“Dr. Patterson discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could ‘break her down’ and that he preferred no officials be present”


And he also took documents from Southeastern Seminary that did not belong to him.

Kevin Euckert, the chair of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, published this statement today on the seminary website:

Based on a number of follow-up questions I have received this week, I am providing this additional statement related to our May 30, 2018 statement. The unanimous decision by the Executive Committee to immediately terminate Dr. Paige Patterson was prayerfully considered and warranted.  

We confirmed this week through a student record, made available to me with permission, that an allegation of rape was indeed made by a female student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003. This information contradicts a statement previously provided by Dr. Patterson in response to a direct question by a Board member regarding the incident referenced in our May 30 statement. The 2003 rape allegation was never reported to local law enforcement. SWBTS will not release the student record to the public without additional appropriate permissions. 

In addition, as previously disclosed, a female student at SWBTS reported to Dr. Patterson that she had been raped in 2015.  Police were notified of that report. But in connection with that allegation of rape, Dr. Patterson sent an email (the contents of which were shared with the Board on May 22) to the Chief of Campus Security in which Dr. Patterson discussed meeting with the student alone so that he could “break her down” and that he preferred no officials be present. The attitude expressed by Dr. Patterson in that email is antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS. Moreover, the correlation between what has been reported and also revealed in the student record regarding the 2003 allegation at Southeastern and the contents of this email are undeniable.

Further, SWBTS received a request from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary requesting the return of any documents taken by Dr. Patterson upon his departure from Southeastern. Counsel for SWBTS, Michael Anderson, immediately reached out to counsel for Dr. Patterson, Shelby Sharpe, on May 25 and made inquiry regarding the documents. Mr. Sharpe advised Mr. Anderson that Dr. Patterson only took documents from Southeastern that belonged to him. Yet, independent of that request, following the May 30 Executive Committee meeting, SWBTS located Southeastern documents on the SWBTS campus and began taking steps to preserve them.  Mr. Anderson is in contact with George Harvey, counsel for Southeastern, and is working with Mr. Harvey regarding Southeastern’s request for the return of its documents. 

The morning after the May 30 Executive Committee meeting, Mr. Sharp provided a few documents he reportedly obtained from Dr. Patterson. The documents clearly dealt with Dr. Patterson’s tenure at Southeastern and should have been previously provided in response to Mr. Anderson’s May 25 request. Shortly after these documents were provided, the wife of Dr. Patterson’s Chief of Staff published a blog and attached these documents without the permission of the students referenced in the documents or appropriate leadership from SEBTS or SWBTS. I believe this was inappropriate and unethical. Regardless, the additional documents do not alter the decision of the Executive Committee.

Ultimately, the decision of the Executive Committee to immediately terminate Dr. Patterson was clear and unanimous. 

I also want to reiterate what SWBTS Interim President Dr. Jeffrey Bingham said earlier this week.  SWBTS denounces all abusive behavior, any behavior that enables abuse, any failure to protect the abused, and any failure to safeguard those who are vulnerable to abuse. 

In this difficult situation, the Executive Committee based its decision on the current performance of the president and did not allow the legacy of Dr. Patterson or the #MeToo pressure to steer the outcome. We did not react; rather, we decisively exercised our responsibility based on the Seminary’s biblically informed core values and integrity.

I join Dr. Bingham in his call for the SWBTS community to join the Body of Christ in praying for healing for all individuals affected by abuse.

The Latest on Paige Patterson


David Roach has a nice summary of the most recent developments at Baptist Press.  Here is a taste:

Following Paige Patterson’s termination by a 12-member committee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees, reactions have ranged from affirmation of the trustees to defense of Patterson.

The seminary has canceled planned on-campus events in conjunction with the June 12-13 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Dallas, and at least two of Patterson’s speaking engagements at ancillary meetings have been canceled. Patterson has not said whether he will deliver the convention sermon in Dallas, a task messengers at the 2017 SBC annual meeting elected him to fulfill.

Meanwhile, the Southwestern trustee executive committee announced today (May 31) that it also “has reinstated” Nathan Montgomery “as an employee of SWBTS.” Montgomery is the student worker who was fired May 2 after he tweeted an article critical of Patterson that called for his retirement.

