Phillip Bethencourt to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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Here is an interesting item I heard discussed MORE THAN ONCE in Dallas earlier this week. Phillip Bethencourt’s name was mentioned as the anticipated successor to Dr. Patterson as president of SWBTS.

Who is Bethencourt? He has served Southern Seminary since 2006, holding positions as director of Academic Advising for the School of Theology, director of Research Doctoral Studies and Academic Advising, and instructor of Christian theology at Boyce College. He has also served as executive assistant to the senior vice president for Academic Administration as well as vice president of Academic Services.

Bethancourt is currently the vice president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission under the leadership of Russell D. Moore. He continues to teach for the School of Theology as assistant professor of Christian theology.

There are a couple problems with this comment. First of all, no search committee has even been named by the trustees. Secondly, this would make it 7 out of 7 entity hires to come out of the Mohler machine.

Someone say it ain’t so. Please.

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An Open Letter to the Southern Baptist Convention: We Are Now At A New Low

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The Southern Baptist Convention just reached a new low. Recent reports show the number of churches in the SBC has increased but membership and baptisms are on the decline. Is this a sign that NAMB’s transfer of its focus from strengthening the local church to planting churches in metro areas primarily outside the more traditional service area of the convention is not as effective and successful as they would have us believe? Perhaps. Is there truth to the hard-handed handling of NAMB over state conventions and employees that do not toe the Ezell line? It seems there may be fire where so much smoke exists. This is an issue the trustee board should be concerned with. However, this is not the new low I am referencing.

Is the IMB’s reduction of missionaries to the world from roughly 6000 to 3500 or so a reflection of a new low? Well in 2010 the SBC met in Orlando and passed the Great Commission Resurgence which seemed to be much to do about nothing with one exception. The IMB was given the convention’s blessing to move monies from the foreign mission field to work with foreign mission people groups in the US. What a novel idea. Since monies that are going outside the US are not increasing the number of reformed churches and improving the influence of the reformed groups in promoting this errant theological position within the SBC, those funds can now be directed where it needs to be directed, to churches in the US! It would be interesting to know what percentage of funds from the IMB are going to administration and fixed operating costs, and then the percentage of funds going to serve these foreign people groups inside the US as compared to the actual percentage of funds going to fund the missionary force on the foreign fields. Good luck in getting the truth on that one. My guess is the trail of money will be difficult to ascertain. It will shed light on why we only have 3500 missionaries on the foreign field instead of the higher number of 6000 in the past. This is an issue that the trustees need to address. This is still not the new low that I am referencing.

Recently announcements have come from leaders admitting to moral failures leading to resignations within the SBC. Allegations of sexual abuse still surface with regards to church staff personnel and continued ongoing criticism still lingers with one particular group and its leadership and their continued association and apparent acceptance with the new powerbrokers in Louisville. This is not the new low that I am referencing and that would even include the transfer of power from Nashville to Louisville itself and the move to reform the SBC. That is a huge statement even for me.

There are a number of other statements that could be included in this tirade of sorts lamenting the current state of affairs with in the SBC that would illustrate the new lows within the convention.

The new low that I am referencing is the public attack on Dr. Paige Patterson. For the record, I have only met the guy one time in New Orleans and we spoke and he basically patted me on the head and said, (me paraphrasing) “Sonny, don’t worry about things, we have all that under control.” I have been a vocal critic of the reformed take-over of the SBC and the underhanded covert manner in which that process has been undertaken. In fact, the means by which that process has been facilitated does point to what I believe to be the new low in the SBC and that focus is on the manipulation of the trustee system related to the entities of the SBC. The subtle infiltration of the trustee boards has been the mechanism employed to gain control of those entities that has effectively turned the tide of the SBC to this reformed theological position.

The trustee boards are no longer answerable to the SBC but now all indications point to the powerbrokers in Louisville. Here is a great example. When the convention voted in June of 2011 to have Lifeway take the 2011 NIV Bible off its shelves, the trustees met in February of 2012 and decided to leave it on the shelves. Guess who was chairman of the trustee board? Dr. Adam Greenway who is dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Are the trustees accountable to the SBC? Hardly. If the messengers cannot tell Lifeway to remove a book from its shelves, we have a serious problem. Accept it. It is a fact.

Consider another problem that has been widely criticized. We have had several entity heads hired over the last 3 or 4 years. Let’s look at those. Lifeway, is the publishing division of the Southern Baptist Convention and church business services provider; it is one of the largest providers of religious and Christian resources in the world. The CEO is Thom Rainer. Prior to coming to LifeWay, he served at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for twelve years where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. Southeastern Seminary’s president is Danny Akin. He served as Senior Vice President for Academic Administration and Dean of Theology at Southern Seminary from 1996-2004.

NAMB’s president is Kevin Ezell. Before going to NAMB, he served as Senior Pastor of Highview Baptist Church in of all places, Louisville. He was Al’s pastor. In 2012 Midwestern Seminary announced the hiring of Jason K. Allen as its new president. Before coming to Midwestern, Allen served as a senior administrator at Southern Seminary.   In 2013 Russell Moore was announced as the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. Prior to that appointment, Moore served as provost and dean of the Southern Seminary.

In 2014 The International Mission Board hired David Platt as president. Guess what? He did not come out of Louisville but he is of their theological brand and a frequent speaker for the reformed groups Mohler and company frequent.

So who is responsible for hiring the leaders of these SBC entities? The trustee boards of each of the entities. There is this argument that there is no effort to influence the trustee boards but in all 6 of the most recent hires of the entities, all but one came out of Louisville and the lone exception’s theology is consistent with the Louisville tribe. Coincidence? Hardly. Problematic? Without question. Yet, we are consistently told we need to trust the trustee system. I guess it depends on which side of the fence you want to stand.

