Friday, May 16, 2014

Southwestern Baptist Islamic Theological Seminary and the Center for Cultural Engagement and Firing

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas has been providing theological education for Christian men and women since 1908.

Something very strange and bizarre is happening at Southwestern and Southern Baptists should intervene before we lose our seminary to evangelical irrelevancy.

Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Theological Seminary, ordered his admissions office in 2012, in violation of the school charter and the Southern Baptist Convention's mandate for theological training, to allow the admission of a professing, devout Muslim into the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This is a very serious issue which must be addressed by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Ghassan Sa'id (last name removed) is a Ph.D. student from Egypt studying archaeology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and will begin his third and final year in the School  of Theology this fall, under the leadership of David Allen, dean of the School of Theology, and Dr. George Klein, Senior Associate Dean for the Research Doctoral Program.   Professors of Archaeology for Southwestern include Dr. Eric Mitchell, Chair;  Dr. Tom Davis, and Dr. Steve Ortiz. When Ghassan finishes his studies, he will receive a Ph.D. in Biblical Studies with a major in archaeology from Southwestern Seminary's School of Theology.  In a faculty meeting in 2012, Dr. Patterson warned anyone who questioned him about Muslims being admitted into Southwestern, or anyone who was disloyal to him and discussed this matter with others not associated with Southwestern would be terminated. Dr. Patterson went on to explain that "it is not necessary to be a Christian" to enroll in Southwestern's Ph.D. program.

The campus is abuzz. Many faculty are upset. Yet, most are afraid to say anything because of 'repercussions.' I've been told by students, "I don't want my transcripts blocked for speaking out" and many of the faculty are concerned for their jobs. All the while, Dr. Patterson acts as if there is nothing wrong with Southern Baptists, through the Cooperative Program, funding the theological education of practicing Muslims. He is intending to enroll a father/son Muslim team in the near future. Dr. Patterson is turning SWBTS is school without Christian distinctive. I find it ironic that he fired Dr. Sherry Klouda for teaching Hebrew because she 'was a woman', and argued before the courts that Southwestern was 'a church' and that the courts had no business ruling on gender roles within ecclesiastical institutions. Using Dr. Patterson's same argument, I have a question for him: Would a Southern Baptist pastor allow a member into his church who refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior?

Ironically, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's own policy forbids enrolling anyone who refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!  If one goes to the Admissions Page for Southwestern Theological Seminary and starts the process of enrollment into the Ph.D. program at the School of Theology. On page 5 the application form requests that the applicant "explain your decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior." The admissions office informs the applicant that his or her answer to this question will be very important as to whether or not the applicant is allowed to enroll at Southwestern. The application for admission puts it like this:
"Southwestern is charged with equipping called men and women for effective Kingdom Service. The Admissions Committee is especially interested in reading about your commitment to Christ and plans for Christian service."
So, Paige Patterson ordered his admissions staff to act contrary to the school's policy and charter, the will of the Southern Baptist Convention, and possibly to even contrary to the will of his own trustees (?). The admission of a practicing Muslim who prays toward Mecca five times a day, who refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who will leave the School of Theology and presumably work against the good news of Jesus Christ is something that should concern every Southern Baptist who funds theological education with Cooperative Program money.

We Southern Baptists believe in freedom. We believe that Muslims should have the right to believe
as they wish, pray as they wish, and enjoy all the civil liberties that we Christians enjoy in America. I have many Muslim friends. I have spoken at Muslim meetings here and abroad. This issue is not about Baptists not liking Muslims. Not at all. The issue is about Southern Baptists funding seminaries like Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to the tune of three million dollars annually and having a seminary led by a President who overrides the wishes of the Convention and rules by fiat, not principle.

This issue is one of integrity and ethics, and if not addressed, ultimately an issue of power. Who actually determines how the Southern Baptist Convention will conduct ourselves? Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is becoming something other than Southern Baptists intended at its formation in 1908. When faculty members are afraid to speak up over a violation of school policy and charter requirements because of a fear of firing, then "Fort Worth, we have a problem."

This past Monday, Paige Patterson terminated Dr. Craig Mitchell, Director of the Richard Land Center for Cultural Engagement (see picture to the left). Dr. Mitchell, the first African American ever appointed to head an institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, was released by Patterson's fiat. Dr. Mitchell testified before Congress in 2012 regarding the ethical dilemma of ObamaCare providing for abortions. Dr. Mitchell is a product of a Southern Baptist Theological education, well-liked by students and faculty alike, and has a national reputation for scholarship and excellence. I have not yet spoken to Dr. Mitchell. I do know Dr. Mitchell's firing has not been publicized, nor has his bio been removed (as of Friday, May 16, 2014), from Southwestern's web page, but that will probably change by this weekend. I found out through friends of Dr. Patterson that they were told by the President of SWBTS of his firing.  Here is what I don't understand. The President of a theological institution is firing the Director of his Center for Cultural Engagement for allegedly making a 'joke' on his Facebook account (something like "if you have to spend thirty minutes putting your make-up on, you are probably too ugly to begin with") and three other allegations just as strange, yet at the same time, the SWBTS President is secretly--and against the will of the Convention and stated policies of his own school--mandating the theological education (and funding) of a practicing Muslim by the School of Theology. Maybe the wrong person was fired last week.

A friend suggested to me that I should give Paige Patterson the benefit of the doubt regarding Ghassan Sa'id _______. He said "the last two declared Muslims Paige Patterson brought under his patronage turned out not to be Muslims at all." Humor aside, the Islamic faith of Ghassan Sa'id ______ seems very real. Let me illustrate.

At a prayer meeting this past fall, several International Mission Board missionaries and employees from foreign countries were invited to participate, along with students at Southwestern Theological Seminary. As introductions were being made, Ghassan introduced himself as "a Muslim" at Southwestern. Thinking that he had said "a minister to Muslims," one of our IMB missionaries responded, "And where do you minister to Muslims?" Ghassan responded, "No, I AM a Muslim. I believe there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." Immediately, our IMB missionaries began removing their name tags. Some of those missionaries were in Security Three zones where their very identity is supposed to be protected. (Editor's note: The previous anecdote is summary of what was told me by two people at the meeting).

Some have suggested to me that Paige Patterson has a theological problem. Dr. Patterson has  tweeted about the Godhead and displayed a measure of modalism that is shocking, especially coming from a seminary President. He tweeted in response to a theological question asked of him, "The divine economy is limited to the presence of one member of the Trinity at a time."  One would hope a junior high boys Sunday School class would be able to respond with better theological precision than Patterson displays. Nevertheless, I'm not convinced that the problem with Dr. Patterson's leadership is solely theological.

I believe Dr. Paige Patterson's leadership can be faulted on the grounds of ethics. He is bypassing the rule of those who govern him (trustees), threatening those who work for him if they dare question his decision to admit Muslims to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Maybe he's hoping that the people of the Southern Baptist Convention will not care what he does because he is "Paige Patterson."

Well, I care. My church cares. You, too, should care. I plan to be in Baltimore for the Southern Baptist Convention to ask other Southern Baptists their feelings about having their Cooperative Program dollars pay for the education of Muslims at Southwestern Seminary.

It's time someone holds Dr. Patterson accountable for his actions.


Roger said...


stevenstarkmusic said...

I can understand religious sectarianism in teachers but not students. Won't many Baptists see it as a gesture of good will and even a chance to evangelize the student?

stevenstarkmusic said...

Of course, A leader ruling "by fiat" is another matter.

Wade Burleson said...


I'm a friend of Muslims. We fund our schools to theological educate Christians, not to evangelize. There are plenty of secular schools that teach archaeology.

Bob Cleveland said...

The SBC is, today, what is has morphed itself into. Deliberately. And it occurs to me that some pastors out there may wish to end any support .. direct or indirect .. for SWBTS. Which might manifest itself in re-routing former CP dollars directly to SBC institutions.

Hey .. people do that with their giving sometimes, too ... giving direct to the Building Fund or some other designated cause. Why shouldn't churches?

I've had my say with the SBC. Which accounts for my absence at SBC14.

Anonymous said...

Ironic, that Southwestern refuses to admit a born again believer who's been called to the ministry if he admits he has one ounce of alcohol at his residence. Yet they will not only admit, but radically defend at all costs, the right of a man who denounces Jesus as divine, to receive an education there.
What's wrong with this picture?

Anonymous said...

This is the best blog post I have read in some time Pastor Wade. Excellent job! This needs to be debated and discussed at the SBC annual convention in Baltimore in a couple of weeks.

Frank Gantz said...

Since the charges regarding a Muslim student are from 2012, why has nothing been said until mid 2014?

Wade Burleson said...


Everybody who knew was too scared to say anything under threat of repercussions and I just now found out about it. Interestingly, I was told that it was specifically said to those in the know: "You are not, under any circumstances, to contact Wade Burleson about this." After nearly two years, several did.

Alan Paul said...

I am in agreement with Steven on this issue. We should not limit God (or rather pretend to limit God since we can't limit Him in any way that He doesn't allow) by assuming seminary is only there to educate and not evangelize.

Anonymous said...

I care pastor Wade. You have done an invaluable service to the SBC.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, Frank, the Muslim will be a student at SWBTS through spring of 2015 with more coming. It is a current issue.

Anonymous said...

Wade, with all respect your allegations against Dr. Patterson have no credibility other than the fact that a muslim may be studying at SWBTS. I would challenge you to first talk to Dr. Patterson personally to see why he did that (my understanding is for evangelistic purposes) and second, pray through whether a blog post that lacks credible sources is the most biblical approach to bringing up issues you may have. It is easy to say anything online without backing it up, may request is that you thinking through the possible implications from your actions that would hurt more than just Dr. Patterson, but the SBC as a whole.

Anonymous said...

Wade, this is a great blog. The best you have ever written. Disregard what the person stated above. You have written a blog that should be the primary topic of the convention in Baltimore next month. Stand your ground Wade! Comments like the one above will only increase. You were right to blog about this and you have many supporters.

Debbie Kaufman said...

anonymous 10:47: What part of this statement doesn't register with you?

