Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Dr. Shawn Madden and the Southeastern Archives

Shawn Madden, Ph.D., Major, USMC (retired), Librarian, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (1994-2013). 

A Guest Post


My brothers show no partiality, as you 
hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Lord of glory (James 2:1 ESV)

Paige Patterson once said to [Unnamed Saint] who sought advice as to how to resolve an unrighteous severance:
 “[Unnamed Saint], drop this and look for God's next exiting step in your own life. Life is too short to fiddle with what is ultimately a futile confrontation. Leave them to God who is far more able to deal with them." Paige
The Unnamed Saint to which Paige Patterson directed his sage advice had been let go for far less numerous and far less severe failings than Paige Patterson has had. In fact, nothing was named save, ‘your contract is up.’ And yet Paige Patterson advised this Saint to ‘drop this and look for God’s next exit... .’ This Saint was too young to retire and had to find other employment. Paige Patterson is at a very ripe retirement age and should be well set to ride into the sunset, as it were.

But, Paige Patterson kicks against the goads rather than exit.

One goad is the continued question of his taking away from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary material that was stored in the archival room of The SEBTS Library. That material’s security was my responsibility, and I consider it a failure that material under my charge was removed without my notification, something that I would have thought would have been a common courtesy between brothers.

The run-up to this event was the Conservative Resurgence. As I had come on board as the Director of The Library at SEBTS by Dr. Patterson’s invitation (which I am grateful to this day) and had started to develop the various departments, it was clear that we needed to do something serious with the meager archives that we had. I suggested to him that the material of the Conservative Resurgence would be great and would be an academic draw to SEBTS. Dr. Patterson was delighted with this idea and proceeded to gather and collect material of his own and of others who had been involved, notably Judge Pressler and Russ Kaemerling. I had hired on some great folks, and they were getting them organized and ready for research.

Then Dr. Patterson got ‘called away’ to SWBTS. As he was making his exit, we at The Library kept getting phone calls from the SWBTS library inquiring as to the number of boxes they should be expecting. This, of course, raised the alarm for us! Dr. Russ Bush was the dean at the time and he also, to my recollection, was concerned. Each time we were called I asked Dr. Bush and he, from what I understood, talked to Dr. Patterson and each time we were reassured that nothing was leaving the archives.

Then we came to work on a Monday, and the boxes were gone. No one on The Library staff was approached or informed.

A note I wrote to myself says,
'The Irish and Marine in me boiled straight to the surface when I discovered that there was an unauthorized removal from the Archives of Southeastern Seminary 96 boxes of extremely valuable and irreplaceable archival materials by an employee of Southwestern Seminary. The boiling of my blood was due in large part to the fact that we had had indications in the weeks prior to the removal that someone was planning the move but after every inquiry about this we were assured in no uncertain terms that this was not the plan. Additionally when the removal was affected it was done on a weekend and no one informed me or my staff that it was being done. I talked to [the security chief] at length about this, pointing out the fact that a Southwestern Seminary employee had entered my area of responsibility—had entered the most secure place, with his approval and complicity and without thinking to inform me, the one given the responsibility of ensuring the safe storage and access to that material. When I called [interim president] Dr. Neal to ask if he knew anything about it he told me that he did not but that Michael Lawson did and then handed the phone to him. He informed me that the materials had been removed by Chris Thompson.' 

That was the heat of the moment. Other files on my computer from old archives indicate that I wrote to Dr. Patterson about this. Below is what I think is the original letter but it is undated and is an electronic file, I have not located the hard copy I wrote him.

Dr. Paige Patterson
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 22040
Fort Worth, Texas 76122-0040
Dear Dr. Patterson:

Perhaps there would not be such confusion remaining from the issue of the archives if I, Jim Lutzweiler and Bill Youngmark had been involved in the moving of your material from the archives of Southeastern Seminary. As it is persons not associated with Southeastern entered our archives without informing myself nor my archivists and removed material that at that point was technically the possession of Southeastern Seminary and my responsibility for their security. Mr. Lawson allowed an employee of Southwestern to illegally enter Southeastern’s archives without even the courtesy of informing the person responsible for their safekeeping. That was a major breach of security, protocol, and courtesy. I recall that you were rather upset that [un-named person] had removed some archival material from Southeastern and had it deposited at Wake Forest just before you assumed the helm here. A similar situation pertains. Yes, I understand that some of what was stored in our archives was your personal property. And I understand about the Gypsy Smith collection, those materials are not my concern. My concern is that material from the President’s office was removed, material that is the possession of this institution and not of an individual. What you do with your personal correspondence is your concern and none of my business but that which was generated by the President of this institution is owned by this institution and ought not to have been removed, especially in the dark of night.

If I had been informed that you were ready to remove your material and had been given the opportunity to be there when they were removed and had had the opportunity to have Mr. Lutzweiler and Mr. Youngmark present so that a determination could be made as to what boxes were Paige Pattersons and what boxes were the Presidents then we would not been in the situation that we are in now. My archivists organized those boxes and knew what was in them, the employees of Southwestern did not. Nor did they think to ask.

We had heard rumors from Fort Worth that they were expecting your archives and were asking us how many boxes they would be receiving. That was news to us. Repeated inquiries by me to Dr. Bush concerning that matter were consistently returned with “Dr. Patterson assured me that the boxes were not leaving.”

To clear this matter up I suggest that I and one or both of our archivists travel to Fort Worth and meet with your folks and come to an agreement concerning what is Paige Patterson's and what is the President of Southeastern’s. Perhaps some guidelines could be agreed upon before the meeting. As the material was removed without the knowledge and consent of the responsible parties at Southeastern I would insist that your office pick up the tab for the travel. Southeastern would be responsible for the return of her materials.

