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Seminary officers, McKissic reach accord

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Agreeing “to put past issues behind us,” trustee officers of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary say they look forward “to working together for many years” with first-year trustee Dwight McKissic.

McKissic, contacted by Baptist Press March 28, said a statement released the previous day by trustee chairman T. Van McClain also speaks for him.

The two-sentence statement notes: “The officers of the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have met with trustee Rev. Dwight McKissic and have jointly agreed to put past issues behind us. We look forward to working together for many years to impact SWBTS and the world for Christ.”

McKissic affirmed the statement. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to (continuing as a trustee),” the Texas pastor told Baptist Press.

The agreement, McKissic said, in no way infringes on his freedom to express his convictions.

“As a Southern Baptist pastor, I have the freedom to express whatever it is I feel convicted to express,” he told Baptist Press. “No ifs, ands or buts about it.”

The administration and trustees of Southwestern Seminary, located in Fort Worth, Texas, have been at odds with McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in nearby Arlington, since McKissic spoke in chapel last August of having had a “private prayer language” since his seminary days. Without mentioning the Southern Baptist International Mission Board by name, he also criticized the board’s 2005 policy that would bar candidates who speak in tongues or practice a private prayer language.

McKissic said the agreement “doesn’t affect my ability to speak on that, hold a conference on that, address that in any way I so choose.”

The statement by trustee chairman McClain, of New York, did not recount details for the meeting. McKissic said he and three trustee officers met March 26 at the seminary.

After McKissic’s chapel sermon, tensions increased to the point that McClain raised concerns about possible trustee policy violations involving the manner in which McKissic had expressed his disagreement regarding board actions and seminary policies. McClain also claimed McKissic inappropriately used confidential material sent to him as a trustee in advance of the board’s Oct. 16-17 meeting.

McKissic, in a March 7, statement, said he had asked for specific instances of board violations but had not gotten any.

The trustees’ next meeting will be April 3-4 on Southwestern’s Fort Worth campus.