In lieu of apparent Pattersonian presbyopia


On February 26th, I sent a letter via certified mail to the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I confirmed that it was received with the United Postal Service. It has now been two months since I sent this original correspondence, and I have not received a response. Paige Patterson, a man with no small epistolary compulsion as any denominational executive can attest, must not have been able to read my standard font. Knowing that he reads this blog, therefore, and as a courtesy to both Dorothy and him, I am reposting the text of that letter with a more accommodating font:

February 26, 2018

Rev. Paige Patterson
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
2001 W. Seminary Dr.
Fort Worth, TX 76115

Rev. Patterson:

On August 29, 2006, you ordered seminary personnel to remove from the online chapel archives a sermon by Rev. William Dwight McKissic, then a seminary trustee elected by the Southern Baptist Convention. This decision prevented the free distribution of Rev. McKissic’s sermon, and to date it remains inaccessible on Southwestern Seminary’s website.

At the time, you stated that your decision to censor Rev. McKissic’s sermon was because he had criticized a “sister” SBC institution, namely the controversial policy on private prayer language adopted by the trustees of the International Mission Board (IMB) in November 2005. That policy, as you may know, was reversed in the May 2015 meeting of the IMB trustees.

No longer are potential Southern Baptist missionary candidates who believe in the post-Apostolic continuation of the so-called “sign gifts” and practice the same in their private devotional lives precluded prima facie from appointed service on foreign mission fields. This means, of course, that Rev. McKissic’s sermon – while potentially objectionable to you personally despite your own published commentary on the matter – no longer contains any criticism of existing IMB policy. The stated basis for your ongoing censorship of his sermon, therefore, is no longer relevant or valid.

I write to request that in light of this alteration of IMB policy – without need to mention the SBC’s own affirmation of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message as the “only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs . . . sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the convention” – you reverse your 2006 decision to censor Rev. McKissic’s sermon. In so doing, you will reinforce a commitment to the preservation of Baptist history evident in Southwestern’s decision to open a Baptist Heritage Center on campus later this year.

Until then,
Benjamin S. Cole

CC:           Rev. Wm. Dwight McKissic

The day Paige Patterson auctioned Solomon’s Temple


Back in 2003, when Paige Patterson dedicated the J. Dalton Havard campus of Southwestern Seminary as the school’s newly elected president, Baptist Press reported that “Patterson likened the dedication of the facility to Solomon’s dedication of the temple he built and his father, David, envisioned.”

The 8.5 acre Houston campus was valued at $5.7 million at the time it was deeded to Southwestern.

Not long after that ceremonious Solomonic dedication, Patterson named J. Denny Autry, the former chairman of the presidential search committee that brought him to Southwestern Seminary, as the resident dean of the Houston campus. Though he denied it at the time, Autry was widely suspected among a number of Southwestern trustees who forced out Ken Hemphill over concerns about declining enrollment.

Fun fact: Southwestern reported FTE enrollment at the time of Hemphill’s departure at 2,381. Total FTE enrollment under Patterson last year was 1,249.

At its inaugural graduation ceremony, the Havard campus conferred degrees on 10 students. By 2006, there were 28 graduates. In 2008, during a ceremony in which Patterson likened the Houston campus’s significance to the birthplace of the Texas revolution, the campus saw 18 graduates. Last year, the Havard campus graduated 17 master’s students and 2 undergraduates.

Despite the strategic significance Patterson has placed on the Houston campus, Southwestern trustees voted to sell the multi-million dollar property earlier this month.

This is curious, especially given that the Houston property went on sale in 2014 for $3.9 million.  Apparently it didn’t sell at the time, but who authorized the listing if the trustees have only recently voted to sell it?

And of course, Southern Baptists are left wondering just how many bogus Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Dorothy Patterson could buy with that kind of money?

King Solomon must be weeping today.