"At a prayer breakfast this past fall, several International Mission Board missionaries and employees from foreign countries were invited to participate, along with students at Southwestern Theological Seminary. As introductions were being made, Ghassan introduced himself as "a Muslim" at Southwestern. Thinking that he had said "a minister to Muslims," one of our IMB missionaries responded, "And where do you minister to Muslims?" Ghassan responded, "No, I AM a Muslim. I believe there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." Immediately, our IMB missionaries began removing their name tags. Some of those missionaries were in Security Three zones where their very identity is supposed to be protected."

Mark J. said...

Pastor Burleson, this is the blog that had to be written. It is very well written. The time has come for accountability to reign in the SBC. Thank you for writing this! Bravo! You are a man of God and I support you completely!

Anonymous said...

Their ways to check into others FB accout just to see if there is anything to punish are amazing. Everyone is afraid of it and most students/faculty do not post anything on FB.

Rex Ray said...


My sister called SWBTS. She got the name and position of a person that told her he would read your blog immediately and would look into the matter sense he knew NOTHING about a Muslim attending school.

She had told him her daughter and other relatives had graduated from Southwestern and their business was planning on making a financial endowment to the school but not if the school allowed Muslims to attend.

He promised to call her back.

Blake T. said...

Wade this is perhaps the most important blog post to have been written this year in the entire SBC! This is a bombshell! This is like Martin Luther's 95 thesis he nailed on the Whittenburg door! This is incredible!!! The time has come for this to be addressed in Southern Baptist Convention.

Marie Hamil said...

I am in total agreement with you Wade. If we let this slip by without a fight we all will be accountable. I will stand behind you 100% and let me know how I can be of help.
Marie Hamil

Daniel Ausbun said...

Wade, is this true? I would be shocked to discover one of our Southern Baptist seminaries have admitted a professing Muslim. If there's any truth to this, Southwestern needs to respond.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I agree with Marie! I support you all the way! You have many supporters who stand with you! Great job! This is like Watergate! You have exposed an issue of grave importance in the SBC! I support Pastor Wade Burleson!

Guillaume Bourin said...

Hi all,

I'm a French MDIV student at SWBTS, and I just want to say (with my very poor english) that several information in your article are distorted.
For example, I just talked yesterday with Ghassan, who is a friend of mine, and I can tell you for sure he is not a "devout" muslim.
Actually, he defines himself as a traditional muslim and he rejects several Islamic theological distinctives.
In my opinion, he's much more a deist with muslim background.

I understand that the presence of a muslim in a Baptist theological seminary may shock you, and to be honest I was surprised when I first met him.
But this that not allow you to share false informations or to distort the truth.

Paige Patterson, like every evangelical leader or pastor, is not above any critic.
And I'm glad some express their thoughts or share what they think about him.
But I think the way you did it discredited your entire article : if one ore more informations are completely wrong, what about all the informations of your article ?

Finally, I'm concerned about Ghassan's picture : this is not less than his academic picture !!
Who gave you that ? Do you have the right to post this on the web ? This is at least not very wise...
Could you imagine what would happen if Ghassan find your article tomorrow with this picture ?

As a friend of him

You're right to express your concern, but the way you're doing it is not wise, and looks more like a personal attack than a biblical rebuke, in my opinion.

God bless.

Doug Barnes said...

Its simple really . . . SWBTS is not an evangelism tool/arm of the SBC. Its stated purpose is to take professed Christian believers and train them to become more effective Christian evangelists.

There's no "but" or "what if." Its mission is clearly stated in its bylaws and admissions documents.

There is really no way for the seminary to explain/defend this absurdity. When I think of the reasons that they will use to deny admission to PROFESSING Christians and will even consider enrolling a Muslim or a "deist" my mind is boggled.

Anonymous said...

No comments yet about Craig Mitchell being fired?

I've worked with him on a first-name, but professional, basis. We need to know more.

Frank Gantz said...

Wade, thanks for your response. I did not doubt it being a current issue. Even if he had moved on, it would still be an issue. I've had to answer those same testimony questions at seminaries.
It is just surprising to me that in a school that large that nobody has said anything before now.

Looking forward to a response from SWBTS.

Daniel said...

Ghasan comes to study archeology! He is not studying to become a christian minister! What is the problem with that? And even if Paige Patterson were wrong, is it an excuse for such an Ad Hominem attack? You post names, photos, precise identity?! Imagine the same being done for you in a muslim country whenever you go in a place supposed to be for muslims?! He is not from "FBI most wanted"! Please remove personal ID items. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Don't you have to be a Christian to enroll as a student at the five SBC seminaries?

Unknown said...

If any of this is true, it's a disgrace for the school I learned so much from. You MUST be a Christian called to ministry to attend seminary. I worked for admissions at SWBTS. If a muslim has been admitted, for any reason, that is terrible and not according to the charter.

Who will ask the questions when SWBTS gives it report?

Bobby Lee Schwartz said...

I think the school should let our Muslim brothers attend our SBC seminaries. They have faith in a god just like we do.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Patterson runs the place just like any southern baptist pastor runs his church. Bend the rules, takes care of his friends, no core values, looks the other way if his main supporters are doing it and gets rid of those who might question his intentions and actions.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Just WOW!
Shaking my head..
A continual lowering of standards will have lasting consequences.

Amy S. said...

Wow. Hope you don't mind, but I gave your post a little boost on our site, where we talk about the never-ending compromise in the modern church. Stay strong!

Fletch L. said...

All I have to say as a baptist, don't touch the Lords anointed and don't do his prophets any harm. How dare you go after these godly men who have sacrificed so much at such a high price during the resurgence. They must have a good reason for letting a non a Christian attend a Baptist seminary. We should not question this decision.

Wade Burleson said...


I'm quite confident our Muslim friend is a wonderful person. That's not the issue. The SBC has never determined that 'theological education' at our seminaries, funded by our CP money, is to train Muslims.

That's a decision that should be made by the convention as a whole, not one man.

My picture is plastered all over the Internet and I'm not on the FBI's most wanted list either.

In the digital information people need to get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Post your address and I might take a road trip and let you know what I really think about posting a picture of one of our students putting him at risk.

Wade Burleson said...

Your student is at risk from Christians called to evangelical ministry?

I think not Mr. Anonymous.

I think who may be at risk is the administration of SWBTS not our Muslim friend.

Wade Burleson said...

By the way, anonymous, you threaten me, but say nothing about our missionaries on foreign fields.

The Muslim in our school is a human being that should be treated with dignity and respect by all.

However, he should NOT be in our theological school until the Convention speaks and gives permission for our CP funds to go toward the education of Muslims and our Convention expresses agreement that active, professing Muslims can and should be working along side our active, serving missionaries in countries where women are hanged for refusing to renounce their faith in Christ or Christians are imprisoned for telling people about Jesus.

I'm showing more consideration for our Muslim friend at SWBTS than the Muslim government is showing for the pregnant Christian woman they are about to hang for refusing to renounce Christ.

I am uncomfortable training Muslims at our seminaries and I believe you should be too.

Aussie John said...


Thank you for an important post. It seems that many Americans who claim to be Christian, like many in this country, have no idea that genuine Christians have a faith which stands on the sure foundation of a God who chose to incarnate Himself, as the man Jesus Christ.

Those who think that belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is saving faith are grievously mistaken.

Jesus, Himself said,“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME."

The apostle Paul used Jesus" own term when speaking of Him and His relationship with His followers," So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF BEING THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."

No genuine Muslim can agree with this, nor could they not proselytise those with whom they associate,including their fellow students.

Anonymous said...

SWBTS has released a statement in which Dr. Patterson says he has made this type of decision at least 4 or 5 times. You can see the comments on the SWBTS FB page.

Rex Ray said...


My sister lives a hundred yards from me.

The man she contacted at SWBTS did not call her back, but Paige Patterson did.

He said your blog was nothing but lies.

“You mean there’s not a Muslim attending Southwestern?

“Oh there’s one attending but we’re going to convert him.”

My brother-in-law said it was almost funny how Paige squirmed around in trying to answer questions.

Anonymous said...

Did everyone miss what Guillaume Bourin just said ? No one commented. He confirmed a Muslim is at SWBTS! Not devout, traditional. My reading of that is he is sunni not shia, big deal. He is still muslim.

That is crazy. You do not convert muslim's by allowing them into your school.

Anonymous said...

Evangelistic purposes? You don't need to give someone a PhD to take him down the Romans road.

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you for your report. I've been around the block a few times, and whether it was Dr. Klouda's story, Dr. Cornish's story, or the professors singled out for their five point beliefs, everything I've written involving SWBTS is usually called 'lies' but in the end, the truth of what I write is always confirmed.

Unknown said...

Dr. Patterson responded to the muslim enrollment issue here:

I want to say, "An exception is ok. Leaders sometimes have the right to make them." But this seems a little harder in that the exception does not always mean it should happen.

Another problem with "exceptions" is that once you do them and it's known, then how does one shut the door on others wanting the same exemption?

I'm not a Patterson hater, but this open door makes a seminary open to enrolling unbelievers for the sake of evangelism?

Debbie Kaufman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

(I'm not the SWBTS faculty that posted earlier nor do I have any affiliation with that school).

I do not know anything about Ghassan's background, but it seems he came into contact with the school somewhere in Israel/Palestine. I am concerned about possible repercussions for his family back home or what they might be when he returns home (with or without a degree, depending on what happens in this case).

Would you consider removing his picture and last name for those reasons?



Tim H. said...

Wade, thanks for posting this blog. I believe only Christians who can agree with the baptist faith and message should be allowed to attend a SBC school.

Anonymous said...

Awesome Wade! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on an important matter that needs to be addressed by the leadership of the SBC in Baltimore!

Blake said...

Good job Pastor Wade!

Richard Caldwell said...

