Paige Patterson out as Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President

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kirkedoyle's picture

I've noticed that one of the first ads that appear on SI is for a book called "Ancient Wine and the Bible" and it features a prominent endorsement from Mr. Patterson.  I understand that the advertisement was purchased by someone and SI is not trying to feature him, but given the circumstances it feels like that's not the best decision.

Mike Harding's picture

Kirk,

The author of that book is a long time Southern Baptist.  He frequently comments on SI.  The fact that his book was endorsed by Patterson who was a well-known, highly respected leader is irrelevant to this situation.  Whatever the hysteria going on recently about Patterson, you should not fault a man for having his book endorsed by him years ago before these recent allegations were made.  I am sure that Patterson has endorsed many books.

Pastor Mike Harding

kirkedoyle's picture

I think you should reread my comment.  I don't fault anyone for having their book endorsed by Patterson, nor do I disagree that he has endorsed many books.  If I had written a book last year and could have had him endorse it, I would have.  With that said, the circumstances have changed and I don't think its wise to have a prominent advertisement with his endorsement.  If I were the author of the book I would pull the ad and if I were the person deciding which ads to accept on SI I would work with the author to create a new ad.  By the way, "Hysteria" is a loaded word.  It implies an inappropriate response.  From what I've read (which, admittedly, is limited...) this is a pretty cut and dry case of wrong behavior.  I wouldn't want my book, or website, to have that associaton.

Jim's picture

https://swbts.edu/news/releases/statement-regarding-dr-paige-patterson/

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) board of trustees is grateful for the contributions Dr. and Mrs. Paige Patterson have made since his presidency began in 2003. Further, we honor his longstanding dedication and commitment to serving the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in its mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations by leading the way for the conservative resurgence.

A special meeting of the SWBTS Board was held on May 22 to discuss our seminary, its future and our responsibility as trustees to ensure SWBTS is in the best position possible to fulfill our mission to biblically educate God-called men and women.

After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary.

The board passed a motion through a majority vote to appoint Dr. Patterson as President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted. In addition, the board passed a motion to affirm the trustees’ September 2017 offer for Dr. and Mrs. Patterson to live on campus as the first theologians-in-residence at the Baptist Heritage Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2018.

The board also voted to appoint Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham, Dean of the School of Theology, to the position of Interim President, pending his acceptance. Further, a special committee of the trustees was formed to work out all the details of leadership transition for Drs. Patterson and Bingham.

Additionally, the board affirmed a motion stating 1) evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse, 2) the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse and 3) the board has not found evidence of misconduct in Nathan Montgomery’s employment file.

As we begin the process of ushering in a new season of leadership, SWBTS remains steadfast in its calling to assist the churches of the SBC by biblically educating God-called men and women for ministries that fulfill the Great Commission and glorify God.  

Jim's picture

https://baptistnews.com/article/metoo-controversy-takes-down-southern-ba...

Under pressure from the #MeToo movement, trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, have removed a president long praised for delivering the denomination from feminism. ... 

The conservative resurgence is a name given to a strategy hatched by Patterson and retired Judge Paul Pressler to curb the influence of cutting-edge scholarship in Southern Baptist Convention-owned seminaries.

Buoyed by the popularity of megachurch pastors like Adrian Rogers and Charles Stanley, the movement eventually produced schism in the form of smaller spinoff groups including the Alliance of Baptists and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Breaking with neo-orthodox theologians like Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr, resurgence leaders insisted the Bible is inerrant not only in matters of faith but in history and science as well. Needing a stronger rallying cry than “saving the SBC from neo-orthodoxy,” the organized turned to the playbook of hardball politics. They labeled fellow Southern Baptists as “liberals,” thus sparking a revolution that reshaped the face of the nation’s second largest faith group after Roman Catholics.

Early on, the reformation confronted the recent-but-growing trend of women preparing for pastoral ministries at SBC schools. Amid new-fangled arguments that Bible verses long used to keep women out of the pulpit were open to re-interpretation, Southern Baptists passed a resolution in 1984 “distinguishing the roles of men and women in public prayer and prophecy” and preserving “a submission God requires because the man was first in creation and the woman was first in the Edenic fall.” ...

The following year, 1998, the convention added to the consensus document of Baptist teaching language assigning the husband the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family.”

“A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ,” the amendment declared. “She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.”