Dr. Patterson wrote me a letter dated December 10, 2004, a letter that is on several websites now. In it he says that he is ‘growing weary of dealing with all of this... .’ I wrote him back:

January 25, 2005

Dr. Paige Patterson
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
P.O. Box 22040
Fort Worth, Texas 76122-0040
 Dear Dr. Patterson:
I am sorry you are “growing somewhat weary” of my persistent quest for the archives that rightly belong to Southeastern Seminary. I grow tired of asking for them myself but duty compels me. Let me quickly note that what I am after is not your personal papers nor the Gypsy Smith papers. Those are yours to do with what you will and I fully concur. I do covet them professionally and I still harbor a hope that you are led to deposit them at Southeastern when the time comes but their disposition is entirely your decision and I make neither claim nor request in that regard.

You mentioned in your letter that “we left behind all of the materials of the President that regarded the life of the institution, curriculum, etc. that were not particularly germane to my own life situation.” Unfortunately, because individuals gained access to the archives of Southeastern’s library without the knowledge, consent, or assistance of those charged with the responsibility of securing those materials housed therein, material other than your personal papers was inadvertently removed and a fair number of your personal papers were left behind. Presently we have nothing from the President’s office during the time of your tenure. Looking through our archives it would be difficult to know who the president was between Dr. Drummond and Dr. Akin.
Such being the case, I need to see about getting your remaining material to you but I also need to make arrangements to identify those boxes that mistakenly made their way to Southwestern Seminary and see about their return.
I remain, as always, His servant and yours,
CC: Dr. Danny Akin
       Dr. Russ Bush
       Mr. Jim Lutzweiler
       Mr. Bill Youngmark

You will notice that my only concern is that SEBTS and The Library know for sure what at that point resided in Ft. Worth. As a side note, my our extended family resided in Dallas, and we visited it at least twice a year. On one such occasion, I visited the Library at SWBTS and asked to see the Patterson papers (remember how often we were called). I was told that they were not in The Library but rather at Pecan Manor.

So, now we come to Chris Thompson, former Special Assistant to Paige Patterson, and the letter he released May 31, 2018. Chris is the person who took the archives from SEBTS. 

Chris writes a very interesting letter. In it, Chris admits that he took the material ‘from the archival room in the SEBTS library’ and that this was done ‘on a Friday and Saturday during office hours and loaded for shipment’ and that he ‘had access to all locations where these items were located.’ My earlier note indicated that his ‘access’ was the security chief of SEBTS. 

Friday after 4:30 the full-time staff of The Library had gone home. There was no full-time staff on duty on Saturday. Further, Chris names no one from SEBTS who authorized him to take the material and he does not mention which of the staff of The Library he had informed. 

Pastor Chris Thompson repeats what Dr. Patterson did – that the only things that were taken belonged to the Pattersons. We apparently are enjoined to trust them, which I would like to do. But, why in the world was it done on a weekend and why was no one given the Christian courtesy of a simple awareness of what was going on?

This was done back in 2004/2005. As the administration changed at SEBTS, I informed each of my new VPs orally of the missing archives, and the letter indicates a cc was sent to Dr. Akin, the new President of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at the time.

I left SEBTS during Thanksgiving week of 2013. In 2014 my wife and I moved to Dallas to live with and care for her mother. My wife had seen that SWBTS needed a new librarian and wrote to Dr. Patterson about perhaps hiring me because he was the one who hired me at SEBTS. He declined, noting that “Shawn's tendency to speak his mind has not helped his situation. Too many here remember his responses to me when I was departing SEBTS.”

I was raised and trained to ‘speak my mind.’ It is a trait lauded in the Marine Corps but few other places. I own that tendency fully. I find it interesting that The Washington Post notes that 'Akin said he believes files that would help an investigation fo the incident were taken from Southeastern when Patterson left. "You technically could've said they were stolen. I wouldn't say that. I think they took them unwisely," he said. "They're still Dr. Patterson's, in his mind. He doesn't want to return them.' Kevin Ueckert, chairman of the trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, said in a statement that Southwestern has located those documents "and is working on returning them to Southeastern." ’

I really would have liked Dr. Patterson and someone in leadership at SEBTS to tell me that they were going to do. Such would have been the respectful, honorable, polite, Christian thing to do. I would have liked for Chris Thompson to have approached me and informed me what he was about to do in a building I was responsible for and what he was going to do with the material whose security I was responsible for. Such would have been the respectful, honorable, polite, Christian thing to do.

And so,

I remain, ever, His Servant and yours.

Shawn C. Madden
Dr. Shawn C. Madden


Bob Cleveland said...

One of the more disturbing aspects of all this is that Dr. Patterson is, and always was, what these latest revelations have shown him to be. And no one noticed, or was willing to speak up about it.

Unknown said...

Proud of you, my friend!

Debbie Kaufman said...

Thank you Dr. Madden.

Brad said...

In the late '90s or early '00s, I asked a layman prominent in Texas Baptist state circles, why nothing was done about the Pattersons financial shenanigans. He basicallly said fear and coat tails.

Nancy2 said...

Question: Is it true that when the Patterson's left SE for SW, they took furniture, decor, service ware, etc., that belonged to the seminary and not to them?

Jn Meadow said...

Bob Cleveland said...
One of the more disturbing aspects of all this is that Dr. Patterson is, and always was, what these latest revelations have shown him to be. And no one noticed, or was willing to speak up about it.

THE TRUTH is that people who spoke out were disregarded for various reasons (Hes a liberal!!, He "speaks out too much" etc). I believe this to be true: speaking out (about Patterson and other things) and being a member of a certain kind of church (fundamentalist? Fundvangelical?) can be injurious to any attempt to use your God given gifts and abilities in that same church. So people do not speak, or speak cautiously or speak anonymously.

Patterson's downfall has come at a time when some of his biggest supporters are now dead or retired or lost influence. It has also come at a time when social media has risen (for good and for ill) and has made widespread dissemination of negative info on him more doable.

