A Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) trustee has finally revealed (at the SBC, Dallas) why the Executive Committee (EC) rescinded the action of the full body of trustees and voted to fire Dr. Paige Patterson. It is alleged he failed to attend some meetings, worked against a trustee, and Patterson’s lawyer questioned the previous decision of the trustees. While grateful for the explanation, serious concerns remain.
1. The EC acted in haste. Many such decisions take weeks or months. Patience and slow deliberation is often wise.
2. They made this decision when Paige Patterson was out of the country preaching, and gave him no chance to defend himself. We should always be willing to hear the other side (Proverbs 18:17; Matthew 18).
3. This decision to fire Patterson appears to be an angry reaction to what they consider his provocation.
4. All trustees are not in agreement with this verdict, and likely, more trustees will come to regret this hasty, harsh ruling.
5. The 12-member EC rescinded the decision of the full body of 40 trustees. A decision made only one week before.
6. Some feel this gives the appearance that since the full body of trustees would not fire Patterson, the EC met later to do so.
7. This decision sets a terrible precedent. Firing an entity leader should be an absolute last resort. Also, should a precedent be set that an EC can nullify a decision of the full board?
8. The complaints of the EC are pretty well nonexistent if Dr. Patterson is President Emeritus rather than President. The alleged charge that he missed trustee meetings, no longer matters. Why not let past disagreements remain in the past?
9. Patterson’s attorney questioning the decision of the Trustees may have simply been for the sake of clarification. Regardless, the Trustees can pretty well do what they want, as long as they follow their guidelines. They do not have to be concerned with questions from a lawyer; just be transparent, answer the concerns, and move on.
10. There is the danger of appearing to bow to more extreme elements of the MeToo movement and social media. Whatever their intentions, in the final analysis, the EC did exactly what the more extreme elements of the MeToo movement called for. Despite the social media accusations, evidence now shows Paige Patterson followed proper procedure in dealing with sexual assault.
11. This action of the EC seems to have been done with malice and no grace. Some have said the secular world treats their employees better. Please allow Paige and Dorothy Patterson to retire with dignity.
12. Southwestern should keep the promises made to Paige and Dorothy Patterson in the previous, full trustee meeting.
Paige Patterson is a preacher, pastor, evangelist, scholar, author, educator. He and Dorothy have lived exemplary moral lives. At great sacrifice, he was one of the leaders in the fight for inerrancy of Scripture in the SBC Conservative Resurgence. He is not perfect, he can rub people the wrong way, but he certainly deserves better than being unceremoniously kicked out of SWBTS where he has faithfully served 15 years.
Paige Patterson and his family have been devastated. He has apologized for improper statements. He has been humbled. Perhaps it is now time for some trustees to humble themselves, and rescind the rushed decision of the SWBTS Executive Committee.
PS – In my humble opinion, more people should be publicly speaking up for Paige Patterson.
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor; June 28, AD 2018.
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Donor Letter to SWBTS Trusteeshttps://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4568645-Southwestern-Letter.html
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