There’s a foul stench over Fort Worth and it is coming from the Southern Baptist Convention’s richest seminary — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, an institution cushioned by a generous endowment (largest of the SBC’s six institutions) assembled from, among other things, Texas’ devout oil and gas industry executives.
A touching post appeared on Facebook yesterday morning by a woman named Tiffany Eustice. The title of her story is “Why getting kicked out of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Since my own experience with that seminary could go by that title as well, the post piqued my natural interest. Ms. Eustice found herself bullied on campus and noted that others were being mistreated based on their race and gender. She went to campus officials and they distorted her situation to blame her for it. They rummaged around using social media spies, apparently, and found a Facebook post that she had posted, which they could blow out of proportion into a disciplinary matter. This is the trademark tactic of Adam Greenway’s Southwestern: surveil, find dirt on people, no matter how big or small the person’s influence is, and when they challenge Greenway’s minions, blackmail them into submission.
I went through that. So petty was the work of Greenway’s spies that at one point Randy Stinson, the former provost brought by Greenway who later had to resign due to a years-long drug abuse problem, called me to his office to claim that three of my colleagues were uncomfortable with a Facebook comment I posted. That comment questioned the importance of a four-year liberal arts degree. That supposedly “made three of your colleagues very uncomfortable.” Anything they can use and turn into a disciplinary case, they will, if they want to shut you up. So I could see exactly what Tiffany Eustice was talking about. Here is an excerpt from her piece:
I have seen male seminary students pursuing their “calling” from God, actively take advantage of, manipulate, lie about, threaten and harass women, including myself. So, what did I do? I went to higher ups about it. What did they do? Nothing. When male and female students started slandering me, calling me a hoe, calling me crazy, calling me a stalker, calling me anything they could to protect their reputation, what did the school do? Nothing. In fact, they called me the bully. They folded their hands. They smiled and chastised me. When male students broke the code of conduct, trying to go into ministry with porn addictions or lying problems or anger issues what did they do? Nothing. When I made a mistake on social media, and a joke was taken seriously when it was meant to do no harm what did they do? Immediately kick me out and tell me to keep quiet about it. I was coerced into signing a voluntary withdrawal paper but was told if I didn’t sign I would be escorted out of the building by police. Veryyy voluntary right? I was forced to sign a document saying I hoaxed a suicide, which is a lie (if you want more information about the social media post, I will be happy to message you about its contents). One unintentional mistake that I made cost me my education at seminary. A mistake I cried hard over. But, threats and lies and manipulations and violations of conduct were ignored on the part of male students.
-TIFFANY EUSTICE, FACEBOOK POST
My heart sinks as I read this. These people engaged in the same abusive tactics as my managers. Obviously, they did not want her to make a case out of the misconduct of students on campus because that would cast doubts on Greenway’s aptitudes as a president. To silence her, they went on a fishing expedition and found the best nugget they could. Had they not found the Facebook post Ms. Eustice mentions, I am certain they would have dug up anything and claimed someone anonymously complained to them about it.
They do that a lot. Instead of disciplining you by charging you directly, they cite nameless people who supposedly felt uncomfortable by your conduct, or embarrassed for the institution. By claiming they were multiple in number and also leaving them nameless, they make it unbearable for you to report to duties because you have to wonder which three of your colleagues was so pathetic as to run to a provost and complain about a comment on your Facebook page. However effective this may be at controlling subordinates, it is psychologically harmful. And Greenway has perfected the art.
My case differed from Ms. Eustice’s, though, because I was a grown professional at 48 years of age when they pulled this. I had greying bangs and twenty years of experience in the professorate. Sure, they could push me around, but I had no problem pushing right back at them. And I was in a position to publish whatever I wanted about their misdeeds because I did not live in terror of being blacklisted from Southern Baptist institutions.
For a young woman of barely twenty years, it is different. Raised in a home with fervently religious parents and still inexperienced in any profession, these people must have terrified her. Her publication of the accounts deserves a great deal of respect and credit.