You are spot on. In addition, whether you think the student should have ever been admitted or not, he is now at SWBTS. Doesn't this have the feeling of a lynching to you? Because it does to me. Here is a man who was apparently attracted to the school after working with the school's archeology team near where he lived. He asked if he could participate in the PhD program. He was granted the opportunity. It was one man allowed in, not 5, not 10, not 30. Whether I agree with that or not, what affect will a blog like this have ON THAT MAN? If he was near the kingdom, will this drive him nearer or farther away? Is this really about SWBTS, is it really about principle, or is it really about Wade Burleson and Paige Patterson? When one of the posts brags that someone in the know said, "make sure you don't tell Wade Burleson", it has all the marks of grandstanding.

There IS a biblical way to handle disagreements you know? I'm pretty sure blogging about your brother wouldn't precede going to him one on one, or with two or three, what do you think? And why do those come first anyway? What is the principle? I'm pretty sure it is our desire to correct a brother while PROTECTING him, not a desire to "correct" a brother while "exposing" him.

In a tabloid loving world we don't need a tabloid loving church.

Richard Caldwell said...

By the way, when I said "spot on" I was referring to the post by the French M.Div student, not the original blog post.

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that Dr. Patterson would be among the first to decry that pragmatism and moral relativism have crippled in the American church, yet this decision is a perfect example of a short-sighted and purely pragmatic action.

SWBTS was founded to prepare men and women for ministry. Ultimately, it exists to serve Southern Baptist churches. That is its sole mission. The decision to admit a Muslim student violates the school's own historic admission standards and created purpose. The work of evangelism belongs to the church not to the seminary.

Southern Baptists should be concerned about Dr. Patterson's pragmatic re-purposing of SWBTS for a mission of his own styling, the operation of SWBTS as a ministry to take the place of the church instead of a ministry to serve the church, and Dr. Patterson's unilateral authority to make such a decision.

Anonymous said...

Speak to the schools with your dollars. Patterson draws a paycheck, you know.

The problem is all over.

Anonymous said...

Wade, I am glad that someone has finally picked up on this. However, you neglected to mention the two Mormon students who are also on campus: one at the master's level and one at the PhD level, both in archaeology as well. Shouldn't the board of Trustees also be addressing that issue as well?

Anonymous said...

Pull your funds from supporting this university, and what do you want to bet that this kind of thing stops.

Anonymous said...

I think that Mr. Burleson's bias against SWBTS and Paige Patterson is rearing its ugly head again. He wants to make a big deal about CP dollars funding the education of a Muslim. What about IMB missionaries who work in other countries in schools and access programs to Muslims? Your CP dollars are funding their education and their businesses too. And yet he doesn't complain about that. Interesting...

Anonymous said...

Umm. The purpose of the IMB is to evangelize those that they work with. That's kinda the point of missions work. That's NOT the point of the seminaries.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Patterson was appointed President to act as guardian of the Seminary's values and function. If he has violated this trust, he has shown himself to be 'not fit for purpose' and should be removed from his post. Serious errors are a sign of mismanagement and a lack of professionalism.
The Seminary does not belong to Patterson. He who pays the piper is entitled to call the tune.


Anonymous said...

Right. The purpose of the seminaries is not evangelism, but to educate and to prepare for pastoral ministry. Yet, the Ph.D. program in archaeology is not a pastoral ministry program, it is a research degree. It's not like they're training him to be a pastor. They're educating him just like the IMB (sometimes) provides for the education of those overseas. Either way, CP dollars are at work. That's my only point.

Unknown said...

Anonymous made the comment earlier "Sounds like Patterson runs the place just like any southern baptist pastor runs his church. Bend the rules, takes care of his friends, no core values, looks the other way if his main supporters are doing it and gets rid of those who might question his intentions and actions."

It struck me as rather bizarre since I am a Southern Baptist pastor and I do nothing of the sort. Not only that, I have several friends who are SB pastors as well and they have never conducted themselves in that way. Are there some that do? Yes! It is erroneous to classify us all the same.

You are apparently someone who has an axe to grind with Southern Baptist pastors. Maybe you are the person who has a lot of power in the church and likes to run things themselves and doesn't like it when the pastor challenges you.

Whatever the issue, don't plug us all into the same slot.

Anonymous said...

Ok, but SBC seminaries have the stated purpose of preparing theologians for the church. That is the point. "The Convention operates these seminaries to train its ministers and Christian workers." The SBC gave this mission to the seminaries as a guideline to steward church funds: "to prepare God-called men and women for vocational service in Baptist churches and in other Christian ministries throughout the world through programs of spiritual development, theological studies, and practical preparation in ministry."

You may agree with the President's argument, but the question in view is whether he has the right to make a decision that deviates from the mission he is paid to fulfill, if in fact this is a deviation. Moreover, since the purpose of the Trustees of an institution is to preserve that very mission, have they been faithful to that role? At this point, these do not appear to be absurd questions and should be addressed at the convention.

Wade Burleson said...


"Wade, I am glad that someone has finally picked up on this. However, you neglected to mention the two Mormon students who are also on campus: one at the master's level and one at the PhD level, both in archaeology as well. Shouldn't the board of Trustees also be addressing that issue as well?"


Daniel said...

Thank you for removing Ghassan photo and last name from this page, but you've forgotten two occurrences of his last name in the paragraph beginning with

"A friend suggested to me ..."

I also have a small question for you. Have you taken the time to call Paige Patterson to discuss this issue before posting that subject publicly?
You know Mat 18.15-17: "If your brother sins...". You are here already at step 3: "tell the Church". What about steps one and two?

Anonymous said...

I find the allowance for a "practicing" Muslim curious given that Page Patterson twice modified program offerings at SWBTS with the justification that SWBTS exists to train [Christian] preachers! Not, obviously, in this case. Also, I personally know several people fired by Page Patterson and in every case he was mean spirited, narrow minded and condescending. One person he challenged his "loyalty" to Patterson and the school. I thought our loyalty was to Christ and Christ's Bride that is extended as Christian charity to all of creation. Lastly, another minister in training recently left SWBTS because of the cloaked modalism of Page Patterson (expressed in his class of all places). If I knew where my diploma from SWBTS was I'd burn it (grin).

SWBTS Alumnus said...

As an Alumnus of SWBTS, I am both shocked and horrified that my school is allowing Muslims to earn degrees. Students at SWBTS are not only supposed to be Christians but they are supposed to agree in principle with the Baptist Faith and Message. I am disappointed and greatly disillusioned with my alma mata for allowing Muslims to earn a degree at the school I work so hard at.

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As an overseas worker supported by the SBC, I am profoundly disturbed by this revelation. While a Ph.D. student in Archaeology may not have many occasions to rub elbows with students preparing for missions in restricted areas, why take the chance? He may be a fine young man, but why take the chance?

Driving a dune buggy onto the chapel stage is silly. Writing a eulogy for a dog is bizarre. But admitting a professing Muslim to study at the seminary is, in a word, arrogant.

It is arrogant to ignore the institutions own guiding principles and current policies. It is arrogant to think that ignoring the institutions's principles and policies is acceptable because, "We're going to win him to Jesus."

If I were a student in the Islamic Studies division, the International Studies program, or preparing for international missions in any SWBTS program, I would be exploring my transfer options tomorrow.

JR said...

"Some have suggested to me that Paige Patterson has a theological problem."

Understatement of the century.

Craig J. said...

Can someone please bring this up at the SBC convention in Baltimore? Are Mormons and Muslims supposed to be enrolled in our seminaries?

Anonymous said...

There is more, much much more. SWBTS is in serious serious trouble.

Grace to all


Romans 5:1

Anonymous said...

BTW, I am unsure why SBCers are so paranoid against alcohol considering that Deut 14:26 is in the Bible (Yes, I too was taught that it was sinful, but that is not true according to scripture)

Grace again


Romans 6:23

David Miller said...

I read your blog, and whether I agree or disagree with you is a moot point. I do agree with those that have said that the student in question (and I know from the comments you stated below, that *he* is not the one in question...), this student is going to get some backlash and persecution for this.

It is obvious that this this is not a situation where truth has been stated in loved, but with an agenda with absolutely no thought given to who it could hurt in the process. I mean, I graduated from Louisiana College, so I have seen my share of target practice at folks in higher education...

I just have to question how this is being brought about. Yes, you got that information from places that I'm sure it was readily available. Yes, I'm sure it was easy for you to find the picture of the student. Does that make it right for you to post it? Do I need to "get a grip" and "chill out"? Perhaps.

OK, I'll bite on the fact that it is not the job of Christian seminaries to evangelize non-Christians. Perhaps those choices should not have been made in a vacuum, but they were and now we are living in the reality of the situation where those students *are* in fact enrolled there.

With that being the case, should we paint targets on their chests? I'm not sure of the answer...perhaps you should post the pictures of the Mormon students as well to be sure...As much as I'd like to think that Christian leaders will treat those students with love and respect (tolerance, not agreement) because the reality of the situation is that they *are* there now. I don't know that this will be the case.

I'm evangelistic in my heart of hearts and want to see people come to our Lord, guys. I really do. Yes, we can raise our voices, and change things, sure--we're Americans. We do that. I would *not* equate this with Martin Luther's Thesis nailed to the door though. That thesis didn't paint the target on the chest of non-believers. This has done that (whether that was your intention or not, and no, I don't believe it was).

Look, you want to call leadership into question, and I get that. I understand and appreciate that (LC Grad, remember) he's not the only one that's going to feel the repercussions here. I just want you to be aware of this fact, for good or for ill...

Wade Burleson said...

David Miller,

When you display the same concern--in writing--in this comment section for the safety and security of our International Mission Board missionaries in Muslim lands, I will give consideration to your comment. The fact that we are concerned for the security of an observant Muslim at SWBTS without mentioning the missionaries we send to places where pregnant women are hanged for their faith in Christ and Christian men lose their heads for refusing to renounce their faith in Christ is about the most absurd thing I've heard in a while.

David Miller said...

Yes, by not mentioning that, I'm clearly omitting Christian missionaries.../sarcasm/...which admittedly doesn't translate well via this medium, so I'm making it clear.

