Does removal of windows reflect 'sanitizing' of the past?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
 | 
Steve Jordahl (OneNewsNow.com)

windows removed from SWBTS chapelA Christian apologist is expressing concerns about the removal of some chapel windows honoring past Southern Baptist leaders, saying the conservative leanings of the denomination may go into hiding along with those windows.

A collection of stained-glass windows featuring leaders of the Southern Baptist movement that kept the denomination on a biblical track in the 1980s were removed from an SBC seminary chapel earlier this month (see before/after images to the right). The more than 40 windows taken from J.W. MacGorman Chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary honor 50-some leaders of what's called the "Conservative Resurgence" – a battle back in the 1980s over the SBC keeping true to the authority of God's Word or following the liberal trend of other mainline denominations.

Looking back at that conservative movement 30-some years ago, Christian apologist and educator Dr. Alex MacFarland describes it as a watershed moment for Southern Baptists and beyond.

"The Conservative Resurgence of the SBC is one of the great stories of modern Christendom, of a denomination that was egregiously turning left, very weak on the gospel, very weak on the authority of scripture," he recalls.

Those honored by the now-removed windows in the chapel include Southern Baptist leaders such as Adrian Rogers, W.A. Criswell, Paige Patterson, Jerry Vines, Rick Warren, and Ed Young.

The seminary was cryptic about the reason for the remodel, saying "after much prayerful consideration and discussion, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of the institution to remove and relocate the stained-glass windows." MacFarland argues it could be an effort to rewrite history.

McFarland

"The removal of the windows and the art honoring the leaders of the conservative resurgence, I fear, typifies the desire to sanitize the denomination by making the seminary basically devoid of any theological teeth and conviction," he tells OneNewsNow.

And he admits he's worried that the use by some Southern Baptist leaders of social justice tactics and language will see the denomination's conservative gains of the 80s follow the stained-glass windows into hiding.

"I fear that with several trends – [among them] the desire on the part of some to be socially relevant at any cost – … the denomination is drifting back into the abyss of weakness, theological weakness, [and] lack of zeal for the gospel," says McFarland.

According to BaptistNews.com, officials at the Fort Worth-based seminary are working with donors on plans to relocate the windows.

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