Christiane said...

"It has also come at a time when social media has risen (for good and for ill) and has made widespread dissemination of negative info on him more doable."

I agree with this.

This rise of social media has permitted victims to find each other and to bond and this has given them courage and strength, but also a realization that TOGETHER their voices have a gravitas that individually they lacked to speak out.

I think that social media has provided an element of 'collegiality' among people who have endured victimization and part of that 'collegiality' is perhaps a recognition of a responsibility to stand up in unison against the evil(s) that have previously not been challenged, because individually the victims could not have mounted a challenge with gravitas.

Social media has the ability to put light on darkness. In the end, it is just another tool in the hands of our conflicted human natures, but it is a powerful tool, and when used with good intent, promotes and strengthens the voices of victims and potential victims.

Unfortunately, social media can be used for 'bad' as well, as we are seeing in the political realm. But that is another story.

Bob Cleveland said...

Jn Meadow: Point well taken.

I wasn't into SBC matters back then. I only got interested after I got old and crusty, and assumed my current role as an Old Curmudgeon.

prayer partner said...

Bless your heart, keep speaking your mind... and bringing things into the light! John 3:19-21

I had to laugh at the comment re "shenanigans"... that's what my friend and I call all the manipulative, controlling crap, etc. that is pulled by leaders to cover up and silence abuse of power situations... we also use the phrase "master manipulators"...

I also had a WOW on the PP being weary of dealing with issue... I have heard the same response from a leader as I talk about abuse of power... Leaders, this is your responsibility and you are abdicating! very possibly because you are compromised... it is time for you to be a part of the solution instead of the problem... and no, that does not mean you get to take charge with all your ideas... you get to be servant leaders (remember the charge not to "lord it over"?). empower and encourage those who have been hurt to use their voice and their ideas to be a part of the changes that are needed... instead of you/leaders resisting this shift. For His Kingdom, for His glory!

Brad said...

Amen, prayer partner.

I have often wondered how different history would have been if those who claimed to follow Jesus in Christendom had done two of his commands. Don't Lord it over (take advantage of) people, and be kind to all, God is kind to all. Alas, we will never know.

Anonymous said...

Any professor at Southwestern who served with Paige Patterson for many years should humbly confess that their silence and refusal to speak out against him was because of fear. It would not be easy to confess that, but it would be honest. Continued silence and a refusal to confess means complicity. No person who knew Patterson for long is shocked by any of this, but many who knew him well continue to remain silent. I respect Shawn for speaking up and telling the truth. I even respect Sharaya Colter for speaking up for Patterson. I believe she is young, misinformed and naive, but I respect her courage. I do not respect long-term Southwestern Professors who knew him well, and even now remain silent. What's worse are those professors who act innocent and now pretend to be concerned about his behavior toward women and his unethical behavior. Of course, they don't say it directly. They intimate it through their posts on social media. Southwestern professors, instead of prophetic. You silence is pathetic.

Rex Ray said...

Shawn Madden,

Good for your persistence in fighting ‘city hall’ or the ‘powers that be’.

I think Patterson trying to hide the rape was because it would be a reflection on SEBTS, and thus a reflection on him as president.

Then, as in most cases, the ‘cover up’ became worse than the event.

Wonder if he’s ever thought of “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it”, or “your chickens have come to roost”?

Unknown said...

'refusal to speak out against him was because of fear.'

Don't restrict it to one institution. At a faculty meeting I suggested that the new on line program was not the same quality as seats in the chairs program and got royally chewed out for it by the dean who had, at that same meeting, made a loud joke about the rather unsaved behavior of one of our peers prior to his salvation.

There is a reason that most faculties are docile herds. They enjoy the opportunity to teach, research, and write. They will generally do what they need to to prevent interrupting those activities.

And while most institutional leaders revel in the persona that they speak against this issue or that, they do not enjoy someone disagreeing with or speaking against them, even on minor or legitimate issues. This brings about a culture of acquiescence and silence.

Conversely, most folks want to think the best of those they work with or for and are slow to recognize missteps. I found myself like that. Reaching way back I was good friends with Darrell Gilyard and had a real hard time believing the things that were said of him. My position wasn't help by the fact that Patterson had trouble believing it too and defended him far too long and against heavy evidence.

Anonymous said...

Arrogance shouldn't be the character of any leader of theological institution. Such behaviors as you mentioned Shawn Madden should be present in a faculty meeting. Very sad to hear this story as well.

Patterson and others need to learn this well.....
"the ends never justifies the means"
One veers from the essence of the Gospel when they breach such ethics
Paul leaves the admonishment to Timothy
"to guard your message and your life's habits so as save others"
To do otherwise is injurious to the Body.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't that is

T. Craig Carlton said...

Thank you for your clarity, your conviction, your honesty, and your outspoken demeanor. It is because of individuals such as yourself, that I may be able to continue stomach calling myself a Southern Baptist. You have been, and continue to be, in a position that is influential in the current controversies surrounding the SBC. I very much appreciate your willingness to make a public and “vocal” stand and am grateful to Wade Burleson for his forum (this blog) for opinions to be expressed and his tireless efforts over the last two + decades addressing these issues.

As a graduate of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary (GGBTS) [now Gateway Seminary], I am also grateful to the SBC for helping to financially supplement my education through the Cooperative Program. During my stint with GGBTS, and even before, I always wondered about why it was that the role of women was diminished in our local congregations of the SBC. I have a much better appreciation for answering that question after the recent revelations have come out about PP. For over 30 years I have been uncomfortable with the direction our denomination has progressed because of the “Takeover” aka, Conservative Resurgence. I continue to be alarmed with its directions, but see glimmers of hope that a real awakening could happen, Lord willing. Herschel Hobbs must be rolling around in his grave to see how the SBC has become a creedal denomination. I hope that the SBC will first, get down on its knees and plead to God for repentance. Second, I hope that we will move toward doing away using the BFM 2000, or any BFM, as a creed and require signatures of its employees and an oath of allegiance to its contents. Third, I hope that the SBC will move toward removing labels of complementarian and egalitarian and replace them with what I believe was God’s intent (but I am not God, so I could be wrong) and that is to use men AND women who are called by God and uniquely gifted to offer ministry in the church however is deemed best to utilize those gifts. What Pressler, Patterson, and Criswell did to this denomination can never be undone, but we can repent and begin to move our attention and focus back to keeping our eyes on Jesus, “the Author and Perfector of our faith.”

