A former homosexual who refused to resign from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary claims he was forced out due to his vocal views in a culture preaching tolerance, including at the seminary itself.
Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez aired his claims this week on the “Focal Point with Bryan Fischer” program, which airs on American Family Radio, but a detailed response and rebuttal has been released by Dr. Randy Stinson, provost and a vice president at the historic seminary headquartered in Ft. Worth, Texas.
“Our faculty – including our president – regularly teach on God’s design for the family and marriage and the biblical sexual ethic, which homosexuality is in rebellion against,” Stinson says in a lengthy statement. “Our faculty also teach that all sinners can be changed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, any contrary teaching at the seminary would not be tolerated.”
The now-fired professor was employed as a humanities professor among a faculty of approximately 70 and 3,200 students, but it was his personal story that caught the attention of many: Raised by a lesbian couple, sexually abused by other men, and living for years as a partying homosexual until being changed by Jesus Christ.
Former homosexuals are routinely hated and mocked in the LGBT community but Lopez’s story went farther: He often includes straightforward descriptions of how his former life affects the health and minds of homosexual men. He has also used his family upbringing to vocally condemn same-sex marriage, producing more critics and enemies.
According to Lopez, he was asked at a September 19 meeting to resign and was also advised he had earned a low reputation with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a controversial arm of the Southern Baptist Commission led by Russell Moore.
"I had had conflict with the ERLC because I submitted a resolution in 2018 trying to support ministries that help people get out of homosexuality into heterosexuality,” Lopez told the radio program. “And I knew that placed me in conflict with ERLC because Russell Moore, as well as other people in the SBC, had already come out against reparative therapy and against those kinds of counseling."
Religion News, among other media outlets, reported in 2014 that Moore had “denounced” ex-gay therapy at a Nashville conference.
According to Lopez, however, the Church can help deliver people from homosexuality.
“And that's the part of my ministry that caused all the controversy,” he told “Focal Point" program, “because a lot of people in the Southern Baptist Convention are trying to come up with a middle position on homosexuality, where they pay lip service to the idea that it's a sin and it can't be marriage. But they want to say that people can't change their orientation, or they have to just passively wait for God to change them, and not take any efforts in terms of their own personal behavior."
A portion of the statement from Dr. Stinson, however, seems to respond directly to Lopez’s claim by stating the faculty teaches that “all sinners can be changed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” and any teachings that contradict that are not tolerated.
The seminary’s statement, which can be read here, states directly that Lopez deserved to be firing due to poor job performance:
Finally, although Dr. Lopez’s position is being eliminated due to changing program needs of our college, our decision was undergirded by his own actions, which included his failure to comply with basic administrative policies, his being the subject of regular complaints from students and faculty colleagues, and, in the end, his refusal even to attend meetings with his supervisors.
Dr. Stinson also says in the statement the seminary was responding to Lopez’s claims after the fired professor worked with a public relations firm to distribute a press release, which makes "defamatory claims” against the seminary and the provost, according to Dr. Stinson's version of events.
The seminary provost also calls Lopez’s claims about their conversations “demonstrably false.”