Paige Patterson—A Challenge

Appendix 7 From:
Heart of the Living God:
Love, Free Will, Foreknowledge, Heaven:
a Theology on the Treasure of Love

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A. My History with Paige Patterson 

1. Patterson’s Rejection of Me & Question of ETS Integrity

2. Patterson a Commander in the Theological Trade Winds

3. Why This Challenge to Patterson

4. Patterson a Legend in His Own Time

5. Patterson a Father-figure & My Own Transference

6. Patterson, Open Theism, Love, and My Conscience

7. Patterson’s Letter vis-à-vis the ETS Documents

B. I Challenge Paige Patterson—Gulp!—Heave to & Come About

1. Patterson and ETS Confusion

2. Patterson’s Troubled Triumphant Church & Other Deficits

3. Clay Feet and Leadership … Yet Honor Demands Something

4. The Challenge—Gulp!—Heave To & Come About on Genuineness

C. Final Grasshopper Cricket

P.S.: Return to the Scriptures a Good Idea


See Patterson Letter Oct. 6, 2003


A. My History with Paige Patterson ~ Top

1. Patterson’s Rejection of Me & Question of ETS Integrity ~ Top

I sent Patterson copies of the original appendices 3-5 on the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) controversy, indicating preparation for this book, and he responded:

Thank you for including me in the copies of your letters to various people on the openness of God situation. The issue that you addressed is one that I am persuaded that you are quite mistaken. I say that not to put you down, but only to be crystal clear in my communication to you that I do not wish to be included under any circumstances among those who see the thing like you do. I am not a Calvinist and have little sympathy with Calvinism, but I am still less sympathetic with openness theology.

If the Evangelical Theological Society is to be a society where most any opinion is accepted as long as one says that in some indistinct way or another one believes in inerrancy, than I for one will have to be a part of a new organization of some kind where evangelical truths are held without compromise. I am a member of general debating societies such as the AAR and the SBL. There is a place for those, and I am happy to be a part of them, but there also ought to be a place for the evangelical family committed to the orthodox faith of 2000 years of Christian history to meet and discuss matters that do not go outside the veil of that orthodoxy. This one does, and I will be voting for the exclusion of the three from the society.

If the matter is not dealt with as I say, it surely will result in a division within the society. Those of us who wish to have an evangelical place of discussion will form a new society just as the ETS was formed new at one point for similar reasons.

Mike, I am sorry to see you on this side of the issue.[1]

[see Patterson Letter Oct. 6, 2003]

A clear and direct answer. A sad day for me. To take this stand, I burn a bridge behind as I move forward with my convictions and with a prayer for clarity.

Yet in the context of the ETS controversy on Open Theism and in the ongoing SBC struggles, Patterson’s words state a conviction of anathema common among many high-ranking religious leaders towards Open Theism in general. Though the words are not a big deal in most theological venues, certainly not even news worthy to the secular world, those three bold sentences reflect the views of many scholars to some extent. Yet in the light of the essence of the three counterpoint documents (original appendices 3-5) sent, the remains of those appendices here, the larger history of Classical Theism in general, the recent histories of the ETS, the SBC, the BGCT, the TBC, the SBTC,[2] and now Patterson’s arrival in Texas as President of the mighty Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) in Fort Worth, Texas (with his roots in Texas)—Patterson has come home at the height of his career. Herein those words, most likely spoken rather nonchalantly yet most seriously to a wee-little-former student, do give a clear indication of the direction of where his mighty influence will plow forward. There is not much room for doubt or discussion there.

I don’t like it, think he is mistaken, and shall attempt to challenge him here.

2. Patterson a Commander in the Theological Trade Winds ~ Top

Those who know Paige Patterson and where he has been in the last twenty years also know that he is a leader like few in this century. There is a larger story about the rejection and the question of the ETS, and those words certainly reflect the earthquake fears so apparent in several of the works reviewed in the appendices above.

I lost much sleep over whether or not to include this appendix here. As a commentary on a few sentences, it will be construed by some as a classic piece of defensive dribble and construed by others as making a mountain out of a mole hill (doubtlessly so for those who do not know Patterson’s influence and so for those unaware of the ETS or the ramifications of the free-will/foreknowledge struggles). Many allied with Patterson with anything close to my own adulation years ago will see this piece casting shadows on this book’s integrity and on my own integrity, sadly, because those faithful to Patterson are certainly convinced he has been a servant mightily used by God. Like David and his mighty men, without a word from Patterson, a grasshopper cannot tarnish the image of such a mighty servant.

Many times, God has used Paige Patterson. In my life to be sure.

So if Patterson is right, truly appertaining the leading of God on these issues (though his own letter indicates he has not even read well the material), and I am mistaken as he says about the appendices 3-5, then please, by God in heaven, show me my error. God cannot be leading two people in opposite directions on how He Himself has a genuine loving relationship with us. If God is truly leading Patterson and I am mistaken, then how about accepting the challenge outlined here and contribute something substantial on this issue? How about an open debate with champions? If I am led of God and it took this amount of work for Patterson to see some of the truth of this, then how about a handshake?

This book is about challenging Classical Theism, and Patterson is one to the bone.

Leighton Paige Patterson is in a league quite apart from most all of the authors in this book, including most of the 2,000 authors in the bibliography. How does Patterson stand out? Like Billy Graham and Bill Bright in evangelism, like Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado in discipleship, like Zig Ziglar in motivation, like Chuck Colson in prison ministry, and like James Dobson in family affairs, Patterson stands out on a national scale not as a household name, yet far more subtly as a credible theological authority of the first order for many Classical Theists (especially non-Calvinists). And in the SBC, there is no one with his clout at all. Paige Patterson has been the heartbeat and tactician and in many respects the political and theological commander of the SBC’s takeover or reformation (depending on who you talk to). Though all of those nearly household names just mentioned have had influence at the highest levels of their religious denominations, the distinction of Paige Patterson is that none of them have had the ear of so many across such a broad field of the top religious leaders as Patterson, and this is doubly so in the SBC where no single person has ever had the influence he now enjoys with the majority (and likewise where no single person or SBC past president has had as large of a minority outside of his camp to whom he has as little inclination to be beholden to).

One of the reasons for Patterson’s SBC influence is his magnetism and gift for networking. Truly a leader, yet in many respects and with most all of the current hundreds of leaders throughout the SBC, Patterson has given a shepherd’s heart with the courage of a lion. Patterson has charted the way through some tumultuous waters.

Said in another way, anywhere that Paige Patterson goes the wakes of his influence wash ashore and turn over sand. The ripples of his influence permeate all of the SBC and reach many of the outer reaches of the SBC and beyond and into in the Classical Theist oceans, even heading upstream in the deltas of other denominations. For those who have been around and tuned to some of the currents, we all know that there are whales in tow as Patterson’s mighty ship of influence plies the theological trade winds of America. Patterson carries the demeanor of good pastor well, but he is also the ranking and veteran commander with proven leadership and a mighty army about him.

For many thousands, Patterson is a commander-in-chief with a shepherd’s heart, the wisdom of the ages, the strength of a lion, and the integrity of Nathaniel.