RB Kuter said...

Why is SEBTS President, Danny Akin, not on top of this?
Why is this a clear-cut case of trespass and theft with criminal charges not being filed?

This sort of corruption, arrogance, blatant abuse of power and position, and refusal to hold the guilty party accountable due to his acquired prestige as the King of the Southern Baptist Convention is exactly what the problem is in our Convention.

Dr. Patterson's behavior has been on the verge of criminal in some past instance. The absurd incident of his counseling rape victims not to report crimes to the police that should have been reported should be considered criminal. It resulted in a sexual predator and rapist not being held accountable and prosecuted. He was not arrested for crimes committed. For crying out loud, the man admitted to "forcing himself" upon the young lady and raping her! Who cares if she invited him into her apartment. What if that was your daughter?!

Now it has gone well beyond that of "being on the verge" of criminal acts and is undeniably so as his agent trespasses onto SEBTS office property and steals 98 boxes of protected, confidential archives. Yet those responsible for the protection of "property ultimately owned by The Southern Baptist Convention", the President and Trustees, are failing miserably in their responsibilities, apparently in order to again protect Paige Patterson.

Danny Akin, the interim President of SWBTS, and the Board of Trustees at SEBTS and SWBTS all refuse to do what should have been done immediately. They should have demanded that ALL materials taken illegally from the SEBTS property be returned in their entirety or that action will be reported as a theft to the police and charges filed. Any decisions as to what can appropriately be moved should happen only after ALL stolen property is returned to SEBTS Archives. Anything less than immediate compliance to that demand should result in criminal charges being filed. That's what churches do when a treasurer embezzles church funds.

Is that unreasonable? Is that "un-Christlike"? Would that not be done if "I" walked into the SEBTS Archives office and took out 98 boxes of materials without having permission?

What is the matter with the leadership in our SBC institutions? Are they held under some sort of trance by Paige Patterson that forbids them doing anything that might threaten what appears to be an unwarranted level of celebrity and prestige?

There is NO hope for our beloved Southern Baptist Convention if there is not a reversal in the mindset of its leadership. God will not honor such a lack of righteousness. He will not bless an institution having the presence of corruption, lying, deceit, and stealing being done at the top levels of leadership.

The biggest and most significant problem we have is not Paige Patterson and his continued disappointing behavior. The biggest problem is those leaders failing to respond to it as they should be expected to do.

Shawn said...

The right questions.

RB Kuter said...

One final comment: I will always be thankful for the shift of the Southern Baptist Convention from its more liberal stance to its focus upon the integrity and priority of Scripture and much of this shift is due to Paige Patterson. What a shame that Paige could not have moved into retirement and emeritus status based upon that legacy entirely. I pray that the pendulum does not swing too far back to the "left".

Unknown said...

RB Kuter

I completely agree that the move back to Scripture was much needed and very much needs to continue and the one to be lauded for that is Paige Patterson. But the recognition of the significance of the work God has given you usually results in more humility and much less hubris.

Ron West said...

Wade, I note that Dr. Madden in his duties as librarian, to the delight of Paige Patterson, was going to set up an “academic draw” in the archives at SEBTS displaying the material of the conservative resurgence featuring the papers of Paige Patterson, Paul Pressler and Russ Kaemerling.

Is Dr. Madden aware that their papers are no more trustworthy or honest than their spoken words have been? Was he going to include the papers testifying that Patterson’s brother-in-law Russ Kaemerling while serving as an IMB trustee had to resign because he was convicted of fraud and sent to prison and could not attend trustee meetings? Did Dr. Madden plan to include the papers of Keith Parks and Russell Dilday in order to give an accurate picture of the dishonesty of these men as they attacked our missionaries and those theological conservatives who had the courage to speak the truth about the conservative resurgence?

For those who respect truth, I am afraid those archives would have been as embarrassing as the obscene displays of stained glass windows at SWBTS built to honor the carnality of the conservative resurgence.

Gary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gary said...

Anonymous said...
Arrogance shouldn't be the character of any leader of theological institution. Such behaviors as you mentioned Shawn Madden should be present in a faculty meeting. Very sad to hear this story as well.

After Seminary (pre-PP, Southwestern) while being a "tentmaker/music leader" I worked for many years at a Federal Research agency and a university Information Technology shop. Both were characterized and modeled by their leaders being "the lead dog of a sled team", and not "the Musher".

How is it that *some/many* of those in SBC Leadership positions became "the Musher"?

It's a rhetorical question to be sure, but when you cede Leadership to those in charge of "cleansing" the leadership, why are you surprised when the result is acquiescence of those under the "Musher", or outright flight?

Many of us have chosen the latter.


Unknown said...


My training is as an historian so I know well your concerns. My position as the librarian overseeing an archival department was to gather as much as I could from whomever I could, whatever I could for whatever researchers came to investigate, glean, and write. As one of our archivists said, 'if I could get Satan's papers I would.' Unfortunately, much of what was there at one time from the pre-CR times was removed to Wake Forest University by members of the previous administration. On more than one occasion I pointed folks in that direction and gave them the contact information of the archivist at the time. We had a good cordial working relationship with them.

