J.D.Greear cautions churches about hosting disgraced leader Paige Patterson


On January 24, 2020, The Houston Chronicle published an article quoting J.D. Greear with respect to Paige Patterson’s ministry opportunities following his disgraceful exit from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Here is a clip from the article:

“The president of the Southern Baptist Convention on Friday said churches should consider disgraced former leader Paige Patterson’s history of mishandling sexual abuse complaints before inviting him to preach to their congregations.

President J.D. Greear’s remarks in response to Chronicle questions are the most forceful to be issued by SBC leadership regarding Patterson, who was ousted as the leader of a Fort Worth seminary in 2018 for his handling of multiple students’ abuse claims.” The article can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

While is it fine that Dr. Greear has the opportunity to voice his opinion, it is interesting that he would make that opinion public since it is really none of his business what Dr. Patterson does or does not do. The truth is, it should not surprise anyone if churches do in fact, offer him more invitations to speak. Patterson’s ousting from SWBTS has not been a popular move among many pastors and churches. It is not Dr. Greear’s responsibility to tell churches what they should or should not do.

Here is the troubling statement in Greear’s comments:

“Greear said on Friday that “local church autonomy” does not excuse Southern Baptists from holding one another accountable.

“Southern Baptist churches must take our mutual accountability to each other more seriously than we have in the past,” he said. “If our system of governance means anything, it means exercising due diligence and heeding what those whom we put in positions of trustee oversight have reported about official misconduct.”

My major issue with Greear’s comments can be found in the following phrase: “If our system of governance means anything, it means exercising due diligence and heeding what those whom we put in positions of trustee oversight have reported about official misconduct.”

There is no “system of governance” where the convention officers are concerned related to oversight of the churches that are part of the SBC. There is no system of governance where the trustees elected to serve the entities of the SBC are concerned related to the oversight of churches that are part of the SBC. To suggest that there is such a “system of governance” is a gross overstatement with respect to the leadership of the SBC, including trustee responsibilities. For Dr. Greear’s information, there is no system of governance where the churches are concerned but rather a system of cooperation. The SBC is built from the ground up and not from the top down. 

The real problem with Greear’s comments is the idea that the current political climate of the SBC has been seen by some as a move to a presbyterian type of leadership where someone is given the responsibility of determining what is theologically correct where the local church is concerned. “In the 2000 BF&M a subtle change in the language can be seen in two terms, “the priesthood of the believer” and “the priesthood of believers” with the latter being a move toward the idea that the individual is subordinate to the church and the church subordinate to some ecclesiastical body to hold the church accountable.

Greear’s comments seem to suggest a move toward this latter position that has never been part of the SBC. The SBC is an organization that is to be advised by the churches through the messengers that gather for the annual meeting. There is no place for any move to make the convention a body that has the responsibility to advise the local churches.

About sbcissues

Interested in bringing the issues facing The Southern Baptist Convention to light.
This entry was posted in Baptist Press, Calvinism, J.D. Greear, Paige Patterson, SBC and Calvinism, SBC Issues, Soteriology Simplified, Southern Baptist Convention, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to J.D.Greear cautions churches about hosting disgraced leader Paige Patterson

  1. Dr. Greear does not represent my thoughts here and certainly not the traditional manner in which the SBC has governed itself. As we know, every local church is autonomous and is no bound by what decisions are made by the DOM of leadership in the state convention. Dr. Greear needs to take a seat on some things that he has said and done.

  2. Jeff DeBolt says:

    Thank you for this article and for your observations. Question: where did Greear get the authority to change a controversial allegation of a single mishandling of sexual misconduct into a supposed history of mishandling of sexual misconduct cases? If I were Mr Patterson, I might be looking into libel charges if Greear can not document his rhetoric. Just my opinion. My opinion, we do not need a SBC Pope. Respectfully, Jeff DeBolt

    Sent from my iPhone


    • sbcissues says:

      There was more than one issue that was brought up in the 30 year past… the “mishandling” is now being judged by today’s standards which are radically different than the day they were spoken AND say what you want to… the adult situations were counseling and advice which the individuals involved were responsible for their actions… Dr. Patterson will not sue because the convention is bigger than he is and I admire that… he has been unfairly railroaded and that is a shame on those who have pushed this and continue to do so… sad day we are living in today.

      • Andy Taylor says:

        Southwestern Seminary did not give any legit reason for railroading Patterson. J.D. Greer’s position is gone to his head with this statement. Southern Baptist will continue to decline with these leaders and SWBTS will follow their lead. No wonder the SBC is loosing their churches and conference centers.

      • sbcissues says:

        Sad day indeed on a number of levels.

      • Bob Williford says:

        I agree. The SBC is in decline and has been because moderates still play roles in powerful places as do Reformers. The very same ideology of “Me Too” that has gripped our Nation has been allowed into leadership within the SBC. Reform is everywhere…just my opinion.

    • There is no reason that Dr. Patterson would sue; mainly because he will follow a biblical standard and that is for Christians not to sue Christians. He is bigger than that…

  3. Jeff DeBolt says:

    This comment by Greear is troubling on several levels. For one, if these people are acting carelessly on fabricated evidence, Greear and others are guilty of very great sins against Mr Patterson, and the church. Serious allegations have been made that they had better be able to accurately document by more than just me too heresay. Errors here could do serious damage to SBC.

    • sbcissues says:

      All that is now history. There are no “errors” that can now hurt the SBC because it is a sinking ship. The SBC of the 20th century is history. Welcome to an SBC controlled by a hand full of self appointed calvie know it alls that are bent on making sure that every church toes the line and every member of those churches toe the reformed line.

      Simply sickening. Worse than just sad.

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