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Southern Seminary ‘expresses appreciation’ for updated ABP story on court decision


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Following the release of a revised story by Associated Baptist Press Dec. 2, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has updated a
statement it issued Dec. 1.

The initial SBTS statement was critical of ABP and Kentucky’s Western Recorder editor Trennis Henderson for a story about a lawsuit filed against the seminary by a student who had been suspended for alleged cheating.

The original ABP story did not contain the latest information in the case, as a Nov. 29 decision by Judge William Knopf of the Kentucky Court of Appeals stayed enforcement of a temporary injunction previously imposed on the seminary by the Jefferson County Circuit Court. The decision upholds the seminary’s suspension of the student.

James A. Smith Sr., Southern Seminary’s director of public relations, said the court victory “is not ours alone. Southern Baptists and other churches share in this protection of our religious freedom rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. We are confident that the entire three-judge Appeals Court panel will affirm Judge Knopf’s sound and wise decision.”

ABP ran an updated version of Henderson’s story Dec. 2. An editor’s note said it “updates and replaces the Nov. 30 ABP story ‘Student accused of cheating sues seminary over suspension.’ It contains new information and corrects errors made in editing of the earlier story.”

In Southern Seminary’s Dec. 3 statement, Smith noted Henderson’s efforts.

“The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary expresses appreciation to Editor Trennis Henderson for his Dec. 2 news story regarding a recent court case concerning our student disciplinary action,” Smith said in his updated statement. “While we stand by our concerns with regard to the earlier story filed with Associated Baptist Press, we recognize Mr. Henderson’s effort to set the record straight.”

Smith stressed Southern Seminary’s commitment to “a constructive relationship with the Western Recorder and its editor. His careful treatment of this very sensitive matter demonstrates good faith and is appreciated. … Kentucky Baptists should be thankful for Mr. Henderson’s thoughtful coverage of this sensitive matter in the Dec. 2 story.”

Henderson responded to the SBTS statement: “While I remain deeply disappointed with Southern Seminary’s initial response to Western Recorder’s news article about Henry Judy’s lawsuit, I appreciate Smith’s willingness to affirm our follow-up coverage.

“I have personally shared with seminary president Al Mohler my commitment to be fair and balanced in the Recorder’s coverage of seminary-related news. That commitment has not changed and will not change.”

The entire Southern Seminary statement can be viewed on the school’s Internet site at www.sbts.edu.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth
    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›