The Southwestern Seminary report was given today at the Southern Baptist Convention. You may watch the final 18 minutes of it here. Some have requested to know how I felt about Dr. Patterson's remarks. Here are few thoughts.
(1). After the report Danny Akin said from the platform, "Dr. Patterson does not have to apologize to me for his heart for the lost." I am sure Dr. Akin is a bright and intelligent human being, but how in the world someone would think 'an apology' was being given for having 'a heart for the lost' is beyond my comprehension -- particularly an apology given to the Southern Baptist Convention for having a heart for the lost. Why would anyone 'apologize' for that? Dr. Akin, we don't need leaders in the Convention using sycophantic language that makes no sense. We need men who clearly articulate the principles of grace and truth. Give us some truth Danny. We see through flattery.
(2). The Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Southwestern Seminary made it clear that the trustees would address the issue in September. Good for him. He also said, "Don't talk to others about this, talk to God." Not so good for him. Until people talked to others about this issue (including trustees), nothing was being said or done. You are only as sick as the secrets you keep.
(3). Dr. Patterson looked like he was under stress. His voice faltered. He teared up a few times. He looked rattled. Honestly, my heart went out to him. But then I thought about "Pinky" Klouda, Dr. Sheri Klouda's husband, whose heart was literally failing when Dr. Klouda was being terminated from SWBTS for being a woman teaching Hebrew to men, and my compassion for Dr. Patterson tempered. I thought about Dr. Cornish and the rescission of his contract because his wife had been divorced from an abusive husband when she was just nineteen, long before she ever met Dr. Cornish. I thought about Dr. Mitchell and what I know about his termination. I am hopeful that 'love for evangelical Christians' reaches the same level as the 'love for the lost' that was expressed from the platform today. Why do we treat believers in Allah better than we do believers in Jesus Christ?
(4). My old friend, Malcolm Yarnell, found a little anecdote about Dr. Rufus Burleson breaking the rules and admitting an atheist at Baylor University. Good for him. I believe people are always more important than rules. It's interesting that the people who live by the sword, ultimately die by the sword. You fight fire with fire. We need some grace in the Convention for Christians who disagree with others over tertiary doctrinal matters, and maybe a taste of one's own medicine this spring caused a realization that love for people is far more important than your precious principles that a woman shouldn't teach a man, or a faculty member's wife should never be divorced, or an administrator that has a mouse pad with a saying you don't like... well, you get the picture.
(5). I am praying for Dr. and Mrs. Patterson. I am not just saying those words. I just finished praying for them. I trust that the lessons learned will be applied in the future when its time to be gracious to those Southern Baptists and other evangelicals who disagree on tertiary issues of the Christian faith. That's the lesson of this Convention.