Update: Klouda v. Southwestern Seminary

Sam Hodges of the Dallas Morning News

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth has filed a motion in federal court, asking for dismissal of the suit recently filed former professor Sheri Klouda. She sued the school and president Paige Patterson, claiming she was dismissed from her tenure-track slot as a biblical Hebrew professor solely because she’s a woman.

The motion to dismiss argues in part that, “The seminary’s relationship with its professors has been held by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to be the same relationship as a church has with its ministers. Any decision the seminary may make regarding the employment of one of its professors is an ecclesiastical decision, which this court is bound to accept out of deference for the free exercise of religion, protected by the First Amendment.”

“Seminary moves to dismiss Klouda suit” – Dallas Morning News


  • Paul

    1) how many churches kick out parishoners because they’re female and know too much Hebrew?

    2) Paul states that if you were yoked to a non-believer before you came to Christ that you should remain yoked to that non-believer even after you’ve found redemption.

    While not the same thing, there are DEFINITELY parallels there. Nowhere in The Bible does it say, “if you suddenly decide to follow this book to the letter, you should put other believers in a position of distress.”

    3) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you can’t have female teachers in a seminary, then it is only hypocritical to have female students. After all, a seminary degree is really only good for one thing — church leadership — is it not?

  • Steve Hayes

    Paul makes some fair points. This situation really grieves me because there are several things here that I wish hadn’t happened. I wish Southwestern wouldn’t have hired Dr. Klouda if they weren’t willing to hold true to their contract. I wish Southwestern hadn’t broken their contract. I wish this whole mess wouldn’t have made the news. I wish Dr. Klouda wouldn’t have brought a law suit against Southwestern.

    I am definitely in agreement with Dr. Klouda on this particular issue. I think she was mistreated and the situation was mishandled. Having said that, her law suit is disheartening. She will never be able to gain what was lost by bringing this to court. It would be best for her to rise above all this nonsense and continue with her life. That’s what I wish she had done.

    Either way, Southwestern brought this upon themselves, and they are primarily responsible for this problem. They did not choose their battles wisely, and this has come back to bite them. I can’t condone what Sherri Klouda has done, but I can understand why she has done it. Truth be told, I would probably have considered filing suit if it were me.

    The entire situation is very sad to me, not only becsause I studied under Sherri Klouda, but because I think Southwestern is not at all known for its academic integrity or intellectual prowess when it comes to the Bible; Southwestern is known as an average theological institution that is more concerned about politics than anything else. This ordeal has only bolstered that characterization. Very sad.

  • Robert I Masters

    Are you the Steve Hays who used to pastor at Two Rivers in Nashville?
    Rob Masters

    I know he went to Southwestern!

  • Kris

    I agree Klouda should not have sued. She was wronged but no one would judge her case within the SBC much less the trustees of SWBTS.

    So with all the hypocrisy shown by throwing out scripture to show her sin by sueing….lets see if the same ones who threw the scriptures at her throw this scripture at SWBTS & Mr. Patterson:

    Matthew 5:40
    40″If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.

  • benarbour03

    Great point Kris,

    Those who contend that Dr. Klouda was in error/sin for filing suit MUST also agree that SWBTS is also guilty of the same sin. But, thus far, criticism of the seminary is absent from the blogosphere…

    I guess people who got upset about one lawsuit but not the other were more concerned with their take on complementarianism than they were with the actual exegetical debate concerning 1 Cor. 6. Instead, they were just using the occasion to make their point. Otherwise, we’d be hearing about it in relation to the seminary’s lawsuit, right?

  • Abbey

    All of us wish those things never had happened but I do believe it is time to wake up and face the facts, that it did happen and must be dealt with. It is wrong to judge someone until you have taken the time to see what it would be like to live in their shoes. If you were put in the same situation with spouse on the edge of dying and a daughter in highschool what would you do? I honestly ask you that question. Actions that are taken come with consequences. You have not lived with the Klouda family nor do you even know them personally. Sheri Klouda is a mother and a wife doing all that she can to keep her head above water. If you were put in the same situation, pushed into a corner you would do anything to fight for your life.

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