Adam Greenway sues Southwestern Seminary over alleged defamation, breach of contract

Courtesy of SWTS
Courtesy of SWTS

Former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Adam Greenway has filed a lawsuit against the academic institution he once led, demanding financial compensation.

Greenway filed the complaint on Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the seminary and former trustee Chairman Danny Roberts.

According to the suit, a copy of which was provided to The Christian Post by Greenway's attorney Andrew Jones, after Greenway left his positions, SWBTS leadership “began a defamatory campaign against Dr. Greenway that included both specific false statements along with publication of a narrative that created a substantially false and defamatory impression.”

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“The defamation of Dr. Greenway has been widely publicized, resulting in severe damage to his reputation and rendering him unemployable in the professional capacity for which he is qualified,” continued the complaint.

The lawsuit argues, among other things, that Greenway was wrongfully accused by SWBTS of excessive spending on the seminary presidential manor, claiming that the home “was in a state of disrepair and unfit for habitation or use” when the Greenways moved into the facility.

Adam W. Greenway is president of Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College and professor of evangelism and apologetics.
Adam W. Greenway is president of Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College and professor of evangelism and apologetics. | Facebook/Adam W. Greenway

“All expenditures relating to the restoration of the President’s Home facility during Plaintiff’s tenure were made in accordance with existing SWBTS financial controls and policies,” argued the complaint.

“The Settlement Agreement [for Greenway’s resignation] included a non-disparagement clause prohibiting the parties, including Plaintiff and Roberts (individually) from making statements pertaining to the other parties that are false and disparaging.”

Greenway accuses the defendants of breach of contract, defamation, and promissory estoppel and/or equitable estoppel, which involves one party wrongfully asserting something that contradicts a previously agreed to stance.

“Greenway has dedicated his life to studying and spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What he has been met with at the hands of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary since his departure has not shaken his faith or his resolve,” read a statement emailed to CP by Jones.

“To be victimized by one’s own alma mater is a particular form of cruelty, but Dr. Greenway is heartened by the wisdom found in 1 John 3:18—'Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.’ We look forward to the litigation process and for the public to finally learn the truth, as described in the lawsuit we filed on Wednesday.”

Greenway is demanding compensation for damages, including "past and future economic loss including lost wages" and "post-judgment interest as allowable by law from the date judgment is entered until paid in full."

In a statement emailed to CP, the seminary said it is “regrettable that Adam Greenway is suing the seminary he has previously claimed to love in response to Southwestern's refusal to agree to his demand of $5 million last fall.”

“It is also disappointing that his lawyer turned down multiple invitations to inspect the evidence supporting the public statements previously made by the seminary,” SWBTS continued.

“We categorically deny the allegations contained in the lawsuit, will defend vigorously the institution, and are confident the outcome will demonstrate that these claims are entirely baseless.”

In September 2022, Greenway resigned as president of SWBTS after serving there since February 2019, having taken over the Fort Worth, Texas-based seminary after the firing of its previous president, Paige Patterson. The terms of his resignation from office were finalized in February 2023.

Although it was initially reported that Greenway was transferring to a position with the SBC International Mission Board, the former seminary president did not end up working there.

In June of last year, the Southwestern Seminary Board of Trustees Task Force issued a "summary of findings" on an investigation into presidential expenditures, alleging that Greenway oversaw "improper expenses" that did not reflect "proper stewardship of seminary resources."

According to the summary, approximately $1.5 million was spent "on renovations, furnishings, and related expenses to the President's home" between 2019 and 2022.

Expenses included almost $60,000 for Christmas decorations, more than $25,000 for art, over $11,100 for an espresso machine and accessories, and also around $180,000 for HVAC work.

"These expenditures were made at a time when the seminary was making significant budget cuts, including the reduction of faculty personnel and positions," continued the summary.

The report also stated that $9,936.05 was spent on first-class airfare for the Greenway family and an unnamed friend to go to the 2022 Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California, $4,850.51 was spent on framing personal diplomas, and $920 was spent on a metal University of Florida Gator head decoration, "one of Greenway's favorite college athletic programs."

In a letter sent to the seminary last September, Greenway's attorney argued that the report’s description of the expenditures made by Greenway were “grossly inflated and false.”   

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