It moved me to read what the institution’s dysfunctional operations felt like from the position of a student — a situation that I realize is more vulnerable than I was as a professor. Seminary officials kicked her out after a bureaucratic process full of abuse, deceit, and hypocrisy. I hope that people can pray for this young woman, whose bravery in coming out cannot be overlooked.
Tiffany begins by explaining that she found the sexism and racism on campus disconcerting.
At first glance, the place seems innocent enough. They just want to help you “deepen your walk with Christ” and “prepare you for ministry” or world missions. It’s all about “ministry”. What they don’t tell you is they expect you to conform to a very specific mold, keep your mouth shut and don’t stir up trouble. If you’re not a white male preparing to become a pastor, don’t expect to be edified by the twice weekly chapel sermons. If you are a white male, prepare to hear about how much harder your life is going to be than everyone else’s because you felt burdened by your own freewill to become a pastor. If you are a woman, your degree choices are limited. Also, if you are a woman, never ever question a man attending the seminary. You are to keep yourself covered and pure and to keep yourself from being a stumbling block to the pious men trying to serve God. Women are to be silent and modest.
TIFFANY EUSTICE, FACEBOOK POST
Before my conservative friends dismiss her testimony as the claims of a critical race theorist and feminist, I ask that readers take a step back and think about this. It is good that she presents a liberal worldview for one important reason. This shows that she speaks with sincerity. She has not come forward at the prompting of one political camp trying to target the other side. Unlike Jennifer Lyell, she does not focus her allegations only on conservative figures, for Adam Greenway and his friends like Dwight McKissic as well as Ed Litton have to be accountable for their side’s role in what happened to Ms. Eustice and her friends. On the other hand, unlike someone like Paula Jones or Juanita Broaddrick, not to discount their testimony, Ms. Eustice is not joining forces with the ideology of the right to attack Adam Greenway’s perceived affinity for egalitarianism or critical race theory.
Ms. Eustice’s political position proves that she posted her testimony purely for the purposes of bringing information to light about abuses of power. Her motives seem guileless.
When I endured the mistreatment by Greenway’s administration, I faced a dilemma that I pray Ms. Eustice will be spared. My troubles did not align neatly with a liberal or conservative narrative. Nonetheless, to survive what the institution did to me, I had to align myself with conservatives for the simple reason that liberals were more toxic and intolerant, especially in the secular academic press. I had seen racial discrimination at Southwestern, and the seminary’s treatment of students accused of being gay also troubled me. I have no doubt that women on campus have legitimate complaints about sexism. In my small way I tried to help by adding female authors to the reading lists and inviting Sarah Spring, then a colleague, to speak before my students on topics like Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women. I did not want to neglect these issues when I came forward. This is why the first account I published of my firing came in American Greatness. There on November 16, 2019, I discussed the real racial disparities and curricular imbalance that contributed to my impasses with superiors, even as people like Malcolm Yarnell and Ben Cole tried to play up Adam Greenway’s supposed better attitudes about race than his predecessor, the much maligned Paige Patterson.
History played out, as it so often does, according to the foibles of the political camps around me rather than according to my own wishful thinking. That first salvo in American Greatness did nothing to find me support on the left. Less than a month later, Inside Higher Ed writer Colleen Flaherty downplayed my work on racial diversity and instead penned a piece entitled “Antigay and Unemployed.” The secular academic press got stuck on their definitions of antigay and gave me no credit for standing up to racism or militating for sex abuse survivors like myself. The Chronicle of Higher Education would not run any stories about Southwestern’s abuses — sadly, one factor that contributed to Greenway’s entrenchment, a lack of real impetus to reform, and the terrible experiences described by Tiffany Eustice two years later.
