This letter was sent via certified mail to Paige Patterson more than 11 years ago. A response was never received.
February 7, 2007
Dr. Paige Patterson
Office of the President
PO BOX 22000
Fort Worth, TX 76122
This letter is as difficult to write as it will be to read. You and I alone know the conflicts that have separated us, and it is certain that you are as frustrated by my actions as I have been by yours. I hold no hope that this letter will repair the personal breach that has severed our reciprocal affections, though I wish you to know that underneath my harshest criticisms there is a love for you that eternity will reveal.
I will not use the occasion of this personal letter to enumerate my concerns regarding your leadership at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, or your previous administration at Southeastern. My public critique of your public behavior has been sufficient to apprise you of these concerns. Rather, I intend to notify you of the presence of other matters not yet revealed publicly and the evidentiary preponderance of which will warrant investigation into your administration of two Southern Baptist seminaries. This investigation will either be conducted by the trustees of those respective institutions and result in a full report to the convention, or will be conducted by secular media with a report to the world.
Specifically, I will be requesting that the boards of trustees of Southwestern and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminaries look into possible misappropriation of funds, sufficient evidence of which I have obtained, and that occurred under your immediate supervision at both schools. I will also be requesting an investigation into negligent fiscal mismanagement of Cooperative Program and other seminary resources.
Paige, you have done much to advance the cause of Christ. You have contended earnestly for the faith, and fought the good fight of scriptural authority. Why you would have succumbed to the love of money — as it appears you have — grieves my soul. That you have proven Lord Acton’s thesis about the corrupting influence of absolute power surprises no student of history, but it shocks those who have known you most intimately through the years.
I am pleading with you, Paige. Desist from this present course that you have chosen. Allow your legacy in Southern Baptist life to go untarnished by closing chapters of shame. Come clean with Southern Baptists about the questionable way you have “dwelled in paneled houses while the house of God lies in ruins.” If you would assume the role of retired statesman rather than the persistent eccentricities of an aging warrior, you will preserve our convention the embarrassment of a prolonged inquiry into your leadership that will only weaken your limbs for battles more nobly fought and honorably won. God may not choose sides between us, but he will never regard your irresponsible stewardship of the widow’s mite.
Should you wish to respond, I will wait fourteen days to receive that response. After that, I will copy you on all correspondence to convention trustees.
Benjamin S. Cole