What of those words of rejection of appendices 3-5 (the originals) and the question of the ETS’s integrity? I should not take them personal, but I do. They do give me a foothold to challenge, however effective the challenge may turn out, for though the words be few in number they do come from a mighty man of God who has exhibited a level of leadership and stamina like few in the history of the church. I have no doubt as to Patterson’s sincerity—none whatsoever. Patterson sincerely believed me to be in error and believed the integrity of the ETS is folding with a toleration of Pinnock and Sanders. Moreover, as the story below unfolds, and unlike few men today in the entire country and unlike any at all in the SBC (the largest Protestant denomination in the country), as the new President of the largest seminary in the world, Patterson will continue bold rejections until persuaded otherwise.

3. Why This Challenge to Patterson ~ Top

Certainly Patterson’s rejection and my own honor, but truly a fear for the ETS as well. Patterson’s influence is too formidable to ignore his question of the ETS’s integrity, as the ETS did support Pinnock contrary to his wishes and did not move to oust Pinnock and Sanders contrary to his wishes.[3] The largest reason for this appendix is Patterson’s formidable influence on Classical Theism itself and his own lack of initiative to clarify his persuasion any better. I defend my honor here, surely I do, but I shall indicate the need for Patterson’s clarification, and challenge him too, to heave to and come about on genuineness.

It is one thing to be an formidable leader in history’s largest Protestant denomination, the SBC, and it is another thing to exert influence upon perhaps the best Christian scholarly theological society in church history—the ETS—without so much as a scintilla of theological contribution, much less open participation in that society’s discussions.

And given the history to date, wherever Patterson turns his own mighty gunship, wherever his own ship-of-the-line barkentine turns, many more in his armada will follow suite and there will be whales in tow. Perhaps no other single person in the history of the ETS has such a capacity for division (or healing contribution) within the ETS as Patterson.

Even though I severely take Roger Nicole to task in appendix 3 (even vehemently in the original), I do say it was honorable of Nicole and the ETS committee to have given the time they did to Pinnock and Sanders in the ETS. As an ETS charter member, clearly Roger Nicole has been unafraid to participate regularly in the ETS.[4] Even here I shall defend Nicole’s right challenge Pinnock and Sanders in open debate. Would that Patterson would be so honorable as well? Rather than contribute little to nothing in the debates, Patterson would foster fragmentation within the ETS from the far-flung cabin of his mighty gunship.

4. Patterson a Legend in His Own Time ~ Top

One thing is clear, there has hardly been a more influential person in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) than Leighton Paige Patterson.[5] Unlike E. Y. Mullins in SBC theological restatement and support of soul freedom and George W. Truett who was one of the most influential in unifying, Patterson has been most influential in a leadership role that has galvanized a majority of the SBC against a nearly invisible minority, and in that galvanizing has helped divide the ranks of the SBC more than any other single person in the SBC’s history (perhaps in numbers, more than in any other Christian denomination or entity in the history of the church in any given two decades in 2,000 years, perhaps even more than Luther in the reformation, except Luther was not trying to oust so many). And the galvanizing continues in Texas.

We would highlight the work of the master theologian and pacesetter E. Y. Mullins as one of the original fundamentalists, a person Harold Bloom said recently was the “Calvin or Luther or Wesley of the Southern Baptists … pragmatically he is more important than Jonathan Edwards, Horace Bushnell, and the Niebuhrs, because Mullins reformulated (perhaps first formulated) the faith of the a major denomination.”[6] Mullins was perhaps one of the most productive and original thinkers among the small and elite core of Southern Baptist seminary presidents.[7] For history’s sake, Bloom would have done well to have at least referenced the seminal history of Southern Baptists by Robert Baker, and Baker notes the history of fundamentalism when it was a good thing to be called such, when in opposition to liberal theologians:

Two wealthy laymen financed the publication of twelve small volumes or pamphlets untitled The Fundamentals: A Testimony of the Truth. These pamphlets brought the name “Fundamentalists” to those holding to such views and asserted the five basic doctrines that characterized the Fundamentalist movement: the virgin birth, the bodily resurrection of Christ and his followers, the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, and the substitutionary theory of the atonement, and the imminent, physical second coming of Christ in the millennial reign. Some of the contributors to this series were Southern Baptists, including Professors J. J. Reeve and C. B. Williams of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and E. Y. Mullins, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary…. The World’s Christian Fundamentals Association was formed in 1919 with members from Presbyterians, Methodists, Disciples, and Baptists included in their number.[8]

What is important to note here is that Patterson is clearly a leader of the SBC, very clear threats exist regarding the respectibility of Christian witness (like Bloom’s work above), and the SBC is looking to even move out of the Baptist World Alliance at the beginning of the 21st century. That is hard to bear itself. Added to that is the sloppy work by some evangelicals as noted in the appendices against others like Pinnock and Boyd who are truly believers whose integrity (even Millard Erickson recognized) is being questioned by some with very poor argumentation; such low-level humming gives credence to Bloom’s criticisms when he says of Southern Baptists:

The priesthood of the believer is being replaced by a hierarchy that will be at once more dogmatic and less intellectualized than the structure of authority in the Roman Catholic Church.[9]

Truly, reading Bloom is hard for a Christian who cherishes a living faith and walk with the living God: Bloom does not walk with God. There is much that could be said about Bloom’s work, including a lot of negative criticism with respect to Christian truth, but at least he is clear and his rhetoric is powerful. He clearly laments the Christian right and defends that,

Only a Gnostic reading of the Bible can make us into the land of Promise. The new irony of American history is that we fight now to make the world safe for Gnosticism, our sense of religion.[10]

OK—and Bloom’s books have been national best sellers and Bloom is the Sterling Professor for Humanities at Yale, the Berg Professor of English at New York University, a MacArthur Fellow, a member of the Institute of Arts and Letters, and has been acclaimed as one of America’s most distinguished literary critics. Bloom is an admitted “unbelieving Jew of strong Gnostic tendencies, and a literary critic by profession,” and his book in many ways rakes much religion as he attempts to define American Religion.[11] His powerful, experienced, critical, and erudite voice and wide audience make him somebody far more threatening to Classical Theists than Pinnock and Sanders’ works to be sure. Strange as it may seem, even Bloom recognized the importance of the priesthood of the believer to Southern Baptists, though he hardly has an accurate understanding of the dynamics of the faith as—truly—no one can who is actually not in the faith. When one looks at Bloom’s work side by side with L. Russ Bush’s The Advancement, a cry of “uncle” is appropriate or a tap on the mat, for Bush’s loose confederation of rationales gives credence to Bloom’s complaints about the substance of Christian academia.

