A Hill On Which To Live

Earlier this week, it was my pleasure to visit the campus of Southwestern Seminary for the first time in many years. Not certain what to expect, I came away pleasantly surprised and profoundly impressed with the tremendous progress being made at my alma mater. Allow me to highlight just a few areas where God’s Hand is clearly at work:

  • New Student Housing: Chad, a student from Georgia who read Scripture in Chapel, was kind enough to take me to dinner and show me the new student housing that is still being constructed in phases. Suffice it to say that the new units are attractive and spacious, meeting a need that has existed on campus for many years.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls: This fascinating exhibit located in the MacGorman Chapel featured archaeological artifacts such as oil lamps and pottery, ossuaries for skeletal remains, and several Dead Sea Scroll fragments, including New Testament parchments, rare Bibles, a brief documentary and a simulated Qumran dig site.
  • Scripture Plaques: Beautiful plaques have been installed throughout the campus, which frankly provides an excellent walking trail for getting some exercise. Pedestrians cannot help but notice a series of evangelistic scripture verses, such as John 3:16 and Romans 3:23,  engraved upon these plaques. After discovering the surrounding community, which is perhaps 75% Hispanic, making use of these walking trails, the plaques installed later were engraved in Spanish, so that even the campus itself is a witness to the nations.
  • The Second Mile: The evangelistic zeal on campus was unmistakable. As Jared, a student from Oklahoma who shuttled me to and from the airport, shared with me, now that Southwesterners have presented the gospel to every single home within one mile of the seminary, efforts are being made to extend that witness in what will probably be known as “Going the Second Mile.” This is intentional evangelism that takes the Great Commission seriously, equipping students while pushing back the darkness in the immediate campus vicinity.
  • The Gracious Pattersons: As an outdoorsman and wild game hunter, Dr. Patterson’s office is decorated with trophies of every kind–giraffe, lion, leopard, buffalo and even an alligator. While I found him personally humble and gracious, it did occur to me that this visible reminder of Dr. Patterson’s ability to track, hunt, shoot, stuff and place on his wall even the most dangerous of beasts was reason enough for every office visitor to be on their best behavior. All joking aside, in the same way that the furnishings in Dr. Paige Patterson’s study were unmistakably masculine, the beautiful displays and decorations at Pecan Manor, not to mention the outstanding cuisine and attentive hospitality, provided ample evidence of Dr. Dorothy Patterson’s perfectly feminine touch.

Much of my visit was nostalgic, as all of my former professors have now retired, their portraits adorning the Wall of Fame in the Administration Building. For me, Seminary Hill remains a profoundly inspiring place. I recalled Judge Paul Pressler’s classic work, A Hill on Which to Die, in which he chronicled the story of the Conservative Resurgence he and Dr. Patterson led with such great determination. As I left the campus of my alma mater, I was deeply impressed that Southwestern is a hill on which to live–as soul winners, students, scholars, ministers and missionaries–a hill on which to live for Jesus.

Comments

  1. says

    We are blessed to have six wonderful seminaries. I recently got to meet and to hear Jeff Iorg speak (at our state convention). Top drawer. Southern and Southeastern impress me regularly. Hoping that the new administration at Midwestern can get our “local” seminary chugging again!

    So, we are blessed by our seminaries.

        • Rick Patrick says

          CB,

          If I have aged, it can be attributed to the fits I throw watching my Texas Longhorns lose games they should win, although we did beat the Aggies the last time we played them, which is more than can be said for some teams, whose losses are never counted against them, but are removed as far as the SEC East is from the SEC West.

          • cb scott says

            Rick,

            Here is the deal. Your LONGHORN NATION has not played the new and improved SEC AGGIE NATION.

            You see, the infusion of SEC FOOTBALL status into the AGGIES gave them a supercharge this year. Had the LONGHORN NATION played the AGGIE NATION this season, the SEC FOOTBALL family would have enjoyed steak dinners until 1019 when the AGGIES play the LONGHORNS once again.

          • cb scott says

            That should have been “2019” rather than 1019. But it matters little. Never shall the LONGHORNS stand against the AGGIES again no matter the century or year they meet.

  2. Rick Patrick says

    Thanks, Joshua. I enjoyed my Voices Vacation, deciding to reform my position on the discussion of reformed positions–at least in this venue.

  3. Bill Mac says

    I wonder if anyone who “hunts” on a safari can be said to track, hunt, and shoot such animals. Shoot, yes. The other two?

    • cb scott says

      Bill Mac,

      Not all of the animals on those walls were taken on a Safari. So, yes, it can well be said and properly so,that he did track, hunt, and shoot the trophies on those walls.