As far as Kaemerling, I knew that there was a more than good chance that Patterson retained his correspondence with his brother in law in that regard and highly suspected that those papers were in there somewhere and would have been available for researchers.

A quick note on Paige Patterson in that regard. I was activated for Desert Storm (but went to Norway on a NATO operation). My battery headquarters consisted of many officers with advanced degrees - MAs, JDs, MDiv, me working on my PhD. One of my fellow officers had his MDiv from Princeton and during a discussion with me remarked, 'you conservatives are so closed minded.' I proceeded to name off to him the liberal writers I read as a student at Criswell because Patterson insisted on all of us reading both sides. I then asked him to name the conservative authors he had read while at Princeton. He could name none. I then asked him, 'who is the more closed minded?' Patterson has faults but he has always enjoyed the interaction of both sides and would gladly have assisted us in acquiring any materials the other side would have been willing to deposit in our archives.

Anonymous said...

I am always grateful for anything that moves us closer to a love for and commitment to Scripture. When I attended Southwestern during the time of Dilday's presidency, I made a personal commitment that the Bible was inspired and was all that 2 Timothy 3:16 said about the Scripture. I could have been a better follower of Jesus at times, but since then I could not have been more committed to the truthfulness of Scripture. When I decided because I did not agree with the spirit of Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler not to support what they were doing, I was immediately considered the enemy and suspect theologically. My perspective is the conservative resurgence has been more of a victory for legalism and a boost for the kind of religion Jesus despised. The way women have been treated and discouraged from leadership and ministry, in spite of what the Scripture says, is a great example of that.

RB Kuter said...

Dr. Madden wrote: "But the recognition of the significance of the work God has given you usually results in more humility and much less hubris."

That is the most telling aspect of the character, or lack of, of those involved.

Ron West said...

Dr. Madden, I appreciate your words of explanation. I retired from the military in 1999 but was a retiree recall in 2007 during the Global War of Terrorism so I appreciate your service. I already had my Ph.D. then but I did serve with many talented and well educated soldiers who sacrificed much in order to serve their country.

Patterson may be willing to interact with both sides when it comes to talking or providing materials (I think I could find exceptions to that), but he is more than willing to force out of positions of employment those who will not support his political organization. However, the rewards were good for those who went along with him. If you want to have an accurate account of the harm Paige Patterson and his followers have done to the Southern Baptist Convention, read Wade Burleson book, Hard Ball Religion, or Russell Dilday’s book Columns. I hope they are in the archives.

I served with the International Mission Board for 30 years while Patterson carried out a campaign of slander and intimidation against our missionaries and staff. A few years ago, he called for the firing of 750 missionaries. I hope the archives have an accurate record of his lies. Goodness knows the leaders of the CR would never stand up to defend us, but Wade Burleson had to fight a battle almost single handed on the trustee board.

I attended Southwestern Seminary when it was known for its conservative theological education. Under Patterson’s leadership it was turned into a political shrine to him and his followers. It is barely able to stand under the weight of his ego. Conservative Resurgence leaders allowed this to happen because of their lack of integrity and fear of allowing the world to see the true results of the carnal political activity they have supported.

Ron West said...

RB Kuter and Dr. Madden,

You speak of a shift back to the scripture in the SBC. In the largest SBC entity, the IMB, there was no shift back because we never left. In the largest seminary, SWBTS, there was no shift back because it never left. If Patterson's political organization had been about the Bible, he would have congratulated those two entities on remaining true to scripture but he made his harshest attacks on them precisely because they were theologically conservative and needed to be undermined before he could take them over. It was always about power and control.

Christiane said...

"allowing the world to see the true results of the carnal political activity"

for outsiders (me), the story of the 'takeover' reads like a political coup;
but the strangest and most horrifying thing of all was a 'rationale' that it was necessary to remove Christ as 'the lens' through which all of sacred Scripture was to be viewed

once that was done, 'leaders' could focus on a few verses of Scripture and what they did with those verses was most certainly NOT SEEN through the lens of Our Lord, as is witnessed to by the suffering of innocent people as a result

Anonymous said...

Here is some Scripture. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:15-16, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." Consider the fruit of the CR led by Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler. If Ronald Reagan were still around, he would ask, "Is the SBC better off today than it was before the CR?" Dang.

Anonymous said...

Anon@ 3:07: Reagan would also say "Tear down that window".

Unknown said...

'You speak of a shift back to the scripture in the SBC.'

I came late to the world of the SBC having been a Catholic. One of the things I remember was at DI school in the Marine Corps in 1975 and one of my brother DI Wannabes told me to steer clear of the SBC because they were going liberal. I knew little of the issues at that time and my wife grew up in FBC Dallas so I paid little attention to his words. Later, when I was entering Criswell College I came across an official SBC pamphlet advocating abortion. I was an infant in the ways of the Bible and theology at that time but I knew full well that killing the unborn was an absolute wrong. If nothing else that was one indicator that things need to be changed in a major way and in that regard I appreciate that someone changed course.

Anonymous said...

Where is that SBC pamphlet archived? I would see it

Shawn said...

No longer working as a librarian but found this

RB Kuter said...

John West, I agree. During our 25 years with IMB there was never a hint of veering from the true path of Scripture.

Dr. Madden, having gone to Southeastern in 1984 to 1988 I would agree with you that our Southern Baptist seminaries were far left and there needed to be a strong shift to the right. I hate that the process was so vicious but thankful that we at least are not there today.

My son will be graduating from that school in December and I am so grateful that he has had the benefit of attending it under Danny Akin's guidance and influence. Dr. Akin maintained and improved the integrity of that Seminary's focus on the integrity of Scripture but he was not the one who pulled it out of the mire of those liberal ideologists who had been in control. That was done by his predecessors and as much as I am dismayed by their atrocious conduct, cronyism, arrogance, and corrupt mentality, I am thankful for that aspect of what God has done either through them or in spite of them.