Fast forward to 2018 and in fact May of 2018. A public assault was initiated on twitter and picked up in the social media and then traditional media outlets only to be further fueled by various social movements speaking to specific problems in our society and now the SBC. The new low is not related to the public attention on issues that need to be addressed. It is a reference to the trustee treatment of Dr. Patterson who was clearly attacked and became a victim of a character assault. What is very interesting is the perception that victims of one kind of assault seemed to show little to no concern for him being a victim of a different type of assault and instead of revolting from that reality, some were in fact guilty of the same thing as they “piled on” adding to the assault. This is not even the new low I am referencing.

The new low has to do with the abject and outright dismissal of facts to replace and ruin Dr. Patterson by the trustee board of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Patterson served as president. To be more specific, it was the actions of the executive committee of the trustee board that needs to be called before the messengers of the SBC at the 2018 annual meeting to give a reason for their abject actions in vacating the decision of the full board of trustees on May 22 in their meeting on May 30. From all that has been reported, it appears that the members of the executive committee did not agree with the decision of the full board and took it upon themselves to meet and reverse what they believed to be an errant action of the full board that met for over 13 hours before coming to the final decision that they came to.

This group of trustees that make up the executive committee needs to be replaced by the messengers in Dallas. It is time for the convention to take back control of the trustee board system and say to the trustees, you are accountable to the messengers of the convention, not Louisville and not to any other political powerbroker that attempts to infiltrate and influence the decisions made by the trustees. The trustees need to represent the people in the pew who pay the bills and not the political powerbrokers who spend the money.

Let’s recap a few of the most egregious issues that have been released that have captured the headlines over the last couple of weeks. Here is a fact that has gone unmentioned. The trustee meeting that was called on May 22 was not called by the chairman of the board of trustees but rather called by Dr. Patterson himself. Imagine that. This deplorable excuse of a human being in trying to do what he believed was in the best interest of the entity he served as president, called the trustees together to deal with the criticism that had been brought against him. Hardly an action taken by someone who cared more himself than he did the hurt of others.

The day that this trustee board was scheduled to meet, an article from the Washington Post was released reporting an allegation that Dr. Patterson had mishandled a rape reported to him by a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary while he was president there in 2003. According to this article, Dr. Patterson reportedly advised the young lady “not to report the incident to the police” and to “forgive her assailant” and he placed her on probation for 2 years. When the full trustee board met and this issue was discussed, Dr. Patterson’s response was that he did not recall dealing with a rape allegation while at SEBTS. In that meeting, a call was placed to Dr. Allan Moseley who was Dean of Students at Southeastern and his response was, “I don’t recall the lady telling me that.” A call was then placed to the lady who became Lively’s accountability partner and she said, when she was queried on May 22, “I don’t ever remember this student telling me that.” These two individuals should have been much closer to the situation than Dr. Patterson would have been and their accounts backed up Dr. Patterson’s response. His response, remember was not that the rape did not occur but that he did not remember the allegation being addressed by him. Apparently, the trustees agreed that he was trying to be transparent and honest in his response.

An email apparently came up about a statement that Dr. Patterson wrote to the chief of security that made what appeared to be a horrific statement that no one would make much less a seasoned statesman of the SBC. Here is the damning comment brought to light by Kevin Uecker, chairman of the board of trustees in a statement he released explaining the executive committee’s actions taken to vacate the decision of the full board in firing Dr. Patterson:

“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.”

Ueckert admitted that this email was presented at the trustee board meeting on the 22nd and Dr. Patterson responded to it and apparently his response satisfied the board. Here is the most damaging part of this story: that email was not in response to an allegation of rape of a seminary student at SWBTS in 2015 as was presented to represent, but it was in fact made 30 days AFTER the rape allegation was handled and reported to authorities and the male student expelled. The email in question was in response to subsequent meetings and discussions that took place after the incident was handled. Mr. Ueckert should have either known about the date of the email or he did know the date and released the email as cause for vacating the trustee board decision. Notice Ueckert’s statement: “The attitude expressed by Dr. Patterson in that email is antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS.” The attitude expressed in indeed antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS but it was not the email in question but rather the action of Ueckert in using this faulty email as justification for the actions of the executive committee.

Mr. Ueckert knows that Dr. Patterson NEVER meets with students alone and it appears that he deliberately misrepresented the intent of this email knowing that its presentation would further damage the credibility and reputation of Dr. Patterson and support the errant actions of the executive committee. This is inexcusable in the public arena and is even more so in a Christian context and should not be overlooked by the messengers convening in Dallas and this action must not be dismissed.

If the SBC does not take this action of the executive committee of the trustee board into consideration and deal with it responsibly, God help us as a convention.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bob Hadley

Pastor, Westside Baptist Church  Daytona Beach Florida

 

 

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List of Trustees for Southwestern Seminary and the Executive Committee

A number of people have asked about the trustees of Southwestern Seminary as well as who are the trustees that make up the Executive Board. Here is a list from the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention Annual. The names that are highlighted make up the Executive Committee of the SWBTS Trustee Board.

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A Statement from Dr. Paige Patterson

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Dear Southern Baptist Family: 

 On May 22 the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary met together in a board meeting called at my request.  At that meeting, in which I briefly participated, I was asked to assume the position of President Emeritus of Southwestern, and I accepted this reassignment. One week later, May 30, the executive committee of the board met, though this time I was not asked to participate and was unable to address or answer questions for committee members since I was in Germany for a preaching assignment. While in Germany, I received a phone call informing me I had been relieved of all responsibilities with and compensation from the Seminary effective immediately. 

 Since much has been reported and written about these matters in recent weeks, I wanted to address briefly a few points. It is not in my spirit or my heart to debate or revisit the decisions of the trustees to whom I was accountable as president of Southwestern, other than the brief comments that follow. 

 Recently, I have been accused, publicly and privately, of a number of things—none of which I acknowledge as having done in the way portrayed, and others that I am confident I absolutely did not do. I’ll just speak to several examples. First, a poor choice of words has occurred, in and out of the pulpit, over decades of ministry.  I regret each case in which my heart and message were not clearly presented.

