1971 Theological Controversy at Central Baptist Theological Seminary

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In the early part of 1971, the hot waters of controversy began to boil at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Kansas, where Paul T. Losh served as president. Discussions among students and faculty at this school—associated with American Baptist Churches USA—surfaced that some students thought their professors were promoting liberal views in the classroom.[1]

In an open letter to the student paper, James Rozmus, a student himself, wrote of his desire for professors to teach according to the school's statement of faith and called for professors to resign if they did not agree with the statement of faith.[1]

In response, three professors—Alvin C. Porteous, M. Edward Clark, Warren Lane Molton—submitted their resignation letters. The letters asked the board of directors to side with Rozmus or indicate that the school could be a place of diverse thought. After consideration, the directors accepted their resignations.[2]

One newspaper quoted professor Porteous as saying, "We are regretful of the fact the issue relative to our resignations has been subject to a good deal of misunderstanding…. It is not an issue as to whether the seminary be defined as liberal or conservative, but whether it is prepared to affirm diversity of theological stance within its faculty…."[2]

Central Baptist Theological Seminary is now in Shawnee, Kansas, and Molly Marshall is the president. Marshall wrote of the 1971 controversy, "It is an interesting window into an earlier day at Central. I am always glad to learn more about the challenges and actions of my forebears at this venerable school. It is amazing that God's providence has preserved it through many 'dangers, toils and snares.'"[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kevin L. Howard. "Controversy at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in 1971"; NeedNotFret.com; 02 March 2007. (Retrieved 26 April 2009)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Paul Boe and Helen Huyck. "Seminary Directors Affirm Resignations"; Most likely from The Kansas City Star; No name of paper or date given on newspaper clipping.
  3. Molly T. Marshall. Personal Correspondence with Kevin L. Howard; 19 March 2007.