David Bumgardner blew the whistle on a Southern Baptist seminary earlier this year. As an outspoken opponent of Donald Trump, David’s reputation as a “woke” provocateur made it hard at first for people in the conservative world to take stock of what he brought to light. El Tabano and David did a joint video, though, which brought together critiques from various political camps in a combined effort to fight against corruption and coverups in the Baptist world.
In a rare moment of victory, efforts to fight against corruption among Baptist elites succeeded. Adam Greenway was allegedly forced to resign two weeks ago. Bumgardner broke the story on Baptist News Global. His reporting became a significant source even for the Capstone Report, a conservative journal that published early stories on El Tabano’s whistleblowing efforts (in 2019).
David and El Tabano decide to take some credit for the Greenway firing, although they pay respects to the seemingly final role played by David Allen, who came forward and publicized his mistreatment and wrongful firing by Adam Greenway in the weeks after David and El Tabano published their joint expose. El Tabano admits to mixed feelings. While he honors God’s providence because Greenway’s mistreatment of Allen rightfully exposed Greenway’s abusive pattern, El Tabano also laments that so many of the so-called “little people” in the Baptist world had to suffer in unsung tribulations until Allen’s firing gave “respectable” Baptists permission to criticize Greenway’s administration.
In this far-reaching conversation, Bumgardner and El Tabano talk about the uncertain future of the seminary and the Convention itself. El Tabano holds a pessimist’s optimism and believes it will be healthy for Southwestern to be cut loose from the Convention. Bumgardner has rosier predictions because he thinks David Dockery and O.S. Hawkins, the two temporary replacements for Greenway, may turn the situation around.
El Tabano still believes that Southwestern Seminary will never be blessed until some reconciliation takes place with the staff, faculty, students, alumni, and parents who were harmed by Greenway’s mismanagement. Bumgardner believes that some, including El Tabano and himself, will remain controversial and “untouchable” for having been whistleblowers. El Tabano says that if that’s the case, there is no hopeful future for Baptists. If they continue to reward passive victims for remaining quiet in the face of abuse, and if they continue to demonize and shun whistleblowers, the deeper corruption cannot change.