Because the left refuses to engage with Christian campuses, their own sacred causes atrophy in the evangelical education world. Two years had passed since my trial by fire, and nothing had changed for someone like Tiffany Eustice. Adam Greenway and his minions had become more emboldened because people like Colleen Flaherty had signaled to them that the left would stay out of the abuses of power on Christian campuses (at least, unless someone like Paige Patterson served as a lucrative target.)
Outcast from the left, I had to work with the right. This made life difficult for me because soon the overwhelming focus among conservatives would become the “fight against critical race theory,” a fight in which my pre-existing multicultural work would always render my affiliation with conservatives uncertain. In the weeks between the November 16, 2019 article in American Greatness and Colleen Flaherty’s hit piece, I received some support from conservatives because it was obvious that Russell Moore’s liberal Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission had rallied to oust me as part of their general purge of people identified as conservative, regardless of my multicultural work. I could never take support from conservatives for granted, however. A Christian radio host who had once been my friend told mutual colleagues that I was “playing the race card.” Trump-supporting evangelicals distanced themselves in order to avoid being associated with a Latino who raised issues of racial discrimination. And outspoken Christian libertarians posted hostile condemnations of me because of what they perceived as traces of liberalism in my published work.
Dealing with the lifelong aftereffects of fifteen years of youthful sexual abuse, a coordinated defamation campaign from both left and right, and the struggles of a cold job market, the added hostility from conservatives made everything that much more tortuous. I thank the Lord for people like Alan Atchison, Judd Saul, American Thinker, Tom Littleton, American Greatness, Eric Metaxas, John Zmirak, and many others who still stuck by me when others on the right thought I would become a grand liability.
I hope that conservatives can call to memory all these things and show some support for Tiffany Eustice even if her views on gender and race lean more liberal. Her exposé on the corruption and abuses of power by the Greenway administration should appeal to the ethical compass of all camps in the church. Consider what Ms. Eustice writes here:
A friend was raped by another man (not a student). She went to higher ups, they interrogated her for hours with no woman present and blamed her for the incident. I am only scratching the surface. I went to a professor about family issues. I told him when I went home I got suicidal. I was hospitalized (by the school) for suicidal ideation and PTSD. After I got kicked out, I asked them to at least let me stay on campus or with a friend on campus for my mental health and safety, though I wouldn’t attend classes. Their response was “You’re exaggerating. Figure it out and go home.” The same professor called my dad without my permission and told him I was saying he was abusive (a word I never used to the best of my memory) and sent me home – the same home I told him made me suicidal. He also told my dad there was “more to” me being kicked out than he could say – though he told me it was a one time offense. I got literally cornered at home, interrogated, and my dad got in my face so I left the house and was told not to come back. If it had not been for friends who stepped up, the school would have left me homeless and jobless.
I am still just scratching the surface. If you dress the wrong way, you will hear whispers behind your back. If you don’t speak like the others, you will be looked down on. If you question the Baptist rules on morality, you are looked down on. I haven’t even mentioned the harmful counseling practices that go on behind the scenes. I was told to stop my nightmares I should repent of every scary movie and book I have ever seen or read because I opened “demonic doors” to my soul. This further reinforced the type of fears my PTSD feeds me. The counselor in question stated they did not “believe in psychology.”
Everything at SWBTS is kept quiet, nothing is brought to light, everything is swept under the rug. Everything is hidden to benefit the leaders. They told me not to “spread gossip” about the reasons of my “withdrawal” because -and I quote – “You know how girls are.” Haha oops. I know it’s just the way I am 😜
Regardless of what other people might say, I am not doing this to “play victim.” I am tired of injustice. I am tired of the lies – and people, Christians especially, need to wake up. Why should we be surprised at sexual assault cases in the church when things like this are going on? Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is one of the headquarters and training facilities of the SBC. We need to change or we need to restart. Share this post if you feel led. Bring the problems to light. Start a dialogue. Ask questions. Start with yourself.
Frankly, as someone who has done deep research into cult activity, I am extremely concerned that the SBC is taking on more and more cultic characteristics every day. Unquestioning loyalty to authority figures, strict codes on where you can go, who you can befriend, what you can wear, shaming and banishment as punishments, fear mongering, sexism, racism, and so many more things I am seeing are all cultic in nature. Look it up.