Patterson has been under fire since late April for statements he has made about domestic abuse and women’s physical appearance.

Read the rest here.  Not familiar with the Patterson scandal?  Get up to speed here.

Paige Patterson Resigns from the Cedarville University Board of Trustees


Get some context here.

April Laissle of WYSO has it covered.  Here is her report:

UPDATE: Paige Patterson has resigned from Cedarville University’s Board of Trustees, according to a university official.  His name was removed from the school’s website Friday. Cedarville spokesperson Clem Boyd told WYSO Patterson’s resignation is effective immediately, but declined to comment further. 

What is the Current Status of the Paige Patterson Files Removed from Southeastern Seminary?

SOutheasternWe blogged about this last week.  Southern Baptist blogger Wade Burleson suggested that files pertaining to a 2003 rape of a student at Southeastern Seminary during the Paige Patterson presidency were removed from the seminary archives when Patterson left for Southwestern Seminary.  Get up to speed here.

It looks like Danny Akin, the current president of Southeastern, has weighed-in.  Here is a taste of Michelle Boorstein’s and Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s reporting at The Washington Post:

Danny Akin, president of Southeastern seminary, said he couldn’t confirm if the Southwestern leaders were referring to Lively’s alleged 2003 rape at his school. Akin said he believes files that would help them investigate the incident were taken from Southeastern when Patterson left that same year to become president at Southwestern in Texas.

“Whether by mistake or intentionally, I don’t know. We think there are files that probably belong to Southeastern so we’ve asked folks at Southwestern to look into that. They’re in the process of doing that,” he said.

Read the entire piece here

Paige Patterson’s Former Retirement Home

PP retirement

When Paige Patterson was fired yesterday by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he lost his cushy retirement package, including an on-campus mansion on the seminary property.   Find some context here and here.

Back in March, the Baptist Blogger, Rev. Benjamin S. Cole, posted a video of the house. To be fair, it seems like the building would also serve as some kind of center for Baptist heritage.

Here are some images:


PP retirement 2


Will Cedarville University Remove Paige Patterson from its Board of Trustees?



Cedarville University

Cedarville University president Thomas White is a Paige Patterson disciple.  (According to this story, Patterson preferred to called people like White his “proteges”).  He worked for Patterson at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

We have blogged before about White and the direction he has taken Cedarville.  Get up to speed here.

Patterson is a member of the Board of Trustees of Cedarville University.  Now that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has removed Patterson from office and has taken away all of his benefits, will Cedarville remove him from the Board?  Will Cedarville University continue to have a man who covered-up a rape on their Board of Trustees?

There are a LOT of Cedarville alums who want him out.  Here is a taste of a piece published about an hour ago at the website of an Ohio radio station:

Patterson joined Cedarville University’s Board of Trustees in 2013. A petition calling for his removal from the board has now garnered more than 1200 signatures. In a statement issued last night, Cedarville president Thomas White condemned abuse while also expressing sympathy for Patterson. He also asserted he does not have the authority to remove Patterson from the Board.

“I do not know whether Dr. Patterson will continue to serve as a Trustee at Cedarville. The President neither appoints nor removes trustees. I serve under the authority of the Board and not the other way around. Our Board is self-perpetuating, and they have processes in place that they follow. Communication across the twenty-seven members with busy summer schedules can take time, and any action typically happens at regularly scheduled meetings. In my experience with them, our Board seeks to make wise decisions after gathering and considering all available information. I trust our Board to do what is right, at the right time, and in the right way.”

White, who worked alongside Patterson at both Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, also referenced the increasing number of sexual abuse allegations coming to light at American colleges and universities.

“We recognize that training students in this generation is complex. We live in the midst of a #MeToo movement surrounded by a “Fifty Shades of Grey” culture populated by humans bearing a sinful nature inherited from Adam.”

Read the piece here.  Read the petition here.

I have no idea what this last paragraph is trying to communicate.  How does the #MeToo movement make “training” student “complex?”  It seems pretty straightforward to me. What is “complex” about not abusing women?  And why the use of the word “training” instead of “educating?”  What is White trying to say when he compares the #MeToo movement with a “Fifty Shades of Grey” culture?  This is a really strange statement.

