
In a film trailer released Aug. 3 on YouTube, a video clip of the chapel at Southwestern is shown while a narrator says, “American churches today are where the universities were 10 years ago. They’re pretty heavily Marxist. Not quite there yet, but definitely on the way. Many of the seminaries and the Bible colleges are definitely already there.”
“I take strong umbrage to such scandalous and scurrilous slander, particularly when it is apparently condoned by an institution such as yours,” Greenway wrote to Spradlin. He also said the segment leaves viewers “with the mistaken impression that Southwestern Seminary is something other than orthodox, Baptist, and evangelical.”
In the appeal, Greenway asked Spradlin to consider a 1992 statement from Mid-America’s former Academic Vice President Howard Bickers addressing the seminary’s desire to prohibit negative criticism of any Southern Baptist agency, leader or program by classroom or chapel speakers.
“Consequently, the energies of the Seminary are focused upon the training of students rather than upon participation in divisive issues within the Convention,” Bickers said, as quoted by Greenway.
Greenway ended the letter calling for Spradlin to “withdraw support from those working to divide our Convention by engaging in untruthful attacks against SBC entities.”
Spradlin serves on the steering council of the Conservative Baptist Network, which promoted the premier of the film in a Nov. 12 Twitter post. The CBN, formed in early 2020, calls itself a partnership of Southern Baptists “where all generations are encouraged, equipped, and empowered to bring positive, biblical solutions that strengthen the SBC in an effort to fulfill the Great Commission and influence culture.”
Multiple requests for comment from Spradlin were not returned.
The film is written by Cary Gordon, directed by Judd Saul and is being released by Cohesion Films and Cornerstone World Outreach. Gordon is the senior pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach in Sioux City, Iowa. According to Saul’s LinkedIn page, Cohesion Films produces feature-length “political documentaries and political pieces.”