What of the nature of our genuine relationship with God inside of Classical Theism’s settled future? Patterson would forward a division of the ETS and a parting from the Baptist World Alliance into a more myopic version of Baptist life rather than lead us with some substantial theological contributions—like Mullins did a century earlier—that clearly articulate the rationale and biblical validity beyond just the claim of such. Even Mullins’ Axioms of the Religion was helped into resurrection by Albert Mohler with the help of Timothy and Denise George in 1997 and published by Broadman.[12] Few there will be who will notice that the direction of Mohler and Patterson today is different than that of Mullins in 1908 in several subtle ways: mainly in two ways, (1) Mullins gave us the substance of his leadership, and Mohler would like to carry forth the axioms in support of his hierarchy more than the very spirit of and true essence of the axioms themselves; (2) the true respect for more differences in the body of believers vis-à-vis the priesthood of the believer and a more united front against the real threats of secularization. As I shall argue here, it would be nice if Patterson (Mohler too) would at least try to contribute something substantial today where it really matters, something in the league of Mullins’ own Freedom and Authority in Religion within the context of the SBC takeover. What about the issue of genuineness that they both claim exists inside of their view of a settled future? Some very disrespectful things have been said of Clark Pinnock (Patterson’s former teacher), and yet little substance makes print.[13]

It is good Christian honor to support one’s leadership with clear theology.

The real miracle and majesty of Patterson’s extraordinary leadership is that Patterson has led and is leading the SBC down another theological restatement without having contributed a single book justifying the direction, clarifying the real nature of the adversaries (or just who they are), or articulating the theological end game. That, my friends, is some kind of majestic leadership (and God’s blessings in some respects too, we would like to think, for that is not natural). We just cricket forward that some things have gone amiss, and that Patterson is not inerrant.

Patterson’s caucus has tried to take over the historic Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT, that he grew up in and whose father help build), and Patterson has supported a new state convention because the BGCT leadership has not followed precisely the SBC leadership, that, in spite of the BGCT’s continued financial support to the SBC with more money than most all other state conventions. Cooperation with the SBC is the issue between the two Texas state conventions, as ironic as it sounds, for the new alternative SBTC originated, exists, and subsists to support the SBC.

Patterson networked and led the takeover of the SBC, and today he sits in several elite circles as the veritable chairman of the board as the takeover continues. In many respects, he is a good person, a fine Christian man, husband, father, and son. Yet in the SBC, a takeover was what happened, a reformation for some, a correction for others, and for some a sorrowful degradation of soul freedom (the hallmark of Baptist life). It has not been easy for anyone on any side—that is, except for the incognito sycophants.

We know there are no public sycophants: some are not even aware, others just new in the faith and sincere, some truly riding the coattails, and we shall never truly be able to separate the wheat from the tares. Nothing new there. We have been warned about trying to separate the wheat from the tares, yet that is precisely what has been taking place in the takeover, where some good stocks of wheat got pulled up with the—amazingly enough—tares that were not truly tares to all; others became bruised reeds under the rubric of a “reformation” that still has little clarity for the rank and file of precisely what needs reformed. And the takeover is driven from a small and elite number of folks “who know best”—the heart of which is led by Paige Patterson.

Some rooting continues. And the rooting formula remains confidential and unwritten.

Here is my small side of the issues. I suspect even Patterson would agree that the rooting continues, though he would prefer another term, though the rooting was justified in his way by the need for reformation, a sacrifice of some good wheat that was unavoidable, or collateral damage, or merely the fallout by those whom Paterson (et al) felt just did not understand the larger issues (like maybe grasshopper here). Regardless, the takeover did in a historic fashion root out who was wheat from tares as defined by Patterson and his leadership, and that is indisputable history. And only those deemed wheat by Patterson’s elite caucus will hold the top jobs in the SBC institutions, as another historic precedent unfolds where more students and professors of the private Criswell College are moved into more positions than from any other single private institution in any other decade in the history of the Christian church. Unprecedented favoritism at least.[14] That is just one indication, as faithful service to the SBC itself is less important than faithful allegiance to the elite caucus.

5. Patterson a Father-figure & My Transference ~ Top

From the context of this book’s body and appendices and because of what follows, honor is at stake, even my own honor. This book would not be complete or a true challenge without this. Gulp! It is a scary and hard thing to do. After my father died in 1982, Patterson became even more of a father-figure of sorts for me, though it was more in my own mind to be sure. Since this book began as a defense of my Daddy, even my heavenly Abba, it’s truly ironic that the book should end with a challenge to such a father-figure.

Had someone given to me this piece between 1978-1985, I would have questioned their integrity for challenging such a hero. Surely, there are some today who follow Patterson as I did then with unqualified adulation. Clay feet were shielded all around by his children.

Shortly after the Air Force in 1975, I became a Christian. I audited courses in 1976-77 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), and there is a very long story that led to SWBTS in 1977. From 1978 to 1985, I became a student of Patterson at the Criswell College during those very formative years of his leadership; I earned a B.A. That was my discipleship, as I had not grown up in a church, and I loved it. I kept in touch, visiting every few years, and we had corresponded on several items over the past two decades. I have felt obliged to include him as well as try to resource him from time to time.

I went to SWBTS from 1985 to 1990 and secured an M.Div. under Russell Dilday’s leadership. Fresh from the Criswell College, I did not find any liberalism there (after 7.5 years at Criswell I was primed). Instead, I found professors just as dedicated. I was faithful to chapel (as ever) for those five years, loving it as much as returning to my first Love, and Dilday never once brought the takeover into the chapel. Shortly after 1990, Dilday was fired, and I could not see the pastoral side of that—not even these years later. I had now felt—inappropriately to be sure, in all of my transference and all—that in many respects I was the product of two fathers on the opposite sides of the political globe: not as much individually as I would have preferred, but certainly as the progeny of the two schools they led. I mean 7.5 years in one place, 5 years in the latter—I hardly lived anything else from 1977 to 1990.

From 1978 to 2004, I was attuned to both sides of the takeover and the hurt feelings that came to many in the process. But I was a grasshopper then and am not much more now.

I also became friends with David Currie, the executive director of the Texas Baptists Committed,[15] and I am pained yet again and feel a bit ashamed for my fear to include his friendship here, as Currie’s name alone will alienate me further from Patterson and others. Currie’s leadership unquestionably helped saved many Texas institutions from the takeover, including Baylor University, and Currie has become as much a pirate to Patterson as Patterson is a pirate to Currie. But a takeover is a takeover, and it is hardly pirate-like to be the resisting party, most especially when the prickliness of tares to be culled is most certainly not clear to all of the wheat in the wheat field. Patterson’s focus and leadership is clearly formidable, and there does not appear to be any resolution in sight.

Now Patterson comes to Texas as President of the SBC’s flagship seminary and largest in the world. Patterson is commander of a mighty vessel of theological influence, and there are whales in tow and mighty men on the deck. He has few defeats and a wide ocean and much more territory to be claimed, doubtlessly all to the glory of our King.[16]

Patterson has made the career of many, and in the SBC Patterson and the elite core of his fellowship has caused or been the cause of the truncation of many other careers during the SBC takeover. Not just professorships and seminaries and boards either, but throughout the nation many positions have been culled. Also, while all six SBC seminaries are bastions of biblical training, everyone must also know that they field the resumes of graduates to churches and associations throughout the country, and you must also know that that fielding is not the mere duplication of the resumes on hand for all comers alike.

We shall have to trust God there.

