Digging the archives…

Just another article I’ve run across in research for my book. I was challenged a few months back by SEBTS Professor Brad Reynolds for alleging in an earlier post that Paige Patterson had been “fired” from Criswell College.

Today, in a file I was packing, I found this article:

Patterson reportedly dismissed. Dean says other officials of Criswell College fired
By Helen Parmley, Religion Editor of The Dallas Morning News
Published: NOVEMBER 1, 1991

The Rev. Paige Patterson, one of the architects of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, has been dismissed as president of Criswell College, the college’s dean of students said Thursday. The dean, the Rev. Danny Akin, told students Thursday that the Dallas school’s board of trustees met in an executive session Monday night and “dismissed all the school’s administrators, including Dr. Patterson.’ The college will remain under fundamentalist control.

Dr. Patterson, 49, was out of town and unavailable for comment Thursday, and members of the college’s board did not return phone calls.

Trustees have promised not to say anything publicly about the dismissal until Dr. Patterson announces his plans Monday, said a source close to the college.

Officials knowledgeable about Criswell College say that his dismissal as president is a result of his devoting too much time and energy to denominational politics at the college’s expense. “That’s exactly what happened,’ said one trustee who asked not to be identified.

The reason for the other administrators’ dismissals was unclear.

Mr. Akin said he was told by a trustee that Dr. Patterson is “negotiating’ his future position with the college. “The school is devastated,’ Mr. Akin said. “It’s been traumatic, hurtful and confusing for our school, which is absolutely behind Dr. Patterson.’

The dean said he asked a trustee whether the board’s decision was “based on anything illegal, immoral or unethical in nature.’ ”

He said, “Absolutely not,’ ‘ Mr. Akin said. “It’s all so unbelievable. My love and respect for him (Dr. Patterson) is even greater than before. He has handled this whole thing in such a gracious manner.’

Beginning in 1979, Dr. Patterson and state District Judge Paul Pressler of Houston led a successful movement for a fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention.

They have orchestrated the election of the denomination’s presidents for the last 11 years. And through appointments, the fundamentalists have won control of the denomination’s seminaries, agencies and commissions.

Dr. Patterson has been a visible and controversial spokesman for the fundamentalist movement within the 14.9 million-member Southern Baptist Convention.

Some officials who wanted him dismissed as president of Criswell College supported the takeover of the convention.

Earlier this year, the Rev. W.A. Criswell, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church and founder of the college, was elevated to senior pastor of the church. He also became chancellor of the school, which First Baptist owns, and his primary job now is to develop the college’s endowment.

Criswell College was founded in 1970 as Criswell Bible Institute.

The following year, the Rev. H. Leo Eddleman became president, a position he held until 1975, when trustees elected Dr. Patterson to succeed him.

The school is accredited for undergraduate and graduate degrees in biblical studies, evangelism, counseling and music. It has 350 students, an enrollment that, like those of other church schools, is down a little from last year. The school also owns religious radio station KCBI-FM (90.9).

After years of crowding at its downtown location near First Baptist Church, Criswell College last year bought Gaston Avenue Baptist Church, a landmark near Baylor University Medical Center.

After extensive remodeling to provide classrooms, dormitory space, a library and offices, the school completed its move this year.

3 thoughts on “Digging the archives…

  1. Ben,

    What happened to Dr. Patterson at Criswell was wrong. Of course, many thing that have happened over the last thirty years have been wrong. I often wonder, these days, if it will ever stop. Will we ever cease to “feast” on each other. Many of us have been cannibals for far too long. I kinda have a longing to eat more from the bounty of the Lord’s table for a change.

    You are my friend, Ben. I know you are an honest man. In my heart of hearts I know you are truly an honest man. Therefore, I ask you to remember the good things, also, as you write that book. I am counting on that, Ben. I am really counting on that.


  2. Ben,

    Let me make something very clear in case someone gets the wrong idea.

    I know you have told the truth in all you have exposed in your various posts. I also know you have been very merciful with many things. For that, I say, thank you. I’am just asking you to remember the good things when you write the book.


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