Tuesday, June 12, 2018

An Attempt to Punish SWBTS Executive Committee

On May 22, 2018, the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary met for 13 hours considering the future of SWBTS President Paige Patterson.

After a vote to terminate narrowly failed, the seminary trustees adopted measures that would give Paige Patterson the title of President Emeritus, the opportunity to live his retirement years on campus, and a salary. These actions were portrayed by the media as "the removal of Paige Patterson as President of SWBTS," but in many Southern Baptist eyes, it was more of a promotion than a termination. 

A few days later, the Executive Committee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary met and unanimously rescinded the board's actions of May 22, 2018. This time, the trustees who compose the Executive Committee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary completely terminated Paige Patterson's association with SWBTS, removing the title of President Emeritus, rescinding the offer to live out his retirement years on campus, and retracting the decision to pay him a salary.

Today, Tuesday, June 12, 2018,  a pastor from Arkansas named Tom Hatley made a motion at the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas. Tom wants the Southern Baptist Convention messengers to "remove the trustees of the Executive Committee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" for their actions in terminating Paige Patterson.

In other words, Tom Hatley believes the trustees who voted unanimously to remove Paige Patterson should themselves be removed as trustees of the seminary.

The messengers at this year's Convention will discuss, debate, and vote on Hatley's recommendation at 2:45 pm, Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Tom Hatley was the Chairman of the Trustees at the International Mission Board in 2005/2006 when the Executive Committee of the IMB sought to remove me as a trustee of the IMB. I won't rehash all that happened in 2005/2006 (you can go back and read on my blog), but in essence, the IMB Executive Committee sought to remove me because I stood up to those who were seeking the removal of President Jerry Rankin and women from leadership positions at the IMB. I had been told by several of my fellow trustees, most of whom were friends and loyalists of Paige Patterson and led by Chairman Thomas Hatley, that President Rankin's tenure needed to come to an end. They had in mind someone else to be President of the IMB.

Two guesses as to who that person was to be the next President of the IMB.

Because I was a rookie trustee and dared oppose IMB trustee leadership, I became the person Chairman Tom Hatley and the Executive Committee of the IMB sought to remove. To this day, I am the only trustee of an SBC institution who faced the prospect of removal by the Southern Baptist Convention at large. Prior to the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention, Tom Hatley and the IMB Executive Committee rescinded their recommendation to remove me as an IMB trustee - mostly because they realized they'd have to give me an opportunity to speak to the entire Convention before the vote.

This year, the members of the Executive Commitee of SWBTS, including Chairman Kevin Ueckert, will be given the opportunity to speak to the SBC Convention this Wednesday at 2:45 pm, before the Convention votes on Hatley's recommendation to remove them. I predict that the Southern Baptist Convention will overwhelmingly reject Thomas Hatley's motion to remove the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee of SWBTS had their reasons for termination of Paige Patterson. Very few people know the full story. The Executive Committee of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has facts. They voted unanimously to terminate.

But the point I'd like to make about Thomas Hatley's motion revolves around integrity.

When Thomas Hatley, Chairman of the International Mission Board, led the Executive Committee to recommend my removal as a trustee in 2006, they received a huge amount of backlash from the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, Frank Page was elected at the very Convention they had intended to remove me, a shock to the Patterson loyalists who had never lost a Convention presidential election since 1979.

I find it interesting that Chairman Tom Hatley responded to the criticsm against him and his Executive Committee in 2006 with these words:
"The Southern Baptist Convention should trust the Executive Committee of the International Mission Board. This difficult measure was not taken without due deliberation.... and was completely necessary for the IMB to move forward. The Southern Baptist Convention should trust their trustees."

Today, Ken Whitten nominated J.D. Greaer for President of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the speech, Ken gave the following definition for integrity:
"Integrity is when the tongue of one's shoes follows the tongue of one's mouth."
The number one reason Thomas Hatley's motion should be defeated is because the motion - at its core - lacks integrity. It's offered by a man who said one thing when he was Chairman of the IMB Executive Committee, but now that same man walks a different path when it comes to his treatment of Chairman Kevin Ueckert and the SWBTS Executive Committee.

