I saw the transformation of Calvary seminary firsthand and this article [The Closure of Calvary Baptist Seminary: Predictable and Repeatable] is spot on. Unfortunately the leadership you mention seemed to be more interested in being validated by some of the mainstream evangelicals than sticking with the principles they were trained under and passing them on to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Tim. 2:2).
I was there when Sam [Harbin] was taking a class with Haddon Robinson and he was star struck like he had just met Elvis. A culture began to spread that we all needed to go to Westminster or another “accredited” seminary to learn what the “experts” were doing. I remember thinking “If I wanted that why would I be here?” Regardless, the desire to get the validation of the brightest and the best of the mainstream thinkers seemed to begin to drive the decisions of the seminary and even the church.
My opinion is that these men fell prey to the desire to be somebody and became very focused on their own motivations and what they wanted out of life. Unfortunately they’ve gotten the outcome of what happens when you do things that way. It’s obvious they are upset about the failure and they have tried to put the best face forward on the closure by calling it a success or celebration.
The reality is that they are accountable for the failure of the seminary and just won’t own up to it.Instead they in effect blame God by saying that He has other plans. They also say that Dr. E. R. Jordan would have been on board, but there is no way Chief would have ever agreed to bring on a Calvinist professor, and this desperate move right before closing for good shows just how off the focus has been and the disregard for what Calvary has always been. There was even a letter that was sent to Alumni when that decision was made stating that Calvary “had always leaned more towards Calvinism,” and that this wasn’t a bad thing. Regardless of your views on the subject this was an outright lie, and misrepresentation of the historic position of the seminary, insulting to the alumni and the memory of Chief.
In the end I believe a lot of these men, especially Harbin and McLain, whether they realized it or not, saw the seminary as serving them instead of the other way around. They remade it in their image and the outcome was a small group of relatives and yes men organized in a mutual admiration society. No one will pay good money to be trained under that system- where insiders get preferred treatment and outsiders get shunned or made to feel inferior. This is a tragedy and a direct result of losing focus on what the seminary was supposed to be.
Chief, with all of his eccentricities, loved people and was passionate about training young men for the ministry and about leading people to Christ. Unfortunately the men who followed him thought they were smarter, and could do it better, but clearly they were wrong.