      • Bill Mac says

        CB: You probably know better than I do. I’ve just never heard of anyone going to Africa and actually hunting a lion or leopard or giraffe, as in really hunting (who kills giraffes?). Sport killing is a pet peeve of mine. I’m a firm believer in not killing things just because you can, and that you eat what you kill.

        On a more positive note, we had venison philly cheesesteaks last night from a deer my son got on Tuesday.

        • cb scott says

          Bill Mac,

          Not every trophy on the Patterson wall was taken on an African Safari. The guy refuses to hunt deer from a tree stand. He has stalked his deer kills.

          BTW, some of his best trophies were taken in Nashville during the CR.

  4. Jim Shaver says

    Just can’t get over the idea that in the “Deep South” Pastors still dress in suits in the middle of the week!!!!

    • Rick Patrick says

      The dress code for those on the platform in chapel is a bit more formal than it is for the students and faculty members attending. I rarely dress in a suit on a typical weekday, with the exception of funerals.

  5. says

    One of my young Facebook friends reported, “You know it is a good point when the speaker quotes Rafiki from the Lion King.” Was that you Rick? Does Dr. Patterson have any baboons in his office? (A seminary professor joke could be inserted here, but we should all refrain.)

    • Rick Patrick says

      Guilty as charged on the Rafiki quote. Actually, Dr. Patterson did hunt a baboon years ago, and it is displayed in his office holding up a copy of Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” as if he were reading it. I have a photo.

      • says

        I remember that baboon now. Quite a funny mount, though I’m sure the babbon was not amused. You did make an impact for that young lady.

  6. Dee says

    It was once my dream to study at Southwestern Seminary, which I know is a great place for many. Life happened, discouragement, rebuilding. God took me on a spiritual journey that I now see would have been less possible had I gotten what I thought was my calling, but what I now see as me trying to fit my calling into a denomination that taught me much and mothered me in my faith, but would have limited me in a way I did not realize till now.

    God has recently brought me full circle. One of Southwestern’s alumni recently contacted me. Asked me to send to him my Biblical teachings and resources so he could learn from me and research further.

    I still have a soft spot in my heart for the SBC and Southwestern. I spent years making questionable decisions within my discouragement and following God the best I knew how. God really is good and takes us on His journey even through our mistakes…look at Moses…all the great patriarchs went through failures of one kind or another…and makes our dreams come true in ways we could not have imagined.

  7. Louis says

    Rick,

    What a great post and a nice picture of you and Dr. Patterson.

    When one thinks of so many divinity schools and seminaries in this country that are no longer faithful, it is good to see one that is.

    God bless. This post made my day!

  8. says

    Rick,
    Great article about SWBTS. But in your photo, which is Paige Patterson and which Rick Patrick?

    The Scripture Plaques are impressive; I too saw them a while back.

    SWBTS is a great school and Dr. Patterson is a great, unique president. For any who don’t know, Patterson is one of the heroes of the SBC Conservative Resurgence. He is a scholar, true to God’s inerrant Word, and an outstanding evangelist. Everyone should get Dr. Patterson’s new commentary on “Revelation” (NAC series).

    SWBTS is a excellent seminary for anyone to attend.
    David R. Brumbelow

  9. Greg Harvey says

    Thanks for the blog. It is a rather startlingly direct answer to a prayer I lifted up while walking near Broadus while visiting a cousin who was working on a degree from SWBTS. Something about how God does that by inspiring the prayer then fulfilling it that never ceases to amaze me. My parents lived in two houses within that one mile radius as well as the married student apts across Seminary Dr (and later we had three stints in the duplexes closer to the campus while going and coming from the field.)

    That area became a mission field after I left Ft. Worth. I’m delighted that the opportunity is drawing evangelistic zeal. So exciting!

  10. Joe Blackmon says

    Rick

    I only take issue with one thing you’ve written here. I know women who hunt who are hardly masculine. I don’t think I’m any less masculine because I don’t hunt.

    • Rick Patrick says

      Joe,

      Perhaps we can depersonalize this, since my observations had nothing to do with women who hunt or men who don’t. Review my words carefully and you’ll find I was not talking about people at all but about furnishings and decor. Can we not agree that animal skins on the wall are a generally masculine motif while fancy table settings with flowers and candles are a generally feminine motif?

      • Joe Blackmon says

        That I think we can agree on. Yes, it would be odd to walk into a woman’s office/home/whatever and see a tiger head or elephant tusk mounted on the wall and if a man decorated his “space” with flowers and lacy doily thingys that would be quite weird.

  11. says

    Rick

    Great article. There are a lot of great things happening at SWBTS and I am grateful that Dr. Patterson has brought many of these things together. I’ll look up your sermon on the site.

    Robin