The takeover was and is politics simple and plain to some, and for others it is the leading of God. Only God knows the difference. One thing is clear, the churches will follow their pastors, and the churches are the source of the SBC, from the bottom up, as the SBC exists to support the churches: yet as clearly, the elite of the SBC control the institutions and the heads of the institutions, and those of the body of the SBC are forced to trust the elite in placement. Many a divisive word and speech has been on the phones and on the per diem paid for by all of the SBC on both sides: even many millions from the BGCT has supported the administration overhead and phone bills of top SBC officials who have talked bad about the BGCT leadership and have supported the new competing SBTC (not a faithful stewardship by any stretch). Another case in point, see how the signing of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message has now developed into a creed, something distasteful in SBC life prior to the takeover.[17]

In 1995, I also went on to secure my terminal degree at the same school Patterson attended, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). Patterson’s previous influence played a part in that.

6. Patterson, Open Theism, Love, and My Conscience ~ Top

My conscience shall only be clear before God if I lay before you my best effort, and the above and the following include some of my testimony to these affairs. Though Patterson has not published much in comparison with the influence he has been so powerfully exerting, everyone knows (or must know) that Patterson’s influence on Classical Theism and in opposition to Open Theism has been pervasive, persuasive, and at times critical for the last 20 years. His undisputed and historic leadership allow his word to become law at the near utterance in some theological circles (and sycophants have no position of their own). Except for God, no one will ever know for sure the full extent of Patterson’s influence on many—good and bad. Likewise, many have come to know Christ through him and his dynamic focus on evangelism, and that focus will definitely cover much. It is hard to be too critical of someone whose heart is devoted to evangelism.

You must know—must know—that whether one follows all of Open Theism or not (even though there is no full systematic theology yet to follow), it is very important to know that one of the most central concerns of Open Theism is how they make Love the essence of God, how they champion the personal relationship with God, and how others like Frame and Ware have disputed the primacy of Love to God’s nature. Doubtless, Patterson knows that too, and so—hear ye, hear ye—Patterson in so many words also said in his letter that he did not want to be associated with those who forward Love as the quintessence of God’s Trinitarian nature. Come now.

As of 2003, Paige Patterson had now become the president of my second alma mater and first Love, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).

Having been around the circuit, even a grasshopper, I firmly believe that Love is the essence of God, as defended in several places in this book. Along with what follows, I believe that Love needs more clarification and even more distinction in our great theology textbooks. Attacking Love and even choosing to disassociate oneself from those who champion Love and God’s Love as the core of God’s Trinitarian personhood will only derange further the issues and continue to foster the myths that have arisen.

That is not good business and slays much honor. Grasshopper protests.

7. Patterson’s Letter vis-à-vis the ETS Documents ~ Top

Patterson chose not to be included among those who believe in the genuineness of their relationship with God without contraption and those who want to take the basic readings of the Bible as truth. In silence and nonchalance, Patterson also chose to support misrepresentation. Unbelievable. Gulp, gulp—dare a grasshopper rat on a lion? Honor. You be the judge, for that was the very essence of the three documents I sent him, the originals of appendices 3-5.[18]

How dare a grasshopper stow away and think to question the commander of a great gunship? Inside of the ETS brouhaha on Open Theism and that letter to me, it is reasonable for me to see Patterson saying the words above (or similar) in several venues of his leadership with respect to Pinnock and others on these very issues. That makes Patterson a party, as he is so well known and respected and has been one of the (if not the most) potent leader in the largest Protestant denomination in the United States—the SBC—in the 20th century in distinction in division at the least, or in leadership over the minority of tares and questioning wheat at best. One thing is clear, we do know without question, without doubt, that all of the churches and leaders in Texas are not tares and that there is much wheat in the BGCT churches and leadership. It is the great burden of Patterson and his caucus to be clear there, and they have not in the last ten years.

I shall preempt more dishonor of my book. From my little single-manned single-mast dingy—if I can hold it steady long enough—I shall launch a small preemptive strike and shoot my musket across the bow of his mighty 100-gun ship-of-the-line barkentine.


I take initiative first, though the cricket of a grasshopper cannot go far compared to the likes of a theological and political Titan like Paige Patterson. Since Patterson chose to dishonor me in not engaging me or at least giving a thoughtful response, I was then compelled to either let it ride or give a response. And letting it ride was a great temptation, for when a mouse nips at the heals of lion—unless the lion just continues to ignore the itch—the mouse ought to have more than just an ability to nibble.

I chose to respond.

I have endured dishonor quietly. But I shall defend my honor now, and I shall even preempt more dishonor of this work. Patterson was clear, is unafraid of controversy; and if he follows through, he will continue to disassociate himself from those who champion genuineness and Love as God’s essence and in nonchalance continue to endorse misrepresentation. The facts above and below speak for themselves, for this book’s sake, but the history in the first footnote of this appendix adds a large and complex context.

B. I Challenge Paige Patterson—Gulp! ~ Top

1. Heave To & Come About ~ Top

I challenge Paige Patterson. He should heave to and come about with respect to his own claim to a genuine relationship with God. We all know he has one, and he has been critical of those who have articulated the plain sense of it better than most: like Pinnock in his Most Moved Mover. Before I give that challenge, I shall and must outline the context of that challenge, for by all human standards a grasshopper (or mouse) has no earthly entitlements to challenge or even expect a response from such a Titan as Paige Patterson. The context has to include some manner of biblically-based honor and even contain some measure of good Christian fellowship for any true challenge to become credible.

Here we go…. Gulp!

The three appendices addressed three sets of misrepresentations in varying degrees. Paige Patterson, was I truly mistaken? On what was I mistaken?—on exposing the errors or on questioning rhetorical presentation or on defending Pinnock or on forwarding fidelity to the text or on pressing for clarity on the meaning of our genuine relationship with God? Whatever I was mistaken about, I felt the appendices were clear enough.

I felt Patterson was wrong for supporting misrepresentation through nonchalance and then doubly so for disassociation with my exposing of sloppy work in the attempt to clarify genuineness in our relationship with God. That is dishonorable. Certainly, Patterson agrees that the genuineness of our relationship with God is important, but he refused to deal with it in a straightforward manner.

Does a grasshopper have the right to expect a sincerely thoughtful response? Not as a mere grasshopper all by his lonesome. But inside of the context, why not respond?

Was I really mistaken as he said? I did not expect for Patterson to write a long article correcting those hard-wrought and rather lengthy pieces I sent him—not at all. For those who know Patterson, there is a respect for his intellect, and his preaching is extraordinary; he is a leader of men, doubtlessly, carrying credibility and erudition well. The point is that the documents were not large for someone of his caliber, and he could have given something substantial even in a one- or two-page letter (even if he had simply deferred to Frame or Ware, I suspect that this piece would not be here before you today, for my own simple and selfish reasons to continue my supplication to Patterson and even perhaps impress him, or for distribution’s sake at least).

Nevertheless, this book was meant to be a challenge to Classical Theism. Many know and for those who do not, Patterson is among a small handful of men on earth today who can move the entire juggernaut of Classical Theism with some choice words. From all appearances—my 20+ years of experience and his now seminal letter to me—Patterson seems to hold the line in much the same way as Ware, Frame, Feinberg, Nicole, Bush have, and many others Classical Theist lights. Not surprisingly. Yet unlike them, Patterson is a veteran commander of a mighty ship of influence, almost without twin in the history of the church. And he did not mind supporting those who wrote inferior work and in silence did not mind supporting misrepresentation, while at the same time not giving a scintilla of clarification for the little folks.

