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.
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,
SWBTS MDiv, May 4, 2018