God works through all kinds to achieve His purpose. That's what gives me hope for our SBC.

Ron West said...

Southern Baptist have never been pro-abortion. Before Roe-vs-Wade few had given much thought to it. In 1973, after Roe-v-Wade, as mentioned in this article W. A Criswell of First Baptist Dallas said, "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed." That is pretty much the same position as Obama and the Democratic party. Like many other Southern Baptists with Criswell's position, he learned more and changed his position. This was never an issue in the CR takeover. Most pro or anti CR folks had similar anti-abortion beliefs.

I don't think your DI wannabe knew much about the SBC if in 1975 he said the SBC was going liberal. That was not true. Maybe he was reading some of the propaganda from people like Russell Kaemerling or Jerry Falwell. That was the days of Bold Mission Thrust, which was killed by the CR.

Anonymous said...

During the time period you reference, the Christian life Commission did not advocate for abortion on demand, but did say abortion should not be outlawed in the case of rape, incest or threat to the life of the mother. As the article you reference points out, W.A. Criswell, pastor of FBC Dallas, said not long after the Roe vs Wade decision by the Supreme Court, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” W.A. Criswell was not liberal in his view of the Bible when he said that. Criswell later changed his mind, as many other Baptists did, not because he started believing the Bible, but because modern medical technology informed his understanding of the Bible as it showed the baby alive and moving in the womb.

My point is that the SBC could have changed on the issue of abortion, and I believe would have changed on that issue without Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler tearing everything else in the convention down.

Having said that, I appreciate your perspective and your spirit Shawn. I think it is what is lacking in Paige Patterson. It makes all the difference.

L. Lee said...

I remember listening to a Tape of Foy Valentine in the 80s about abortion (he was head of the Christian Life Commission now the ERLC). There was no way it could be described as pro-life. There was a divergence between the people in the pews and certain (not all) people in the higher reaches of the Southern Baptist convention at that time.

Christiane said...

I don't know from terms like 'pro abortion' or 'pro life',
as they seem more politically-driven and not coming from a spirit of wanting to respect all life as God-given. . . I'm Catholic, and I despise seeing this issue USED by a political party for its own benefit. . . . .

I don't think that the Catholic belief in the sacredness of human life from conception to natural death is much understood by people that USE 'the abortion issue' for political purposes, no.

Unknown said...

You are right and my choice of the word 'prochoice' was wrong.

I am very strongly anti-abortion and anything that does not take a strong stand against it raised my ire.

The article reflects what I remember of the pamphlet and what of it that concerned me then as now when folks use the same verbage is "the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother" which has been used too often in a very broad sense and has resulted in the death of far, far too many unborn children. So too I am not in favor of abortion for any reason other than that life of the mother.

Thanks for the comments and discussion.

Christiane said...

I'm sorry, Dr. Madden

My comment was not intended to be taken personally.
I meant no disrespect to you.

I don't see the 'abortion' issue to be something solved by political means, no.
In aiding new life to be WELCOMED and not aborted, any effective 'solutions' must be compassionate to ALL concerned because a newborn cannot thrive in isolation.

Ron West said...

I leaving for Dallas and the convention this morning so I may not be back on line for a while. I realize I have not sufficiently thanked you for your courage and honesty in standing up and speaking truth despite the possible consequences. May your tribe increase. I always thank you for your service to our country.

Rex Ray said...


I agree the worst change in the BFM 2000 was removing from the BFM 1963: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

You said, “…Christ as ‘the lens’…” I have said on the same subject: “Interpreting the Bible through the eyes of Jesus.”

That is one reason why Texas and Virginia have two Conventions that reject the BFM 2000 and still abide by the BMF 1963.

I believe the ultimate ‘de-thronging’ of Patterson that would hurt him most would be for the SBC to scrap his BFM 2000 with one that lifts up women by the teaching of Jesus.

RB Kuter said...

Ron West: "I don't think your DI wannabe knew much about the SBC if in 1975 he said the SBC was going liberal."

Ron, either your assessment of what is "liberal" and what is not is very much different than mine/ or the SBC seminaries suddenly went "left" between 1975 and 1985/ or you did not personally attend a Southern Baptist seminary in the mid-late 1980s.

The populist SBC publications and stance in the 1980s may have reflected a solid "conservative" (?) approach to the Bible, missions, Bold Mission Thrust, etc. but our SBC seminaries were very tainted with "liberal" ideology and teachings at that time. I attended SEBTS (1984-1987) during Randall Lolley's tenure as President. At the time, I was totally ignorant of SBC politics or that there was an intense battle raging between liberals and conservatives fighting for control at that time. I registered at SEBTS after making visits to Southern and researching New Orleans seminaries and was told by those institutions that all SBC seminaries were basically the same. So I chose SEBTS due to it being more conveniently located to my home.

I was confident that I would find the same "conservative" perspective when I entered seminary that I had been exposed to from SBC literature, Baptist state news, preaching and Bible teaching I received in my SB church, etc., all the years I had been involved in a small Southern Baptist Church. Upon entering SEBTS, I was shocked at finding multiple professors distorting literal Biblical portrayals of miracles, creation, the birth of Christ, and required human conditions being present in order for a person to be saved.

Some of the professor's teaching aides laughed at Biblical miracle accounts as they led study sessions. I directly approached my Old Testament professor following his lecture: "I understood that you were teaching us that Adam and Eve were not really two personalities but only allegorical characters?" Prof: "That's exactly right." A fellow student literally wept during one study session led by a cynical professor's aid saying, "I just don't know what to believe anymore!"

Professors were strongly advocating liberation theology ("It is impossible for a hungry person to make a decision to follow Christ. You have to fill his belly first.") and humanist approaches above the concept of spiritual re-birth being an avenue as a remedy to the depravity of the human sin condition. As mentioned, other accounts gave the testimony that Southern Seminary under Honeycutt was the same as Southeastern.