Southwestern Baptist Seminary is Dragged (Kicking and Screaming) into the #MeToo Era


A few days ago, in a post on April Armstrong’s powerful piece on life at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, I wrote: “I imagine we will hear more stories like the ones April Armstrong has shared at the website #SBCToo: Breaking the Southern Baptist Seminary Silence.”

Sadly, it looks like I was correct.  Paige Patterson is now out completely at Southwestern, but more and more stories about life under his authoritarian regime are rolling in.  Here is a taste of Sarah Jones’s piece at The New Republic:

As president, he earned a conservative reputation on gender issues. In 2007, SWBTS terminated the contract of a female theology professor, Dr. Sheri Klouda, explicitly based on her gender. A spokesman for the school told the Associated Press at the timethat the decision to remove Klouda represented a “return” to the seminary’s “traditional, confessional, and biblical position.” In an email to me, Klouda described Patterson’s attitude toward women as “condescending and dismissive,” and added that prior to Patterson’s arrival at SWBTS, she had been treated with respect, first as a student and then as a professor in her own right.

In interviews, alumnae told me that the seminary could be hostile toward female students. “When Patterson was talking about women or the role of women in the church, that made the seminary feel like it was not the most comfortable place to be,” Armstrong told me.

Tricia Dimmitt, who attended SWBTS with Armstrong, echoed her sentiments. “I appreciate my theological education and I made good connections with students,” she said. But there were issues. For example, Dimmitt took a co-ed preaching class, though she did not intend to become a pastor. Dimmitt and her two female classmates had the option of delivering a practice sermon to female friends instead of to a mixed-sex group, and, feeling peer pressure, Dimmitt chose to preach to women. She still expected her male professor to grade her work. Instead, she says, the professor sent his wife in his place.

“His wife was a communications major, so she came and listened to our sermons and graded them,” Dimmitt told me. “I thought he was going to be grading them and that we were just going to invite our female friends to listen.”

Discrimination didn’t stop at the classroom door. Mary Burbrink, who says she was hired as the seminary’s first female patrol officer in 2013, described rampant discrimination at work. In a seven-page letter mailed to SWBTS trustees ahead of their decision to ease Patterson into retirement, she claimed that her supervisors regularly treated her differently because of her gender. “I remember always being sent away when we would go to calls of a serious nature. … I would arrive and would promptly be sent away by my supervisor once he arrived on scene with another officer,” she wrote.

Burbrink, a former Marine, told me that she’s used to being one of the only women in a group of men. But she said her experiences at SWBTS were unusual. She told me that she wasn’t allowed to be alone with any of her male colleagues, and that supervisors assigned her menial tasks more often than they did the men. She added that her experiences on the job reflected a general campus atmosphere toward women. “I felt like a petty annoyance on my best day, and on my worst day I felt like I was an evil seductress hell-bent on destroying the men around me, just because I was a woman,” she said, a gendered perception she believes the school actively reinforced.

She was particularly disturbed by a 2014 chapel sermon delivered by Patterson, during which he condemned women who dressed like “harlots.” “He was talking to the women,” she recalled. “And he asked us if we dress like harlots, and he said that if we dress like harlots and we cause our brothers and Christ to stumble into sin then, you know, we’re personally responsible for their sin.”

Burbrink referred to the sermon in her letter to trustees, and an archived recording confirms her characterization of its content. “May I just pause a moment and ask you, young ladies, is your attire the attire of a harlot? How do you dress? How you dress is a responsibility you have before God. You look like the world, you act like the world. Not long until you’ll be identified with the world. And you’ll be a part of the fall of some lustful man and your own fall also,” Patterson said. He went on to ask women in the audience if they are “loud and boisterous.” “That’s not going to be of God. That’s not what he’s looking for. He’s looking for the meek and the quiet spirit,” he added.

Burbrink, then a student in the school’s biblical counseling program, said she eventually began suffering from severe anxiety, which she attributed to an “emotionally and verbally abusive” romantic relationship and a “toxic” environment at work and in school. But she found little support. “I was hearing from them that I was depressed because I didn’t have enough faith in God, and I don’t really think that that’s a very responsible way to handle someone,” she told me.