The New York Times characterized the 250-word declaration among the most prominent statements on family life by a major religious organization in years.

“They hope to make June Cleaver the biblical model for motherhood, despite numerous biblical references to women who worked outside the home,” commented Baptist Center for Ethics founder Robert Parham, who died in 2017.

Patterson, who previously led Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, brought his patriarchal inclinations along when he replaced current SBC presidential candidate Ken Hemphill as Southwestern Seminary’s president 15 years ago.

Jim's picture

The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention

https://albertmohler.com/2018/05/23/wrath-god-poured-humiliation-souther...

Excerpt:

America’s largest evangelical denomination has been in the headlines day after day. The SBC is in the midst of its own horrifying #MeToo moment.

At one of our seminaries, controversy has centered on a president (now former president) whose sermon illustration from years ago included advice that a battered wife remain in the home and the marriage in hope of the conversion of her abusive husband. Other comments represented the objectification of a teenage girl. The issues only grew more urgent with the sense that the dated statements represented ongoing advice and counsel.

Ron Bean's picture

We should hold ourselves to the same standard.

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

Jim's picture

The board passed a motion through a majority vote to appoint Dr. Patterson as President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted. In addition, the board passed a motion to affirm the trustees’ September 2017 offer for Dr. and Mrs. Patterson to live on campus as the first theologians-in-residence at the Baptist Heritage Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2018.

Jay's picture

That 'punishment' isn't a punishment at all. That's a joke.  I don't know how anyone will take that seriously.  It certainly seems like Patterson doesn't, based on this email he sent out this morning.  The trustees of SWBTS just dropped napalm on an oil refinery.  If that's the best they could do after a thirteen hour trustee meeting, I fear for the school's ability to continue as a going concern.

Boz's take on this is classic: "In what world are the consequences for covering up a serious crime and punishing the victim of that crime the granting of a “prestigious” title, continued compensation, and a free place to live??"

I had mentioned a long time ago in a different thread that I would have considered walking out of a conference or general session if I had been present for that Danny Sweatt rant at the Wilds.  If Patterson addresses the entire convention in Dallas next month, I'd definitely leave mid-message to make my point clear to the attendees, and I don't care what the consequences would be. Decorum be canned.

Shifting gears slightly - I think it's unfair to delist the ad for the book on SI simply because Patterson endorsed it.  People endorse stuff all the time.  Did anyone here stop buying Nike equipment when Tiger Woods flamed out years ago? I know there are some golfers on this site.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jay's picture

And now there are a slew of more questions that reporter Sarah Smith of the Fort Worth Star Telegram want answers to.  Here's the link to the list.  They're all very good questions.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

WallyMorris's picture

Mohler's "wrath of God poured out" - on whom and for what? His comments on that topic are too vague to be helpful. Of course abuse is wrong. Of course we must choose words carefully and give discerning advice to anyone being abused. But some of this seems overstatement and catering to our hypocritical culture which condemns sexual abuse on one level yet pursues sexual gratification on another level. Is that what the "wrath of God" is? The self-serving condemnations by the wider culture seem hypocritical and convenient. Confusing.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

I agree. Mohler's article is vague and I don't really know what he's talking about. It's more a political statement than anything else. This is one reason why I prefer a more autonomous model. It's extraordinarily difficult to generalize and say "we" (i.e. the SBC) have a problem. That's way too ambiguous to be of any practical value. I worry about my own local church. I can handle that. I also don't have to worry about putting out political statements.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

Mohler has a lot to say to us.  I've been working on a policy for my church for the past few months--almost ready and yes we are way behind the ball here--and a nasty, lingering thought is the question of "when is a new Rachael Denhollander going to pour out Hell on my church?"   Mohler is correct that this is indeed judgment for generations of "trying to handle it inside."

I don't know of any examples, thank God, but at a certain point, it almost seems like it would be wise for a church to do a thorough review of "dirty files" and start proactively making apologies--come what may, legally speaking.  Big hurdles there in terms of insurance, legal issues, all that, but if you wait, it just grows like a cancer.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jim's picture

https://religionnews.com/2018/05/23/if-paige-patterson-were-tim-cook/

But after weeks of inaction, the board’s decision feels more like a celebrated send-off than a stiff censure. While they dismissed Patterson to save face under overwhelming pressure, he was also offered a pile of consolation prizes. Patterson will be honored with the title of president emeritus of Southwestern, for example. Both he and his wife, Dorothy, have been named theologian-in-residence. The couple will receive compensation from the school, and they will be allowed to live in the luxurious and spacious retirement residence they were building for themselves on campus.

