This article was originally posted at my site. I’m married with four children, an SBC pastor, a PhD student at SBTS, and an average Southern Baptist. I’ve authored two books. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Udemy, YouTube, and iTunes (Podcast).
1. He is a living hero of the Conservative Resurgence. The SBC as you know it, with its thriving entities, cooperative program, theological conservatism, and confessional fortitude, would not be here without the work of Paige Patterson. All Southern Baptists should be thankful for Paige Patterson, if for this reason alone. The reason why we’re not debating among ourselves over whether or not homosexual acts are sin and whether or not biological men and women can self-identify their gender is because of the unwavering perseverance of Paige Patterson, and men and women like him. Look around you at the other denominations that comprised on the inerrancy of Scripture in the past 50 years. Look at where they are now, what they’re debating. That would have been our future or worse if not for Dr. Patterson (SOURCE. Also, you can access the AWESOME “Paige Patterson Conservative Resurgence Collection” digital archive of SWBTS for free here.).
(Young people, listen. Those of us who were not born or were only kids (I’m 36) during the Conservative Resurgence (1970’s-2000’s), may lack gratitude for those brave men who came before us. It’s not easy to stand up against the arrows of the evil one, demanding we compromise on the clear teaching of Scripture or else. That’s why so many denominations have wilted and bowed to the culture’s whim. But Patterson and others did not bow, they fought in the face of great opposition. Do you not think that they were ridiculed, called names, threatened, etc.? They had many, many nights of weeping, many nights of temptation to compromise, but they stood strong. You and I and all Southern Baptists stand on their shoulders. Without them, there would not be an “us,” there would not be an SBC as we know it.)
2. He affirms the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. He appointed the committee that crafted the BF&M2K, and he presided over the session as SBC President that adopted the confession (SOURCE). This confession and holding our entities to it, helps ensure that we will never need another Conservative Resurgence. But make no mistake, we must always defend the truth, or else we sleep and the thief comes in to steal, kill, and destroy.
3. His evangelistic zeal is second to none. I cannot name another person in the SBC that has more evangelistic zeal than Paige Patterson. When I hear him preach, I find myself often guilt-ridden, not due to my lack of evangelism, but due to the greatness of his. I’m not sure if there is anyone comparable to him in this area, and I’m praying God raises up others in the likeness of President Patterson.
4. He’s passing on his evangelistic fervor to many generations. If you read Patterson’s report at the SBC ’17 (SOURCE), or any of his past annual reports, one common thread is personal evangelism. He expects and encourages both his faculty and his students to exercise personal evangelism on a daily basis. If the SBC needs anything to go with its defense of the verbal-plenary inspiration of Scripture, it’s a heavy emphasis on personal evangelism. God can raise up another Billy Graham anywhere; He’s God. But one should assume that the next Billy Graham will be educated, encouraged, and prodded by other faithful Christians; and SWBTS is an institution that can do that, in large part, because Paige Patterson is at the helm.
5. He’s encouraged growth in reaching ethnic students. The ethnic student body has grown at SWBTS “from 1,295 ethnic students in 2014-2015 to 1,477 ethnic students in 2015- 2016” (SOURCE). The gospel is for the nations; seminary education is for the nations. Our SBC seminaries need to reflect more and more the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and New Earth. We need to reach the nations and one of the best ways to do that is to educate Christians from the nations who will then take the gospel back to their nations. Many nations gather around the throne of the Lamb to worship in the end (Rev. 7:9); may all nations gather today in our SBC seminaries, SBC entities, and especially our SBC churches as well!
There are many others reasons to be thankful for Dr. Patterson. I’ve only listed a few; his resume’ reads like a myth or legend. God has used him in a mighty way. The SBC needs more men and women like him.
Thank you for your hard work and perseverance Dr. Patterson. I’m indebted to you. My wife and children are indebted to you. Evangelicalism is indebted to you. The SBC is indebted to you.
*Be sure to listen to Dr. Patterson’s presentation from SWBTS at the Southern Baptist Convention 2017.