The Southern Baptist Convention has suffered enough with a lack of integrity.

Convention messengers will see through the smoke and mirrors of a motion that is long on politics and short on integrity.


Rex Ray said...


You calmed my fears that the “Resolutions Committee” would be out of order if they made a resolution for Patterson to be reinstated.

The BIG question is WHO approved Tom Hatley’s motion to fire the Trustees. Why wasn’t Hatley’s motion ruled “out of order”?

I believe the SBC needs a good ‘house cleaning’ starting at the TOP.

Rex Ray said...


I believe all the SBC wants from Churches is their money; otherwise the SBC would let churches know what was going on.

The SBC call the representatives of churches “Messengers”. HA, they’re NOT messengers. What message do they bring from their churches? NONE

In order for BIG WIGGS and people like Tom Hatley to control the SBC, churches are left in the dark.

There’s an easy fix for this. It’s called the INTERNET. All business and voting could be done by churches without the waste of thousands of dollars.

Rex Ray said...


I’m signing off. In 4 hours, we’ll start to the airport to go to New York to visit Judy’s youngest son. I hope the vote goes the way you and the Lord want it to.

Jon L. Estes said...

I am surprised that this motion was not called out of order. But, we are Baptist and sometimes we do things that just make no sense.

If this motion fails... and I believe it will... I hope the message to "sit down and shut up" will be understood in the context of we are not here to immortalize men but exalt God.

Thought... With the older segment of the SBC often looking down at the younger up and comers, we need to remember when Dr. Pattersdonbecame a household name in the SBC, he and many of his frontline soldiers were in their 30's.

Anonymous said...

When TH took to the mic my children say I gasped. Enormous nerve..
What was he thinking?

Rex Ray said...


After a nap, I think I woke up with the answer to my BIG question of who didn’t rule Tom Hatley out of order. I think it’s obvious, it’s the person who selected Patterson to be the chairman of the committee to pray for the lost souls in America…Steve Gaines, president of the SBC.

Wade Burleson said...


I, too, was surprised that the motion was not ruled out of order. I believe the Parliamentarians probably advised Steve Gaines and others on issues of by-laws, etc... and they (the Parliamentarians) are the ones who determined the motion was “in order.”

It should be interesting.

Beth Yarborough, PCUSA said...

This former Baptist and current Presbyterian continue to pray for the SBC and SWBTS. Have courage. Healing and restoration are in the horizon.

Sallie Borrink said...

Born and raised Baptist (not SBC) who has wandered through other denominations and ended up back where I started...

As a Baptist, I really don't get the SBC structure. It seems completely contrary to what being a Baptist is. That was one issue I had with a denomination we were in for a time. The Synod had way too much power and control over the denominational focus and what people were expected to think and do. My Baptist upbringing was sincerely disturbed by that kind of spiritual control.

I confess I just don't get the SBC as an outsider. I don't understand how Baptists allow so few men to control everything.

Wade Burleson said...

Sallie Borrink,

Too many good people stand on the sidelines and say nothing. But, that may be changing.

Anonymous said...

Today the Southern Baptist Convention has declared to the world that they choose to follow manmade rules
(BFand M). Rather than scripture. I grieve.. I weep.

Anonymous said...

That is so true! People don’t want to make waves or rock the boat. When good people don’t speak up, that makes them a party to the problem.
I grew up NABC but now attend a PAOC church. Southern Baptists were always considered too liberal when I was young! That sure has changed and I had no idea.
What a bunch of trouble comes when people try to put themselves first and forget what Christ said about that. But then again, it’s sounds like these men have forgotten - or never really knew - what Christ said about most things!

Anonymous said...