Burbrink eventually left SWBTS without completing her degree. Asked if she believes the school has adequate resources available for women in abusive relationships, she answered emphatically: “No. No, I do not.” (The Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, which sponsors a course at SWBTS, teaches that anxiety and depression have spiritual dimensions and advocates prayer as a treatment for psychiatric disorders like depression.)

Read the entire piece here.

This Time Paige Patterson is REALLY Out at Southwestern Baptist Seminary


The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees was apparently convinced by evidence that Paige Patterson covered-up the rape of a female student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003.  He is out.  No golden parachute.

Here is the Board of Trustees:

During the May 30, 2018, Executive Committee meeting of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) Board of Trustees, new information confirmed this morning was presented regarding the handling of an allegation of sexual abuse against a student during Dr. Paige Patterson’s presidency at another institution and resulting issues connected with statements to the Board of Trustees that are inconsistent with SWBTS’s biblically informed core values.

Deeming the information demanded immediate action and could not be deferred to a regular meeting of the Board, based on the details presented, the Executive Committee unanimously resolved to terminate Dr. Paige Patterson, effective immediately, removing all the benefits, rights and privileges provided by the May 22-23 board meeting, including the title of President Emeritus, the invitation to reside at the Baptist Heritage Center as theologian-in-residence and ongoing compensation.

Under the leadership of Interim President Dr. Jeffrey Bingham, SWBTS remains committed to its calling to assist the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by biblically educating God-called men and women for ministries that fulfill the Great Commission and glorify God.

Further, the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse and grieves for individuals wounded by abuse. Today, Dr. Bingham made it clear that SWBTS denounces all abusive behavior, any behavior that enables abuse, any failure to protect the abused and any failure to safeguard those who are vulnerable to abuse. Additionally, Dr. Bingham called for the SWBTS community to join the Body of Christ in praying for healing for all individuals affected by abuse.

See all of our Paige Patterson coverage here.


Alabama Religion Columnist: The “Swamp’s Got Nothing” on the Southern Baptist Convention


Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Check out Dana Hall McCain’s piece on Paige Patterson and the Southern Baptist Convention at Al.Com:

I care about the Southern Baptist Convention. I was brought up in an SBC church, heard the gospel and was baptized there, and have spent a significant portion of my adult life worshipping and serving in an SBC church. This body is not just an ideological football to me, to be kicked around like a any political party or secular institution. 

But the problem is that America’s largest protestant denomination conducts itself like any political party or secular institution much of the time, and that makes it really, really hard. And heartbreaking.

These days, the main fight within the convention is between two factions: generally younger pastors and seminarians (many of whom have Calvinist theological leanings), who value diversity and racial reconciliation within the church, and who espouse a high view of women, even if they stop short of desiring to ordain women for pastoral leadership. On the other side are largely older Southern Baptists, who give major side-eye to Calvinism and see the desire to do better by minorities and women as a symptom of liberalism.

You see, the SBC is controlled by the president and a couple of key committees. In order to dictate the agenda and narrative, the ideological war horses will broker back-room deals to gain control of those positions, trading busloads of presidential votes at the annual meeting for things like trustee seats at key SBC institutions.

The swamp’s got nothing on the SBC.

Last week I published a piece at Religion Dispatches on Jimmy Carter’s visit to Liberty University.  In his commencement speech at Liberty, Carter mentioned his attempts, in the years after his presidency,  to bring unity to the Southern Baptist convention.  Here is what I wrote:

Carter urged Liberty graduates to fight “discrimination against women and girls in the world.” He lamented the divisions over doctrine in his own denomination—the Southern Baptist Convention—and told a story about how he made efforts, in the years after he left the office, to heal divisions in the Convention. Carter’s attempts, he said, failed because Southern Baptist leaders were unwilling to compromise on the status of women in the church. (It’s hard to think about Carter’s comments on this front without reflecting on the recent controversial remarks of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson).

The conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention made the role of women an important piece of their so-called “takeover” in the late 1970s.  Today it is the place of women in the church that may lead to its implosion.

Mark Silk: May 2018 Was a “Humiliating Month”

WeinstienOver at his blog at Religion News Service, Trinity College professor Mark Silk reminds us what happened this month as it relates to the #MeToo era:

  • The elders of Willow Creek apologized for casting doubt on women’s allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of departing senior pastor Bill Hybels
  • Paige Patterson, denigrator of women, was relieved of the presidency of Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • “The judgment of God has come,” wrote Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Judgment has now come to the house of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
  • Harvey Weinstein left a New York Police Department precinct in handcuffs.
  • And then there was Morgan Freeman, the Voice of God Himself.