 On the other hand, I take exception to accusations that I ever knowingly ignored or failed to follow appropriate protocols in cases of reported abuse of women, students, or staff at any institution where I have served. Indeed, the Southwestern trustees confirmed as much in their public statement of May 23, 2018: “The board affirmed a motion stating evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse.” 

 For my words, demeanor, sentiments, or disposition to have been twisted to suggest the very antithesis to who I am and the biblical message I have presented over half a century not only is crushing to me and my family but also inevitably proves hurtful to others in the process.  I have never sought to inflict hurt upon a woman or man. 

 For the last 43 years, through service in three institutions, I have attempted to prepare pastors and missionaries academically, evangelistically, and spiritually for kingdom endeavors.  Today, on behalf of my sweetheart Dorothy, who has labored faithfully by my side through both sorrows and triumphs, and on behalf of my children and grandchildren, I want to express my gratitude to God for Southern Baptists.  You have often encouraged our hearts.  You have prayed for us in a multitude of ways.  I would ask of no one of you more than you have given.  What I have given back is a pittance compared to your kindness to me. 

 I wish further to thank the faculties and administrators who have held high my arms during both calm and raging waters.  I love you all.  To all of my students, including nearly 10,000 graduates whose diplomas I have personally signed, I thank you for your uncommon love for me, and more important, your unwavering devotion to our Lord. 

 To those who have ever opposed me or have embraced a different vision, I would be remiss if I did not thank you also.  Your opposition kept me on my face before God, reminded me of just how very human I am, and outlined in tantalizing colors the mercies of God, which I have received in profusion from our Lord.  I pray for heaven’s kindness for each of you.  

 At age 75, while my occupation has changed, my calling and passion have not been disturbed.  Soon Southwestern will have a new president.  I am riding off into the setting sun—but with a Bible in my hand and a witness from my heart until He comes for me individually or for us all in the air.  I ask Southern Baptists to hold the new president of Southwestern before God in earnest prayer.  He will be a great man, but the level of his attainment will be dependent to a large degree on your concert of prayer.  I know that you will not fail in this endeavor.  

  In a few days, for the first time in 66 years I will not attend the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention – having begun attending when I was nine.  As many of you know, I was elected in 2017 to deliver the 2018 annual convention sermon, but I have now respectfully requested to be released from this high privilege because I do not want my role as a preacher to detract in any way from the important business of our convention and because my desire is to work toward biblical harmony at our annual meeting. Many messengers have implored me to carry out this assignment, but this convention is not about me, and I have every confidence that this decision is best and right.  

 Now, may I just leave you with a challenge?  I have with stumbling step, limited ability, and stuttering tongue desired to bequeath to the world an orthodox denomination with a heart and message for a world of lost people.  My part is small in the amazing history of the people we call Baptists.  But as insignificant as it may be, I will be praying every day that you will cling to the whole Bible as the Word of the living God and at the same moment give that Word to every lost person on this globe, knowing that Christ died for all and that every man, woman, boy, and girl who comes to the Lord Jesus in saving faith will be saved. Would you join me in that endeavor?  Please link your hearts with Dorothy and me in expressing thanksgiving to our Lord for His abundant mercies to us all. 

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An Open Letter to My Southern Baptist Brothers and Sisters by Dr. Thomas Hatley

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(Posted with Permission)

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Dr. Allan Moseley: “I don’t recall the lady telling me that.”

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In an article published on June 6, 2018 in the Baptist Standard, which can be read in its entirety here, the following was written:

“Dr. Patterson first learned of the charges that he allegedly did not report a rape at SEBTS during the May 22 board meeting” of Southwestern’s trustees. “Dr. Patterson’s response was that he had no recollection of a rape being reported to him.”

In the interview with Baptist Press, Sharpe said Patterson didn’t “remember a lady reporting a rape” while he was at Southeastern, so he called Allan Moseley, Southeastern’s dean of students in 2003.

“Dr. Moseley said, ‘I don’t recall the lady telling me that.’ And then the lady who became Lively’s accountability partner” said, when she was queried May 22, “‘I don’t ever remember this student telling me that.’”

Sharpe alleged Lively, in 2003, confessed to consensual sexual conduct and “referred to it as a sin on her part.”

In 2 Corinthians 13 the Apostle Paul faced severe criticism from those who challenged his authority to speak charging his accusers with this statement, “you seek a proof of Christ speaking in me”. He made this appeal to his accusers in verse 1, “This will be the third time I am coming to you. ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.’”

Take one more look at the statements of 2 individuals who should have had more information regarding an allegation of rape than Dr. Patterson would have had.

“Dr. Moseley said, ‘I don’t recall the lady telling me that.’ And then the lady who became Lively’s accountability partner” said, when she was queried May 22, “‘I don’t ever remember this student telling me that.’”

“Dr. Patterson’s response was that he had no recollection of a rape being reported to him.”

“By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”

As a people of the Book, are we not obligated to stand by the words of the Book? If Patterson, Moseley and the accountability partner ALL say the same thing, should that not confirm Patterson’s original statement on May 22? It certainly should put the actions of the Executive Committee of the SWBTS trustees in question.

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The release of facts in response to further accusations against terminated SWBTS president Paige Patterson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Shelby Sharpe, Sharpe & Rector P.C., (817) 338-4900

June 4, 2018

Given the wide-spread misrepresentation and misinformation regarding Dr. Patterson, it is important to set the facts straight. Insofar as they continue to be misrepresented publicly, accurate and appropriate responses will be issued.

This media release is in response to a release late Friday afternoon, June 1, 2018, from Kevin Ueckert, chairman of the board of trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), concerning an executive committee decision of May 30, 2018, to terminate Dr. Patterson immediately.

The sole purpose of this release is to set forth facts and to put into perspective the committee’s decision and the way in which that decision was made.

