USA Today drew a contrast yesterday between Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in alleging that DTS is more open to the charismatic gift of tongues than the SBC. Here’s the relevant excerpt:
A major battle over tongues has roiled the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest group of American Protestants. The SBC’s International Mission Board does not accept international missionaries who speak in tongues in public worship because it is not recognized as a part of Baptist identity, says spokesperson Wendy Norvelle. Next month, at the SBC’s annual convention, a group of pastors will ask the SBC to officially determine whether tongue-speaking adheres to Baptist principles. . .
Will Hall, spokesman for the SBC, says the denomination has no official policy on speaking in tongues for its churches or individual members. But there are other signs the practice is gaining acceptance. Dallas Theological Seminary and Campus Crusade for Christ, two strongholds of independent Christianity, have done away with restrictions on tongue-speaking for students and staff.
I think this report must have been a little bit shocking to the alumni and constituency of DTS since DTS’s doctrinal statement contains an even more explicit rejection of the continuation of tongues than the SBC’s statement of faith (which is silent on the matter). Here’s the relevant section from DTS’s doctrinal statement:
We believe that some gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues and miraculous healings were temporary. We believe that speaking in tongues was never the common or necessary sign of the baptism nor of the filling of the Spirit, and that the deliverance of the body from sickness or death awaits the consummation of our salvation in the resurrection (Acts 4:8, 31; Rom. 8:23; 1 Cor. 13:8).
I’m sure that’s why DTS President Mark Bailey issued this statement today in response to the story in USA Today:
A May 24, 2007, article in “USA Today,” “Faith’s language barrier?” about spiritual gifts and the practice of speaking in tongues contained an incorrect statement in reference to Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS).
We have already contacted the paper seeking clarification and wanted to similarly reiterate DTS’s long-standing position and policy in this matter to our campus community, donors and constituents.
The erroneous statement . . . is incorrect and constitutes a misrepresentation of Dallas Theological Seminary for three reasons. First, there has been no change of policy with reference to tongues-speaking for students and staff at Dallas Seminary.
Second, there has been no change of policy for the faculty who affirm annually their full agreement with a doctrinal position on this subject that is published in the seminary catalog and available on the seminary’s website at www.dts.edu/about/doctrinalstatement/.
Thirdly, over 70 denominations are represented in our student body of 2036 students. Some of these students obviously come from backgrounds with a viewpoint on tongues-speaking different from the seminary. They are admitted because they are in general agreement with our doctrinal statement and attend with the assurance they will not propagate contrarian doctrines within the seminary community.
We’ll all be looking for that retraction from USA Today.