Click here to get the entire list.

As of Now, Paige Patterson Will Still Deliver the Keynote Sermon at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention


So let’s get this straight.  The June 13, 2018 keynote sermon for the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas will be delivered by a guy:

Here is a taste of Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s piece at The Washington Post:

Prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson was removed Wednesday from his job as president of his seminary amid a backlash from thousands of women, but that doesn’t mean his role in the Southern Baptist Convention is over. Patterson is still set to deliver the high-profile sermon at the convention’s annual meeting, which is expected to draw thousands to Dallas next month, and that prospect has alarmed many Southern Baptists, who fear it could send the wrong message to women.

Patterson was chosen as this year’s sermon preacher during last year’s annual meeting in Phoenix by about 5,000 Southern Baptists who were there. The only way he will not preach the sermon this year is if he personally withdraws or if “messengers” — delegates appointed by Southern Baptist churches — vote for him not to give the sermon. Messengers can make a motion on the first day of the meeting, which is June 12. Patterson is set to preach the next day.

Patterson has sent notices to some groups that were scheduled to have him speak in the future, saying he is willing to step away if it would harm their ministries, according to Ed Stetzer, a highly connected Southern Baptist who is also the executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. Stetzer said he hopes Patterson will also back down from giving the sermon at the convention.

“If he speaks at the convention, the incalculable damage of the last few weeks will be exponentially magnified,” Stetzer wrote in a statement to The Washington Post. Stetzer said that he hopes Patterson will step away but that if he doesn’t, a motion calling for him to step down will probably pass. Charles Patrick, a spokesman for the seminary, did not respond to requests on Saturday and Sunday for comment on whether Patterson still plans to give the sermon.

Read the entire piece here.

It almost seems like the Southern Baptist leadership WANTS to bring division and disunity to their convention.

April Armstrong on the Culture of Paige Patterson’s Southwestern Baptist Seminary


I imagine we will hear more stories like the ones April Armstrong has shared at the website #SBCToo: Breaking the Southern Baptist Seminary Silence.  Armstrong attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary while Paige Patterson was president and then went on to get a Ph.D in Religion at Princeton.  She currently works in Princeton’s Mudd Library.

Here is a taste of her post “Why the ‘Removal’ of Paige Patterson Isn’t Enough“:

….My nightmare wasn’t over, however. My roommate and I were sitting a few rows back from the front in chapel that week when the predator and a group of men I didn’t know sat in the row behind me. It felt like an effort to intimidate me. He said, loudly and in my direction, that he had met with Paige Patterson and he’d been vindicated, because Dr. Patterson had exercised his authority to unilaterally reverse the decision of the ethics committee. He said, “Dr. Patterson said, ‘It’s not like you’re on drugs or anything. It’s just girls.’” He was not expelled, he said. He would continue his pursuit of a Master of Divinity degree. I wondered if the other men knew who I was.

I looked up at Paige Patterson, sitting less than 100 feet away from me on the chapel stage. He surely could see this, I thought, and must know who I was. I felt sure he could see that in addition to everything else, the predator was wholly unrepentant. It apparently did not matter. Some time later I discussed my disappointment with the situation with a professor whose response was that I was sinning by not accepting the decision of “those in authority over you.”

I believe a lay person rather than a minister or seminary professor did the more righteous thing in response to this turn of events. The Chief told me he’d told his entire squad to look out for me. They patrolled 24/7. It seemed as though wherever I went in that short span of time that the predator remained a student, a uniformed officer would walk up and say hello to me, just a friendly greeting, but it felt like more than that—a public warning, in a subtle way, that I was being watched over. It didn’t make me feel altogether safe at SWBTS—I never really did after that—but it mitigated a tiny bit of the harm, and reminded me that someone had believed me.

The predator left SWBTS not long after that, having been expelled again, a source close to the matter told me, because he refused to comply with the rules imposed by seminary housing. He was gone but my feeling of unease never left me, because after that I felt sure that no one was going to stand up for a woman at Southwestern.

