BREAKING: Patterson declines separation agreement; more money demanded?

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The following email just went out to the Southwestern Community. 

Dear Friends of Southwestern,

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). Because of the grace and purposes of God, the prayers and support of so many like you, and the hard work of our seminary leadership, the seminary is moving forward to continue fulfilling the core mission of training men and women for ministry service and leadership. Thankfully, God has provided our seminary with superb and timely leadership in our Interim President, Dr. Bingham. God has also enabled our board of trustees to come together in unity for the sake of supporting the continued fulfillment of SWBTS’s core mission. 

As you likely know, the full board of trustees recently ratified the actions of the executive committee taken since the May 22, 2018 full board meeting. Thirty of the thirty-four trustees voted for this ratification, and every trustee stands unified in a desire to move forward in support of the seminary and the fulfillment of its core mission. We hope and pray that you will be able to join us in that decision to continue our united support of our seminary. 

Some of you may have additional questions regarding the full board’s ratification of the actions of the executive committee. Those are important matters, particularly as it relates to Dr. Patterson’s transition from SWBTS. As much as we strive to provide the highest possible level of clarity in all of our board decisions, the challenges of recent circumstances required some degree of confidentiality. Even with the necessary confidentiality, we hope that the following general information related to the decision to ratify the actions of the executive committee might offer a better understanding of some of the steps our board has taken. 

Foremost, despite our present differences, the board of trustees is grateful for both Dr. and Mrs. Patterson’s service to SWBTS over the last fifteen years. We, as have all Southern Baptists, benefited from the Pattersons’ ministry over these many years. We are grateful for his longstanding dedication and commitment to serve the Southern Baptist Convention in its mission to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every person in the world and to make disciples of all the nations by leading the way for the conservative resurgence. We have no doubt that Dr. and Mrs. Patterson will move forward and find opportunities to faithfully serve the Lord and continue to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Further, we are grateful that Dr. Patterson and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary agreed to resolve their dispute over certain documents from Dr. Patterson’s tenure at that seminary.

In order to assist Dr. and Mrs. Patterson in moving forward, the executive committee acted to continue providing Dr. Patterson with housing, compensation and benefits until September 15, 2018, when they were able to move from Southwestern’s campus housing at Pecan Manor. In August, Dr. Patterson declined a separation agreement offered by the seminary, which would have provided some additional salary and benefits to assist in his transition. Even though Dr. Patterson declined the separation agreement, the executive committee pursued a resolution that it felt represented the full board’s desire to further assist Dr. and Mrs. Patterson during their transition, even beyond September 15. While we cannot disclose the details of all the efforts and actions to assist Dr. Patterson, we want you to know that we very much attempted to help them during their transition. We hope that these efforts in some way represent the hearts of grace and concern that we, and many of you, have rightly sought to display through this challenge.

The circumstances over the last several months have been trying for all involved, from sadness to pain to frustration and to discouragement. Even still, it is our sincere prayer that the steps forward for both Dr. Patterson and SWBTS, taken in the hope and grace of Jesus Christ, will provide needed comfort and encouragement for all.

At this point, the best response for us all is to trust the Lord by taking steps forward in the grace and mercy of the Lord, as we all need God’s grace and mercy, particularly in times such as these. Our prayer is that your steps forward in God’s grace and mercy will allow for your continued support of SWBTS’s fulfillment of its core mission: to train God-called men and women to fulfill their ministries and fully engage in reaching the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 


Kevin Ueckert

Chairman, Board of Trustees, SWBTS