Following is an itemization of the facts regarding the middle of the night termination made by the executive committee without all the relevant documents on which to base a decision:

– Chairman Ueckert states in the release that the executive committee received student records from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) that contradicted an answer Dr. Patterson gave to a trustee’s question during the full board meeting of May 22.

– Dr. Patterson was terminated without an opportunity to see the material or to respond to it.

– Neither Dr. Patterson nor his legal counsel was notified of the existence of this material allegedly incriminating Dr. Patterson prior to his termination.

– To date, requests by Dr. Patterson’s legal counsel to see the material have been denied.

– At Dr. Patterson’s request and after being made aware of the name of the Southeastern student making the accusation against Dr. Patterson, Dr. Patterson’s staff checked the
terminated president’s personal archives for any related correspondence. Letters found from the accuser to Dr. Patterson appear to validate that Dr. Allan Moseley, the SEBTS Dean of Students, and not Dr. Patterson, handled the matter. The accuser also apologizes for what she called her sin and makes no mention of or reference to rape.

– Copies of these letters were provided to Southwestern’s legal counsel on May 31, 2018.

– Because the executive committee did not give Dr. Patterson an opportunity to respond before his termination while in Germany for a long-standing commitment, the committee did not have in hand all relevant documents on which to base its decision prior to making that decision.

Following is an itemization of the facts pertaining to the charge in the chairman’s release that Dr. Patterson lied in answer to a trustee’s question at the May 22 board meeting:

– The incident in question concerns a time period in which Dr. Patterson was in the process of moving to Fort Worth, Texas, from Wake Forest, North Carolina, approximately 15 years ago.

– A personal ‘thank you’ letter to Dr. Patterson provided to Southwestern Seminary’s legal counsel plainly states that a student at SEBTS first interacted with a faculty member and then with Dr. Moseley. She thanked Dr. Patterson for being able to stay in school and for the way in which the school handled the matter.

– No reasonable reading of the letter suggests that the student had reported a rape to Dr. Patterson and certainly not that he ignored it, as is alleged.

– Dr. Patterson first learned of the charges that he allegedly did not report a rape at  SBTS during the May 22 board meeting. Dr. Patterson’s response was that he had no recollection of a rape being reported to him.

– To date, as far as we are aware, all parties with direct involvement and knowledge of the situation have stated rape was not mentioned. These individuals include the Dean of Students at SEBTS at the time, a woman assigned to meet with Mrs. Lively, and several staff members.

– Thus, when Dr. Patterson was asked about this charge during the May 22 meeting, he did not have a recollection of any such accusation.

– Significantly, one of the trustees sent a communication during the May 22 meeting to the SEBTS woman assigned to counsel the young woman, and this former SEBTS staff member further confirmed what Dr. Patterson shared.

Following is an itemization of the facts in response to the accusation that an email from Dr. Patterson to the SWBTS chief of the campus security department contains a statement that is “antithetical to the core values of our faith and to SWBTS”:

– The fact that an isolated statement from an email is being widely distributed by SWBTS trustees without providing adequate context is unfortunate.

– Dr. Patterson explained the full context of the statement to the apparent satisfaction of the full board, as evidenced by the fact that the full trustee board voted to name Dr. Patterson “president emeritus” instead of terminating him without salary, benefits, or residence as the executive committee later did on its own.

– The student in question had given several different accounts of her story to authorities, school administration, and her family. Dr. Patterson was seeking to understand what actually occurred among the many contradictory statements.

– Anyone who knows Dr. Patterson knows that he never meets alone with women without clear accountability practices in place. He preferred that there be no police presence so the young women would not feel intimidated. One must wonder what transformed the explanation of this statement from satisfactory at the May 22 meeting of the full board to “antithetical to core values” when considered by the executive committee May 30.

Following is an itemization of the facts related to the accusation that Dr. Patterson failed to deliver documents belonging to SEBTS in his possession:

– Dr. Patterson flatly denies that private SEBTS archives were ever stolen.

– Curiously, these accusations are now surfacing after more than 15 years, which raises the question of motive. Why raise the issue of supposed missing archives after all this time when correspondence shows that the question was raised and settled in 2004.

– This request was actually made to Dr. Patterson’s legal counsel.

– Dr. Patterson’s legal counsel immediately began an investigation which included contacting Dr. Chris Thompson, who supervised the transfer of Dr. Patterson’s library and personal archives from SEBTS to SWBTS.

– Dr. Thompson provided a letter (included below) referencing what transpired. In the letter he writes emphatically that the materials transferred included no SEBTS materials.

– Dr. Thompson had an obligation to SEBTS that no SEBTS papers leave its campus, and he attests to that in his letter.

Following is an itemization of the facts responding to the chairman’s charge that the papers given to the SWBTS’s legal counsel are SEBTS papers:

– Any reasonable reading of the letters reveals that they are personal, not institutional.

– Many officials of organizations receive ‘thank you’ letters.

– The fact that an official responds on institutional letterhead does not change the personal nature of the letter received nor any response to it.

To resolve the dispute about the true ownership of the documents in question, Dr. Patterson’s legal counsel has requested Southeastern Seminary join with him in having Peacemakers Ministries provide an arbitrator agreeable to both parties to decide the ownership of the records in accordance with 1 Corinthians 6, which prescribes how Christians are to settle disputes rather than using the secular court system. So far, SEBTS has not accepted this request.

While confident that no SEBTS documents were taken, Dr. and Mrs. Patterson are glad for SEBTS to have copies of any appropriate correspondence that they are unable to locate.

It is regrettable that these matters have been handled in the manner that they were. Had Dr. and Mrs. Patterson been included in the process and given an opportunity to respond, a much more amicable and less public outcome could have been achieved.

