Paige Patterson, ousted as president of a prominent Southern Baptist seminary this spring for allegedly dismissing women’s concerns about domestic abuse and rape, is set to teach a Christian ethics course at a Charlotte, N.C., seminary later this month.
Patterson, once the top elected official of the Southern Baptist Convention, was removed in May from his position as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after reports that he mishandled rape allegations by students. His lawyer has rebutted those claims.
Patterson plans to co-teach a mid-October weeklong class on “Christian Ethics: The Bible and Moral Issues” with Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, a school that is not affiliated with the SBC.
“Dr. Patterson’s one of the most significant figures in evangelicalism in the last 20 years, at least, of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century,” Land told Religion News Service, “and we believe that there are a lot of people who would like to hear from him about living the Christian life in America. I believe he’s an asset to evangelicalism and we’re looking forward to it.”
Land first met Patterson when Land was a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and soon became a staff evangelist at the church in the city where Patterson was pastor. Patterson and Paul Pressler, a former judge and prominent Southern Baptist layman who has been the target of sexual abuse allegations, which he denies, were both groomsmen at Land’s wedding.
In the 1980s, Patterson and Pressler together led the denomination’s conservative turn, creating a resurgence (critics called it a takeover) from what they saw as a liberal drift. Land was among those who hailed the move that led to more conservative leadership across the SBC’s seminaries and agencies.
Land has not escaped controversy himself. In 2012, he was the subject of an ethics probe that resulted in his receiving a reprimand for racially charged words on his former radio show and for quoting material without attribution. He retired early as the leader of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission when he took the helm of the seminary now housed on a two-building campus in Charlotte.
Since his departure from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, Patterson has been busy with speaking engagements, according to Scott Colter, a spokesperson.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service, Adelle M. Banks