Some of my best friends are Christian missionaries, and I'm not a sidelined Christian that doesn't understand the fact that several of our missionaries on the field are going to their death. I understand and they understand the mandate of Christ when they answer the call to go out there loss due to persecution is tragic all the way around. I have dear, personal friends that are SBC missionaries stationed in Turkey, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, and I could go on...I love them, and I love our missionaries. I'm down with the mandate of Christ to take the word to the nations and that doing so is dangerous.

I appreciate, and love our missionaries that are stationed in places where they have to be so secretive about who they are and what they're doing because of the situation that it places them and their family. I myself have felt the dangers of being a Christian in Muslim nations. We know those things jumping into those situations.

Look, I'm also certainly not trying to persecute *you* either or paint a target on *your* chest. This is not a personal attack as we do not even know each other. I love people--not in some secular humanistic sort of way, but personally, deeply, and with the love of Christ.

All I am asking you to do is consider what this can do to other people mentioned.

Tom Parker said...

David Miller:

I am shocked that you would so easily blow off what Paige Patterson is doing at a SBC Seminary!

I 100% agree with Wade your comment shows little if no concerns for the IMB missionaries.

You also said--"It is obvious that this this is not a situation where truth has been stated in loved, but with an agenda with absolutely no thought given to who it could hurt in the process. I mean, I graduated from Louisiana College, so I have seen my share of target practice at folks in higher education..."

So you are able to know Wade's heart and motives when he writes a blog piece??

Last question for you--What is your agenda?

David Miller said...

I have no agenda other than wanting to make sure that all considerations are given to all parties in question.

Christian leadership should be held accountable to biblical standards.

I have no power and I'm not pushing some political power play. I'm also not a naive, starry-eyed dreamer that thinks he can change the strong opinions of people through the comments section of someone's blog.

What I'm tired of though, is being silent and not voicing my opinion.

Also, I'll say it again: I love IMB missionaries. I do have heartfelt love and concern for them, and a heart for what they do. Omission in a comment on someone's blog is not an omission in my heart.

Wade Burleson said...


Fair enough.

When someone goes to my motive and thoughts without knowing me (as you seem to have done in your comment - as Tom Parker astutely points out), I have little use for answering that person's questions.

I will receive you at your word that you did not intentionally presume motives in your comment and now answer your question.

(1). I posted the identity of the person because in my experience, unless I am specific, those who defend the actions of Paige Patterson have a tendency to question my character (you are lying) or my motive (what's your agenda), etc...

(2). After posting the identity so as to not make it refutable that Muslims were studying at Southwestern, I pulled the last name and photo down.

(3). The argument that the Muslim is "now in danger" is absurd. What the heck is he doing at SWBTS? Is he going to put on his resume when he applies to an Arab oil company in the Middle East (GRADUATE: SOUTHWESTERN BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, PH.D., 2015).

If his presence at SWBTS as an observant Muslim puts him in danger when he goes back to his Muslim country and continues his Muslim ways, then he should have thought about that before enrolling.

If, however, his presence at SWBTS even HINTS at the possibility missionaries in Muslim countries could be compromised, then the emphasis should be on the safety of our missionaries.

(4). David Miller, I'm just getting started. I would encourage you to focus on the issues and resist the temptation to go to motive of those exposing the problems at SWBTS.

It's either right or wrong what is being done, and to say, "But there's a right way to expose it" presumes that you have been doing some exposure yourself and you are in the know of how it should be done.

Talk is cheap.

David Miller said...

Thanks for answering my questions, and your detailed response shows that you *have* taken several angles into consideration.

I *do* apologize for assuming motives without knowing you (or seeking to know you), and I *do* thank Tom Parker for pointing that out.

Nothing but love for my fellow brothers in the Lord /not sarcastic in the slightest/

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade, are u going to raise this issue at the convention in Baltimore?

Wade Burleson said...

Yes, I am.

Joe Blackman, if you wish to comment, please refrain from vulgarities and un-Christian language. Otherwise, your posts will continue to be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Correction please: Muslims pray towards Mecca 5 times daily.

The presence of this person as a student on the campus compromises the safety not only of missionaries but more importantly all the people they minister to in those Muslim lands. I, as a worker, could return to the US if in danger. My contacts could not. Please be aware that the contacts of many workers are also being placed in danger.

We have seen that persecution for the cause of Christ causes the church to grow. Persecution because someone does something stupid is just persecution. This is stupid.

Bob O. said...

My questions may not have an answer at this time, but I can't help but ask them.

During my ministry I have been able to develop relationships with students from overseas. Their process is a complicated one, which requires financial support from back home. Who supports this man financially? Dr. Patterson?

dr. james willingham said...

The report you gave was pretty well on target, allowing for some upset feelings which is understandable. After all, some of us have been supporting the CP for longer than a lot of the writers on this blog have been alive. And to hear that some of our missionaries might have been exposed to danger (the removing of their name tags indicate that they knew what might be at stake) is enough to make one feel a little nauseous with apprehensions for their safety. Divine feat has been the result of the way our boards and institutions work; they were established on the basis of federalism like the nations government, but, even more to the point, they follow certain secret societies, according to some of the things I have read, which really do allow the Presidents of those institutions to have the final word...unless the boards get their acts together out of apprehension for what the SBC might do.

dr. james willingham said...

Divine fiat line 4 above

Carissa said...

I am a current Student at SWBTS and I just returned from serving a term overseas with the IMB. While I think addressing major issues like this is important, reading through this post and the comments that followed broke my heart.

I know I don't know you, Mr. Burleson. I don't know your heart. I don't know your motives or your history. I do know that as I read your post, love was not conveyed. Perhaps it's the limitations of text-only communication, I'm not sure. Others have pointed out the Matthew 18 model of going to someone directly first. Has this happened yet? (This is a genuine question that I honestly don't know the answer to.) I actually just met with Dr. Patterson recently to address some of my own concerns about some things and found that our conversation was very beneficial. I realized some of my own misconceptions and also heard him acknowledge things he would say/ do differently (one of those actually being the comment about the divine economy you mentioned above - what most people reading this article will not be aware of is that the question was posed to him during a twitter "Lion's Den" session in which he is given very little time to answer and his responses must meet the character limitations of twitter).

I appreciate your concern for the integrity of our seminary, and your willingness to express your concerns. I can assure you, though, that the integrity of the gospel is not being compromised at the school. Students and faculty alike are passionately pursuing Christ and sharing His love with the lost world. The young Muslim man IS hearing the gospel (something that most likely would not happen if he remained in his home country). I don't know him personally, but I have friends who do and who are sharing with him on a regular basis (one of those actually just returned from serving as a missionary in a Muslim country, and he loves having this student at SWBTS). Can we rejoice for a moment that someone who is lost is hearing the gospel? This is not me condoning or condemning his admittance to the archaeology program; it's me praising God for how He is bringing Himself glory in a controversial situation.

I think we far too often forget how damaging we can be to our brothers and sisters in Christ with our words. Do we have to agree with one another on everything? No. Should we still love one another? Absolutely. This is the distinguishing mark Christ gave for how the world would know who His followers are. We, as believers, should be known for our love. The outside world is watching and our lack of love speaks volumes to them.

Again, I do not want to insinuate that we should dismiss all of our concerns for the sake of unity. I do think it would be wise, though, to see how we can most lovingly address those concerns. It kills me to think that a non-believer might read this post and/or the comments and be drawn further from the gospel. I don't believe that is your intention, but the hateful portrayal of the accusations reads more like someone seeking to rally the troops for a full-on attack, than it does a brother lovingly confronting his brother and urging him on to Christ-likeness.

I pray that God will use this whole situation for His glory. I also pray that He will continue to use both you and Dr. Patterson (and hopefully this student) for His purposes in furthering His Kingdom.

Anonymous said...

While I share your understanding that we must do all things in love, I question your definition of love. Or at least, I question whether you are applying it evenly. I do not see you applying this same standard to Dr. Patterson. Where was love when he potentially put IMB missionaries at additional risk by not safeguarding their anonymity when they visited the campus? Where was love when Dr. Patterson flagrantly disregarded the rules of the seminary which requires Trinitarian, orthodox confession for admission? Where was love when Dr. Patterson specifically instructed the faculty not to question his decision to admit these students? Where was love when Dr. Patterson opened the seminary up to litigation by demonstrating that confessional requirements for students and faculty are actually meaningless at SWBTS and that to refuse admission or employment on such grounds is arbitrary and capricious?

Again, I agree that all things must be done in love. However, love does not mean that we excuse one person's misconduct, or that we soft pedal it, simply because that person might have been unfairly attacked by others.

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you for your excellent comment. I appreciate the spirit in which you write.

I understand your concern that I do what I do in love, and fully agree with you. Please search my blog and for Sherri Klouda, former Hebrew professor for SWBTS, and see if what I did for her communicates love. Search for Dr. John Cornish, former student at SWBTS and future professor of music, and see if what I wrote exhibited love. Please search my blog for IMB missionaries and see what I've written to meet the standard of love. Also, read the book I wrote, Hardball Religion, and see if what I wrote communicates love.

You may, or may not, believe that I have done so. I agree with you that this should be our aim - all of us. Sometimes when you confront folks it doesn't SOUND like love, but in the end, it possibly could be the most loving thing done for everyone involved.

Regardless, thank you for taking the time to write.

JAN said...


Darrel said...

This is what happens when Biblical truth is changed to fit day at hand. Patterson is interested in only one thing: Patterson. Yet room will be made for him to continue his hellish reign over SWBTS and that in the name of "love"-Carissa, you don't have a clue what real love is. Patterson is the one who must be dismissed or the SBC will continue it's trip to apostasy-they are almost there. If the SBC had the courage (real love) to excommunicate the likes of Patterson, they would have dismissed Rick Warren years ago, since he is still praised for his heresy, this won't be happening either. While the dirt is flying, it would be a good time to root out all the free masons as well. This would mean a reduction of nearly 50% in the roles of the SBC. But this won't happen either, since Scripture that is unpopular with those in the SBC has been ignored for decades (2Cor.6:11-18). If the necessary actions are not taken to rid the SBC of such men, how can you possibly expect anything but the swift judgment of God to end you?

