Pastor Dwight McKissic’s 2006 chapel sermon asserting glossolalia [speaking in tongues] is still a spiritual gift has been added to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SWBTS) digital archive, 12 years after the school banned the message.
Photo by Van Payne
Pastor Dwight McKissic, shown in 2014, preached a 2006 sermon on baptism of the Holy Spirit that has been added to the digital archives of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The adjustment in no way reflects a new theological leaning at SWBTS and is not about “going around trying to undo” the decisions or legacy of the seminary’s former president Paige Patterson, a SWBTS vice president told Baptist Press Oct. 26.
The addition had more to do with historical preservation, Charles W. Patrick Jr., SWBTS vice president in the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Communications, told BP in an email. And the sermon was one of about 30 items added to the archive this month.
SWBTS libraries preserve history “by conforming to industry standard archival processes and using strictly governed metadata as part of a nation-wide archive system,” Patrick told BP. “Importantly, the Libraries (are) tasked with archiving history and not rewriting history.”
McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, and a former SWBTS trustee, appreciates the decision to add his sermon to the digital archives, he told BP today.
“The spirit on Southwestern’s campus this week has been one of repentance, reconciliation, and renewal. I do not know all the factors that went into the seminary’s decision to make my 2006 sermon available online after more than 12 years of censure,” McKissic emailed BP. “I am grateful for that decision, and it could not have come at a more perfect time.”
McKissic attended a Life Action Ministries prayer and revival event Oct. 23–25 at SWBTS, designed to strengthen the seminary as it seeks a president to succeed Patterson, fired in May.
“My family and my church have always been supportive of Southwestern Seminary,” McKissic told BP. “We will continue to be as the Lord gives us health and strength.”
In his 2006 sermon on baptism of the Holy Spirit, anchored in Acts 1:5, McKissic preached that the gift of speaking in tongues or glossolalia did not cease with the New Testament, that he himself began speaking in tongues while praying privately as a SWBTS student, and that organizations should not limit ministry positions to those not gifted with speaking in tongues, or glossolalia.
McKissic did not mention by name the International Mission Board, which has since reversed a policy that limited missionary posts to those who do not speak in tongues.
SWBTS decided in 2006 it would have not have been in the seminary’s best interest to include the sermon in its online library archives, but offered it by mail order. Ensuing discussions and events in Southern Baptist life led McKissic to resign in 2007 his seat on the SWBTS Board of Trustees, which he had held a year.
Today, Patrick said SWBTS “frequently never aligns theologically with all positions of a chapel speaker.
“However, the entire spectrum of SBC theological positions and the broader evangelical community are welcome to Southwestern,” Patrick said. “We have healthy and respectful debates and it is useful for students to see different theological viewpoints that they then discuss in classes.”
The archives are updated monthly, Patrick said.
“These updates include new items, items that were once removed when distortion is noted in recording quality and have been redigitized, and items that were not included historically for a host of reasons (missionary security reasons, request of speakers, etc.),” Patrick said.
McKissic’s 2006 sermon is one of six of his chapel messages available on the searchable database digitalarchive.swbts.edu.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor. Reprinted from Baptist Press, baptistpress.com, news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.)