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Patterson leaving seminary presidency

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Creative Commons

Patterson leaving seminary presidency

Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, are shuffling Paige Patterson from the role of president to president emeritus following calls for his removal over how he counseled a domestic violence victim. The board of trustees announced the move Wednesday, saying they met for 13 hours to discuss the leadership change. As president emeritus, Patterson will receive compensation and an on-campus residence, according to the board’s statement. He and his wife will serve as the first theologians-in-residence at the soon-to-open Baptist Heritage Center at the school. The board also said it passed a motion affirming, “1) evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse, 2) the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse.” Last month, remarks Patterson made 18 years ago about domestic violence and divorce circulated widely on social media. Patterson said he counseled a woman who was being abused not to seek a divorce. More than 3,000 people signed an online letter from Southern Baptist women expressing a lack of faith in Patterson’s leadership. He later asked forgiveness for “the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been,” adding, “to all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches.” On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Patterson in 2003, when he was president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., allegedly counseled a female student who said she was raped not to report it to police. The seminary placed the woman on probation for two years for inappropriate behavior. The woman, whom the Post did not identify by name, said she decided to come forward after reading about the concerns other evangelical women raised about Patterson. Patterson has not yet spoken publicly about the Post report or the change in his status at the seminary.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is WORLD’s executive editor for news. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute, the Missouri School of Journalism, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Lynde resides with her family in Wichita, Kan.


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