Anonymous said...

People of different Christian traditions have attended our SBC seminaries for years: Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, Roman Catholic, American Orthodox, Assemblies of God (although in the 1990s the UMC decided to not recognize degrees earned at SBC seminaries for its clergy). Some have attended for a class or two, some for whole courses of study. Some folks have attended (and still attend) seminary with no intention of going into vocational ministry, but as a means of personal growth in their faith journey or to hone a few Bible study skills.

Hartford Seminary and Claremont School of theology have, within the last few years, opened their doors and expanded their programs to train Muslim imams. Claremont has added rabbis to the mix as well. How their trustees, administration, and faculty came to the conclusion and agreement to do such, and how that affected their charter, constitution and by-laws I have not looked into.

There are indeed many other programs of communications, language studies, archaeology, history, et al at scores, if not hundreds, of institutions.

We are living in a smaller world and more pluralistic society. Tolerance is now defined as acceptance.

We do need to step back and ask ourselves, in our faith tradition: (1) why would someone outside of the Christian faith desire to attend an educational institution whose stated purpose and goal is to train Christian men and women for Christian vocational service? (2) If they do not believe or profess as we do (and are being trained and educated to do), then why admit them? It would not support their own faith tradition and development; (3) what other "doors" are we opening of which we are not aware?; (4) are we benefitting them and seminaries by having them as students rather than directing them to other programs at non-seminaries (where there are as many opportunities for them to be evangelized as well)?; (5) where does compromise cease?; (6) who are the ones making the decisions -- individuals or groups -- and what authority do they have to do such?; (7) how much are we dealing with as "business" versus our feelings?; (8) would the reaction be the same if it were at another SBC seminary?;

There are many, many questions that can be added and that we all must think through and work through, basing them on biblical teaching, sound doctrine, and the love of God for all people.

To use an old saw, there is a slippery slope that, should we not take care, will take us where we had no idea we would be going. Seems lessons of our own past as a denomination should keep us aware of this.

Those who stand in the gap face a lot of flack. That Dr. Patterson knows all too well as he has been a clarion voice at times. Bro. Burleson will face it as well.

Carissa said...

@Anonymous 9:34 - I think you misunderstood me. I never condoned those things. Honestly, I have not had the opportunity to look into most of those allegations (though, as I stated, I know of at least one in which a conversation with the accused would have alleviated a great deal of misunderstanding). My point was simply that perhaps speaking with Dr. Patterson directly about these concerns would be a more loving way to confront him and would be a better testimony to any readers of this blog who don't have a relationship with Christ or who are weak in their faith.

@Wade Burleson - I appreciate you hearing my concerns and recognizing my heart in my writing. I do not want you to ever feel you should shy away from confronting someone if you believe they are acting against Scripture. I simply think the Bible provides a model for us when we do that. That model involves going to the individual first so that it hopefully never has to reach this phase. Again, you might have done this already and I am just unaware of it. Either way, thank you for your response.

@Darrel - The SBC operates as a democracy (a much more pure form of democracy than what we see currently in America). If the people want a change, they are welcomed to seek that change at the convention meeting each summer. If you genuinely believe Dr. Patterson needs to be removed from his position, I would encourage you to attend the convention this summer and present your thoughts on the convention floor. If you want to see change in the SBC, that is where to begin. Honestly, your comment that I "don't have a clue what real love is" seems a bit out of line. I'm not opposed to people being courageous or calling out sin (real or perceived). I simply think we should follow the biblical model when doing so, with our ultimate goal being God's glory and the repentance and restoration of the sinner. Often times, many of these issues can be resolved through one-on-one conversations.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh to avoid crying...I graduated in the class of 1994, the last time there was any sanity at SWBTS. They have lost their best professors, lost their counseling program, lost their relevance to a shallow reactionary theology, and now have lost their sanity.

SWBTS Alumnus said...

SWBTS Alumnus said...
Dear Pastor Wade and everyone who reads or who may read this blog. I was one of the many students that contacted Pastor Wade on this matter and have been concerned about this for some time. I did not contact Pastor Wade because I was afraid of the repercussions and treatment I would receive at SWBTS. I support Pastor Wade and agree with his ministry and believe he is both a man of God and a man of courage to stand up against the corruption in the SBC. I, on the other hand, am a coward and did not say anything about this because I was not a man enough to say anything. I am just concerned about unbelievers attending an CP and SBC funded school. I am just not convinced this is the right thing. In life sometimes a man has to take a stand, and my stand was contacting pastor Wade. I agree with his ministry and support this stand he is taking,

Darrel said...

It's not "love" to put up with some one's sins, not point them out, and allow "business as usual" to continue all for the sake of some convoluted "unity" for which the SBC is famous. The SBC has done more harm to the cause of Christ in the last five decades with little to no good being produced. It's "big tent" mentality is out of control, every one is welcome, heresy is preached unopposed for the pulpit (Name, date and "church" upon request), their 'easy believe-ism' sends people to hell, the Gospel is mutilated on a regular basis, ecumenicalism is the order of the day, and shall I go on? The SBC has become a joke and don't think that the lost are not laughing. What's next? Will you welcome homosexuals as "brothers" in direct contradiction of Scripture? Why not, Scripture has become meaningless to most of your preachers, leaders and membership. And for all of this, the SBC actually has the gall to ask God to bless them when they should all be on their face in repentance before God.

Mark J said...

Pastor Wade, here is the post I just put on "SBC Voices," I am not sure if they will publish it, but here is why we contacted you last week:

To Pastor Wade Burleson and the entire SBC Community

Part 1

As one of the SWBTS students and alumni that spoke to Pastor Wade Burleson last week about our grave concerns about Muslim and LDS students attending SWBTS, I can dispel any rumors as to why in fact we contacted Pastor Wade. Being part of this cadre of students, I have first hand experience as to why my compatriots and I did this very thing.

First of all, I want to put to rest that Pastor Wade has any ill motives in doing this. Secondly, there is no bad motive (Please note this volfaan007) in pastor Wade, revealing this information now.

For some time, several SWBTS students have had a grave concern about having this individual on campus. We are concerned, not because we do not love this person, on the contrary, because we love him and our beloved seminary, we decided to act now in contacting Pastor Wade.

It just seems contrary to the stated mission of SWBTS to have non-Christian students enrolled in classes and degree programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Many of us are also concerned that the hard earned money of the rank and file members of the Southern Baptist Convention are being spent, on the education of non-Christians who are part of religious groups that are antithetical to the essential doctrinal core of the Baptist Faith and Message. We are not certain that the stated charter of the SWBTS convention entails the education of Muslims and Mormons. It just seems wrong to many of us.

Another determining factor in why we contacted pastor Wade, is that many of us feel that the Southern Baptist Convention and SWBTS is bigger than just one man. The long held and cherished Baptist doctrine of “soul competency” argues that each Southern Baptist is accountable before God. And in keeping with this long held Southern Baptist distinctive, many of our consciences were violated in allowing a non-Christian to be a Ph.D at our beloved seminary. Contrary to some Baptist’s opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention is not owned by the leaders of the “conservative resurgence” and many of younger Southern Baptists, while still very conservative socially and theologically, have grown tired of being told that we are forever indebted to those who steered the convention away from the moderates.

Mark J. said...

Part 2.

Almost every day in chapel at SWBTS, we are told how much the resurgence leaders sacrificed for us to get a conservative education, and while we are grateful, the conservative resurgence or takeover happened before many of us were born.

Many of us younger Southern Baptists are part of the “young restless and reformed” movement that is transpiring throughout the convention and American Evangelicalism and do not appreciate the constant anti-Calvinist attack that the leaders of SWBTS have engaged in from the chapel pulpit and others venues at our seminary. Many of us feel that our faith is under constant siege and attack and many of us have grown weary of this.

SWBTS and the SBC is (gasp!) bigger than the conservative resurgence. We believe every member of the Southern Baptist Convention is to be accountable to one another and for this reason, we have decided to contact this godly man named Pastor Wade Burleson to hold SWBTS and its leadership accountable for its actions. We simply do not agree with the notion that Cooperative Program and other SBC monetary resources should be spent on the education of non-Christians. We feel this is very unwise course of action and want this to be debated at the annual convention in Baltimore.

We have no personal ill will towards Dr. Patterson and the other leaders of SWBTS, but just feel we have the right to question, without the threat of punishment and expulsion, whether our seminary should start giving degrees to avowed non-Christians.

There are so many problems with allowing non-Christians to attend SWBTS and other SBC funded schools. We know it has been stated recently, that this is a unique thing, but we we have also heard that more unbelievers are on their way! We agree with the old adage, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump, but a lot of leaven blows up the entire oven.” We question this decision to allow non-Christians to attend SWBTS for any reason, because it violates the stated intention and charter of the school founded by the great B.H. Carroll in 1908.

Who decides whether or not non-Christians attend SWBTS and other SBC schools or not? The president of SWBTS? The trustees? We want clarification as to whether or not the enrolling of non-Christians into the degree programs at SWBTS will now become commonplace? Who decides this course of action?
Lastly, we feel the education of non-Christians at our SBC seminaries is so serious that it should be THE topic of debate and discussion at the coming SBC convention in Baltimore. The SBC is bigger than just one man, irrespective of how many people love him for his work on inerrancy and the resurgence. The SBC and its five seminaries are for all the called out people of our great Southern Baptist Convention. The time has come for all the voices in the SBC be heard and not just one man.

I am and other SWBTS students and alumni are taking a stand like Martin Luther did in nailing the 95 thesis’ on the Whittenburg castle door, we believe that our SBC seminaries are for the education of Christians called by God alone. Here we stand, so help us God, we can do no other.

Pam said...

Dear Carissa, I saw you are a current student. . I read what you are saying in support of this young man continuing to be educated at your seminary, but since Muslims live in practically every community in the U.S. now, it would be just as efficient (and in accord with the school's charter) to instead evangelize the Muslims by going out to them versus allowing them into the Christian educational institutions where SB's are donating money to educate students (those w/archeology degrees as well as more formal ministry roles--all who serve Jesus are called) to evangelize those who do not know Christ. Love you dear one. This is not spoken in sarcasm but in the love of Christ :) Matt. 4:19

Carissa said...