My problem—and it is my problem—is this. If Patterson is led by God here and I am wrong, then I am not on God’s side. I really did some work here. I truly want to be on God’s side. If I am wrong, please, help me see where and who is right. If am I right … well then … how about a handshake?

2. Patterson and ETS Confusion ~ Top

Obviously, even from his letter, Patterson himself was not fully aware of all of the ETS issues, like just who was being subjected to exclusion, and I wager he had not actually read the sub-standard material of Nicole. Certainly—I pray to God—I very much do sincerely hope (cross my heart and hope to live) that Patterson has higher expectations of his own students at SWBTS. I would not have gotten a good grade in just about any class at SWBTS under Dilday’s leadership if I had submitted Nicole’s corpus to support Nicole’s purpose—supporting inerrancy as I do—nevertheless, there were expectations for clearer thought then, and I suspect and believe some of the standards continue to this day.

In the three appendices sent, I had sincerely asked for advice on this issue of God’s genuine relationship with his children—open theism besides—and truly felt that Roger Nichol’s material was substandard and undercut the genuineness of prayer, that Timothy George’s letter missed the genuineness issue and even construed “seminiscient” in a misrepresentative manner, and that L. Russ Bush’s letter clearly misrepresented open theism as believing in the absolute openness of the future and used that misrepresentation as the chief grounds for exclusion.

Even L. Russ Bush was so honorable as to concede his error. That’s the Christian and manly thing to do, too, even if other stuff later brimmed up past his corrections. See appendix 5. Excuse me here, but did you see what has happened? Dishonor was compounded. Did Patterson mean to disassociate himself from his own former academic vice president’s admitted error as well? That is not a great stretch. The material was sent at the same time to both. Bush admitted error later in so many words to the appendix sent to Bush, and Patterson chose to deride my work as my error; that is, Bush admitted his letters misconstrued Open Theism, and Patterson chose to support that misconstrual (did Patterson read Bush’s letters that he supported or the appendices 3-5 sent that he derided?). Patterson’s treatment of the Bush material alone was sloppy and dishonorable ostracism no matter how you look at it. Grievous. Or it betrays something worse, that Patterson had chosen to disassociate from persons of documents he had not read and from issues he truly did not understand. There is no clean way out of this, not even for me (unless I just shut up and let the matter go). How shall the church triumphant here? Other than a mistaken volley of firepower, where honor would admit a mistake, it becomes politics at best or something worse. Far from judgment, that is just the way the history unfolded now documented by his own hand!

If to me as a grasshopper with some history and union-card sheepskins—who can be pretty pesky about some things—then how many times has this happened before in the last 20 years of the takeover? I challenge Patterson to heave to and come about on these issues. Is there anything more important than the genuineness of our loving relationship with God?

I believe Paige Patterson was mistaken and will hold out hope that he will admit this or provide something more substantial that makes plain sense to the common Christian soldier. I suspect not, but challenge anyway. I am dishonored.

Personally, between Patterson and me, and excepting this issue of God’s fixity—the grasshopper that I am—I do not think we disagree on as much as he thinks. I surely hope there is a way to bridge the gap. But who’s to know? Patterson makes claims, even about the ETS, but he has not contributed a scintilla. And for a person respected in many inner circles for theological erudition, who makes good speeches, Patterson has not contributed much of anything significant for public consumption; he just has not written much in the last 20+ years—in books or technical articles.[19]

3. Patterson’s Troubled Triumphant Church & Other Deficits ~ Top

I remember when his commentary on 1 Corinthians came out, The Troubled Triumphant Church (1983), and I bought a copy. I was still a novice student struggling to get by at the Criswell Center for Biblical Studies of his presidency (then across the street from First Baptist Church, Dallas). At that time I would have followed Patterson off a cliff as I followed him downtown Dallas to do street witnessing. As I read his commentary, not really knowing much, I found it rather good, and it taught me things I did not know. Heck … back then I was ignorant of many things (still am), as I had not even read the Bible all the way through.

I was a new Christian (1975) without a heritage in any church. The Troubled Triumphant Church was the first commentary-exposition I bought and read—because Patterson wrote it. Moreover, because Patterson wrote it and could do no wrong, I just knew that it had to be the best in the world and that he certainly had gleaned the best resources in the world in writing it. Also, for the first time, I began to look up references, for I truly wanted to see who Patterson had thought were the best commentators. When I did look at the commentaries he had used, I noticed that he had not written anything truly new, that much more substance lay hidden in the works of his references, and that many had much more to say and at times had said it better.

I could not articulate any misgivings then, for my adulation would not allow me to criticize my hero. I thought Patterson hung the moon. But I have reflected over the years. In many ways, after my father died in 1982, Patterson had become a father-figure, but I could not get close. I did not have the savoir faire or much of anything else back then. Though ignorant and frustrated, it was a good time for me as I struggled and studied forward.

Yet, I have reflected these past years as I continued my education. I asked myself a few questions. In all honestly, not judging at all, why would one write a commentary that truly did not need to be written, since he did not add or contribute anything new, especially when one’s burgeoning fame would distract readers from the sources that were for the most part better and more thorough commentaries? Moreover, if you are reading a better commentary, why not try to make the one you are writing more thorough rather than less? Those were just questions I had, but could hardly articulate back then. Today they remain serious concerns, especially in the context of this appendix, in the contexts of this entire set of appendices, in the light of this book, and even inside and outside of the SBC.

In December of 2003, in the light of his letter of rejection of my work, I looked up Patterson in version 5 of The Theological Journal Library CD that cataloged an impressive 150 years of Christian technical journals, including the JETS from 1966-2001 (35 years!)[20]; there were many Pattersons, but I did not find one major article by Paige Patterson (though his wife appeared in several).[21] Surely I must have missed something. I did find a short review of Patterson’s The Troubled Triumphant Church by Charles Stephenson. Interestingly and affirming some of the things I noticed 20 years ago, Stephenson noticed some of the same problems back then too, only Stephenson was far more capable than I was then in articulating the problems. Stephenson questioned Patterson’s short section on background data and questioned Patterson’s rather loose use of Greek to make some points not well substantiated. Stephenson observed,

Assumption of desired theological positions apparently is the norm for Patterson’s writing style…. [gives examples]

And on p. 117, where he [Patterson] discusses the dissolution of a marriage of two Christians, he states that Paul and Jesus do not allow a Christian to remarry even after a divorce because of an unfaithful mate. In both of these cases the position is stated but not demonstrated. If all of his assumptions are correct, he does them a disservice by not giving the evidence.[22]

Seems to me, at least from my correspondence so far and Patterson’s own lack of significant attempts to contribute to theology in journals or books over the last twenty years, that little has changed. Interestingly, Patterson’s commentary has been re-published (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Pub., 2002). Yet why? Is profit the only reason to publish a work that is inferior to its sources? Anyway, what is the reason to republish the same work 20 years later? Certainly popularity will determine much over quality many times, and politics … well, that too. Yet how can eclipsing the better work of others help the troubled church triumph in trust, truth, justice, and the American way?[23]

I agree that the church shall be triumphant, but we shall not help its troubles by shying away from biblical clarifications or attempting to ostracize the champions of genuineness and Love. Certainly the interpretations that require the larger amounts of circumvention are hardly more faithful to the text—especially within such shoddy trappings as Roger Nicole’s (Hezekiah Letter of appendix 3 above).