Question not related just to SWBTS or this motion, but to the seminary presidents reports. All the enrollment numbers are very inflated if compared to the ATS numbers found here: http://www.ats.edu/member-schools/denominational-search

Do we know where seminary presidents are getting their numbers? Southeastern's claim was almost double the number shown on ATS, is this to give us a more rosy picture of the state of our seminaries?

Pastor Michael A. Jordan, Mount Vernon Baptist, Axton Virginia

Wade Burleson said...


Good question. In my experience, all of us use stats to paint the rosiest picture of all, and its not until things are dire that we come out with “real” numbers. Online education is growing - old fashioned “on-campus” degree pursuits are mostly static. It’s not always easy to know how to “measure” numbers the Seminaries give, but to be fair, they are having to make adjustments to a culture that’s not producing many young people with a desire to go into ministry.

Anonymous said...

Pence gave Trumps stump speech but with more class.

Anonymous said...

Mixing politics with religion is like mixing manure with ice cream. The manure pretty much stays the same but the ice cream really takes a hit. Shame on the SBC for allowing Pence to parrot the Trump agenda. The grabber in chief will be proud of his second in command.

Bob Cleveland said...

" .. and DAUGHTERS will prophesy....)

And we have rules against it?

Brad Smith said...

An ignoble defeat for Ole Nimrod

Aussie John said...

"Man is nothing but insincerity, falsehood, and hypocrisy, both in regard to himself and in regard to others. He does not wish that he should be told the truth, he shuns saying it to others; and all these moods, so inconsistent with justice and reason, have their roots in his heart". (Blaise Pascal)

Mike said...

Wade, I have long appreciated your blog and insights. I was a calvinist before calvinist was cool. I have been sbc in 25 years of ministry. I graduated 3 sbc schools. I have had both appreciation and misgivings concerning Paige Patterson. Granted, mishandling a rape claim is grounds for dismissal of a seminary president by trustees. But, I have a hard time with the May 22 trustee decision being later overturned by the trustee Executive Board. Also, I have a hard time with the trustees not giving Patterson opportunity to respond to allegations against him. In Acts 25, Paul says even the Romans rightly give the accused opportunity to respond to accusers. The Executive Board appears to have operated beneath the level of the pagans in jurisprudence. It could be that Patterson's response would be weighed and still found wanting. But why should he not have been given opportunity to respond before the dismissal judgment? Why should the Executive Board be allowed to overturn the May 22 decision without full board input? Even though you dislike him and I have my own misgivings about him, why the apparent comfort with bypassing the whole trustee board and unbiblical jurisprudence? I think Patterson should go for a variety of reasons--i just hoped it could be done the right way.

Jon L. Estes said...

Mike -

I struggle with the multiple times Dr. P was invited to the meetings but did not attend. I find this odd within the system we have as Southern Baptists.

Balancing this with the meeting he did attend, which he called (May 22-23), I am trying to balance the things stated with the differences among them.

Yet, we have to trust our trustees... or there is no need for them.

We trusted them when others were being fired. I hope it isn't because those who were not trustees at the time were glad of the decision.

Live by the sword... Die by the sword.

Anonymous said...

"Who is leading SWBTS? Are trustees actually governing and supervising the direction the seminary is taking, or are those who are serving as trustees of SWBTS doing so at the will of administrators? It seems to me that the Southern Baptist Convention had better wake up or SWBTS will soon be just a shell of her former self."

Wade Burleson
Jan 29, 2010

Rex Ray said...

Does anyone know if trustees have been fired?

Jon L. Estes said...


They were not.

Bill Williams said...

I have not been a fan of Paige Patterson since the "battle for the Bible" days. Then when I watched him walk proudly down the isle at the Convention, as the newly elected President of the SBC with Jerry Falwell Who for years preached against Southern Baptists. He then escorted Falwell back behind the "wall of separation curtain" to be part of our private business. Falwell did not have as much right behind there than I did.

Needless to say I think that Paige was not treated unfairly.

Charles Christian said...

I guess there's always an easier way to read more about news and informational blogs here !!