Pam, I appreciate your comment and the heart with which you write it. As I stated previously, my comments on this blog are not to condone this student's admission or condemn it. I did point out some of how God is working in and through the situation, and that we should rejoice in that - whether we agree with the decision to admit the student or not. I also think it warrants mentioning that those students who are not members of SB churches pay full tuition costs whereas SB students pay half of that. Arguably, CP dollars help pay for other aspects of seminary function, but the SBC scholarship is the most direct link between CP dollars and individual students.

I absolutely agree with you that we need to be going out and evangelizing the Muslims (and all of the lost) in our communities. The passion for evangelism and discipleship that I have found at SWBTS is one of the primary reasons I chose to attend there rather than any other seminary. Students, faculty, and administration are all actively sharing their faith and making disciples. It saddens me to read these posts and see how many people do not realize this. It appears they think SWBTS (and even the SBC) is worthless now because they disagree with some things.

I applaud those who desire change being willing to take their concerns to the convention - that type of accountability is necessary in maintaining doctrinal integrity. But to devalue an entire institution or denomination, and the work that the Lord is doing in and through those entities, is unnecessary. Thank you again for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Hey Craig M,

You already knew what was coming, but you only did not know it would come so soon. You said to your colleagues several times that the only reason you were not fired (and would not be fired easily) was because the color of your skin. You knew he did not like, but you did not know he could afford to let you go even taking all these risks.

I am just so sorry for you, my friend, right now. You are a fine professor and a good friend for many, but I am very sorry that people "inside" cannot really support you openly on this matter. You know why.

Unknown said...

My first reaction to the "headline" about a Muslim attending the seminary to get a Dr. in Archeology was that, of course, Biblical archeology is at the forefront of the archeological world, and many secular colleges that offer a doctorate have a biased,non Christian perspective in their studies. Muslims and Christians share some of the Old Testament foundations in their faiths, so this made sense to me. Perhaps this was Dr. Patterson's original mindset.

The problem, as I looked further into the situation, is two fold - at least from my perspective. First, Dr. Patterson has violated written documents that expressly forbid the allowance of non-Christian students at Southwestern without going through proper channels to seek the right to make this decision. He has violated his contract, and thus should be subject to firing for this violation because he defends his position and even threatens others if they speak out against it. These actions are power driven and not Christ driven. A seminary president should have a strong Christian character, and should act according to the authorities of the SBC he has agreed to work under.

The second, and more serious, issue is the compromised safety of many SBC missionaries and their families. The exposure of identities, Christian codes of speaking to keep themselves safe, covert Christian operations and evangelism efforts could be deadly if this security risk continues. This is not an injunction against this man personally, it is a serious call to attention to the future of missions and the safety with which Southern Baptist do this within the Muslim community. I believe this is why the policy should not be changed, and one of the reasons why Dr. Patterson should be fired. This is too big of a decision with ramifications that go well beyond Dr. Patterson's sphere of expertise and responsibility, to have been made and enforced by him.

If Dr. Patterson cannot be trusted to keep himself under the authority of the school's policies, he cannot be a trusted employee. He has revealed himself as a dogmatic, aggressive leader that does not exhibit the love and kindness of Christ in his decisions, as well as does not exhibit the submissive nature of Christ to the Father within the Godhead.

Anonymous said...

As a soon to be graduate of SWBTS, I don't know exactly what my thoughts are about the news that there is a Muslim student here at the seminary as I am conflicted. On one side there is the issue of security for our current and future missionaries. It is very foolish to sacrifice their security through this decision. As well as the fact that students are to be Christians to attend. On the other hand I believe that this is a great evangelistic opportunity for us to reach this man for Christ and it's also the archeology department not preaching or missions which to me is less concerning than if he was in the mdiv program.

I will also say that in order for a student to receive cp money towards tuition the student must be a member of a SBC church. Therefore, he is not attending with the money from the CP or at least he shouldn't be.

I think that Patterson could have done this a whole lot better. I think he was wrong in not consulting the SBC (which he may have I don't know) first. I also think better planning could have been done to ensure the safety of the IBM missionaries.

I also believe that wade should have gone directly to Patterson first before just publicly condemning him (which he may have I don't know).

All in all, I think this is a sticky situation that has no perfect solution or outcome and I pray that God works out this situation for His glory and for the furtherance of His Kingdom.


Anonymous said...

This is the post that most clearly voices my thoughts on this issue. It is not up to Dr Patterson to decide when the policy should be changed. He is an employee of SWBTS, not the owner. During the "resurgence" many fine Christians were fired because they did not toe the line with the SBC. Now, Dr. P. allows someone to enroll who not only does not meet the entrance requirement of belief in Jesus but also is a member of a group that openly says Christians should be eliminated.
Dr Burleson did not publish either a last name or a picture of the Muslim man. The picture is of Dr. Mitchell who was fired supposedly for a CLEAN joke on his facebook page. This is probably another SBC smokescreen.
Thank you, Wade Burleson for letting Baptists know that their tithes are not helping fund Baptist students but are giving Muslims a quality education so they can make money with their archaeology degree!

Anonymous said...

A Muslim will not receive CP dollars, nor will any other student who is not a member of an SBC church.

You state, "their Cooperative Program dollars pay for the education of Muslims at Southwestern Seminary." This is false. CP dollars are given to SBC seminaries to reimburse them for the reduced tuition rate of SBC member students.

As others have stated, please include in your post the biblical steps of reconciliation you have
taken with Dr. Patterson.

This is too important a topic to be obfuscated by inaccuracies and accusations of an unbiblical response.

Wade Burleson said...


You state, "their Cooperative Program dollars pay for the education of Muslims at Southwestern Seminary." This is false. CP dollars are given to SBC seminaries to reimburse them for the reduced tuition rate of SBC member students.

Mr. Anonymous,

Anytime ANYONE sets foot on a SBC seminary campus, they can't move without being touched by CP dollars. Buildings are subsidized, teachers salaries are subsidized, fees are subsidized, all by CP dollars. The SBC's goal is to provide SEMINARY education for students at (and I quote)- "the lowest cost possible."

To say that CP gifts do NOT pay for the education of a Muslim at SWBTS is false.

Finally, to be reconciled means that there is a personal offense. I believe that the Presidents of our institutions should be held to the charter, policies and mission established by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Darrel said...

You still don't "get it" do you Wade. Instead of making excuses for Patterson (gee, the SBC is well known for ability to make excuses for sin) you should be leading the charge for the IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL (that would be TODAY) of Patterson and all who went along with this incredible insult to Christians everywhere. Let him "repent" but he still gets fired. But no, you and all the others in authority real or supposed in the SBC will continue to make room for the likes of Patterson and that at the risk of death for the missionaries you were supposed to protect and their blood will be on the hands of those who refuse to take action. Instead of taking action, you and all the rest will find a way that seems right to you to retain Dr. PP, praise him for a job well done, advance his career, and probably reelect him to be your president, and why not for life? What a stench in the nostrils of the Lord Jesus Christ is this mess you all have created.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade,
It is not my intention to be contentious, rather, I would like the issue to be clear: non-Christian admission to a SBC seminary, something contrary to established charters.

It is true that each student benefits from the tuition paid by all other students, SBC or otherwise, as the money received goes toward the total budget of the school. However, only SBC students count toward the formula used to determine CP dollars received. I feel this is a significant difference. A non-SBC student pays for all of their education and does not receive subsidized tuition. By way of analogy, if two people buy food at a store, one with Food Stamps the other with their own money, is the latter supported by the government because the store pays for it's expenses out of all the money it receives regardless of the source?

In what sense is this not a personal matter? I personally identify with the Southern Baptist Convention and personally contribute to the Cooperative Program, as I assume you also do. On these grounds I believe you, and others who so identify and participate, have a personal right, even responsibility, to hold others accountable.

Again, my concern is that your call to this issue will be discounted by excuses of being handled unbiblically or containing false, or at least debatable, accusations.

I understand if you disagree about the nature of CP funds, I only refer to the official reports and formulas cited earlier. (you may have to click "Seminary Formula" if the link does not take you directly there; note the FTE calculations) If CP dollars are given specifically for faculty salary, building projects, etc., I am not aware of these things, and apologize for my ignorance.

May the glory of God be our aim in our lives, our families, our Churches, our Conventions, and our schools.

My apologies for not signing my previous post.


Anonymous said...

That us waaaayyy to heavy handed for someone who is trying to get this right, and yes, I do believe that Wade is trying to get it right

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you, sir, for your comment:

Though you excoriate me, call me a 'stench in the nostrils of Christ,' and point out my sin - you are a breath of fresh air to me.

You are maybe one out of ten thousand who are upset because I am not out to get Paige Patterson.

You, sir, are correct. I am not out to get a man.

I am out to correct a wrong.

stevenstarkmusic said...

As an outsider (and former SB), this has been a fascinating comment stream to follow.

Given the variety of opinions, attitudes and scriptural "proof texts", I am reminded of the phrase "Funny how 'God' tends to think like you."

SWBTS Students United Against Hypocrisy said...

I support Pastor Wade Burelson all the way on this one! Stand for the truth brother!

Anonymous said...

Thats a very brave and tough thing tgat you have done.

Darrel said...