Honor should not be allowed to pass away so easy. That’s a cricket challenge too.

4. Clay Feet and Leadership … Yet Honor Demands Something ~ Top

So what, you might ask? I found out that my hero had clay feet. I am not without my own faults too, and my own transference did not help me a lot. Doubtlessly, my own transference scrubbed me in the wrong ways. But it is certainly not the discovery of clay feet that is the issue. Hey! I could have done much worse than Patterson for a father-figure of sorts. That is my problem, and my difficulty in pleasing him may have finally forced me to stand on my own.

Our problem is making clear sense out of genuineness in the light of Classical Theist dodging, circumnavigation, and even unreasonable ostracism in its attempts to defend genuineness in the light of fixed foreknowledge. That’s our problem. And Patterson as president of the largest seminary in the world will continue to be a part of the problem or part of the solution, as his position and authority and unquestioned leadership will not allow neutrality—even in silence, his mighty 100-gun barkentine moves forward into the theological trade winds. This communiqué from the commander’s cabin betrayed much more than a grasshopper rejection, for Patterson’s armada shall sail forth even at the expense of the ETS. Besides the stowaways and sycophantic barnacles that always cling to such vessels, there be whales in tow and ripples all about the movement of such ships-of-the-line.

And wise commanders are aware … of the ripples and the whales!

5. The Challenge—Gulp!—Heave To & Come About on Genuineness ~ Top

Here I stand, cannot do less. Heave to and come about on genuineness. I respected Patterson for too many years to let this pass, and I have roots too deep to remain silent. Nor have I kept my eyes in the sand since the days of my unqualified adulation.

Those precise words in his letter to me (in the esoteric context just outlined) are what has contributed to some of the trouble in our church universal. It is not proper for my own president of my school (alma mater and SBC[24]) to allow good people to be misrepresented. Nor is it proper that plain-sense Bible reading is displaced so that the true (?) meaning of the Bible can only be had by the elite in vast circumlocutions that make little sense to the common Christian soldier.

Patterson is at the helm of his career, and his word stands as law in public and even as a veritable chairman of the board in many of the elite circles of the SBC and beyond. That is good for those who believe, clay feet and all; but for those who would like something we can sink our teeth into, there is a near absolute dependence upon his mercy. And grasshopper got none this time out with his cricketing volleys across the bow if that great ship.

I challenge Paige Patterson to put together one good article on whatever he believes about how we can have a genuine relationship with God inside of an absolutely settled future. Just one! Or better, will Patterson allow himself to come to the stage on an equal platform with Clark Pinnock on that issue. Pinnock is not getting any younger, and masters of his caliber are not coming forth in abundance (we have seen that in these appendices if nothing else).

Our God is alive and still active. That is the biblical message that becomes hopelessly handicapped within the settled future of Classical Theism and makes a mockery out our genuine loving relationship with God. And it profits no one when we run from the issues as Patterson did, and it hurts when a Titan like Patterson would support misrepresentation through nonchalance.

I, the grasshopper and mere prison chaplain, challenge my esteemed teacher and president of my alma mater—that is also the largest evangelical seminary in the world—Paige Patterson, I challenge you to concur and apologize or clarify and take us further into biblical clarity, knowing that just about anything you would write would be published by just about anyone. That is too grave a responsibility to forego, I say, and I also pray he does one or the other and does not remain in unpublished—unpublished!—opposition for long. This is about the genuineness of our relationship to God, and God has blessed Patterson too much for him to remain outside of the published realm of theological development on this.

He took a stand in that letter, and I ask for the juice to make sense of that stand.

I suspect few of the past presidents of SWBTS have published as little substance as Patterson, to say nothing of what appears to be a near total absence in technical journals, especially in the ETS that he valued as unique among scholarly Christian societies for its evangelical nature. He would help start a new society to do what the ETS has been doing, though He himself has not contributed much in 20 years.

This is of the utmost seriousness. Patterson has now threatened to bring his mighty 100-gun barkentine about and open the starboard batteries of his enormous influence upon the ETS itself, a society in which he has contributed so little. Patterson did not even contribute a letter to the ETS for posting on the web site as other members and concerned past ETS presidents had done with respect to the issues surrounding Roger Nicole’s allegations and the issues at hand! He hardly participated—so it appears to me—on the most miniscule level.

It shall be as he says from the confines of his commodore’s cabin or else. He would support yet another division of Christian fellowship rather than fellowship and struggle with those and among he would divide. My goodness, but that is a mighty high place.

For those who know even a smattering of the history of the SBC, the divisions of state conventions throughout the nation, and even the division in Texas between the BGCT and SBTC—there is hardly a person on earth today other than Patterson with just the right set of unique abilities (history, credibility, presidential oversight of the largest seminary,[25] and influential ties across the nation) that is truly capable of fostering such a division in the ETS.

Patterson has now threatened to fire upon the ETS without so much as a single contribution—as now testified by his own hand. God have mercy. In the light of the society’s executive committee’s unanimous vote and the ETS at large vote for Pinnock, Patterson’s threat is a dishonorable use of mighty firepower without sending over so much as a single set of articles of agreement.

Hey there mate … even the pirates of the Caribbean had a code.

Aye mate, tis a bit too much rum in hold here. And we know that all that Patterson has to do is express the desire to support such, and many a hungry sycophant-pirate-wanna-be will do the rest. Unfortunately, this is not the Caribbean, and the best of the ETS shall not be intimidated. And Texas contains some pretty stout stock too.

Heave to and come about on genuineness. This is about honor, even for grasshoppers, and about honorable rules of engagement.

Patterson is a significant part of the problem as are many of the other notables in this book. Like a few of the top contributors here, Patterson could be a part of the progress towards a solution. If he will.

I challenge Patterson to bring forth something substantial. If not, at least could he reference someone who has already spoken his position well on these issues? After 20 years, Patterson could be creative and give his mature thoughts on genuineness and the dynamism of Love in the light of his exhaustive-settled foreknowledge. That is not to much for a distant son in the faith to ask of his old pop. If that person is in this book, could Patterson then expand upon my adulations, criticisms, misrepresentations, or mistakes and make a substantial contribution to theology? Would he concur with anyone in this book? Who?

It’s time for Patterson give us something substantial in print. In the light of the SBC and ETS controversies—historic the both of them—is there a better issue than the genuineness of our relationship with God in the light of a somewhat open future or in the light of a settled future in God’s foreknowledge? This is doubly apropos in that Patterson is a master and commander of the theological trade winds, even president of the SBC’s flagship seminary—SWBTS, the largest seminary in the world—as well as one in vocal opposition to those little people and grasshoppers who have trouble seeing integrity in a genuine relationship that is also in the context of a fixed-settled future in the mind of God. What is Love?

