Inauguration of Southwestern Seminary's 8th President

( [email protected] ) Oct 23, 2003 11:39 AM EDT

On Oct. 21, Paige Patterson, who was elected as president on June 24, was officially inaugurated as the eight president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). The ceremony took place at Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas with an estimate of 1000 attendants.

Many leaders of Southern Baptist across the country attended the inauguration to congratulate Paige Patterson.

During his inaugural remarks, Paige Patterson expressed strong reaffirmation of the doctrines set by the founders of SBTS:

"We are headed to a full and thorough reaffirmation of the doctrine of B.H. Carroll and the founders of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."

During the inauguration, Patterson received much admonition from the leaders, such as SBC Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins, regarding where the seminary should be centered upon – the same convictions and the doctrines of B.H. Carroll and the founders of SBTS.

Patterson said, "We are headed to the reaffirmation of the centrality and of the incarnation of the atonement of Christ as the essential bedrock of Christianity."

The new president emphasized reaffirmation of the Anabaptist reformation principles of a church of “twice-born” men and women who stand as witness of their faith through baptism by immersion and a disciplined church membership, as well as the sanctity of marriage and the home, preservation of appropriate gender relationships in the home and church.

He said, the teaching of "missionary and evangelistic zeal that so characterized Lee Scarborough, B.H. Carroll, George W. Truett and other founders of the institution" will be advocated to the "best of our ability."

He continued reaffirm religious liberty and the absolute autonomy of every local church, the responsibility of the faculty in producing literature for both the church and the academy, and the faculty’s determination for its three schools to honorary of Christ. He also promised of keeping highest standards of morality and ethics for the faculty and students and maintaining Baptist or Anabaptist heritage.

"We shall, in the program of church music, reaffirm our determination to have music that honors Christ, avoiding both high church formalism and the embrace of worldly styles and emphases in church music," Patterson said.

"We shall attempt in our program of Christian education to have a cutting-edge program that will instruct people in how best to effectively teach the Bible, Christian witnessing, Baptist history and Baptist missions.

"We shall, by the grace of God, teach the clear, unadulterated, exciting exposition of God's word as the appropriate and desperately needed method of preaching in our day. We shall continue to foster a program of compassionate counseling of the hurting and confused which recognizes the sufficiency of the Scriptures in all aspects of life," he said.

"We will labor in the constant hope and confidence of the return of Christ at the end of the age for his church," Patterson said, "and above all else, we shall seek the approval of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church. This, my brothers and sisters, is a tall commitment, but it is one which we must keep for the sake of Southwestern Seminary, but more especially for the sake of the 6.5 billion lost people on the face of the globe."

Patterson received his bachelor's of arts degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and Th.M. and Th.D. degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

After serving as pastor to churches in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, Patterson became president of the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies, now Criswell College in Dallas. He left Criswell College for Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, in October 1992. After serving for 11 years there, he became the president of Southwestern. Followed by Duke McCall who served at both New Orleans and Southern seminaries, Patterson became a Southern Baptist statesman to serve as president of two SBC seminaries.

Patterson is a third-generation Southern Baptist preacher. His father T.A. Patterson served as the executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He was ordained at First Baptist Church in Beaumont, Texas, at age 16.

Patterson was born in Texas, into a family whose father and grandfather were Southern Baptist preachers. His father T.A. Patterson was ordained at First Baptist Church in Beaumont and served as the executive director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas.