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Southern Baptist Seminary President Removed Amid Controversy

  • Scott Slayton Contributor
  • Updated May 23, 2018
Southern Baptist Seminary President Removed Amid Controversy

The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX voted to remove Paige Patterson from his role as President and made him President Emeritus and theologian-in-residence during a 13-hour meeting that stretched into the early hours of Wednesday morning. The meeting came about because of recently surfaced audio from a 2000 interview in which Patterson encouraged a wife to go back to her abusive husband and pray for him and 2014 remarks in which he commented on the physical appearance of a 16-year-old girl during a sermon. 

New allegations against Patterson also appeared in The Washington Post hours before the meeting began. A woman who had been a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina alleged that she was raped by another student there in 2003. She reported the assault to the administration and then was called in to meet with Patterson, who was President there at the time, and asked to recount what happened in detail to him and another four or five men. Patterson discouraged her from going to the authorities and told her to forgive her assailant. A few days later, she received a letter informing her that she was on probation, presumably because she allowed a male into her apartment, which was against Seminary rules. Because of privacy issues, the victim does not know if her assailant received any discipline. 

During the 13-hour discussion, the board approved a resolution stating that evidence existed which showed that Patterson did comply with reporting laws and that the Seminary “stands against all forms of abuse.” Patterson’s new role as President Emeritus includes compensation and he will still be allowed to move into a residence on campus at the soon to be completed Baptist Heritage Center.

Patterson, one of the architects of the Southern Baptist Convention’s “Conservative Resurgence,” remains slated to give the sermon at the Convention’s Annual Meeting in Dallas in June. 

Trustees also appointed Dr, Jeffrey Bingham, Dean of the School of Theology, to serve as Interim President during the search for a new President. In addition, the board stated they found no wrongdoing in the personnel file of Nathan Montgomery, a PhD and Seminary employee who lost his job for sharing an article on Twitter that called for Patterson to step down. 


Photo courtesy: Religion News Service

Publication date: May 23, 2018