SWBTS Trustees Say Patterson’s Resignation Was for the Benefit of the Seminary

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees say their decision to “move in the direction of new leadership” by making Paige Patterson president emeritus effective immediately was intended “for the benefit of the future mission of the seminary.” Patterson’s new role will come “with compensation” and was approved by a “majority vote.”

Patterson released a statement today (May 23) to Baptist Press in response to the trustee’s decision.

“‘The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord,'” he said quoting from Job 1:20. “I am grateful for our Southern Baptist churches, their love and their prayers. The future of Southwestern Seminary is bright. The best days lie ahead. God is gracious to the Pattersons. We will exit this world someday still witnessing to the lost about our amazing Savior.”

The trustees’ statement — released online around 4 a.m. today following a 13-hour special-called meeting in executive session — expressed gratefulness for Patterson’s contributions to the seminary as president since 2003 and affirmed a previous decision to allow Patterson and his wife Dorothy to continue to live at the Fort Worth, Texas, campus as “theologians in residence at the Baptist Heritage Center.”

As the executive session stretched past 3 a.m., about two dozen people — including seminary administrators, media and friends and family of the Pattersons — awaited trustees’ decision outside the meeting room in Southwestern’s Riley Center. At midnight, the lights automatically dimmed in the waiting area but trustees exiting the room for breaks indicated they didn’t know how much longer the meeting would last.
Patterson appeared to join trustees for just over two and a half hours of the executive session, which was convened to discuss controversy surrounding statements Patterson has made on domestic abuse and the physical appearance of women.

The full text of the Southwestern trustees’ statement is printed below.

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Statement Regarding Dr. Paige Patterson

May 23, 2018

The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) board of trustees is grateful for the contributions Dr. and Mrs. Paige Patterson have made since his presidency began in 2003. Further, we honor his longstanding dedication and commitment to serving the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in its mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations by leading the way for the conservative resurgence.

A special meeting of the SWBTS Board was held on May 22 to discuss our seminary, its future and our responsibility as trustees to ensure SWBTS is in the best position possible to fulfill our mission to biblically educate God-called men and women.

After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary.

The board passed a motion through a majority vote to appoint Dr. Patterson as President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted. In addition, the board passed a motion to affirm the trustees’ September 2017 offer for Dr. and Mrs. Patterson to live on campus as the first theologians-in-residence at the Baptist Heritage Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2018.

The board also voted to appoint Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham, dean of the School of Theology, to the position of interim president, pending his acceptance. Further, a special committee of the trustees was formed to work out all the details of leadership transition for Drs. Patterson and Bingham.

Additionally, the board affirmed a motion stating 1) evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse, 2) the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse and 3) the board has not found evidence of misconduct in Nathan Montgomery’s employment file.

As we begin the process of ushering in a new season of leadership, SWBTS remains steadfast in its calling to assist the churches of the SBC by biblically educating God-called men and women for ministries that fulfill the Great Commission and glorify God.

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Source: Baptist Press