Talk about a soft landing.

 

Imagine for a moment that Paige Patterson were Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple. Instead of being president of a conservative Christian seminary with the mission of training church ministers and missionaries, Cook runs a for-profit secular business with the mission of selling products to consumers. He and his employees are not required to sign a statement of faith and they do not claim to live by a strict moral code found in an ancient sacred text like the Bible.

Imagine if it were discovered that in 1997 Tim Cook joked to a reporter at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that when it comes to women, “Everybody should own at least one.”

Imagine that at public Apple events, he argued that if women were abused, they should avoid divorce and “submit to their husbands in every way.”

Imagine that audiotapes emerged of Cook telling stories of advising a woman under his authority to return to her abusive husband and when she received two black eyes, Cook commented that he was “very happy.”

Imagine that The Washington Post reported that a female Apple employee had come to Cook in 2003 to report being raped on the corporate campus. Cook responded by making the woman recount the details of the rape to a room of male colleagues, instructed her to keep quiet and not report the details to the police, and then the victimized woman was reprimanded by human resources.

Imagine that, in response, 3,500 female Apple employees called on the board to remove Tim Cook from his position, and that all of these events were reported in major news outlets such as The New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate and The Washington Post.

It is incontrovertible that Apple’s board would have responded more swiftly and harshly than did the Southwestern board in this situation.

Cook would not have been allowed to stay in his position for nearly a month, and he certainly would not have been able to preside over the annual Apple expo as Patterson did at the Southwestern graduation.

Cook would not have been able to claim he had nothing to apologize for and issue a statement saying the whistleblowers had been fueled by “hatred.”

Cook would have been terminated immediately. He would not have received compensation or honorary titles or a plush retirement residence in Silicon Valley. Let this sink in: America’s most prominent tech company has a stronger ethical compass when it comes to the dignity of women than America’s largest Protestant denomination.

But this is, of course, not a statement on the moral fortitude of the tech industry. The same would be true for an advertising executive on Madison Avenue, a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, a prominent actor in Hollywood or a politician inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C.

Which is to say that many of the secular communities in America that Southern Baptists have painted as evil possess more moral courage than they do. Consider that for a moment and it will tell you all you need to know about the current state of America’s largest Protestant denomination.

Jim's picture

http://tomascol.com/the-southern-baptist-convention-today/

Southern Baptists of various stripes, all of whom are avowed inerrantists (including not a few who are reformed or at least reformedish in theology), have had a failure of nerve to assert and defend what the Scripture teaches about receiving accusations, making judgments, stewardship of authority in home and church, repentance, forgiveness, slavery, and handling offense, to name but a few of the pressing matters that have been publicly debated in recent months. What is worse is that some of the leading inerrantists and reformed types appear to be driving the train in this failure.

WallyMorris's picture

Perhaps someone can explain something. Sexual sins are different than "regular" sins (1 Cor 6:15-20). Clear enough. What is not so clear is why people seem to be suddenly reacting so strongly to how we respond to those sins. Where is the objective, Biblical data to condemn those who do not respond to those sins in the ways that people now expect you to respond? Because sexual sins are different, then perhaps these sins require more careful and more discerning responses than other sins. What bothers me is the sudden condemnation of those whose responses do not fit what other people think those responses should be. How far do we let our ungodly, hypocritical culture determine what our responses should be? Are we responding based on Biblical principle or are we responding based on fear of how we will be treated and perceived? Food for thought.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

GregH's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

How far do we let our ungodly, hypocritical culture determine what our responses should be?

When the ungodly, hypocritical culture has something to teach the ungodly, hypocritical church about morality, the church should listen and learn.

I am struck by the fact that this angle you take Wally is eerily similar to the one taken by fundamentalists (and others) who did not like that the "ungodly, hypocritical" culture was trying to force them to allow African Americans to enroll in their schools five decades ago.