There was a serious invasion of the liberal teaching of our future SBC leaders going on in our Southern Baptist seminaries and my impression (due to the many long-term liberal professors on staff) that this had been the case for a long time.

Thank God that changes were ultimately made to bring our seminaries to the point where they are today in terms of their conviction regarding the literal credibility of Scripture and "Christ-alone" basis for salvation. Although it is a shame that the "means" used and the character of most of the change agents responsible for this shift from liberalism to conservatism fell very short of maintaining a Godly perspective, method, and personal motive, in my opinion.

Unknown said...


I have not perceived any comments as personal! No need to apologize. I don't think, however, that the advocacy of the Pro-life stand is purposely political in the Evangelical community but a solid, serious stand against a very clear biblical violation Exodus 21.22-25 and the biblical mandate for love and respect for those created 'in the image of God.' Abortion is a very clear violation of 'do not murder.' Interestingly enough, the Exodus mandate is for a collateral damage, semi-accidental abortion whereas modern abortion is very direct and very purposeful.

Speaking of the archives, they did contain notes some notes from professors from the previous administration and the OT Prof. notes I perused were definitely teaching the documentary hypothesis which is a major opening for dismissing the miraculous and the historical.

Tom Parker said...


You said:"Although it is a shame that the "means" used and the character of most of the change agents responsible for this shift from liberalism to conservatism fell very short of maintaining a Godly perspective, method, and personal motive, in my opinion."

How many of these change agents destroyed other people's lives?

IMO if it were possible to compile a list it would be a long one.

What if these "means" had been used against you.

The so called CR will always be for me a complete TAKEOVER of the SBC by IMO the most ungodly and often cruel methods that could ever be used against another Christian brother or sister.

Anonymous said...

The descriptions given about liberalism in the seminaries was not true to any significant degree in the mid to late 80's at Southwestern. I know this to be true from experience. Southwestern was the largest, most respected seminary in the world at the time, and yet, Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler tore it apart while so many watched without saying or doing anything in opposition. I am not secretly in favor of any of the liberal examples which have been given in this thread. I am very much opposed to and grieved by what Paige Patterson did to Southwestern. I also believe for Southwestern to have any hope in the future that long-term professors who were close to Patterson must go off in the Sunset with him. This seems obvious.

RB Kuter said...

Tom Parker, you have no argument from me.

I was not proposing to defend "the means", the people instigating them, or the spirit that was involved. God used Pharoah to accomplish His purpose, Babylon, Cyrus of Persia, even the tsunami in Indonesia and Thailand. God's intent was accomplished. God uses church splits to sometimes accomplish His intent to expand the Kingdom.

I concur that the CR was vicious and Satan was certainly involved. But the end result is that the Southern Baptist Convention's seminaries are more Biblically focused having teachings that stress the integrity and truth of God's Word, the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ as God's only remedy for sin than they ever have had. IMO

Unknown said...

Dr. Patterson departs “riding off into the setting sun.” He rides off to enjoy the same retirement anyone who retires at 75. Unfortunately for him he will not be paid as President Emeritus until his demise nor will he have his room and board provided by SWBTS, also until his demise. No, he will retire into the world like most folks. There are some in his wake who were never granted such an opportunity much less an offer of lifetime room, board, and stipend.

I for one am willing to wave goodbye to God’s Good Cowboy but some questions remain regarding the archives, a topic dating back to 2003 and which I broached in recent days.
Danny Akin, in the Washington Post article (The Washington Post Acts of Faith Southern Baptist seminary drops bombshell: Why Paige Patterson was fired by Sarah Pulliam Bailey June 1 at 8:51 PM) said “he believes files that would help an investigation of the incident were taken from Southeastern when Patterson left. ‘You technically could’ve said they were stolen. I wouldn’t say that. I think they took them unwisely,’ he said. ‘They’re still Dr. Patterson’s, in his mind. He doesn’t want to return them. I’m hopeful and pretty confident that Southwestern’s trustees will see fit to return them.’” The Post further states that “Southwestern has located those documents and is working on returning them to Southeastern.”

The question that lingers is “were they stolen” or did Dr. Patterson have the permission of someone in leadership at SEBTS to take them however “unwisely.”

My contribution to the question is that I wrote Dr. Patterson directly and cced those at the healm of SEBTS each time I wrote. Not once did either Dr. Patterson point to someone at SEBTS who said that he had their permission to remove those documents or has anyone from leadership say to me in all of this, “Dr. Patterson had my permission to do as he has done.” So too Dr. Thompson in his letter on this matter never named the individual on the bridge at SEBTS who allowed him to stear the course that he did.

So, the answer to the question Dr. Akins presented hinges on the naming of an individual in Stealey Hall who authorized the removal of the boxes that now reside at SWBTS. A peripheral question would be, why was it done after hours and why was no one in The Library informed of the operation?

Ron West said...

RB Kuter,,

We are probably on the same page as far as liberalism at SEBTS. I have heard similar things about SEBTS and Southern. I do not feel you can extrapolate your experiences at SEBTS to all seminaries. That was not the case at SWBTS. I was at SWBTS off and on from the late 70s through the early 90s until Russell Dilday was fired. You have to remember the 70s were a time of great turmoil and some of that filtered into the seminaries.

No SBC entity I was associated with experienced a Conservative Resurgence. My Church, state convention, Baptist college, Baptist seminary and the IMB where I served were all solidly theologically conservative but they were all harmed by Paige Patterson and his political organization.

When you say the SBC returned to the scripture, you need to remember that the SBC is more than one or two seminaries. It is made of churches, associations, state conventions, two mission boards and much more. You were not around during the worst days of the CR at the FMB/IMB when Paige Patterson was going up and down the halls of the IMB plotting how to get rid of Keith Parks.