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UPDATED: Paige Patterson: “meeting with the student alone so that he could “break her down” 30 Days AFTER Rape Reported

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UPDATE: June 6, 2018

In an article released by the Baptist Standard that can be accessed here, gave the following statement concerning Patterson’s unusual comment in an email:

During the May 22 Southwestern trustee meeting, Patterson “explained the full context” of a 2015 email concerning a rape allegation by a female student at the Fort Worth seminary, including his alleged statement that he wanted to meet with the accuser alone to “break her down,” he said.

Patterson’s explanation was “to the apparent satisfaction of the full board, as evidenced by the fact that the full trustee board voted to name Dr. Patterson ‘president emeritus’ instead of terminating him.”

Sharpe said the accuser met “with Dr. Patterson and with others and reported the rape. The guy was immediately expelled from school and it’s reported to law enforcement. A week later, she sends an email to Dr. Patterson thanking him for the way he handled the delicate matter.”

More than a month later, Sharpe said, Patterson made the “break her down” statement to express his desire to more fully understand circumstances “concerning a forthcoming meeting that had nothing to do with the reporting of the rape.”

Original Article from June 4

In a statement from Kevin Ueckert, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of SWBTS, concerning the decision of the Executive Committee of the trustee board, he wrote the following:

“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.”

I read this statement and shook my head and thought, “Wow; I cannot believe someone of Dr. Patterson’s stature and position would say something like this.” Perhaps I am missing something here. This perceived careless cold-hearted comment is not one a seasoned, statesman of the SBC would make. A story was shared with me. Evangelist E.J. Daniels told the story of a deacon who was driving past his preacher’s house one evening and glanced at the house and saw the silhouette of the pastor’s wife through the window jump up on the bed and the pastor began striking her with what appeared to be a broom. He saw this with his own eyes.

He called an emergency meeting of the deacons without consulting the pastor. The deacon related what he had seen with his own eyes to the deacon board and they voted to fire the preacher on the spot. Well, someone had called the preacher and said, the deacons are meeting to fire you. In shock, he came to the church walked into the meeting as it was about to conclude to learn of his fate. The deacon who saw what he saw, related that to the pastor.

Here was the pastor’s response. “You saw what you saw but you did not see what you saw.”

He went on to explain. My wife walked into the bedroom and a mouse jumped onto her back and she jumped onto the bed and I grabbed a broom to knock the mouse off her as quickly as I could. “You saw what you saw but you did not see what you saw.”

Today many are guilty of “hearing what they hear but not hearing what they hear.” We all have a tendency to hear “what we want to hear” and not “hear what we do not want to hear.” Those who make these kinds of accusatory statements public are aware of how powerful they are especially in the days we are living in today. Once again, this perceived careless cold-hearted comment is not one a seasoned, statesman of the SBC would make. We were intentionally led to believe it was.

I want to make two comments with respect to the statement in the email that Mr. Ueckert has made public. The first is to my own thought when I read this statement, meeting with the student alone so he could “break her down” and that he preferred no officials be present.

It was explained to me that the phrase Patterson did use had a much different idiomatic meaning for Patterson’s generation than it does today. This phrase can be an expression to say, “let me ‘break her down” or “get the details”. The statement that “no officials be present” also seems problematic depending on how it is heard as well. Did this mean that Dr. Patterson intended to meet with this lady alone or with someone else other than “officials at the school” or “law enforcement” with the intent of finding out what the circumstances were before other outsiders were brought in. We do not know. Dr. Patterson knows.

This brings me to the second and more problematic issue with all this: Dr. Patterson has not been allowed to adequately respond to these allegations. It has been stated that Dr. Patterson has been given very little opportunity to defend himself against these allegations and to share his side of the story. Even in the 13-hour meeting of the full trustee board, it was reported that Dr. Patterson was in attendance for roughly 2 and a half hours of the 13 and was given very little time to respond to these issues. He was only allowed to respond to specific questions of board members in the May 22 meeting and He had no opportunity to respond to the May 30 meeting of the executive committee because he was in Germany. This is absolutely inexcusable by anyone’s standards.

A final question is this. Mr. Ueckert said in this latest press release that the email Patterson sent to the Chief of Campus Security was shared with the full trustee board on May 22. What changed between May 22 and May 30 that would constitute a convening of the Executive Committee that would change the decision of the full board on the 22nd? If the email in question was available to the full board in their first meeting, what would justify dismissing the provisions made by the full board with respect to Dr. Patterson’s future as laid out initially on the 22nd? Ueckert’s public statement did not say.

This email saying, “let me break her down without any officials present” is one of two things. It was a calloused cold-hearted comment or a cautious, concerned statement made by someone who cared about the individual involved before jumping to conclusions and prompting public exposure irresponsibly. That is the response of a seasoned statesman of the SBC.

The latter was the confirmed intent of Dr. Patterson’s statement.

 

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The untold truth: Facts surrounding Paige Patterson and his removal from SWBTS By Sharayah Colter

UPDATE: The release of facts in response to further accusations against terminated SWBTS president Paige Patterson

 

 

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.” – Proverbs 18:17 (NASB)

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When I received news that Paige Patterson had been fired from his role as president emeritus, I was standing under a sunny sky listening to my toddler son squealing with pure delight as he chased his dog around my legs. It struck me how oblivious he was to the sobering news, and I felt the weight of the realization that the history we write today is the future he lives tomorrow. In the spirit of writing a truthful history, I’d like to offer a more complete picture of what has transpired over the past month in regard to Patterson and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I believe we are all better served operating with the truth, and since I am aware of these truths, I feel I need to share them.

The first fact I’d like to offer in full disclosure is that I have had a front row seat to observing Paige Patterson during my time at Southwestern as a student and most recently as wife to his chief of staff, Scott Colter. I have been in his home, ridden in his car, passed him on the sidewalk, been a student in his class, sat through his chapel sermons, emailed with him and shared meals with him. I’ve observed him in large groups and small family gatherings.

Second, I want to be clear that I have compiled this account of the truth completely of my own volition. Paige and Dorothy Patterson have not asked me to write on behalf of or in defense of them, and my words are my own.

