Monday, June 02, 2014

Southwestern, the Star-Telegram, Secrecy, and the SBC

Reporter Jim Jones of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an interesting article last Friday, May 30, 2014 on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's decision to accept a practicing Muslim into their School of Theology and reward him a Ph.D. in theology with a major in archeology.

Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern, is quoted as saying he "made an exception to admission policy" in allowing the practicing Muslim to enroll. In addition, Patterson said "When policy becomes so hard and fast that it is never to be violated, that comes pretty close to legalism."

Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and accept a practicing Muslim "lest we be legalistic," but will rescind a job offer to a music student and professor whose wife was discovered to have been divorced from her first marriage. Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and accept a practicing Muslim "lest we be legalistic," but will release an extraordinary female professor because she's a woman. Ironic, is it not, that Southwestern will make an exception and admit a practicing Muslim, but will release a Southern Baptist educated and trained African American as head of their Cultural Engagement Center for his Facebook posts. I could go on, but you get the picture. Where is our grace for our brothers and sisters in Christ? I'm all for grace for Muslims, I suggest we be even more gracious to those who express a common faith in the Anointed One.

Dr. Patterson is also quoted as saying, "I had not attempted to be secretive about this."

It is my understanding that the trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary were unaware of the President's 'exception' and the admission of the practicing Muslim. It has also been stated to me by faculty present at meetings with Dr. Patterson that the entire acceptance of the Muslim student was shrouded in secrecy and orders were given to not discuss it. I am more than happy to give Dr. Patterson the benefit of the doubt that he did not 'attempt to be secretive.' It should be pretty easy to clear up any confusion and determine if, indeed, the 'exception' was done in secret. I know how, and will do so next week.

In addition, I think I may ask Dr. Patterson during his report time if he would ever make an 'exception' and admit a practicing 'homosexual' to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and if not, then what is the principled difference between making an exception and admitting a practicing Muslim and not a practicing homosexual?

Both are sinners. Both are lost. Both are in need of conversion and repentance. Both need evangelized.

I'm giving Dr. Patterson some time to formulate an answer, though I believe I know it in advance. The Muslim accepted Southwestern's 'moral code.' Hmmm. When our Southern Baptist seminaries place more of an emphasis on the acceptance of a 'moral code' for admission than in a clear profession of faith in Jesus Christ, we have ceased being evangelical and now have more in common with institutions of liberalism, humanism, and neo-paganism.

Read more here:

Just a quick search of the Southern Baptist Convention's resolutions on seminary education brought up a few examples of what Southern Baptists expect from our seminaries (see below). I would think that exceptions to the 'policies and procedures' of our seminaries would also be exceptions to the stated desires of the Convention.

Read more here:

"RESOLVED, That this Convention cherishes the hope that the great cause of ministerial education may continue to receive the fervent prayers and more enlarged contributions of our brethren generally; that those institutions now in existence may receive a more hearty support; and that the churches in the several states represented in this body, may seek out and properly educate all suitable gifts within their bounds, that they may thus supply the constantly increasing demand of our missionary fields." - The SBC Resolution on Seminaries, Baltimore, Maryland 1853


"Be it further RESOLVED, That the Convention call on the boards of trustees and seminary presidents to implement the charter and bylaws of the seminaries" - The SBC Resolution on Responsibility in SBC Seminaries, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1983


"WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has established and supported six seminaries for the purpose of providing Christian education and preparation for Christian ministry, and

WHEREAS, Members of the staff and faculties in these institutions have consistently demonstrated an exemplary commitment to this noble purpose--individually signing a statement of fundamental Christian beliefs and corporately making an immeasurable contribution to the lives of persons preparing for Christian service, and

WHEREAS, Recent accusations have brought into question the doctrinal integrity of some seminary staff and faculty members in relation to the "Baptist Faith and Message" statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.

Therefore be it RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention encourage anyone who questions the doctrinal integrity of seminary staff and faculty members to follow the procedures of historic Baptist polity and the guidelines of the Southern Baptist Convention Constitution (Article VII) and register specific charges or complaints with the boards of trustees of the respective seminaries, and

Therefore be it further RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention express its profound appreciation to the staff and faculty members of our seminaries who have persistently and sacrificially taught the truth with love--enriching our appreciation for the Bible as God's Holy Word and enhancing our ministry in Christ's name." - SBC Resolution on Gratitude for Our Seminaries, Houston, Texas 1979


See you in Baltimore.


Dr. John Cornish said...

"When policy becomes so hard and fast that it is never to be violated, that comes pretty close to legalism." ~ Paige Patterson to Star-Telegram last week.


"I know 90% of Southern Baptists would disagree with my policy, but I have never in my career allowed a man with a previously married wife on my faculty and there is no way I'm going to begin now." ~ Paige Patterson to me and the Dean of the School of Sacred Music, October 2011.

Anonymous said...

So you state that a practicing homosexual is lost? Where is the grace and what about all the practicing fornicators and adulterers you have in your church? How many deacons in Baptist churches have affairs? Are all of them lost or just choosing homosexuals for that label?

Wade Burleson said...


Let's say that a practicing adulterer applied to Southwestern. In the interview, if the applicant said something like, "I'm married, but I have a girlfriend on the side. I'd like to bring both women with me," I think that the man, prone to adultery, would be denied for practicing adultery. In the same way, a man, prone to same-sex attraction, who says, "I'd like to bring my lover with me" would be denied based on practicing homosexuality. Yes, I would so that both men are lost (no evidence of repentance). I'm sure there are many men in our church that struggle with same sex attraction and adultery within their hearts. It's the flagrant practice, without repentance, that indicates lostness.

Wade Burleson said...