TIFFANY EUSTICE, FACEBOOK POST
Ms. Eustice’s accounts raise serious red flags that should fly higher than any political camp. My biggest reason for endorsing Randy Adams in the recent election, as opposed to Mike Stone, had to do with the non-partisan issue of corruption. While my conservative views align with Mike Stone, I can see that a leader who might tolerate a certain level of corruption will probably not enact the conservative practices favored by our ideology. My main objection to Russell Moore and Ed Litton, moreover, did not have to do with their liberal views (though I disagree with them on a lot) as much as the misleading and manipulative conduct that they have to engage in, in order to impose their liberal views on a conservative denomination.
Adam Greenway leads Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, which attracted criticism in recent months for hosting what looked like a campaign event for Ed Litton, the more liberal candidate for SBC president. As reported by Allen Nelson IV, Greenway’s administration provoked some controversy by using the school’s funds to cover food for a lecture by Litton on April 29, roughly 90 days before an election in which Litton would be running against three other men for the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. Greenway’s institution did not, it seems, offer any such generously funded platform to the three other candidates, raising questions of conflicts of interest. Moreover, at the luncheon itself, Litton’s comments about social justice led many people to view Litton as the “woke” option in the race for president. See Capstone Report’s coverage here.
Below are screenshots of the back-and-forth between Allen Nelson IV and Colby Adams, the henchmen for Adam Greenway whom I had similarly nightmarish interactions with.
Colby Adams’ snarky deflections reflect the typical rhetorical tactics of Adam Greenway as well as the political operatives associated with Al Mohler, Greenway’s former mentor and employer at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. One thing comes through clearly in this exchange between Adams and Nelson: Southwestern used seminary funds inappropriately to underwrite events that would assist Ed Litton in getting elected over Mike Stone and Randy Adams.
While Tiffany Eustice’s timeline does not come across clearly, it seems that the case involving her and her friend who was raped must have played out before and during the time of Southwestern’s collaboration with Ed Litton. Litton ran his campaign largely on his claims to do better on the issues of racism and sex abuse than Stone or Adams.
This leaves us with a nagging question: Was Adam Greenway improperly assisting Litton to get elected because he was hoping that Litton would protect Greenway’s seminary from scrutiny over the racism, sexism, and abuse described by Tiffany Eustice and her friend?
In the two weeks before the election, Litton supporters brought forth a story, based on Russell Moore’s leaked letters, that implied that Mike Stone had bungled a sex abuse investigation. The attacks on Mike Stone were craven and cruel given that Mike Stone showed courage in coming forward as a survivor of same-sex abuse. Litton supporters issued calls for an “investigation” into Mike Stone and others for handling sex abuse cases.
How early did Greenway know that these calls for investigation were coming? And did he have an explicit or implicit deal with Litton–Greenway would help Litton get the presidency and in exchange Litton would steer the investigation away from Southwestern toward the usual Patterson protégés treated like bogeymen by Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Rachael Denhollander, Beth Moore, Ben Cole, Jonathan Merritt, Russell Moore, J.D. Greear and the rest of them?
Ms. Eustice’s story will provide us the answer to these frightening questions. Because if Litton does not act immediately upon the accounts provided by Ms. Eustice–and remember that more will come from Ms. Eustice’s friend who was raped–then we will have to conclude that Greenway and Litton made a dirty deal with each other. Litton has to call for the trustees and administrators of Southwestern to be removed. An independent committee, without political ties to Litton and Greenway’s camp, must convene to search for replacements for these. And that has to be placed under the power of a truly independent committee being watched by the public. Anything less than that looks like a quid pro quo.
Meanwhile, in the middle of all this there is a young woman who needs our help. Please set aside political beliefs and rally to her cause.
Article cross-posted from Gatekeepers Online.
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