Third, the fact is, Southern Baptists deserve to know the whole story. Thus far you’ve heard one side of it, and that is because Patterson holds the conviction not to defend himself personally, following the example of Christ. However, this story has spiraled out of control to a point that demands a balanced and truthful response. The facts below will characterize a man who — while a sinner with feet of clay like each us — is not guilty of all of which he has been accused in recent days.

Please allow me to address the accusations against him here.

Accusation # 1: Patterson encouraged a female Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student not to report an alleged rape to police.

This accusation was outlined in a Washington Post article published May 22 while the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) were meeting. In the article, a student who in a Tweet later identified herself as Megan Lively (Megan Nichols during her time at Southeastern), alleges that Patterson met with her along with four male seminarians and encouraged her not to report the alleged rape to police. The article states that she was placed on probation but that she did not know why.

Truth: Patterson says he does not recall meeting with Lively, which appears in keeping with a letter Lively sent to Patterson dated April 15, 2003 (see attached letter and response).

“Finally, thank you for the accountability and for putting me on probation. Even though Dr. Moseley has handled this, I think it is great that the school enforces discipline,” Lively wrote in the letter. “At first, I was humiliated and embarrassed. But I know now this is from my own actions and the consequences of those.”

In the letter, Lively apologized and admitted what she recalled then as sin.

“I just wanted to write you and first of all apologize,” Lively wrote in the April 15 letter. “I know that you have been made aware of the sin that was in my life. While I have confessed this to the Lord, repented and sought accountability in my own life, I feel that I have disgraced the school.”

In July 2003, Lively sent a handwritten notecard to Patterson again offering her gratitude and appreciation to him (see attached notecard and response).

“I just wanted to take the time to thank you for the difference you have made in the life of our seminary and in my personal life,” Lively wrote in the notecard. “We will be praying for you and support you 100 percent. The faculty and students at Southwestern have no idea how blessed they are to have you as their new president.”

If a rape had indeed been alleged in 2003, and Patterson had known about it, he would have reported it to authorities, as he demonstrated in a different scenario involving a Southwestern Seminary student when he called police even when the student asked him not to do so.

This brings me to the second accusation against Patterson.

Accusation # 2: Patterson did not handle appropriately an alleged case of sexual assault against a SWBTS student.

Truth: Patterson immediately called police in response to a female student claiming she had been raped. The accused man admitted to having sexual relations with the woman, but said it was consensual. The man also produced evidence to the police to that effect.

Southwestern’s chief of police can confirm that the Fort Worth Police Department was called and responded. Patterson expelled the male student accused of rape. However, because the female student refused to press charges, Patterson had done all he could by calling the police, expelling the student and encouraging the woman multiple times to press charges.

Assistant Professor of Theology in Women’s Studies Candi Finch, who also served as assistant to Dorothy Patterson during her time as first lady at Southwestern, was in one of the meetings where Patterson met with the female student and her family members.

“I personally sat in a meeting with Dr. Patterson and this female student and two of her family members,” Finch recalled. “Dr. Patterson opened and closed the meeting with prayer for this young lady. He encouraged her in my presence to press criminal charges against the young man, but she said she wanted to think and pray about it more.”

Finch said to her knowledge the woman has not pressed charges to date.

Accusation # 3: Patterson says an abused wife should return to an abusive husband.

Truth: Fifty-four years ago, a woman in Patterson’s church told him she was feeling spiritually abused because her husband would not let her go to church or tithe. After the woman emphatically assured Patterson her husband had never hurt her physically and would never hurt her, Patterson advised her to go home and pray for her husband. Surprisingly to the woman, the husband did hurt her. They both came to church, and the man was saved, about which Patterson said he was happy. Contrary to the narrative spun through social media, Patterson was not happy the woman was hurt. Patterson has apologized for not expressing himself clearly in the retelling of this story giving the impression he condones abuse. As one who has risked his life to remove wives from domestic violence, nothing could be further from the truth.

Many Southern Baptist leaders have condemned Patterson by explaining their stance on abuse and setting it up in juxtaposition to Patterson’s portrayed beliefs. Patterson has offered multiple statements clarifying his stance on abuse.

“I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts,” Patterson stated in “An Apology to God’s People,” posted on Southwestern’s website on May 10, 2018. “There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person.”

For Patterson, those are not just hollow words; they are strong beliefs which he has demonstrated by physically removing women from abusive husbands on more than one occasion.

“I was the one being hit and Dr. Patterson never suggested to ‘stick around and get smacked.’” tweeted Angie Brock on May 4. “What he did was bring the authorities, remove my violent husband and encourage me in the Word. Not recommending divorce does not mean approval of abuse.”

Accusation # 4: Patterson objectified a 16-year-old girl in conversation with a woman and her son.

Truth: Patterson, upon hearing a teenage boy say to his friend that a girl passing by was “built,” commented to the boy’s mother that the boy was just being biblical, meaning that he was using the same language the Bible uses to describe Eve in the creation account. In the retelling of this story during a sermon illustration while preaching on Genesis 2, Patterson said that the “young co-ed” who had passed by the boys, was “nice.”

Patterson has issued a statement saying he regrets any hurt his words have caused.

“[A] sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Gen. 2:22) [has] obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways,” Patterson said in his May 10 statement “An Apology to God’s People.” “I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.”

Accusation # 5: Patterson fired student employee Nathan Montgomery in retaliation for Tweeting an article calling for his retirement.

Truth: When Montgomery’s Tweet was shown to Patterson, he instructed that the employee not be fired. Vice President of Communications Charles Patrick, however, had already fired Montgomery.

The matter was taken out of Patterson’s hands when Montgomery appealed directly to the board of trustees instead of appealing to Patterson.

Remaining truths

The last few remaining truths that Southern Baptists should know is the way in which the Southwestern board of trustees has handled the social media crisis and ensuing termination of Patterson. While many godly men and women comprise the board of trustees, the manner in which the matter was handled was disappointing at best, especially in light of the many bylaw infractions and violations of trustee confidentiality.