In all your speaking to muslims did you bother to preach the Gospel or were you on an ecumenical quest like your brother Rick Warren at ETWN? So what is your plan at the convention this June? If you are serious (yet to be determined) then get on the phone and line up all the support you can (should be EVERY SBC member) to oust PP, restore the one he fired, and rid the school of the one who hates the Lord you purport to serve. Why has no one (you ?) called him out on his modalism? Does he live next door to TD Jakes or do they just have breakfast together? A lot of words come from your mouth, but where is the action? None detected to date. And here is the fate of you and yours, great swelling words of emptiness, posturing for the masses to think you are something when you are nothing (in the eyes of the Lord Jesus), refusal to actually deal with the problem at hand choosing rather to take the "high road" of some SBC style "love" (no where to be found in Scripture) and opt for unity at any cost (truth being totally discarded). PP's modalism is far more egregious than a Christ-hating muslim in your midst, and nothing has been done to "correct the wrong" by you or anyone else. WHY? Could there be more closet modalists in the SBC? Highly likely given the percentage of free masons there also. Are you a free mason Dr. Wade Burleson? You are good at skirting the issues at hand (your cute little [non] response to me is evidence enough), deflecting valid questions along with the guilt you would pass off to another (me) rather than own it yourself. If you love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity then do what is right, get Dr. PP fired. If you love the SBC more then continue your current course of "love" and "unity" and don't forget to read 2 Cor. 6:11-18 again.

John Sheeley said...

I don't know if you tried this or not, but I emailed Dr. Patterson this morning after reading (in a different article) about this issue. Dr. Patterson was kind enough to call me and talk to me about my concerns. That is the way you should have handled this if you didn't try. Posting an attack blog like this does nothing to further the kingdom but divide the body. While I do disagree with the decision to admit a Muslim (practicing or not), I also respect Dr. Patterson enough based on his years of kingdom work to give him some leeway in this instance. I do not think one could make a reasonable argument that Dr. Patterson has committed any heresy or apostasy. The way some of you people are acting and the way this article is presented sure clarifies why some want nothing to do with us. Not a bit of grace or humility.

John Sheeley
Pastor, Geneva Baptist Church

Wade Burleson said...

John Sheeley,

Where was your grace and concern when Sheri Klouda was terminated from her job with her husband Pinky very, very ill? Where were you with your grace and concern when Dr. John Cornish was released from his job because his wife was divorced from her first husband when she was nineteen because of his abuse toward her? Where were you when several professors were released from their jobs at SWBTS because of their view of the atonement? Where were you when Dr. Dilday and Dr. Hemphill were removed from office?

Your grace and mercy displayed toward Dr. Patterson is wonderful - keep it up. I join you in grace and mercy toward him as a person.

My mercy and grace is displayed toward those who have been removed from their positions because of the autocratic fiats of a man with unchecked power.

It just so happens when the 'principle' being violated is against a Muslim, you are 'concerned.' When it is a woman who worked her butt off to become Hebrew professor at SWBTS, you are quiet. When it is a woman who weeps at her kitchen table because her husband has been released because of 'his wife's impurity,' you are quiet. When it is professors with years of experience teaching the Word of God, released because their view of the atonement does not conform to Dr. Patterson's, you are silent.

Your 'grace and mercy' displayed in 'this case' does not impress me that much since your past silence shouts much louder than your present actions.

Otherwise, I'm sure we have much in common.

John Sheeley said...


I do not plan on getting into a web war with you and this will be my last response because I can see where you will go with any conversation. You assume a lot about my knowledge of past events. I hate to disappoint you in your ivory tower there but I can only speak to what I know personally. I'm sure you have spoken with each of these people and Dr. Patterson personally about these topics so none of your information comes third hand; however, I do not have the same privilege so any comment in defense or accusation of any party about those accusations would be made in ignorance.

Go in peace.

Wade Burleson said...

John Sheeley,

Grace and peace to you as well.

Anonymous said...

What reason do they have for letting a non christian attend a Baptist seminary?

Wade Burleson said...


I don't know.

My reason is the Convention has never approved it.

Arbitrary decisions by power brokers must stop.

Anonymous said...

The news is reported in Christianity Today

Anonymous said...

to: Bobby Lee Schwartz

The Muslim god is NOT the same as the Christian/Jewish Yahweh, as so many Muslims and Muslim-apologists would have you believe.

"Allah" is based on the pagan god al ilah.

Do some research.

It's also a fact that whenever a Muslim/Muslims are allowed to "pray" in a church or synagogue (if it's been "sanctified" by an Imam), the Muslims believe that that church/synagogue is now Muslim "territory". Just look at Spain and other countries where they've taken over former churches!

Jon said...

I am a student at SWBTS and have heard about the Muslim Ph.D student. Is it right? Is it wrong? Honestly I have no idea, however I am not God and will leave it to Him on judgment. It is easy to let emotions override something that I have seen none of from some of those posting…respect of divergent view points and addressing it with love. Yes, love does not mean allowing anything to slide by without correction but that does not mean that it is done with vengeance, anger or trying to win an arguement. If you are just writing to express how you “feel”, take a few minutes to seriously think about what you will write. (I have had to delete and edit this more than once.) Those who do not follow Christ as Lord and Savior may come across this and ask themselves “Why should I join a bunch of angry, vindictive, and mudslinging people? They preach about mercy, forgiveness, and grace but what I see here is nothing of the sort.”

The world is watching how we handle conflict and disagreements. If we display nothing that would separate us from non-followers then we have lost the most important battle…lost souls. It does not matter what Dr. Patterson or Dr. Burlenson think, actually it does not matter what any of us think. What does matter is that we have all been called to spread the good news. For both sides of this discussion we are both guilty of trying to “win the argument” about whether or not the Muslim student should be allowed to attend or if Dr Patterson should be fired… I will keep my opinion to myself since in the big scheme of things it really does not matter. To those that do not agree with Wade…take that same energy and passion and spend that time witnessing to the unbeliever. To those that do not agree with Dr. Patterson… take that same energy and passion and spend that time witnessing to the unbeliever. While we argue about who is right, who is wrong, or who said what, what we should be doing is showing Christ love to everyone, not just those that we agree with.

Once again, the world is watching and I will leave my only “feeling” comment about this whole situation. Sadness. Sad that we have clearly shown that its more important to “win” then it is to slow down and think before we act. Sad that frustration leads to anger which leads to personal attacks from both sides of the argument. Sad that personalities have come before biblically based principles. Sad that instead of actually doing something productive and positive to further the kingdom I spent the last hour reading and cringing what followers of Christ have decided to post and then writing and re-writing this comment. In the time it took to write this, according to statistics there were 285 drug or alcohol related deaths. When personalities and how we feel become more important then reaching those who are lost…we really are no different then the ones we are trying to save.

Wade Burleson said...


I would tweak what you've written just a little:

"When we hide, cover, lie, cheat and intentional violate established policies and procedures for personal or institutional gain, we are no different than those we are trying to save."


Christiane said...

I wonder, from Paige Patterson's statement, if he wants to change the theology of the SBC.

" "The divine economy is limited to the presence of one member of the Trinity at a time."

I ask because he is very involved in the CBMW movement,
and in that movement, the followers have portrayed Christ in a different role than Orthodox Christians have seen Him. (I refer to the CBMW teaching of the Eternal Subordination of the Son.)

Nicole said...

I appreciate the fact that you have stated your opinion in this matter even though I feel like some of it may have been heightened more from the anger I felt from reading this. I can see it from both perspectives, but we shouldn’t be focusing so much from shunning out a Muslim from a Biblical school that they have CHOSEN to go to and have been accepted in.
I also go to SWBTS now and have been there for a year, and went to Wayland Baptist Univ before this. I’ve had my fair share of seeing people focused on worldly matters and people I would call ‘Godly’(which we technically aren’t because we are human and if a person considers his or herself Godly that means there is no room for improvement).
This matter reminds me of one that happened at WBU, when three footballers had gotten baptized on stage during chapel professing their life to Christ. Many people were very angry, walked out and started a commotion over such a matter that ‘they were getting more attention than others’ instead of praising God for what He done! This is a similar situation. We should be humbling ourselves, and putting our time and effort into glorifying God, not nit-picking out people who are different. If anything we should reaching out because this may have been a huge step for the Muslim to come to SWBTS instead of stoning that person through hated words.
Something is wrong when non-believers start to understand us, and this debate about the Muslim just gives unbelievers more the reason to not want to know God if we are judging those who are already halfway there. We are told to love unconditionally and always make every opportunity to reach out to those, whether Christian or not. As Christians, who are we to judge?
Here are a few verses so I’m not basing this just from opinion.
“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently as his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he looks like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be a blessing in his doing.” James 1:22-25
“And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” Luke 6:37
“Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12
“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not quarrel over opinions.” Romans 14:1
And the verse we all know so well, but forget about the one that follows…
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
I don’t want to pick a fight over who is right and who is wrong, but can’t you see what you’ve stirred up in people? Just take a step back and see it from both points of view and then after that look up and this about what God would want from all of this. Would he want to kick out someone from a school that solely teaches about God to someone who obviously is looking for more? If that is the case then Christianity is beginning to turn more into a trend than loving others. God Bless.

Unknown said...

Hey wade as a felow SWBTS graduate I think th ebig issue is all students are called to abide by the tenants of the BFM. Are we to assume with this students admission that Muslimism is now condoned by the BFM? I think not.

Shane Anderson - SWBTS 2000

Wade Burleson said...

I think, Shane, you are 100 percent right.

Anonymous said...

Wade, thank you for your willingness to shoulder the heat and criticism in order to expose things like this. Please continue fighting the good fight.

Concerned pastor.

Anonymous said...

Nicole, with loving respect, you are 100% wrong here. This situation is nothing like the one you describe at WBU. Apples and chicken legs. Not even close. Furthermore, this has nothing to do with "loving Muslims." It has been made perfectly clear that this is not personal. This is about standards being maintained at a Masters and Doctoral level training institution for CHRISTIAN MINISTERS. That's what our seminaries exist for and that's what our SBC churches expect from their funding. I'm sure this Muslim man would have been more than welcomed at many dozens and dozens of other institutions around the world to study Archeology from a secular or even Islamic worldview. But that's not what SWBTS is about. It is distinctly Christian and distinctly for the training of Christian ministers. I am a graduate of one of our SBC seminaries and I remember having to jump through hurdles initially because I lacked the recommendation of a SB pastor (I was pastoring myself at the time and had been a Baptist of another stripe before becoming SB). This is about standards and Christian distinctiveness, plain and simple. And it is about one individual's tendency to throw the standards out the window when and only when it suits him with no accountability.

