In Paige Patterson’s “Introduction to Fine Arts” class at Scarborough College this semester, he taught on the historical development of the arts such as music, painting and sculpture. When teaching on this lattermost topic, he related a personal experience in which he, along with evangelist Jay Strack and a museum curator, examined Auguste Rodin’s sculpture, “The Gates of Hell,” which depicts demons pulling people into hell.

Strack asked the curator, “Do any of those look like you?” The curator answered, “I hope not.” Patterson then said, “Yeah, but do you know not.”

The curator asked what he meant, so Patterson explained, “If you died standing right there, would you be in heaven, or would they be taking you down to hell?” The curator did not know the answer to that question, so Patterson asked, “Can we share with you?”

Patterson produced his pocket copy of the New Testament and shared Christ with the man. After hearing the Gospel, the curator realized his need for Christ and expressed his desire to be saved. So, the three of them knelt together there in the museum, and the man came to Christ at The Gates of Hell. When relating that story to his class, Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary, explained, “The fine arts is a simple way to get people to talk about the things of Christ and come to the Lord.”

This anecdote about his fall course was one of several updates Patterson provided at the 39th Annual President’s Club Dinner, Dec. 8. Addressing Southwestern’s numerous ministry partners, Patterson shared how God is blessing their investment in the institution.

The Patterson Center for Global Theological Innovation (GTI), for example, now has nearly 140 partnerships with seminaries and Bible schools on five continents. Discussions have begun with a school in Australia, however, meaning that, in Patterson’s words, the only continent left will be one “that has only penguins.” Explaining the significance of these partnerships, Patterson said these overseas institutions come to Southwestern not for financial aid, but for spiritual investment.

“We want to have the spirit of B.H. Carroll and L.R. Scarborough in this place,” they say. “And that’s what we’ve been able to transfer out there to the fields as we have reopened a number of seminaries that had closed in various nations,” Patterson said.

Patterson also related an experience from his recent visit to Brazil alongside Southwestern’s Women’s Programs faculty for a conference on biblical womanhood. A man there in Brazil encouraged his ex-wife to attend the conference, and when she did, she heard the Gospel and professed faith in Jesus Christ. She then encouraged him to attend the church as well. Under Patterson’s preaching during the Sunday morning service, the man also accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. He and his ex-wife are now in the process of getting back together. (Read more about the Brazil conference here.)

Patterson concluded his presentation with an invitation to the Southwestern campus after SBC in June for BBQ, campus tours, and a live Q&A with former SBC presidents. Patterson specifically called attention to Mathena Hall, with its Martyrs’ Walk and Lottie Moon Exhibit.

Vice President for Student Services Kyle Walker closed the evening with prayer, encouraging ministry partners, “You will never know the full extent of all that you do and have done and will do for the Kingdom by investing in this school and its students. As I get to work and serve with students and see the fruit every day, the stories we could tell would go on and on. So thank you.”