The board of trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has released a statement announcing that Paige Patterson would be removed as the school’s president. The move comes weeks after dozens of prominent leaders and thousands of concerned Christians called for the school to make the move. However, he will still be compensated by the school and take a new position there.
Comments previously made by Patterson, who has held several high-level positions within the Southern Baptist denomination, recently resurfaced in which he called for women in abusive relationships to stay with their husbands. He also made inappropriate comments about the body of a 16-year-old girl in his congregation. He later addressed and tried to clarify the comments.
This week, another woman told The Washington Post that while she was a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary several years ago during Patterson’s presidency, she was raped by another student. After telling the administration, “Patterson wanted to know every detail of the rape.” He then told her not to report the crime to the police and to forgive her rapist.
In the statement, the school said (in part):
After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary. The board passed a motion through a majority vote to appoint Dr. Patterson as President Emeritus with compensation, effective immediately, which he accepted.
In addition, the board passed a motion to affirm the trustees’ September 2017 offer for Dr. and Mrs. Patterson to live on campus as the first theologians-in-residence at the Baptist Heritage Center, scheduled to be completed in July 2018.
The School of Theology’s dean, D. Jeffrey Bingham, has been offered the job of interim president.