Indeed, it felt like no one did. I was there when the last woman was fired as a professor in the School of Theology (Sheri Klouda, my Hebrew professor) on the stated basis that she wasa woman; when Paige Patterson approached the pulpit after a female student in chapel had sung a solo and said it was good she’d worn a skirt down to her ankles or else nobody would have been able to think about anything but her body; when a member of the faculty told me he agreed that women weren’t being treated well at SWBTS but “I’m only a few years away from retirement and I don’t want to die on this hill.;” when a man in one of my classes joked that sophia, the Greek word for wisdom, shouldn’t be in the feminine because “no woman is wise” and the instructor just shrugged and looked at me, the only woman in the room, with a kind of embarrassment but didn’t tell the student not to make such comments, or the rest of the class not to laugh at them; when a man laughed in my face because I was angry that another male student had sought me out to tell me that women and men are not equal in value; when a close friend was supposed to give a sermon in expository preaching class and the instructor told all the (male) students not to show up to hear it and sent his wife to take notes so he wouldn’t hear it either and graded her from that; I was there to experience three years of unrelenting misogyny that it seemed no one was willing to stop, because speaking out against it would realistically have drawn down the wrath of Paige Patterson, who could make or break your career, and I supposed these men had more fear of him than they did of the God they claimed to serve, or else they had sympathies with his misogyny and just weren’t as comfortable being quite as open about it to my face.

Read the entire piece here.


Did Paige Patterson Take Letters Dealing With an Alleged Rape from the Southeastern Seminary Archives?


Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

I had never heard of Wade Burleson until this whole Paige Patterson mess broke.  I find his commentary to have a degree of moral clarity that seems to be missing from the decisions of the members of the Southwestern Baptist Seminary Board of Trustees.  Southern Baptists should be embarrassed by the way the Board has handled Patterson’s departure.

Here is a taste of Burleson’s latest blog post:

Social media and the Southern Baptist Convention are in a firestorm over the decision by trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to elevate Dr. Paige Patterson to the position of President Emeritus, to continue paying him an annual salary, and to allow him to live on campus.

Christianity Today and others report Patterson Is Out, but those in the know remember that Dr. Russell Dilday, Dr. Ken Hemphill, and other former Presidents of SBC seminaries were never given such cushy treatment when they were “out.”  I also guarantee you that every Southern Baptist pastor who’s been told “You’re out!” would love their church to define “out” the way the SWBTS trustees define it.

I scratch my head till it hurts trying to understand how President Paige Patterson can be exalted to President Emeritus just a couple of hours after a vote to terminate him as President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary failed by just two votes (15-17). 

Then, of course, it hits me. 

The trustee board is stacked with Patterson loyalists who seem so blinded by their allegiance to a man, they can’t see the serious sycophancy. Maybe the school’s stained-glass windows stunt clear optics for the trustees charged to ensure Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary takes no misteps.

Trustees almost fired Paige Patterson, then in the next breath they exalted him to President Emeritus. I’d say it’s unwise, but in the name of every current SWBTS administrator that Paige Patterson will eventually throw under the bus for the imminent financial collapse of Southwestern, I’m compelled to say it’s dangerous. There is hope for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but that requires the termination and removal of Paige Patterson from every position of leadership.

Read the rest here.

And now, if Burleson is right, it looks like Patterson tried to take boxes from the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary archive.  Patterson was the president of Southeastern when he allegedly tried to cover-up a rape on campus.  Here is Burleson:

Dr. Patterson left Southeastern in the summer of 2003,  not long after the meeting in President Patterson’s office with the rape victim and three of Paige Patterson’s proteges. Dr. Patterson left to become President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

When Dr. Patterson went to Fort Worth, Texas, he took a man named Chris Thompson with him. Chris was Dr. Patterson’s Chief of Staff at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s a Paige Patterson loyalist. Chris is now a Southern Baptist pastor in North Carolina. Chris was interviewed by the Religious News Service this week regarding Dr. Paige Patterson’s removal promotion to President Emeritus.

“To retroactively punish him for remarks he made years ago is unfair,” said Chris Thompson, a pastor and former chief of staff for Patterson during his 10 years as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.“I don’t know any pastor, or public speaker for that matter, who would ever want to be subject to someone pulling an audiotape from some archive and having to answer for those words 18 years later. Who’s next, is really what my question would be.”Well, Chris, I’ll answer your question “Who’s next?”