If the Patterson-Pressler political organization had never happened there would have been a correction that would have been made with out the carnal political activity that marked the CR. Conservative leaders like Keith Parks and Russell Dilday and many pastors would have to seen to it. If the CR had been about theology, it would have united us. It wasn't. That is why we have the division that has marked the SBC since Pressler and Patterson started their crusade.

Did you serve with the IMB? Do you think Patterson, Ron Wilson and other trustees were seeking to make the IMB more conservative or was it for power and control.

Tom Parker said...

RB:"I concur that the CR was vicious and Satan was certainly involved. But the end result is that the Southern Baptist Convention's seminaries are more Biblically focused having teachings that stress the integrity and truth of God's Word, the exclusiveness of Jesus Christ as God's only remedy for sin than they ever have had. IMO.

Your first sentence I can agree with, but not the 2nd. The 6 seminaries did not have to have 100% Fundamentalist professors, workers, etc. You will get no argument with me that those that were liberal needed to be fired, but what was deemed to be liberal other than these was in the eyes of the beholder. You see if you believed the wrong way about women in the ministry you were deemed liberal.

Also you say the seminaries were better but the SBC was fragmented all to pieces--I just can not see God involved in that.

RB Kuter said...

Ron and Tom,
I believe we are all in agreement on these matters. I did know that Southwestern stood out as one seminary with probably the most integrity under Dilday during those days prior to the take-over.

I also concur that it should not have been necessary to totally level the seminary faculties as Hitler leveled Poland during his invasion. Even at Southeastern, we had some amazing professors who my wife and I thought were super-gifted by God and were a joy to study under. They all were collateral damage and forced out during the entire "cleansing" process done by Paige and Presslerites. EVERYONE was replaced.

Yes, I served with the FMB beginning in 1988 through 2014. Keith Parks appointed my wife and me. He was a fantastic President and he was another who was wasted by the power players that overran the Convention institutions, including the Sunday School Board, Home Mission Board, and Baptist Book Store. Everything was razed to the ground.

So I recognize the ugliness of it all. My understanding was that those who were in power prior to the take-over did not offer any concessions to those demanding that the liberalists be expunged from those seminaries who did have them; hence, the overall take-over. I do not know if that was the case or not. I was not involved in ANY of the politics during that time I was at the seminary and when I was on the field in Africa and Thailand. I desperately tried to stay focus on my God-assignment of telling people about Jesus and being used to expand the Kingdom with new church plants when possible. I discovered that if I stayed focused on Jesus the noise and ugliness of the political Convention war did not interfere with what God led me to do on the field.

Still, I had numerous colleagues who were so emotionally, spiritually, mentally damaged by the evil going on that they could no longer stand being associated with any of the mess going on and left FMB/IMB. We lost some amazing missionaries during that time, not because they were forced out, but because they were so hurt by what Satan was doing in the Convention. More casualties of an ugly war being fought between professing followers of Jesus.

Unknown said...

The interesting thing at SEBTS was that the change over of the faculty was largely due to the old crew retiring or resigning, seemingly in an effort to scuttle the ship prior to Patterson arriving. The flip side is that seven profs from Criswell college joined him at SEBTS transforming a rather theologically and biblically liberal leaning faculty to a much more conservative one.

Ron West said...

I supported the CR in the rare instance when its actions had anything to do with making our seminaries more conservative theologically or removing professors who should not have been teaching there. I cannot understand those leaders who say they supporting making our convention more theologically conservative but were too cowardly to oppose the attacks on theological conservatives at the IMB and SWBTS. Wade Burleson deserves much credit for his work as a trustee of the IMB. That is where he earned the ire of Paige Patterson and his followers.
Shawn, one of those who has followed Patterson around from Criswell to SEBTS to SWBTS is Keith Eitel. I would not consider his work at SEBTS making it more theologically conservative. He was being rewarded for being Patterson's attack dog against the IMB. His book Paradigm Wars was an attack on Jerry Rankin, Avery Willis and the missionaries of the IMB. Were the others from Criswell part of this strategy? Were they at Criswell when Patterson was recommending Darryl Gilyard to churches? I hardly call that making SEBTS more conservative.

Ron West said...

Shawn, If you were there at the time, I would like to have an explanation from someone not involved in the car deal of what happened at SEBTS in this instance.
Is this all a misunderstanding? Was there something going on during Patterson's time that Akin was covering up? Was Duesing part of Patterson's entourage from Criswell? I honestly do not understand all the goings on here.

Tom Parker said...

Ron West--only Wade and a few others, including yourself have stood up against PP over the years. These guys acting like they stand against him now do not hold much credibility IMO.

Unknown said...


As far as I remember Keith Eitel was the only one strategizing with Patterson against the IMB at that time. Keith was/is my friend but I remember him showing me the letter he was writing and thinking, 'when will these guys say that the noose is tight enough?'

As far as the car, the administrative building at SEBTS is Stealey Hall. In the Marine Corps we called such a place the 'head shed.' Stealey was very close with its actions so few people outside of it knew much. I remember when it made it to the News and Observer (N&O, Raleigh Paper) that we not in the Head Shed said that something was very hinky about the whole thing. David Armstrong was the one who brought it to light and is the one who knows the most about it. I remember not being surprised that such a thing was pulled.

There is an oligarchy in the SBC that act more like CEO's rather than Shepherds and are more apt to hurt than heal. Much like Patterson, the others act with impunity with little regard for fair play or collegiality. There is a lot of 'I love you as a brother' but that is too often followed by some serious fratricide , even against those who were considered close and members of the inner circle like C.B. Scott.

Ron West said...

Shawn, thank you for your thoughts.

Rex Ray said...

Keith Parks argued the glue that held Baptists together was MISSIONS.

His opponents said NO, it was DOCTRINE, and the ‘powers’ said it’s ‘our-way or the highway’.