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Thomas S.

Doctrinal obsession takes people down the road toward cold-hearted tendencies, while doctrinal indifference guides people toward cold-hearted a moralism. Perhaps a sweet spot in the middle could be defined.

An old song once stated, "God loves people more than anything." Today's SBC doesn't seem to reflect that reality.


Maybe somebody knows exactly what this person is trying to say? I pulled this quote from some crazy guy in somewhere Montana.

"To train non-believers in programs designed for believers is to give the enemy inside-training into how Southern Baptists operate and propagate the Gospel and accomplish our mission. Does this sound like a good idea to anybody else? No wonder this is against the rules that Patterson had to break"

What exactly is the super de duper information that Seminary's are supposed to keeping secret from the unwashed masses? Is it like CIA stuff? Is it like High Priest Training? I just thought Seminary was reading about a bunch of old dead dudes and maybe talking about the Great Commision and what kinds of soda you should keep in your machine when you get assigned to a church.

I just can't believe this guy Patterson - how dare he evangelize on SBC Time using SBC money. Hopefully, the secular media will get hold of this. Some may think the media would spin this as those Baptist are so Islamaphobic! They can't stand it that a brown skinned man is studying amonst them! They're complaining about "their" money being used to help one of those Muslims. And, gasp, can you believe a Muslim has a job on campus? He took away the job of one of the white boys! And you know that terrorist is only there so he can take down names of people to put on the list to be beheaded! He's a spy! Yeah the media will not spin it that way at all.

Ron F. Hale

Those who know Dr. Patterson understand that an evangelistic motive undergirds his decisions. SWBTS trustees and professors know this. However, every leader has detractors. Most SBC pastors understand how this works at the local church level. Sadly, those of us that have been around a while know that one or two pastors have become obsessive compulsive in their decade(s) long aggressive attacks on Dr. Patterson.

I like to evaluate things this way: 1). Who is the critic(s) that started the crisis? 2). Who is the crowd that gathers around the critic that feeds the crisis? 3). What does this crowd hope to gain?

One way to get the institution—is to take down the leader.

peter lumpkins


The quote you cite stands amazing in light of the community from whence it originates. Does our giving away "inside-training into how Southern Baptists operate and propagate the Gospel and accomplish our mission" not place the entire industry of evangelism squarely upon human works and not divine initiative? Is the Sovereign God limited in gathering His elect by our sharing strategies of evangelism? Strict Calvinists like the one you quote are always long on rhetoric of glorifying God alone but when they make such non-sensible assertions like the one you cite, they come across as radical humanists rather than divine determinists.

With that, I am...

Thomas S.

J.D. Hall practices the opposite of evangelism in these comments: http://pulpitandpen.org/2014/05/22/cultural-filth-at-ronnie-floyds/


"One way to get the institution—is to take down the leader."

Ron - I have mixed feelings about Dr. Patterson's decision. However, one thing is clear ... most of SBC's entities are now in the hands of reformed leadership, while most SBC members are not of that persuasion. SWBTS may be in line to topple next.


Great day in the a.m., Peter. This kinda smacked me in the forehead and made me wonder... what in the world? I started writing a comment and then got so verbose I had to copy and paste it to my own blog and finish writing my own blogpost for fear of hijacking your thread. Suffice it to say... this has me scratching my head about a lot of stuff regarding the SO-CALLED Great Commission Baptists in the SBC.
selahV (a.k.a. hariette petersen)

David (NAS) Rogers


I have enjoyed more or less much of your critique of Southern Baptist machinations through the last several years. I am on the less side with regard to this Patterson matter. I do not know if you will consider my concerns to be “necessary questions” or “dumbfounded outrage” or “misguided” or “revealing of a cold heart” but here goes.

One concern and question I have is whether Dr. Patterson’s decision was dictated by himself alone and kept from the trustees. This decision being so in conflict with the founding charter of the seminary and stated admission requirements, this would seem to be something which the trustees should have know about at the very beginning of the young man’s consideration.

Allegation have been made by Rev. Burleson of the following: “In a faculty meeting in 2012, Dr. Patterson warned anyone who questioned him about Muslims being admitted into Southwestern, or anyone who was disloyal to him and discussed this matter with others not associated with Southwestern would be terminated. Dr. Patterson went on to explain that "it is not necessary to be a Christian" to enroll in Southwestern's Ph.D. program.”

My question is whether that type of leadership is how we want our seminary presidents to lead, if such allegation turns out to be factual. Is it also indeed true that Christian faith is not necessary for SWBTS doctoral studies students? That is, if that allegation is also factual.

How can we discover if such allegations are factual?

If evangelism in seminary classes is so important, then why shouldn’t the entire admission requirements be re-written to allow any non-Christian from any background? Why limit it to Muslims or allegedly Mormons? Why not bring this up at the Convention to show our support of evangelism through seminary education?

Are seminaries qualitatively different from colleges with regard to non-Christians being enrolled (mentioned by Marsden and used as a support for the analysis of this matter by yourself)? If there is a qualitative difference, then how does that qualitative distinction speak to this matter, especially with regard to education-evangelism?