It’s your turn.

(NOTE: I gave my personal cell number to Chris’s secretary and asked that he return my phone call. I would not post till Saturday to give him time to call me. Chris did not return my call).

“(I am) not happy (to say the least) with your actions and methods of securing  boxes from the archives.” Those are the words of Librarian Dr.  Shawn Madden in a letter to Dr. Paige Patterson after discovery the archives had been taken without permission from those responsible for them.

Shawn Madden provided me a copy of his letter. In addition, he sent me a copy of a letter written a few months after Patterson became President of SWBTS in July 2003. Dr. Madden gave me permission to publish it:

“Persons not associated with Southeastern entered our archives without informing myself nor my archivists and removed material that at that point was technically the possession of Southeastern Seminary and my responsibility for their security… My concern is that material from the President’s office was removed, material that is the possession of this institution and not of an individual. What is generated by the President of this institution is owned by this institution and ought not to have been removed, especially in the dark of night.” (Dr. Shawn Madden, a letter written in 2004)During the ensuing investigation, SEBTS Librarian Shawn C. Madden was told by Michael Lawson, who is currently the Chief of Security for SEBTS, that the archives were taken by Chris Thompson.

Yes, that Chris Thompson.

Dr. Michael Lawson informed Dr. Shawn Madden that Paige Patterson’s Chief of Staff came to North Carolina from Fort Worth and “removed the material” in the dark of night when the school was closed.

Again, read the entire post here.  The plot thickens.  And who said archivists who collect primary sources and historians who interpret them are unimportant?

More Details Coming Out on Paige Patterson Meeting With Southwestern Board of Trustees


Here is Sarah Smith’s reporting at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary heard confidential details of assaults that Paige Patterson allegedly covered up during their closed-door meeting earlier this week.

Patterson was pushed to the position of “president emeritus” during the meeting, but two days later, there are few answers on what transpired in the 13-hour session.

These alleged assaults discussed at the meeting took place both on and off Southwestern’s campus in October 2014 and April 2015, trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert wrote in an emailed statement. The allegations were made by a female Southwestern student against a male Southwestern student in August 2015. The trustees discussed the alleged assaults and Patterson’s response.

“The police were involved and met with the individual making the allegations,” Ueckert wrote in an email…

Read the entire piece here.

Paige Patterson on His Firing: “We are of course hurt, but we did not compromise”


Wow!  Patterson believes he has done nothing wrong and will not apologize.  Read-up on this whole mess here.  The quote in the title of this post comes from Bob Allen’s article at Baptist News Global.  Here is a taste:

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s new president emeritus offered no new apologies in his first words to the campus community since his removal as the school’s president.

“We are of course hurt, but we did not compromise,” Paige and Dorothy Patterson said in an email hours after Tuesday’s marathon trustee meeting precipitated by a backlash to his previous comments about women. “What matters in all this is not the lives of a couple of old soldiers, but your bright futures for Christ.”

Read the rest here.


Paige Patterson Prepared a PowerPoint Presentation to the Southwestern Seminary Board to Prove He Was “Under Attack”


If you are interested in this whole Paige Patterson mess, read this long blog post from Wade Burleson, a Southern Baptist pastor and critic of Patterson.  Burleson claims to have taken the rape cover-up story to The Washington Post.

Here is a taste:

Within an hour of reporting the assault, Paige Patterson contacted the woman and asked her to “come to my office.” If you’ve ever been in Paige Patterson’s office, you know that there are a lot of trophy game, dead animals that are displayed. As the rape victim recounted to us her story, I had a visual in my mind of this 23-year-old walking into the den of death.

I asked her, “Did anybody go with you?

“No,” she told my wife and me over the speakerphone, “I went by myself.”

When the rape victim arrived, Paige Patterson introduced the traumatized woman to three men in the office, men Patterson introduced as “my proteges.”

I am reserving details about that interrogation until I am able to speak with the other men in the room.  What I can say is that this woman, after being traumatized to reveal every sordid detail of the assault to four men, was told by Dr. Paige Patterson not to go to legal authorities.

I believed her story immediately.