We’ve heard the talk. From a dingy bouncing in the theological trade winds, a grasshopper has fired a cricketing echo across the bow of Commander Patterson’s juggernaut. The commander has nothing to lose in ignoring. Grasshopper has risked all in his musket-cricket volley and loses if grasshopper be ignored or if grasshopper is fired upon with a thoughtless (or politically targeted) broadside from the mighty gunship.

Will honor be served?

Grasshopper stands up in his dingy and casts this gauntlet down.

C. Final Grasshopper Cricket ~ Top

I remember one of the fireside chats Patterson was accustom to giving us in the Criswell College chapel in the 1980’s. He opened himself up to all questions. One time, he lamented the poor preparation of pastors preaching in the pulpits, and he furthermore gave a charge that the churches needed to give the pastor time to—I cannot remember the words exactly—essentially lock themselves up in their offices each week to study the Bible and prepare their messages. I did that here. It is Patterson’s turn to the same. Can you think of a more relevant topic for the new president of the largest seminary in the world, most especially given Patterson’s unique place of influence in both the SBC and ETS, than the genuineness of our real-time and loving relationship with God inside of Patterson’s idea of foreknowledge?


P.S.: Return to the Scriptures a Good Idea ~ Top

I think it is a good thing to think hard and defend heartily the biblical position and best of all how one’s position is clearly superior. Bill Thomas said that “the most striking thing about the theological outlook of E. Y. Mullins was his advocacy of theological restatement.”[26] Then Thomas ended his doctoral dissertation with this: “Perhaps more significant, more relevant, and more desperately needed in today’s troubled theological world than any or all of Mullins’ doctrinal expressions is the insight, the outlook, and the open-mindedness of the fundamentally orthodox and conservative man who penned these words:”[27]

We must ever return to the Scriptures for new inspiration. We must ever ask anew the questions as to Christ and his relations to the needs of each generation. He does not change. His religion is the same in all ages. But our difficulties and problems are shaped anew by the forces of life which ever change about us. Hence we must revitalize our faith by deepening our communion with God and witnessing to his power in us.

As autonomous and free, and as dealing with the greatest of all realities, the [Christian] religion in every age of the world comes to redeem men. They accept it under the conditions of their own age, confronted by their own difficulties and problems. Hence arises the need for restating its doctrines in terms of the living experience of each generation.[28]

Amen, I say. Let Classical Theists—Patterson especially—define the meaning of the genuineness they claim and the meaning of Love inside of an exhaustively settled future. Instead of fostering more division, participate in the pursuit of truth with peers; instead of making phone calls, participate in the ETS debates at a minimum. Instead of just claiming genuineness, siding with others who call out heresy with insubstantial and at times confusing and misrepresentative or misleading arguments, and withdrawing oneself from dialogue with those who champion genuineness and Love, how about putting the pen to the claims? Doing the hard work of actually doing theology? Like grasshopper here? Albert Mohler and his colleagues reissued Mullins’ Axioms of Religion[29] not to aid them in restatement, but to shore up authenticity of the politicking of their view of God’s fixed-settlement in foreknowledge at a minimum and avoid the harder work of addressing what genuineness means to them (Mohler is aware books critiqued). That is the cheap way out and not good Christian theology, grabbing at the coattails of a true master like Mullins, rather than following him in doing the work he asked them to do: as a professional theologian and presidents of the mighty world-class seminaries, they can do the SBC and Classical Theism a great service in doing the theology required to address the issues.

What does genuineness mean inside of Classical Theism?

What does freedom mean in the New Testament if not freedom?

Will any Classical Theist—any at all—attempt a restatement on Love’s genuineness and freedom in the light of Millard Erickson, William Lane Craig, Clark Pinnock, John Sanders, Gregory Boyd, to say nothing more on the statement on dynamic foreknowledge here and the counterpoint challenges here?

What is more important than our genuine loving relationship with God?



A. My History with Paige Patterson

1. Patterson’s Rejection of Me & Question of ETS Integrity

2. Patterson a Commander in the Theological Trade Winds

3. Why This Challenge to Patterson

4. Patterson a Legend in His Own Time

5. Patterson a Father-figure & My Own Transference

6. Patterson, Open Theism, Love, and My Conscience

7. Patterson’s Letter vis-à-vis the ETS Documents

B. I Challenge Paige Patterson—Gulp!—Heave to & Come About

1. Patterson and ETS Confusion

2. Patterson’s Troubled Triumphant Church & Other Deficits

3. Clay Feet and Leadership … Yet Honor Demands Something

4. The Challenge—Gulp!—Heave To & Come About on Genuineness

C. Final Grasshopper Cricket

P.S.: Return to the Scriptures a Good Idea


~ Top ~

Paige Patterson—A Challenge

Appendix 7 From:
Heart of the Living God:
Love, Free Will, Foreknowledge, Heaven:
a Theology on the Treasure of Love

Order Now   >

(AuthorHouse, 2004; 707p.): 565-581.



e-mail me @


~ Top ~







[1] See the letter at it was dated October 6, 2003.

[2] SBC, Southern Baptist Convention; BGCT, Baptist General Convention of Texas; TBC, Texas Baptist Committed; SBTC, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

[3] The third person he mentioned he would vote against was probably Gregory Boyd, though Boyd was not subject to exclusion as he was not an ETS member.

[4] Roger Nicole got 87 hits for the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society with many his articles therein and 364 hits in all of the journals (I did not look at all of them) in the Theological Journal Library CD (version 5,, also sold from the ETS site for direct order, Bibliotheca Sacra (1934-2001), Grace Journal (1960-1972), Grace Theological Journal (1980-1972), Trinity Journal (1980-2000), Master’s Seminary Journal (1990-1999), Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1995-2001), Westminster Theological Journal (1960-2000), Emmaus Journal (1991-2001), Michigan Theological Journal (1990-1994), Journal of Christian Apologetics (1997-1998), Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (1988-2000), Chafer Theological Seminary Journal (1995-2001), and Conservative Theological Journal (1997-1999).

[5] Compare: Paige Patterson, “Anatomy of a Reformation: the Southern Baptist Convention, 1978-1994,” Paper presented at the 46th National Conference of the Evangelical Theological Society, Lisle, IL, Nov. 17, 1994 (Microfiche; Portland, OR: Theological Research Exchange Network, 1998; ETS-4661; 17p.); Fishers Humphreys, The Way We Were: How Southern Baptist Theology Has Changed and What It Means to Us All (Smyth & Helwys, 2002); Grady Cothen & James Dunn. Soul Freedom: Baptist Battle Cry (Smyth & Helwys, 2000); Rob James and Gary Leazer, The Fundamentalist Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention: A Brief History (Timisoara, Romania: Impact Media, 1999); Paul Pressler, A Hill on Which to Die: One Southern Baptist’s Journey (Broadman & Holman, 1999); Walter Shurden & Randy Shepley, Going for the Jugular: a Documentary History of the SBC Holy War (Mercer, 1996); David Morgan, The New Crusades, the New Holy Land: Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention, 1969-1991 (University of Alabama Press, 1996); Nancy Tatom Ammerman, Baptist Battles: Social Change and Religious Conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention (Rutgers University Press, 1990), Ellen M. Rosenberg, The Southern Baptists: A Subculture in Transition (Univ. Tennessee, 1989).

