New American Commentary may require re-write


May 20, 2018

Dr. Thom Rainer
Lifeway Christian Resources
One Lifeway Plaza
Nashville, TN  37234

My sweet brother:

Recent ecclesiological and denominational developments within the Southern Baptist Convention have garnered renewed interest in the writings of Leighton Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX.  I confess that that these developments have prompted me – like many others – to lay aside weightier, sophisticated exegetical analyses to review again those published Pattersonian ponderings that remain in print.

One such volume, Revelation: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture, was published as part of the New American Commentary series by Broadman & Holman, an imprint of Lifeway Christian Resources where you now serve as president. In this book, Patterson consistently employs the perspective of a pretributional futurist.  That is, Patterson advocates the view that the bulk of the apocalyptic narrative concerns events of the so-called seven year Great Tribulation, which immediately succeeds the spontaneous terrestrial departure of the redeemed, both living and dead.

Notwithstanding the fact that peer reviews have panned Patterson’s writing style as “melodramatic” and “verbose,”[1]even noting that he often seems “unaware of key interpretive possibilities and key inconsistencies in his own positions,”[2]Patterson does pay consistent and special attention to “the radiant woman” referenced in the twelfth chapter.[3]

That said, I write to ask that you consider affording Patterson the opportunity to revise and append the original text of his commentary – published in 2012 – in light of relevant events that may have prompted his reconsideration of the timing and immediate participants in the Great Tribulation. In fact, the financial and enrollment meltdown of his own seminary, the falling away of formerly loyal faculty, staff, students and trustees, and the advent of empowered women who now call for his administrative defenestration in mass numbers could afford Patterson a new perspective on his apocalyptic prognosis that warrants a thorough re-write.

Moreover, recently purchased and ostensibly fraudulent Dead Sea Scrolls – personally authenticated by Patterson’s wife, Dorothy (D.Min. Luther Rice; Th.D. in Biblical Womanhood, University of South Africa) – may contain fragmentary data, which though serving negligible academic benefit to the seminary, nevertheless may promise to strengthen the evidently anemic textual engagement of Patterson’s contribution to the New American Commentary series.

Until He Comes,

Benjamin S. Cole



[3]For more examples of Patterson’s commentary on women, see “Patterson speaks inappropriately about a 16 year old girl,” accessed at