I could add further questions regarding stained glass windows of living present presidents but the typing of that phrase accomplishes enough.

These are my questions and concerns. Evaluate them, and my motivations, as you will.

Blessings regardless of differences,



I have the same question....why not open to all non Christian if the school is a place to evangelize ?

David R. Brumbelow

Great article.

Paige Patterson is a first rate scholar and a passionate evangelist.
I love the way he combines the two.

To anyone looking for a seminary, you will not find a better one than SWBTS.
David R. Brumbelow

peter lumpkins

David (NAS),

Thanks. Yes, Burleson made the claim about what Patterson supposedly said in a faculty meeting. Notice also Burleson didn't cite the source where he obtained the quote as I recall.

Nor is there any indication Patterson made the decision unilaterally without trustee knowledge and/or approval. Admissions policies call for an Admissions Committee to process each student. And, until either the Admissions Committee or the trustee board indicates either Patterson acting contrary to or in secrecy from the proper channels, then for my part, we need to assume Patterson clean on those counts.

As for your query as to redoing the admissions so that any student from any background can apply, there would be no use. If a Muslim can apply now and be accepted, why rewrite anything? But I suppose you don't mean just a rewrite of present policies but an actual acceptance of any student with any background. If so, then that would go against the primary purpose of the school's objective would it not? Again, Patterson made it clear that what he did was an exception to what's normal--a secondary purpose so to speak.

Personally, I'm wondering what the big deal is IF this happens only occasionally? Consider: it already happens in a somewhat lesser extent with students enrolled from denominations which teach contrary to and not in accordance with the BF&M. Frankly I'm not near as concerned about Presbyterians attending Southern Baptist seminaries as I am with Presbyterians teaching at Southern Baptist seminaries.

Hope this helps, David. Lord bless.

With that, I am...

Scott Shaver

Patterson is willing to train "skeptics" and "unbelievers" as part of his evangelistic motiff? Well and good. I don't have a problem with that.

Seems ironic, though, that his own Baptist brothers and sisters with whom he disagreed at various points were not fit to serve teach or have a place at the SBC collective table.

Almost makes one tend to sympathize with those who feel that another lock-changing is in order at Southwestern.

Scott Shaver

Counterperspective to David Brumbelow view on Patterson.

Passionate evangelistic and incurable egocentric: Hate the way he combines the two.

peter lumpkins

Hey Scott,


I just don't think--even based on the premise that what PP did was neither good nor right policy to pursue--the decision rises to the level of dismissal. In other words, the punishment (i.e. dismissal) does not meet the purported crime (i.e. breaching admissions policy). If trustees and/or the SBC want to shut the door on any future breach and smack the president's hand in the process, I think they have every right to do so. But to dismiss him for this is absurd in my view.

With that, I am...



Smoke screen to get the focus off of Dr. Mohler and the SGM mess on the eve of SBC-Baltimore. I doubt that either issue will be addressed at the meeting.

Scott Shaver

I would agree with the logic of fairness you employ toward Patterson Pete.

You are correct about this issue. However, for those who feel differently about whether or not this action constitutes dismissal as SBC seminary president, tons of negative sentiment toward Patterson still exists among rank and file SBCrs.

Don't think they would lose much sleep over his departure from Southwestern regardless of the rationale employed.

David (NAS) Rogers

The trustees were informed only this mid - May in a letter according to news reports. The admissions council was involved but Patterson made the final decision. I do wonder if anyone would question him once he's decided on something. The alleged warning he gave in 2012 is either made up by Burleson or comes from an inside source who may be in fear of reprisals. Would Dr. Patterson answer that he indeed made those warnings (threats) or that he most certainly did not? If he did, is that the kind of President the SBC wants in their seminaries?

peter lumpkins


If the Admissions Committee knew, then PP obviously did not do anything via stealth. As for the so-called warnings, it's irrelevant unless you've got something substantial to go on. What's a warning to one may have only been said in jest. Who knows or can know at this time? And for the record, no, I don't want a leader who threatens me with firing if I don't agree with him or her.

This actually needs to be dead in the water unless either the trustees and/or the SBC desires to somehow sanction PP from any future "exceptions".

With that, I am...

peter lumpkins


Many surely would like to see PP leave. Same could be said about AM! But until either does something worth dismissing him about, I don't see either the logic or helpfulness of perpetuating the potential of either guy leaving. Glad we agree (at least almost ;^)

Lord bless, brother...

With that, I am...

David (NAS) Rogers

I promise, last comment.

The trustees did not know. That is my point. The decision to make an admission exception is in my mind a significant one, and I also believe that Patterson exercises rather strong authority which I deeply suspect would not be questioned at all by anyone on the Applications Committee. But, he had no thought to inform the Trustees of his decision even though it on its face is controversial.

I find his "warnings" to be absolutely relevant and to me one of the main points. I'm not bothered as much by the idea of occasional exceptions as long as they are not done with authoritative control over a committee and done with no thought of letting the trustees know. I wonder if his recent letter to them was only due to awareness of the issue being questioned, more than "oh yes, they need to know of my months old (year old?) decision because this is part of what they are entrusted to know."

