Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) has been in the news for the last few weeks ever since Danny Akin announced that the seminary was hiring former Liberty University English and Literature professor, Karen Swallow Prior. The move struck a nerve with conservative Southern Baptists drawing criticism from many outlets, including Founders who have typically abstained from such controversy in the past.
The argument is that
Karen Swallow Prior is an English teacher who has spent the last 21 years teaching at Liberty University — a Christian school with ties to the Southern Baptist Convention. Though Liberty was not officially an entity of the SBC, Karen Swallow Prior has been on unpaid staff as a researcher for the liberal Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) headed by Russell Moore.
Russell Moore once stated that he wishes there were “a thousand more Karen Swallow Priors” and despite the fact that (thankfully) there are not, her influence is gaining momentum in the Southern Baptist Convention.
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Swallow Prior is known for her lack of clarity on social views and when asked about them, tends to give a different response depending on the audience — particularly in the area of homosexuality. In a contradictory move, Prior acknowledged that she both signed the Nashville Statement on sexual ethics as well as supports the Revoice Conference — a gay Christian conference designed to normalize homosexual attraction and increase acceptance among homosexuals in the Church.
Progressives, especially Danny Akin, president of SEBTS has been relentlessly defending Swallow Prior since the announcement, yet, more and more evidence continues to surface proving her to not only be left-leaning and postmodern, but completely aberrant on homosexual issues. While Swallow Prior continues to claim that she holds to a biblical ethic on sexuality, her associations and endorsements continue to contradict her own words.
Karen Swallow Prior — along with Matt Chandler of Village Church — both endorse a ministry that promotes aberrant behavior built on homosexual desires. The Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender is a progressive organization that promotes such things as man-to-man and woman-to-woman same-sex live-in partnerships. The organization, which is led by the same people — Preston Sprinkle, Nate Collins, and others — who run the Revoice Conference (which Swallow Prior says she still supports “the mission” of) has quite a few deviant positions that they hold to.
One article on the website titled A Celibate Same-Sex Couple? talks about two women who admit to being same-sex attracted who live together in a same-sex “celibate” intimate partnership with each other.
Asked why they’re “partners” and not just roommates, the two women stated,
Our doing life together just sort of happened. Neither of us expected it, as we were not seeking partnership. Things started to fall together organically. We had a natural desire to be there for one another, and we learned quickly that we make a good team. The reason we use the term “partnership” is that we see ourselves as a team: we work together to follow God where he calls us. Many people assume that partnership has an inherent connotation of “sexually active.” We have never understood the word “partner” in this way and like to challenge assumptions about what it means to be in a partnership.
Now, keep in mind, this is right after the article introduction stated, “Yes, they are attracted to the same sex. But no, they are not married nor are they engaging in sexual relations.”
Of course, they’re not “engaging in sexual relations.” Just like two heterosexuals living together out of wedlock aren’t “engaging in sexual relations.” I’m sorry, but the fact that these two women refer to themselves as “same-sex attracted,” “partners” and not “just roommates,” as well as they live together — something tells me something isn’t quite right about this situation.
They go on to try to justify their same-sex live-in partnership by pointing to the Roman Catholic practice of celibates in monasteries — like those are biblical. (Sarcasm intended) They point to an apostate organization’s practice to justify this sickness.
We have a series of posts on our blog that we’ve listed as “Glimpses into our relationship.” We’ve learned a lot from monastic communities. Our four values of celibacy (hospitality, vulnerability, shared spiritual life, and commitment) pull strongly from what we’ve observed in those spaces. Equally, we recognize aspects of our life together that mirror what married couples do. To get more specific, we share finances and insurance, and make healthcare decisions together.
You cannot point to any biblical passage that would justify this kind of behavior. Simply because they (claim to) remain “celibate” does not justify same-sex marriage. The only difference between this and homosexual marriage is that they — while living together and attracted to people of the same sex — claim to stop short of bodily penetration.
Karen Swallow Prior endorses this. And Danny Akin, president of one of the most prestigious Southern Baptist seminaries endorses Karen Swallow Prior. Does Danny Akin endorse this too?