A new film examining the results of a growing secular society and a less biblical one is at the center of a grievance expressed by the president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary toward a fellow seminary head.
It was on Wednesday that SWBTS President Adam Greenway tweeted a comment to Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary President Michael Spradlin requesting that he not host an upcoming premiere of the film this Saturday. Greenway said the film wrongly portrays SWBTS.
The documentary, Enemies Within: The Church, examines the infiltration of “wokeness” within Christian churches and theological seminaries in the United States. The two-hour film looks at the effects of a society without the Bible and what one with greater Marxist leanings would look like. It also addresses the propagation of Critical Race Theory and the social justice movement into churches and Christian institutions.
Released recently on the website www.enemieswithinthechurch.com after its November 2 premiere at the Orpheum Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, the two-hour film is directed by Judd Saul and written by Cary Gordon. It is being promoted by the Conservative Baptist Network, which is a partnership of Southern Baptists that is also facilitating Saturday’s screening at MABTS.
“It is with deep disappointment but strong conviction that I have sent the following letter to Dr. Michael Spradlin prayerfully requesting him to reconsider the decision of MABTS to host the premier [sic] of a film whose trailer contains scandalous and scurrilous slander against @SWBTS,” tweeted Greenway on Wednesday.
Attached was Greenway’s letter to MABTS President Spradlin, in which he noted that showing the film and supporting CBN wasn’t appropriate and said “The Seminary prohibits any negative criticism of any Southern Baptist agency, leader, or program by speakers in the classroom and in the chapel services.”
The movie includes footage from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and portrays its teachings as not correctly aligned with biblical ones.
“The film’s trailer contains campus footage of the institution I am privileged to lead overlaid with narrative insinuations of ‘Marxism,’ presumably intended to leave viewers with the mistaken impression that Southwestern Seminary is something other than orthodox, Baptist, and evangelical. I take strong umbrage to such scandalous and scurrilous slander, particularly when it is apparently condoned by an institution such as yours,” the letter read.
Newsweek reached out to both SWBTS President Greenway and MABTS President Spradlin for comment.
However, on Thursday, MABTS released a statement confirming its support of screening the film and noting its concern about the “documented evidence the film presents” and that “Southwestern Seminary’s inclusion in the film does not appear unfounded.”
The statement goes on to include a list of questions concerning what a Southern Baptist entity should do. One asks whether standpoint hermeneutics should be used by professors in order to understand Scripture properly while another questions whether or not a Southern Baptist entity should condone plagiarism.
“We believe Southern Baptists, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are wise and able to arrive at the conclusion that glorifies our Lord and advances the gospel. Documented information and concerns should be considered instead of suppressed. The Conservative Baptist Network encourages Southern Baptists to watch the documentary and prayerfully make their own determinations,” the statement also read.
Meanwhile, Gordon, who wrote the film, acknowledged the near 2,000 individuals who donated to help get it made. He said it will also be available on other streaming services including one affiliated with the monthly Christian magazine Charisma.
He also noted his appreciation that MABTS did not back down.
“I was really proud of the school for doing that because a lot of times they surrender and offer an apology,” said Gordon, who defended the film and its message.
“The bible teaches that the sacredly created individual human being gives permission for the state to exist. The worldview being promoted by many Christian institutions now is the very antithesis of that philosophy,” said Gordon. “They believe that the state gives permission for the individual to exist and the consequences of that kind of thinking should not be under-estimated. It’s extremely dangerous. We’re going the wrong direction.”