Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary admits its first Muslim student

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary admits its first Muslim student

Nagagreh said he has had a very good experience at the seminary thus far and will return for his second year in the fall. Patterson said he agreed to admit Nagagreh because Nagagreh agreed to follow the seminary’s lifestyle covenant, which covers personal behavior such as smoking, drinking and sexual relations.

“I also thought it provided a chance for us to have an influence on his life,” Patterson said.

3286 reads

There are 13 Comments

Jim's picture

The Underlying Problems with Educating Observant Muslims and Mormons at SWBTS

To defend Dr. Paige Patterson and the admissions office of SWBTS for allowing Muslims and Mormons and other non-believers to enroll at SWBTS, an act which intentionally (and until the post Friday secretly) violates the written policies and the will of the SBC,  emphasizing that what is more important is "the salvation of the Muslim man who is watching how we deal with this issue," is for Southern Baptists to ignore the real issue. We have all heard the phrase "the ends justifies the means," right? Well, admitting professing non-believers in Jesus Christ to SWBTS violates the mission statement of SWBTS and the policies of the SBC. If, in the end, the Muslim comes to faith in Christ because he is at SWBTS getting his degree, you can't justify the violation of the school's charter (the means) for the salvation of a Muslim man (the end). That would be like saying, "I'm going to break my marriage vows because I believe I can win this good looking girl I work with to Christ if I'm more intimate with her." It doesn't work that way.

Donn R Arms's picture

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Would SWBTS actually grant him a degree as though he had learned something?


Donn R Arms

rogercarlson's picture

I remember my freshman year at BJU, I had a guy on my hall that was taken in under similar circumstances.  He was a Hindu.  To my knowledge, he never trusted Christ.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Larry Nelson's picture


Even Fuller makes a valid profession of faith a "significant factor" in admissions:

"It should be understood that admission to Fuller depends on factors beyond the applicant's academic record. These factors include theological development, Christian experience, spiritual growth, call to service and gifts for ministry. Men and women of God are qualified for Christian ministry by faith, moral character, experience and academic achievement. Such people are characterized by compassion for individual persons, by sensitivity to the needs of the total community, by a burden that the whole of God's will be obeyed on earth, by a readiness to accept correction, by a desire for moral growth, by personal integrity, and above all, by a mature trust in Jesus Christ as the foundation of life and ministry.

Fuller Seminary reserves the right to draw conclusions regarding the evangelical, Christian profession of faith of all applicants. This determination will be made on the basis of the statements of Christian faith given in the application. Such statements are a significant factor in the admission decision.

The seminary also reserves the right to admit or deny admission to any non-Christian or non-evangelical individual or any individual from an organization having a theological stance which is not in accord with the seminary's Statement of Faith. While desiring to maintain flexibility in admission to its programs, the institution will not compromise the integrity of its purpose and Statement of Faith by admitting students whose orientation may be disruptive or may confound the academic freedom of fellow students or faculty."


David R. Brumbelow's picture

Paige Patterson, SWBTS president, is a first rate scholar and a passionate evangelist.

I greatly admire the way he combines the two.

SWBTS exists to train Christians for the ministry.

It also exists to teach evangelism and missions and lead people to Jesus.

This is a unique situation that involves a working relationship with a Muslim who is friendly to Christians.

They met in working together in an archeological dig.

Unique, yet vintage Paige Patterson.

Some may want to read, “Chapter and Verse: A Skeptic Visits Christianity” by Mike Bryan.This was when Dr. Paige Patterson allowed a skeptic to enroll in Criswell College when Patterson was president there.

Many Christian schools have admitted non-Christians.

Thereby, some have become believers, though not all.

I would love to have a non-Christian friend enrolled at SWBTS; a great place for them to learn the Bible and Christianity.

Also, many Christians have obtained degrees from non-Christian schools.

When I was a student at a Christian college, ETBU, several students were international students and Muslim. One of my greatest experiences in college was to have a part in leading one of them to the Lord.

SWBTS has committed to presenting the Gospel to every home within a two mile radius of their Fort Worth, TX campus.

They send students across the nation each spring preaching revivals.

They lead mission trips around the world.

They teach academics, archeology… - and missions and evangelism.

SWBTS stands for the inerrancy of the Bible.

Paige Patterson’s response is here:

If you are considering a seminary, you will not find a better one than

David R. Brumbelow

Ron Bean's picture

SWBTS has admitted an unsaved student who happens to be a Muslim. Every Christian institution has admitted unsaved students, some of whom even professed to be saved. It's the reason my alma mater began each semester with evangelistic services. i think it's more likely that this man will hear the Gospel and be converted than of SWBTS adopting Islam. (Smiley face)

I just met a young lady who came to this country from an atheistic culture and enrolled at a Christian university because her unbelieving parents knew she would be safe there. She was confronted with the Gospel by her fellow students, turned from her sin, and trusted Christ. While my theology leads me to believe that was inevitable (another smiley face) I think that her educational choice was instrumental.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Charlie's picture

Most seminaries are primarily concerned with training clergy, usually for a particular denomination or set of denominations. The usual program for this is the Master of Divinity. Seminaries often have other programs dealing not exclusively intended for preparing clergy. These include master's and doctoral programs in education, scholarship, parachurch ministries, lay counseling, etc. However, the primacy of the MDiv, both in terms of numbers and mission, means that policies are usually crafted with the MDiv in mind. Certain protocols that make a lot of sense when applied to ministerial candidates may be ill-fitted to these other programs. A doctoral degree is an academic, not ecclesiastical, degree. It is awarded to those who demonstrate expertise in and the capacity to contribute to a given academic specialty. With that in mind, I see no reason why the school should reject someone of another religious affiliation who wants to receive training from them. After all, he is going to have to meet their standards, not the other way around.

My Blog:

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

JohnBrian's picture


Hall links to Wade Burleson's article titled:

Southwestern Baptist Islamic Theological Seminary and the Center for Cultural Engagement and Firing.

According to Burleson, Patterson warned the faculty in a meeting held in 2012 that any faculty member challenging him on the admission of non-Christian students to the seminary would be in jeopardy of punitive consequences.



As Patterson’s sycophants come out of the woodwork to defend his Muslim enrollment at SWBTS with excuses such as…

NOTE: Hall is involved in the Caner Project

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

Lee's picture

One would think that after almost 4000 years of recorded failure along the same vein we (as a collective evangelical community) would learn.

Deut. 7:25-26 "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therin: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing."

At best this move is bad judgment. 


James K's picture

So the admission of a nonchristian into a nonbiblical field has turned Southwestern in an Islamic training facility?  Sigh.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

Lee's picture

...a devout Muslim insisting on practicing his idolatry within the academic and physical confines of a thoroughly Christian setting would fit the Proverbs description of "scorner" or "fool"?