Baptist seminary president removed over controversial remarks about abused women

By Bobby Ross Jr., Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Michelle Boorstein| The Washington Post

FORT WORTH — Prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson has been removed from his job as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary amid an evangelical #MeToo moment: a massive backlash from women upset over comments he made in the past that are newly perceived as sexist and demeaning.

Seminary leaders were vague as to the reason for the dramatic move, issuing a statement in the wee hours Wednesday morning that didn’t mention Patterson’s controversial comments. Instead, the statement said that the seminary is moving “in the direction of new leadership” due to challenges related to “enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity.”

The brief statement said Patterson will be president emeritus, “for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary.” He will receive compensation and may live on campus as “theologian-in-residence” at a brand new Baptist Heritage Center, the statement said.

After 13 hours of closed-door sessions, the seminary’s trustees appointed D. Jeffrey Bingham, the seminary’s dean of the school of theology, as interim president. Bingham has worked for numerous evangelical institutions, including Criswell College, Dallas Theological Seminary and Wheaton College.

Bobby Ross Jr. reported from Fort Worth. Sarah Pulliam Bailey reported from New York City. Michelle Boorstein reported from Washington.

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This story appears on Page A10 of The Washington Post.