One more taste:

One of the advantages of writing a blog for 13 years and consistently pointing out problems in the Southern Baptist Convention is that people want to tell you their stories. I don’t write gossip. I don’t write lies. I don’t write slander.

I tell the truth. And so does the Washington Post.

I’ve been told that when Paige Patterson spoke to the trustees last night in a full-court press to save his job, his home, his salary, etc… he presented a power point presentation to prove he’s “under attack.” The problems are never Paige’s beliefs or Paige’s actions or Paige’s leadership. The problem is that evil Wade Burleson, the devil incarnate, and others.

I understand why Paige believes that to be so. He doesn’t see that disagreement among Christians shouldn’t mean we don’t cooperate. You’re either for him, or you’re against him. You’re for God, or with the devil.

Respectfully, SWBTS trustees, I’ve been telling you for over a decade there are huge problems at your institution and throughout the SBC. Your enrollment numbers stare you in the face every trustee meeting. In dysfunctional systems, the person who asks the questions about the problem becomes the problem to the ones being questioned.

Read the entire post here.

Let’s Remember That Evangelicals Led the Way in Opening Higher Education to Women


Mount Holyoke College

Baylor University historian Andrea Turpin provides some historical context to the entire Paige Patterson mess.  Here is a taste of her piece at The Conversation:

Southern Baptist Convention leader Paige Patterson was asked to step down early Wednesday morning following a meeting of the board of trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he served as president. With a following of over 15 million, Southern Baptists are America’s largest Protestant denomination.

Trustees were responding to a petition by over 3,000 Southern Baptist women regarding what they called Patterson’s “unbiblical” remarks on womanhood, sexuality and domestic violence. In an audio recording from 2000 that surfaced recently, Patterson was heard counseling a woman to stay with her abusive husband. In another sermon, he commented on a 16-year-old girl’s body. And even as the trustees met, news broke that Patterson allegedly advised a female seminary student not to report a rape to the police.

It would be easy to assume evangelical Christian educators like Patterson uniformly discriminate against women because they believe the Bible teaches women to submit to men. But, as a historian of women, religion and higher education, I know that the story is not that simple: Evangelicals actually led in opening higher education to women.

The very first college in world history to offer a bachelor’s degree to women, Oberlin, did so in 1837, with the goal of training more people to spread the evangelical gospel.

In other words, theologically conservative Christians pioneered women’s higher education for theological reasons.

Read the rest of the piece here.  And check out our Author’s Corner with Turpin here.

Paige Patterson’s Supporters

rick patrick 2017 color2

Paige Patterson is out as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but he still has his defenders.

On Monday, we did a post on Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s reporting that Patterson, while serving as president of Southeastern Baptist Seminary in North Carolina, told a woman not to report an alleged rape to police and asked the woman to forgive the rapist. Rick Patrick, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Sylacuaga, Alabama and an apparent defender of Patterson, responded to the Bailey’s piece with this tweet:


Disgusting.  In case you are unfamiliar with the people mentioned in the tweet, they are all prominent Southern Baptists who have called for Patterson to resign.  As conservative blogger Rod Dreher put it:

A woman claims she was raped at a Southern Baptist seminary led by Paige Patterson, who urged her to stay silent about it (“They shamed the crap out of me,” she told the Post), and then put her on probation for two years (the victim does not know why, but she senses that it was because she let a man into her home). And the pastor of First Baptist Church of Sylacauga, Alabama, makes fun of her, of the rape, and of Southern Baptist men who have publicly spoken out against Patterson’s prior remarks about women and violence!

Patrick has now apologized.

I apparently don’t have the same hotline to God that Al Mohler has, but he may be right when he says that “the judgement of God…has now come to the house of the Southern Baptist Convention.”

The Southwestern Baptist Seminary Board of Trustees on the Paige Patterson Ousting


Here the press release:

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.  


  1. There is no mention that Patterson has apologized for his statements and actions.
  2. It looks like Patterson is being rewarded for his statements and actions with a cushy retirement package.
  3. Patterson will continue to have a platform for his views as a “theologian-in-residence” at a new Baptist center on campus.
  4. The stained glass window of Patterson will remain in Southwestern’s chapel.  If this window remains (and I am sure it will), will tour guides contextualize it?