If you are a young Southern Baptist minister who loves the Bible, the Gospel, the local church, your city, and the nations, then you owe a great deal to Paige Patterson. Humanly speaking, as a pastor or minister, if it were not for Dr. Patterson, then you would most likely not be where you are today. You would not have studied at the seminary that you did or received the theological training that you have. As a church planter or missionary with one of our SBC agencies, you would not be in the city you are in, among the people group that you are, or using the strategy you are using if it were not for him. As a young seminary or Bible college professor, you would not be employed where you are today without the work of Paige Patterson. The debt of gratitude our generation owes him is immense! There would be no Baptist21 if it were not for men like him.
In the 20th century every mainline denomination was moving away from the truth, inerrancy and sufficiency of the Bible towards liberalism, including the SBC. Major leaders and institutions within the SBC denied the inerrancy and complete truthfulness of the Bible, denied the exclusivity of the Gospel, and re-negotiated the ethical demands of the Bible. The mainline denominations were destroyed by this course, and the SBC was on the same trajectory.
If you want to know where we were heading just read some of these stories about Southern Baptist seminary graduates, former Southern Baptist churches, and agencies with whom the SBC used to be in partnership. They are arguing for gay marriage and eliminating the doctrine of Hell.
These are just a couple of examples of the trajectory the SBC was on before Dr. Patterson and other key leaders engaged in a “Battle for the Bible.” They contended for the faith once-for-all delivered to the saints and turned the SBC back towards orthodoxy. The movement called the “Conservative Resurgence” was unprecedented. In fact the famous Romanian preacher, Joseph Tson said to Dr. Mohler at Southern Seminary, “I told Dr. Mohler that the greatest event of the 20th century was the downfall of communism in 1989. Never in history was there such a sudden turn of direction. What you are doing in the Southern Baptist denomination generally, and in Louisville particularly, is of the same magnitude. It will have the same kind of impact on history. I want to assure the young students here that you are witnessing one of the greatest turns in history.”
All of this happened because of architects like Paige Patterson who fought for the inerrancy of the Bible. In the book edited by Tom Nettles and Russell Moore entitled Why I Am a Baptist, Dr. Patterson wrote a chapter “Shoot-out at the Amen Corral: Being Baptist through Controversy,” in which he talks about this battle that was fought in the SBC. At the B21 panel in NOLA we will be talking about this again, and asking why it was so significant and what it means for the future of the SBC and the battles our generation will have to fight. We will also discuss the most relevant current topics in SBC life.
In order to promote the panel and to encourage you to attend, Dr. Patterson in this video playfully takes up the theme of the fight at the Amen Corral. For more details about the panel go here and register here.