Logic goes out the window in discussions about the SBC. :)

Anonymous said...

I would agree that if a person is a practicing Muslim, homosexual, fornicator, or adulterer--and admits it, then they shouldn't be admitted to a Baptist seminary. I guess the key to all of this is whether they are an admitted abuser.

Wade Burleson said...


The Muslim is an admitted practicing Muslim.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

When it comes to Public Morality and Moral Codes, a follow-the-rules faith like Islam will always be able to one-up us. (And in its extreme forms like in Saudi & Talibanistan, Islam is famous for its Ferocious Moral Code and equally ferocious Enforcement of those Moral Rules.)

As for refusing Divorced and Homosexuals(TM), remember that's SEXUAL(TM). And Christians are just as hung up on S*E*X as everyone else (including Extreme Muslims).

Christiane said...

I would not put 'practicing Muslim' in the same categories as many here, because my own Church teaches me respect for the dignity of people of different faiths;

but I do agree (for that very reason) that SWBTS might have made a terrible mistake by accepting this young man as a student BECAUSE SWBTS does not respect that the faith of this young man.

I still think we don't know all there is to know about Patterson and the Islamic student's presence at SWBTS.

The contrast in how Patterson has treated women is beyond words ...

Anonymous said...

My friends on staff say that it i a living nightmare there, but they cannot speak out. Many, many, many of them are trying to leave.



Romans 3:25-26

Wade Burleson said...


I respect the dignity and personhood of a practicing homosexual, just as I do the dignity and personhood of a practicing Muslim.

I have many in both camps that I call friends.

It doesn't preclude me from believing unless they repent they will experience the righteous, holy and praiseworthy justice of a good and loving God.

Anonymous said...

Any chance that a motion comes to the floor to immesiately defund SWBTS due to this event?

Wade Burleson said...

There's no desire to hurt students for the actions of an administration

ScottShaver said...

Barking at the moon with Patterson, Wade.

How can failure in logic possibly be pointed out to a guy who allows himself to be memorialized in stain glass while he's still living?

Christiane said...

SCOTT . . . he did that ?

Tom Kelley said...

Indeed, he did. See

"Dorothy and Paige Patterson will be portrayed together in a window..."

Anonymous said...

Putting himself in a stained glass window is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to ridiculous things that Patterson has done. He flaunts his riches (all from Southern Baptist monies)and doesn't care who knows it. I talked to some of the maintenance workers at SWBTS and the tales they tell would curl your toes. He's a disgrace.

Christiane said...

anonymous, who authorized for him to have all that money for his personal use?

Rex Ray said...

Tom Kelley,
I noticed your link said Patterson’s picture would go up this year. If you’ll hold the ladder, I’ll paint horns and tail you know where.

That’ be disgraceful, but in my opinion; not as much as his picture being there.

I believe the many pictures that should be there are the ones of Jesus. Wonder if the SBC would pass that motion?

Many years ago, our pastor, Randal Evert, led a tour of Koreans through Criswell’s church. After seeing the many pictures and statues of Criswell, they asked Randal if the people worshiped Jesus or Criswell.

There’s an old saying: “Fool’s names and fool’s faces show up in public places.”

Won’t see you in Baltimore; already committed to sheetrock…tape & bed on a church in South Texas.

Once, I wanted to go, but now I feel as Jimmy Carter saying he didn’t leave the SBC; they left me. Our church has already decided if their recommendation passes; we’d send our money elsewhere.

Connecting the past to the present indicates a straight line to the future.

Over a hundred years ago, true Conservatives started the Baptist World Alliance (BWA). The C/R SBC told BWA if they considered letting Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) join, the SBC would reduce funds given to the BWA from “$425,000 to $300,000. The BWA ‘lost’ $125.000.

The next year the C/R SBC told BWA if they let the CBF join, the SBC would keep all the money and withdraw from them. And so it happened.

Their EGO was enough to dream of “two competing worldwide organizations of Baptists.” Patterson traveled the world looking for countries that would join the new SBC-led organization but failed to find one that would join them and their ‘paper-god’.

I wonder what kind of a team Patterson and Obama would make. I mean one skips Trustees and the other skips Congress.

Rex Ray said...

Five minutes before the vote was taken to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance, I heard Patterson accuse them of “Being gay friendly”.

So it would not be an understatement to accuse the Patterson-Obama team of being “Muslim friendly”.

Anonymous said...

Paige doesn't have to have an approval of most everything he does. He redoes his house regularly, takes trips often, and buys whatever he wants and sees. He'll stay President as long as he wants because he has all the trustees in his pocket. You don't have to worry about them reigning him in on the issue of the Muslim because it isn't going to happen. He's a King in his own mind.

Rex Ray said...

Can a comparison be made of the Executive Committee discriminating against the “non-friendly of their paper-god’ and Obama taking the side of Mexico by suing Arizona?

A 5 minute talk explains.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the stained glass window of Patterson will have him riding a white stallion and someone kissing his ring? Then they can put up another one of Jesus riding a lowly donkey near it...

Ken Coffee said...

Legalism? Strange word from Dr. Pat. In fact, was it not legalism that got Dilday fired and Patterson hired?

Anonymous said...

I thought what got Dilday fired was his doing what the trustees told him not to do.

Ron said...

Dilday was fired because he continued to hire theological conservatives instead of political conservatives according to the SWBTS trustee chairman at that time.
Ron West

Anonymous said...

Remember, this is the same Paige that said, "abstinence not only is wisdom but also a matter of obedience to Christ and holiness before God"--now that is legalism! You can't back that statement up with sound exegetical Bible study.

A “Paige” out of the Pharisee’s book…more SBC Jedi Mind Tricks