Trustee violations

The executive committee of the board of trustees worked outside the bounds of its bylaws by not giving the required 10-day notice before holding meetings.

Trustee confidentiality was violated by the release of information from the executive session of the board’s May 22 meeting to people outside the room and not on the board during the 13-hour meeting. Confidential seminary information which was only shared with the trustees appeared both on Twitter (@eyesonSBC) and in a blog.

May 22, 2018 meeting of the board of trustees

Despite the fact that Patterson requested the meeting to have a hearing from the full board, only a fraction of the time was allotted by the trustees for him to address the group. His time was limited and he was only allowed to answer specific questions posed by the board. On the second brief occasion when he was summoned to speak to the board, he was not allowed to bring his cabinet with him, as he desired.

Then, after waiting into the wee hours of the morning while the board met in executive session and upon offering Patterson the position of president emeritus, Patterson returned to a side room down the hall from the trustees’ meeting room to discuss the board’s solution with his cabinet. After about 20 minutes, when Patterson was nearly ready to return to the board’s meeting room in reply, a Southwestern employee noticed the trustees were returning to open session and rushed down the hall to let Patterson and his cabinet know so that they could return to the meeting.

I personally walked down the hall to hear what the board would announce in open session, since they had not waited for Patterson to return. When I arrived at the room, trustees and media were pouring out, having already ended the meeting after only a couple of minutes, if that, in open session. I had to ask a reporter what the board had announced and then returned immediately to deliver the news to Patterson that they had removed him as president and named him president emeritus.

May 30, 2018 action of the executive committee of the board of trustees

After midnight in Germany, while Patterson was sleeping, the chairman of the board of trustees, Kevin Ueckert, ordered Scott Colter to wake Patterson for a phone call. On the call, Ueckert told Patterson he was fired effective immediately, with no salary, no health insurance and no home. He then relayed that Patterson would receive instructions for vacating Pecan Manor upon returning to Fort Worth.

Before the phone call, both Pattersons’ and Colter’s email accounts, including personal contacts and calendar, were shut down without notice and while the three were traveling in Germany on behalf of Southwestern, leaving them without access to itineraries, train tickets, local contact information, hotel confirmation and flight boarding passes.

Also at some point before the phone call, the locks were changed without notice to the room on Southwestern’s campus housing Patterson’s private and personal archives containing ministry materials and documents from Criswell College and the Conservative Resurgence. No notice was given, and the Pattersons had no knowledge that this was being done and had not given permission for such. Despite accusations that the archives were mishandled, the attached correspondence from 2004 from Patterson to Southeastern’s librarian and president indicate he believes all was handled properly.

It is regrettable that the trustees did not contact Patterson during their May 30 executive committee meeting to hear any explanation of these accusations before his immediate termination. I wish to reiterate that the purpose of sharing the details of what has transpired over the past month is the hope that Southern Baptists, who own Southwestern Seminary and control its work, have a fuller picture of what actually occurred.

So why was Paige Patterson actually terminated? Was it for …

– encouraging a female student not to report to police an alleged rape at Southeastern? —We now know that he does not recall meeting with her and that she thanked him and sang his praises.

– not handling appropriately an alleged case of sexual assault against a SWBTS student? — We now know that he called the police, urged the woman to press charges and expelled the male student.

– telling an abused wife to return to an abusive husband? — We now know the wife assured him that her husband had not and would never physically harm her.

– objectified a 16-year-old girl in conversation with a woman and her son? — We now know Patterson has apologized for using a sermon illustration that misconstrued his heart and beliefs.

– fired student employee Nathan Montgomery? — We now know Patterson did not fire Montgomery and instructed that he not be fired.

We serve a God of truth. I have written in the spirit of that truth, and I pray you will receive it in that spirit as well.

Carroll instructed Scarborough, “Lee, keep the Seminary lashed to the cross. If heresy ever comes in the teaching, take it to the faculty. If they will not hear you and take prompt action, take it to the trustees of the Seminary. If they will not hear you, take it to the Convention that appoints the Board of Trustees, and if they will not hear you, take it to the great common people of our churches. You will not fail to get a hearing then.”

– B.H. Carroll – Founder of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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Petition In Support of Dr. Page Patterson

<https://www.gopetition.com/petitions/the-right-thing-for-the-southern-baptist-convention-and-paige-patterson.html

 

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The malicious attacks against Paige Patterson have brought to attention the need to vocally and verbally support the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here is an open letter of support for Dr. Patterson in his role as President of Southwestern Seminary.

The Right Thing for the SBC and Paige Patterson

An Open Letter of Support for Paige Patterson to the Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; forwarded to the Vice Presidents and Deans of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Convention President, Steve Gaines

by Samuel L. Schmidt

Brothers and Sisters of the Southwestern Board of Trustees;

I write this letter to you, not in a spirit of malice or anger, but of tremendous grief. I am burdened beyond explanation of all which has recently transpired against Dr. Patterson. Please receive this letter in the spirit of which it was written; one not born of ill intent, but of a desire for wrongs to be righted. You are in the position to fix the evils of the recent wave of malicious assaults and words against a common father in the faith: Paige Patterson.

Nothing But A Vicious Onslaught
The immediate past days on Twitter have been rather interesting for us, haven’t they? Decades old comments from one of the SBCs most polarizing figureheads have been circulated, examined, retweeted, and for many, have been determined to be grossly inappropriate, malicious, and downright abusive.
Of the 330 million active twitter accounts, a couple thousand individuals such as self-proclaimed news journalists (writing for the most liberal of newspapers in existence) homosexual bloggers (who have repeatedly marginalized the Southern Baptist Convention) church growth experts (who have zero experience actually growing churches) and social justice warriors (seeking to capitalize on a politically correct drama) have taken it upon themselves to urge Southern Baptists to end the courageous leadership of Paige Patterson.