Whether he needs to be fired or not is a complex matter. I do believe that he needs to be at least censured and told that the seminary doesn't belong to his individual fiats, but it belongs to all Southern Baptists with the trustees as their administrative servants and him as the leader working in cooperative servitude.

The faculty and administration owes no loyalty to him, their loyalty is to the charter of the school and the SBC. As long as he functions in subordination to the charter and the trustees, the faculty and administration should cooperatively work with him. [Russell Dilday was fired for being insubordinate to the trustees.] Patterson seems to think them as irrelevant at least with regard to not letting them know, and this alleged threatening of the faculty. That matter needs to be discovered as to its facticity. He needs to be reined in if that's how he thinks a seminary should be run. It is not Patterson Baptist Theological Seminary.

We may disagree on this, but I have appreciated your work on your site in Baptist history and critique against Calvinistic imposition. In fact I'm teaching my church a cursory history and last Sunday used information from your site for it. So, thanks for that.



Scott Shaver

Well said Peter:

In agreement.

Scott Shaver

I would add however my suspicions that many new label "traditionalists" within the SBC fear far more the absence of a non-calvinist influence in the president's chair at Soutwestern as oppoosed to whether or not actions toward Patterson constitute "come-uppance" or otherwise.

peter lumpkins


Thanks. I'm glad something here may be useful to others.

Allow me a final word as well:

1) That trustees didn't know remains irrelevant unless one can show either a) the knowledge to trustees was absolutely required; b) Patterson attempted to keep the trustees from finding out. Neither of us know the answer to either;

2) Yes I agree Patterson has a "strong hand" in running a seminary. And that proves exactly what? There is not a living seminary president who doesn't, David. That's just reality. Nor do we know what Dr. P told either the faculty , et al or the Admissions Committee. Hence, no non-speculative conclusions can be made.

3) We do know PP has taken the ultimate responsibility for the decision. He himself says the consequences rests upon him. No one else. Why you apparently do not see this as a mark of leadership I do not know. He cited in the BP article no committee--Admissions or otherwise--to blame. He takes the rap.

4) The trustees are looking into it. That's the procedure. That's the protocol. And it's a good one even if not a perfect one.

Thanks again, David.

With that, I am...


David, I wonder. Have you asked Dr. Patterson about these alleged accusations? If not, why not? He was a dear friend of your father's. Surely you'd have access to him via email if not by phone.

I, for one, trust Dr. Patterson's discerning spirit in the matter of enrolling a man without the LORD to join the campus of believers at South Western Theological Seminary. He was probably privy to much more information than we who sit in the pews and proverbial judgement seats.

May the Lord bless him, the seminary, the students and this one he has so graciously allowed to join an environment of love and mercy and kindness. May he not be crushed by the crush of outside critics against his presence who would tell him he is not wanted or welcome to learn among them. This is one Southern Baptist who finds herself believing God has a larger plan in mind for this man and those who reach out in love to him. May God bless Dr. Patterson richly. He epitomizes the faith we are to be living out. May we each get deeper in touch with the heart of our Lord by the example he seems to seek to show us. hariette petersen

David (NAS) Rogers


I am not David the son of Adrian Rogers. The reason I post as "David (NAS) Rogers" is to differentiate myself from the internet-posting son of Adrian Rogers: David Rogers. The (NAS) means "Not Adrian's Son". I do not say that as a criticism of Dr. Rogers. I admired him. It is only a means of showing that I am not to be confused with the better known David Rogers.

I do want blessing on all of our seminary presidents. However, I do believe in speaking truth to power, or in this case, obliquely critiquing in comments sections regarding a publicly known issue. Dr. Patterson is well able to communicate for himself all that should be clarified.

I am a pastor who preaches publicly and holds a position publicly. I am a person who shapes the tenor of my small community in (hopefully) positive ways and (regrettably) poor ways. All of my public words and public actions can thus be critiqued since public figures should be held accountable for what they say and do, especially within the realm of their authority. My congregation especially, the realm of my service, has the right to speak up and question.

As president of an SBC seminary, Patterson and the others, are beholden to the convention, the trustees, and any Southern Baptist to carry out properly the responsibility for which they are called and hired. I do not have any ability to hire or fire Dr. Patterson directly but I can raise issues regarding something. I do believe in the trustee process, but if no one raises issues to be looked into then how can they be looked into. I wish the Southern Seminary trustees would deal with the Mohler-Mahaney relationship. And I have no problem with bloggers raising the issue publicly.

I believe that God has a plan for Dr. Patterson, Wade Burleson, Peter Lumpkins, you, all commenters, and myself. What we all have to do is discern what that is and be open to the Spirit, the Word, and the "iron sharpening iron" God wants to use to fertilize, and weed, us to grow to what he intends.

Blessings even in the face of disagreement,

David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers


David, thanks for the identity clarification, sorry for my error.

You are right that you have every right to question leadership in the SBC. So, from your answer, I guess you have not contacted Dr. Patterson in regards to Burleson's accusations? Just posing questions here? regards, hariette

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