 

WallyMorris's picture

My comments have nothing to do with past racial problems. Please do not associate me with that. I am simply asking legitimate questions that many are now asking about this entire issue. You seem to be accusing Patterson and SWBTS of being "ungodly" and "hypocritical". Just because their responses and actions were not characterized by wisdom does not mean they are ungodly and hypocritical. Who decides that what the culture says or does is right? Who decides what we should "listen and learn" from the culture? How do you decide that on a specific issue? Greg, you singled out 1 sentence from my comments but didn't answer any of my questions. Your response was "When they have something to teach us". OK, how do you objectively decide "they have something to teach us"? I am simply asking questions and asking for objective Biblical data to answer those questions. All you gave was hyperbole and mischaracterization.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

... we've now discovered yet another topic that is never profitable to discuss online!

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

GregH's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

My comments have nothing to do with past racial problems. Please do not associate me with that. I am simply asking legitimate questions that many are now asking about this entire issue. You seem to be accusing Patterson and SWBTS of being "ungodly" and "hypocritical". Just because their responses and actions were not characterized by wisdom does not mean they are ungodly and hypocritical. Who decides that what the culture says or does is right? Who decides what we should "listen and learn" from the culture? How do you decide that on a specific issue? Greg, you singled out 1 sentence from my comments but didn't answer any of my questions. Your response was "When they have something to teach us". OK, how do you objectively decide "they have something to teach us"? I am simply asking questions and asking for objective Biblical data to answer those questions. All you gave was hyperbole and mischaracterization.

I think you know full well Wally that I was not associating you with the past racism in fundamentalism. However, I said your approach to this where you show your bias that the world is evil and hypocritical and can't possibly have anything to teach the church is the exact same way certain leaders defended their racism when the church was behind culture on that issue.

There are a few things that I find somewhat indisputable:

1) If you research the SBC and this issue much at all, you find plenty to suggest that there is evil and hypocrisy in abundance. Furthermore, when you step back and look at the big picture over the past few years, it is hard to see how anyone can look at the church at large and not see rampant hypocrisy. 

2) The church has been on the wrong side of cultural issues multiple times over the past century or at least it is has been behind the curve and had to be dragged kicking and screaming. This is one of those issues. I think the reason why is because the conservative church tends to resist changes in culture, assuming them to be bad. Thus, when culture actually improves in some ways, the church is left behind. And there have unquestionably been a lot of positive changes in culture over the past century. Sadly, the church has been on the wrong side of some of them, especially the conservative church.

Again, the bias against progress in culture that some are exhibiting is getting in the way of the church cleaning up its act on this issue. That was my point.

 

dgszweda's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

Kirk,

The author of that book is a long time Southern Baptist.  He frequently comments on SI.  The fact that his book was endorsed by Patterson who was a well-known, highly respected leader is irrelevant to this situation.  Whatever the hysteria going on recently about Patterson, you should not fault a man for having his book endorsed by him years ago before these recent allegations were made.  I am sure that Patterson has endorsed many books.

 

Mike, I would agree.  As a side note though, for those deeply involved in the Seminary and the SBC, there have been problems with Patterson for a long time.  Mostly missteps in what he says, but he has raised eyebrows for a long time.

I just had breakfast with a good friend of mine this morning who is also a long time friend of Patterson, and we talked at length about various problems that have been present for a long, long time.

Donn R Arms's picture

Perhaps this should be a new thread but let me ask the the SI family for their collective wisdom. In light of all this, what will you do with 1 Peter 2:18 - 3:17 or 4:19? Would you interpret or preach it differently next Sunday than you would have a year ago?

Donn R Arms

Joeb's picture

Wally what’s sad is when that Terrible Ungodly Culture points out something that our Tribe is doing plainly wrong and sinful and we ignore them.  You know Wally something a Circus Chimp could figure out.  

Like at Gothard Pastor Seminars when they taught that you don’t Report sex perps or Wife Abusers in the church to the Police if they repent within four chances.  Like when they taught  that the sex abuse victim shares in the sin.  Practiced by BJU and ABWE      Don’t you think a real man of God would confront an obviously false teacher encouraging CRIMINAL activity.  You know first time you confront them quietly with love and point out their obvious error. Then after you get the  LIP back you go down in front of the class and have the Teacher eat your fist a few times.  

I bet that would have worked well to stop this nonsense.  To bad some Fundy/Evangelical Father’s didn’t stand up for their daughters in the past  like an Ungodly Cultural Father would have done.  They remained silent and went along with the program.  For the good of the cause of Christ.    