The Greatest Among Us
Should we be surprised Paige Patterson is yet again the target of another string of unnecessarily evil attacks? Why wouldn’t our common enemy want to destroy Paige Patterson? Satan hates Paige. Satan despises him, and would not be content with anything less than the total destruction of Patterson. No wonder.
Patterson – with key individuals – just so happened to save the Southern Baptist Convention from liberalism and the decline of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

Patterson, by the grace of God, has traveled and preached the Gospel in over 125 countries, seeing untold numbers come to Christ – probably more people than all of you serving on this board combined.

Patterson holds to the Scriptural importance of the permanence of marriage, and is committed to helping couples resolve whatever tension exists in their God-ordained covenant, believing Scripture is sufficient.

Patterson, who advised Christians in chapel (the first I ever attended), “you would be better off dead than to bring dishonor and shame to the kingdom of God.” He’s right, trustees. We should all seriously consider Patterson’s words.

#MeToo
In such a volatile culture, journalists are often looking for the “next big story,” with which they can captivate audiences and generate clicks, likes, shares, and retweets. With the growing prominence of the #MeToo movement, any comment concerning women which might even remotely be perceived as aggressive, inappropriate, or morally unethical, has the chance of coming under tremendous scrutiny.

Paige Patterson has made numerous comments in his half-a-century ministry, many of which relate to the God-ordained institution of marriage.

Naturally, such comments in a politically correct twitterverse, are now more relevant than they have ever been, even though the culture perceived them as irrelevant two decades ago.

Abuse or Marriage?
Why have these comments raised a few people to uproar? While many individuals would try to steer the discussion toward abuse, they are wrong. The issue at stake here has nothing to do with abuse; we all know this.

Paige Patterson strongly condemns abuse in any circumstance or situation. As a matter of fact, comments on Twitter have surfaced of late of ladies who personally attest to Patterson helping them get out of abusive relationships. Ironic that the writers of the Washington Post have yet to capitalize on these remarks of individuals who have personally been helped by Patterson in abusive relationships. Perhaps these comments do not fit their narrative and witch-hunt? Perhaps they don’t fit yours either?

If the core issue in this discussion is not abuse, then what is it? The issue is marriage.

Is marriage permanent, or can a marriage be dissolved? The root of all these arguments goes back to the ever-penetrating question; is divorce permissible?

Dr. Patterson believes marriage ought not to be dissolved in any circumstance. He is right. I, and a host of other conservative evangelicals, agree wholeheartedly. Most importantly, we believe Scripture agrees.

To paraphrase Dr. Patterson’s recent remarks, “as ministers of the Gospel how could we believe otherwise?” Scripture is sufficient, and we need not step outside Its bounds in dealing with any matter!

Fortunately, this issue is minute and we can still serve Jesus together. Marriage has been an issue Christians have agreed to disagree while moving forward. For millennia, Christians have worked cooperatively together regardless of their views and opinions on divorce. If we have stood hand-in-hand for the sake of the Gospel before, why then, is the issue of divorce causing problems weeks before the annual meeting in Dallas and the sermon slated to be delivered by Paige Patterson?

The Real Problem
The members of the Southern Baptist Convention are not stupid. We can read between the lines; we understand what is happening. This is a coup to forcibly remove Dr. Patterson from his position at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary by discrediting his ministry, from outside sources who are now putting pressure on you, as trustees. Some of you stand with those outside sources. Some of you ARE in bed with those outside sources. This isn’t about divorce at all with some of you; this is about removing Paige Patterson. You know who you are; the Holy Spirit is calling you by name.

There is never a right time to do the wrong thing. Will the trustees of SWBTS now bow to the culture warriors, and worship their idol of political correctness at the expense of the glory of the Gospel?
Will we cowardly cringe at the sight of a few “social-media experts” who have no interest in the Gospel whatsoever, at the expense of a father in the faith?
Will we shamelessly follow the leading of outside sources who have personal vendettas against Dr. Patterson and have had an axe to grind for decades?
Is our Lord and our Gospel so weak and futile that we shudder at their words? Will we stand with those maliciously assaulting Dr. Patterson or will we stand with Jesus?

Strengthen your hearts Trustees, and be courageous! Paige Patterson does not stand alone. Neither do you. Demas may have forsook Paul, but Luke was him. Even greater, stood the Lord. Some may forsake Paige Patterson, but the Southern Baptist Convention stands with him. Greater yet, the Lord stands with him all the more. God will honor this saint’s commitment and courage to the Gospel.

I knelt by the chapel as I left graduation on Friday and I asked God to rightly judge the heart and attitude of every trustee at SWBTS. That includes you. I asked Him to search your hearts, and to decisively execute a divine standard so powerful among you, all who see it would recognize His glory. I pray He does so quickly. I pray you are found on the right side of God’s mighty standard. I pray you are found standing with Jesus. There is never a wrong time to do the right thing. The right thing to do, today, is stand with Paige Patterson.

In closing, I want to commend Dr. Patterson, for a lifetime of service he has given to King Jesus. Not content with just preaching the Gospel, he has given his ministry to defend Its glorious truths and oftentimes been found standing alone.

As long as I am alive, Paige Patterson will never stand alone.
Praise God for Paige’s faithfulness.

Thank you Dr. Patterson. Your consistent faithfulness in the midst of gross opposition and heartbreaking mischaracterization, reminds us you will remain faithful to the end. We are eagerly anticipating your sermon in Dallas. God has a powerful word Southern Baptists desperately need to hear at this pivotal hour and it is you who must deliver it to us. Our denomination is at stake. No one else but you will do. Just as God has chosen you time and time again to be the sounding trumpet to a wayward denomination, so He has chosen you once more.

In the GREAT name of Jesus and in defense of Paige Patterson,
Samuel

Samuel Schmidt
SWBTS MDiv, May 4, 2018

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