[6] Harold Bloom, The American Religion: the Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (Simon & Schuster, 1992): 199. In Bloom’s succinct 3-chapter Baptist overview, it is noteworthy as it comes from a non-religious expert and one of America’s most prolific and esteemed literature scholars (see the Library of Congress for more and the uncanny number of intros for literary works).

[7] See Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), former President of the Southern Baptist Theological Society, Freedom and Authority in Religion (Griffith & Rowland Press, 1913; 410p.), The Axioms of Religion: a New Interpretation of the Baptist Faith (American Baptist Pub. Soc., 1908; 316p.), Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression, (Roger Williams Press, 1917; 514p.), Christianity at the Cross Roads (Sunday School Board, SBC, 1924; 289p.), The Life in Christ (NY: Fleming H. Revell, 1917; 239p.), Why Is Christianity True? Christian Evidences (Christian Culture, 1905. 450p.); see also Bill Clark Thomas, Edgar Young Mullins: a Baptist Exponent of Theological Restatement (Th.D. dissertation, 1963, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1963; 477p.).

[8] Robert Baker, The Southern Baptist Convention and Its People 1607-1972 (Broadman, 1974): 397; Baker footnotes as valuable, S. G. Cole’s The History of Fundamentalism (London: Archon Books, 1931) and Norman F. Furniss’s The Fundamentalist Controversy 1918-1931 (New Haven: Yale Univ., 1954).

[9] Harold Bloom, The American Religion: the Emergence of the Post-Christian Nation (Simon & Schuster, 1992): 47.

[10] Bloom, The American Religion: 30.

[11] Bloom, The American Religion: 30.

[12] Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), The Axioms of Religion: a New Interpretation of the Baptist Faith (NY: American Baptist Pub. Soc., 1908); version compiled by R. Albert Mohler, Timothy and Denise George, eds., (Broadman & Holman, 1997; 297p.).

[13] Thank God for computers, for the libraries of all the significant seminaries and universities and even the Library of Congress are all accessible to the world.

[14] That would make a good doctoral dissertation, tracking the academic origins of SBC’s leadership and particularly the leadership of the seminaries, especially by years or groups of 5-year periods, speeds of tenure, academic accomplishments, between schools SBC and otherwise specific to the SBC leadership. It would be tedious too.

[15] Texas Baptists Committed,, P.O. Box 3330, San Angelo, TX 76902; 915-659-4102.

[16] Oh, please, do see John Feinberg’s No One Like Him for 850+ pages on the King who cares and John Frame’s Doctrine of God for 800+ pages on the theology of Lordship.

[17] Tenured missionaries whose dedicated wives have been as much a part of the “missionary team” felt put upon with the controversial clause on women (as certainly the doctrine was very far from settled with anything comparable to the doctrine of God or of Christ). Though voted on by a majority, as certainly, such directions taken with the Baptist faith and message should in all honor have only proceeded forth with 90% or more concurrence—most especially in the light of the takeover controversy, and most especially if the intention was unity instead of preemptive fear. Why else add the clause on women, as certainly the clause has no where near the consensus or history compared to that of the trinity, etc.? Moreover, no SBC Baptist church in the SBC’s history has kept women silent in church, and without rock-solid clarification there, there is no true distinction between our ubiquitous violation of that and now the creedal enforcement of a woman’s submission (Creedalism has trickled down to the exclusion of endorsement of women chaplains. I plead with all sanity, as a senior state-prison chaplain, who better to deal with women prisoners than a fully trained female chaplain? Tell me the man who thinks he would be equal and I shall show you a shallow man who not only does not know himself but who had less insight into women on life’s fringes. Someone has lost it here, and I could write a book about that too.). If that is so obvious in a mere footnote, how could the SBC leaders have proceeded to lead the SBC there without full technical analysis instead of serve all with due respect for others—especially our esteemed missionaries, every one of them, the raison d’être of the SBC’s very existence, to say little of the other SBC thousands who had doubts.

[18] Appendix 3 was trimmed for this book, and the original is still online where noted; on appendix 5 that I sent, a good portion of the current online version was sent, and the version here only clips the essence and adds information on Bush’s new book, The Advancement.

[19] From SWBTS and SBTS library and Library of Congress on-line searches, though there are several videos and audio tapes.

[20] The other sets of journals included in The Theological Journal Library CD (version 5,, also sold from the ETS site for direct order, Bibliotheca Sacra (1934-2001), Grace Journal (1960-1972), Grace Theological Journal (1980-1972), Trinity Journal (1980-2000), Master’s Seminary Journal (1990-1999), Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (1995-2001), Westminster Theological Journal (1960-2000), Emmaus Journal (1991-2001), Michigan Theological Journal (1990-1994), Journal of Christian Apologetics (1997-1998), Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (1988-2000), Chafer Theological Seminary Journal (1995-2001), and Conservative Theological Journal (1997-1999).

[21] Certainly there were some articles in the Criswell Theological Review during its time of printing, and I have not had the time to check those. I still have a copy of volume 1, number 1 (Fall 1986), in which there were two good book reviews by Patterson.

[22]Charles Stephenson, book review of The Troubled Triumphant Church (by Paige Patterson, Nashville: Nelson, 1983, 326p.), p., The Evangelical Theological Society. 1985;2002. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 28.1 (March 1985): 95.

[23] Oh, I know it is a little unfair to capitalize on a twenty-year old short book review, and attempt to pull at the coattails for a reaction, but the review does get a boost in relevance since the essence of Patterson’s 2002 reprint remains the same.

[24] For those outside the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the churches of the convention own the seminary. The SBC is supposed to be an inverted pyramid, where the churches are the directors and the institutions are the servants. Supposed to be anyway.

[25] The third presidency of his career, and former president of the SBC itself. And the SBC seminaries have probably the largest single contingent of scholars in the ETS over any other denomination to boot. Given the political climate itself … another book could be written about this footnote.

[26] Bill Clark Thomas, Edgar Young Mullins: a Baptist Exponent of Theological Restatement (Th.D. dissertation, 1963, SBTS, 1963; 477p): 409.

[27] Bill Clark Thomas, Edgar Young Mullins: a Baptist Exponent of Theological Restatement: 410.

[28] Edgar Young Mullins, The Christian Religion in Its Doctrinal Expression (Philadelphia: Roger Williams Press, 1917: 9-10), quoted in Bill Clark Thomas, Edgar Young Mullins: a Baptist Exponent of Theological Restatement (Th.D. dissertation, 1963, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1963; 477p): 410; Thomas’ emphasis.

[29] Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928), The Axioms of Religion: a New Interpretation of the Baptist Faith (NY: American Baptist Pub. Soc., 1908); version compiled by R. Albert Mohler, Timothy and Denise George, eds., (Broadman & Holman, 1997; 297p.).