Bert Perry's picture

Regarding Greg's comment, I would agree 100% that the church is behind the ball on how we approach sexual assault and abuse.  That said, I am also a Michigan State grad who is watching the Larry Nassar/gymnastics debacle with a great amount of dismay, and I'm seeing other cases at USC, Arizona, and other schools.  So let's not speak too highly of "the world" here, because they've clearly got some huge issues, too.

That noted, if we pay attention to people like Boz Tchividjian and get our act together, we can get right up there with the Boy Scouts in terms of how we handle these crimes.  We can actually lead.  

BTW, update on the situation; the BOT admits Patterson was wrong about Nathan Montgomery and states he complied with reporting laws.  Since the victim was an adult, I don't believe that means anything under Texas law, which has mandatory reporting only for crimes against minors.  The BOT also claims police reports were made, something that the Washington Post reporter has not found.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Jay's picture

I've always handled it this way -

1. Christians will suffer for being Christian. 

2. Expecting to suffer for Christ's sake isn't the same thing as tolerating criminal assualt / abuse or when we make mistakes that invite accusations of hypocrisy and a double standard.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Joeb's picture

Three men who are allegedly  grads of BJU.  Two brothers and one son.  One Brother who was a Pastor of an IFB Church in Pa allegedly  connected to BJU.  The other Brother and Son are Missionaries/Pastors Of IFB Churches in Australia.  All three have allegations of of Criminal activity against them.  A family affair.  

The Brother  Pastor in Australia pleaded guilty last year to raping and beating his wife up to four times a day for twenty years.  Godly Brother gets five years for pleading guilty.  Godly Son goes on TV and says his Mother should have never went to the Police because the problem was a CHURCH matter not a Police Matter. The son is facing allegations of covering up sex and spousal abuse in his own church.  The Interviewer point blank asks the son does he think the sex abuse of children in the church is a church matter and not a Police matter.  This Godly Son looks down and won’t answer the question.  

So Wally do you think those Cultural Non-believing Sinners should not have any input on this.  It’s all on YOU TUBE WALLY.  

Wally they just charged that Liberal Sinner Weinstein that started the me to Movement.  Now we have the Church To Movement.  It’s my prayer that any and all Pastors and Church Leaders who engaged in sex abuse and/or covered it up get convicted and locked up for 20 years.  It’s my prayer that the Lords Sword Of Justice that I used to carry is used in a mighty way.  It’s my prayer that any and all people in churches Mission Organization and Christian colleges who have contributed to the abuse of our precious Sisters in Christ have their Godly Reputations completely  ruined and suffer employment loss.  

After all this has occurred and the offenders have truly repented I’m all in for forgiveness and restoration of fellowship.  I’m all for people both believers and non believers to use social media to bully churches Missions and Christian Colleges into doing the right thing.   That’s the only reason that one CRIMINAL MISSION OPERATION came clean to a certain extent.  

PS The Patriarchy/Puirty Movement was allegedly part of this family’s ministry.  Hummmmm considering the Pastor from Sovereign Grace whose book started this Purity Movement now says the advise he gave was BAD.  Don’t you think Wally that IFB Churches should jump out of having these Purity Ring Banquets anymore.  

PS 2 I’ll be glad to give you the name of the Pastor by me who I think runs a model balanced IFB Church.  A man’s whose reputation in the community is stellar.  I may not agree with him  on everything but I greatly respect him.  He is what a BJU Graduate in the ministry  should be.  This is the kind of guy Fundy/Evangelical Institutions should be minting not Monsters.

I heard since Hyles Anderson’s inception 75 ministry grads have been convicted of sex crimes.  That’s a School and Related Church who were Minting MONSTERS. 

Bert Perry's picture

I can't find a list of 75, but here's a list of about 25 Hyles associates--including but not limited to HA graduates--convicted of sex crimes.  Notice that Jack Hyles and Jack Schaap are not included in the list.

Regarding the Australian cases Joe mentions, I believe this is it, and I also find a pastor at Hillsong guilty of overlooking domestic abuse, as well as a series on Anglican priests guilty of varying degrees of abuse.  Notice in that article that Baptist churches of New South Wales have responded, appropriately, with independent investigations.  They recognize, rightly, that incidents demonstrating that the systems have broken down need to be handled by someone from outside the system.  Here's another on the subject.

Can we afford to defer to local church "autonomy" on this, or do we need to follow the New Testament model of outsiders writing letters to churches about these kind of issues?  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

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