“Baptist21 exists to contend for ‘the faith once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3). We embrace our past, believing this faith has been proclaimed in our Southern Baptist heritage. We work in the present, believing the Kingdom effectiveness of Southern Baptists will be in proportion to our fidelity to the Gospel. We cooperate for the future, believing the only hope for the people of the world is the Gospel of King Jesus.”
In keeping with this statement, we seek to honor one of the great leaders of our past and present. This week Baptist 21 was blessed to interview Dr. Paige Patterson, the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Patterson is well known in Southern Baptist life for his leadership in the Conservative Resurgence and in charting a new direction for SEBTS. We are grateful for his leadership and recognize that if it were not for him we would most likely not be studying in Southern Baptist institutions. There is much that can be written about Dr. Patterson (it is our hope at some point to do a spotlight blog on him), but recently he came to my mind as I was speaking with a friend of mine about church planting. We were talking through some questions of ecclesiology and missiology in light of church planting. It hit me that if it were not for the conservative resurgence many of the questions that we were asking and that young seminarians are working through, would not even be in discussion. The discussions might then encompass the documentary hypothesis, women as elders, or the ordination of homosexuals as opposed to how to best reach the culture for Christ. My friend’s reply was one of gratitude as well and he intimated that we will be held accountable for how we handle this new and positive direction that we as a convention have inherited. I agree with what some others in the blogosphere are saying that we would never have been able to talk rightly about a Great Commission Resurgence without the Conservative Resurgence, but I think it even goes further than that. We would not be working through matters of ecclesiology, church planting, or soteriology on our campuses and our blogs if it had not been for the Conservative Resurgence. The return to the Bible in our academic institutions has led to a multitude of healthy conversations about theology, missions, ecclesiology, and church planting. We are indebted to men like Dr. Patterson and I am grateful that he, like Luther, was willing to say, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” We are delighted that this week’s highlight of the Baptist 21 podcast is an interview with Dr. Paige Patterson.
Some of the questions Dr. Patterson answered include:
- Why are you Southern Baptist?
- Who has and does influence you?
- What are the benefits of denominating together?
- What are some challenges for the SBC in the 21st Century?
- What do we need to focus on more moving into the 21st Century?
- What got you to the point where you thought we need a conservative resurgence and at what made you think it was worth fighting for?
- What would you like to be most remembered for as a minister of the gospel?
- Why should we be Baptist in the 21st Century?
- What is advice or warning for future ministers?
Quotes from the Podcast:
Benefits of denominations- “There is no way any of us can do all that is involved in our Christian commitment alone… it is always going to happen whether we call it a denomination or something else”
Challenges for the SBC in the 21st- “The single largest challenge invariably has to do with success, when you succeed you are already in trouble… we’ve become complacent and we believe we have done this do to our cleverness or the fact we more right than this group or that… at the risk of sounding more Calvinistic than I am known to be, I would say it is all by the grace of God”
Focus on in the 21st- “I believe that our generation, I’m speaking broadly there, broadly enough to encompass a young man like you and an old codger like me, we have to got recover our walk with God… I’ve got to the point now where I wish every young minister would memorize the book of Proverbs”
“We’ve got to decide whether we believe hell is real… I think we all confess we think hell is real we don’t live like it”
Conservative Resurgence- “What convinced me we had to do it was being a little bit of church historian, I had read carefully Spurgeon’s ‘downgrade controversy’ literature and had observed in church history that nothing ever drifts to the right, everything drifts to the left”
“(I thought) you can just leave and go be an independent Baptist, that was an option, less costly, but that means abandon all the assets of our fathers and all hard work they did”
Dr. Paige Patterson is truly a giant on whose shoulders we stand. It is to our hope that you will listen to this interview and be challenged and encouraged. It is to our profit that we can hear from a man that has stood faithfully in that line of saints from the apostles until now. It is our hope that as we learn from his example and that we to can stand in this line of faithful men and in turn be stewards of the grace that God has bestowed upon us as we seek the best manner to pass on this faith to future generations.
Being someone who is studying the book of Proverbs, I love his comment about young ministers memorizing it!!!
Also, most impacting is his comment on why he thought a conservative resurgence was necessary. His answer touches also on the question about denominational effectiveness. Are denominations that get in trouble theologically, get too fat, etc. worth fighting for? Should we abandon them and go independent? That might be the answer for some, but many would say that is abandoning the hard work of the faithful in our post… That is the heartbeat of our website. We want to be good stewards of the good things that have been passed down to us. Also, we do realize that everyone will cooperate with someone, so let’s work towards cooperating well and effectively as Southern Baptists in the 21st century.