Also, I'm not even sure what you mean when you say that "we are judging those who are already halfway there." There's no "halfway there" when it comes to knowing Christ. Just ask the Muslim woman sentenced to hang in Africa right now for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Concerned pastor

Anonymous said...

Wade, when I read on here how many defenders of this action really, truly miss the point completely, it troubles me. I hear the defenders saying the things I would expect to hear on "The View" or "MSNBC" and yet I hear very little understanding of how the Cooperative Program/ SBC/ Entities/ Seminaries work.

One might easily deduce from many of these comments that, generationally speaking, the SBC really is already lost for the future. Sadly, it just seems that the next generation's desire to be in conformity with the tolerance and standards of the culture have overridden any sense of uniqueness and distinctive identity that we once held as an evangelical denomination.

Thank you for your insight once again. I really am concerned for the future of the SBC.

Concerned pastor.

Wade Burleson said...

God be with us all;

Honestly, I don't know which is sadder; the fact that you equate a Muslim at a seminary with a lost Cowboy in church or that few people will even attempt to explain that the issue is never the Muslim, but rather "who controls the decisions in the SBC on missional and educational cooperation - power brokers who dictate by fiat their will, or cooperation based on a common faith in Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Wade, thanks for your reasoned response and removal of the "cowboy" anecdote. It made me crazy to read.

I reiterate my earlier point... I'm concerned for the future of the SBC as a cooperative entity when so few have so little understanding of the real issues.

Thanks again.
Concerned pastor

Joyefull said...

When I read the first article I found from "Baptist Press" on this issue, my first thought was that we are training our people through SWBTS to witness to the world. The seminary even offers a program in Islamic Studies. What better way to get some information about Islam than from interactions with this student. What better way to train to witness to Muslims than to befriend them.

Second I decided to do more reading on this issue and I must admit the president of the seminary should have taken the issue to the Bord of Trustees before making an exception to admit the student.

Thirdly, I would assume that this student by agreeing to abide by the rules of SWBTS also must attend chapel. He is at least hearing the gospel in this way.

Fourthly, the student has already finished his first year of the program. Apparently, no one spoke up about it until now. So why not allow him to finish the program. Don't cause him a problem for what someone else did by not taking the issue to the Board of Trustees before making the exception. That wasn't the fault of the student. Not letting him finish his degree in my opinion will cause more harm than good.

Fourthly, I truthfully do not think that bringing this to the floor at the Southern Baptist Convention is a good idea. I think the Board needs to deal with the president of SWBTS in private ans set down some guidelines and stick by them. Bringing the issue to the floor of the SBC stands a chance of causing Baptist to have bad relations with Muslims and will damage our witness to them and dare I say may even cause doors that are now open to us to witness to Muslims to be closed.

I taught at a Baptist Private Academy for several years. It was funded by the Tennessee Baptist Convention. We had students from many different countries with many different beliefs to attend the school including students from Muslim countries that were not Christians. They had to abide by our set of standards. This included attending church on Sundays. It opened doors to share the message of the one true God with them. The seeds were planted. I think that is where the president of SWBTS was coming from.

My next thought was, this student had worked with the project overseas. He knew what was expected of him when the exception to the rules were made.

Oh by the way, you do realize the project includes other faiths than Baptist?

Does "Take the gospel to the world" just include going to other countries or does it include those coming to our country?

You have other issues with the SWBTS president. Why have you waited until now to try and get SBC to do something about it.

I did my undergraduate study at a Baptist College. One of the classes I took was on the Middle East and on the Muslim faith. NO they do not believe in the one true God. But does that mean we don't take every opportunity that we are presented with to witness to them? By the way, the student who was seated beside me in that class was of the Buddish faith. I took every opportunity I could to witness to her. The one thing I recall her saying to me was "Please come to my country and to share your faith." Due to medical problems I was not able to go. But, the invitation was there. That invitation would not have come if that Baptist College had not admitted her and if I had not stepped through the door to be her friend.

Wade Burleson said...


Bring Muslims to SWBTS. Give them scholarships. Waive Christian requirements. Evangelize them.

You are missing the point.

Do it with integrity and get the SBC, trustees, and those 'in authority' to change the established policies and procedures BEFORE YOU ADMIT THEM!

Integrity at a seminary is more important than in the business world.

Jessica Zan said...

I'm saddened. While at SWBTS, I found your fire & anger over Sherry Klouda's firing a comfort. A female on an outdated, hyper-masculine campus, I felt represented in a sense (I graduated MAMFC, just as the deceitful shutdown of that program occurred). Now, I read your litany of posts about this and shake my head at the factual errors, and your narrow perspective. It seems your vendetta against SWBTS has colored your ability to see any good there. Personally, I hate having any reason to defend the school, but in this instance, I do. I know the young man -- a talented, loving, intelligent person -- who is a product of his region of the world (like all of us), and is not as you paint him. He's after a first class archaeological education. You miss-represent his region, AND get other facts wrong. It's hard to trust your anecdotal evidence, with such errors.

We tend to turn humans into objects, then use them in our battles. You humanized Sherry for the world. I so appreciate that. I have no problem with your ideological battle with SWBTS. And frankly, they provide enough ammo, you don't need to exploit this human's story to battle the bigger issues.

Wade Burleson said...


Your compassion for the Muslim student is admirable. It is regrettable that many seek to make this issue about him.

Were the trustees to be informed and approved the granting of a theological degree to a practicing Muslim, were the SBC to change the charter and mission of seminaries -- approving the use of scholarships and jobs on campus -- and were this entire process done in the light of day, there would be no problem.

That's the issue. Also, it's difficult for black and white words to communicate emotion. 'Fire and anger' are not words most who know me would use to describe my personality, but since we've never met, I accept your perception is your reality. :)

Anonymous said...

Has anyone asked the questions "Why this Muslim?" and "Why these Mormons?" It certainly cannot be just about evangelism. There are plenty of non-Christians here in the United States and abroad, and they were not admitted. If it were primarily about evangelism, then why only three? Why not admit anyone who wants to come to SWBTS? Then we could evangelize many more. The president chose these three, and only these three, to be the ones for whom he suspended the rules. Maybe someone should be asking what would personally motivate the president to admit these three.

Unknown said...

For those calling for Wade Burleson to follow a Matt. 18 model and approach Patterson person to person, I would like to weigh in.

I am a graduate and former security officer for Southwestern for over 4 yrs. I can tell you from personal experience that he CANNOT take this to Patterson directly. In our security office we had a picture of Pastor Wade and were to contact Patterson immediately if he were sighted. Patterson will not speak to him, because of personal issues with him.

Someone has to get peoples attention on this. Patterson doesn't have good accountability in place there. Thanks Wade for calling attention to this issue and others. I sam so sad to Dr. C. Mitchell has been fired... such a big loss for SWBTS.

Wade Burleson said...



Never knew that to be the case.

i have been on the campus only a couple of times, once when my son and I went to see Paige in his office (he was not there), and once when I had lunch with him and Dorothy in the President's house.

Kind of glad I was ignorant of what you've said today.


Amy S. said...

Pastor Wade, thank you for the opportunity to interview you on our program this morning. Here is the podcast: Are seminaries now the new mission field?

Anonymous said...

Clay Jacobson,

Do we know why Dr. C. Mitchell was fired?

Steve Finnell said...


Does what a man thinks alter the fact of a man's salvation?

Can a man say that he believes that Jesus is the Son God and then say, however, I do not think that it is essential for my salvation? Can that kind of thinking save anyone? (John 8:24 'Therefore I say to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.")

Is it possible for someone to assert they they were baptized in water and say, however, I do not think it was not essential for me to be saved? Can that kind of thinking save anyone? (Mark 16:16 He who has believed and been baptized shall be saved...)

Is is plausible that a person can profess that they believe the God raised Jesus from the grave and then say, however, I do not think it is essential to believe that, in order to be saved? Can that kind of thinking save you? (Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.)


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George Whitten Jr said...

To admit a non-Christian student to take courses is one thing. To confer a seminary degree upon that student is quite another thing.
I might be persuaded to let an adherent of a false religion enroll in Christian seminary after he acknowledges in writing that no matter how many credits he earns, he won't earn a degree.
But a Christian seminary should never bestow a degree upon an adherent to a false religion. We sheep depend on truth in labeling.

Shawn said...

Paige Patterson did this because he is Paige Patterson - a man given to doing unusual things for the value of their sensationalism caring not a whit for what others may think. Sometimes it works out well, other times, not so very much.

The problem lies in the fact that he and others in leadership positions within the SBC think that because the boards have elected them that they have carte blanch to do as they please answering to no one but God, while not knowing the ways of God (Micah 6.8 and Matthew 18 come to mind). Mark Driscollesque thinking has infected far to many 'leaders' who give very little thought to 'throwing folks under the bus' for failing to follow their (lack of) leadership.

Steve Ray said...

Wade, is there an update somewhere on this discussion at the SBC meeting in Baltimore?

LivingDust said...

It is the day after Christmas 2014 and the May 2014 blog entry regarding SWTBS caught my attention. Over the years, Dr. Patterson has caused many concern, but allowing a Mohammaden to study at SWBTS is an outright betrayal of Jesus Christ, exposes Dr. Paige Patterson's poor judgment, and makes Baptist believers like me lose confidence in our Seminary institutions. What we need is some courageous SBC Pastors and Seminary Professors who will walk into the offices of Dr. Patterson; gather up his books, paper, and personal effects and deliver them in boxes to the exit gate of the campus along with the Mohammeden interloper. Our God is not a God of compromise - "That shalt have no other gods before me."

Unknown said...

Wow ! That last post was a breath of fresh air. I'm a former student of Southwestern. I've never been a fan of Dr.Patterson. The seminary is going in the wrong direction under Dr.Patterson's leadership. Unfortunately,the trustee's agree with his actions. Dr.Craig Mitchell was a great teacher and scholar.The seminary lost another great "man of God". Dr.Patterson doesn't agree with reformed theology. Several professors left Southwestern because of Patterson's intolerance of reformed theology.

Jerry Schultz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.