Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson responded to recent questions regarding a Muslim student studying at the seminary. He acknowledged that a Palestinian Muslim man was allowed to enroll in the school’s Ph.D. program in archaeology.

“For several years, Southwestern Seminary has operated a dig at Tel Gezer in Israel,” Patterson said. “During that time we have been joined in the effort by around 20 of our own students and about 60 students from secular schools and religious schools. We have had both Israelis and Muslims.

“One of these young men from a Muslim background loved our people and asked to study with us. He accepted the necessity of abiding by our moral code of conduct. He is a man of peace, and we agreed to admit him into the archeology program.”

Patterson said he has made similar exceptions on rare occasions during his presidencies at Southwestern, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Criswell College. He estimated having done so four or five times in his nearly 40 years of academic administration. His intention for the exceptions each time, including this one, was based on a desire to see these individuals understand the good news of Jesus Christ.

“This man's progress has been good,” Patterson said, “and we are especially grateful for the close relations that have been forged with peaceful Muslims and the opportunities that we have had to share biblical truths with them. In all of this there is not even a hint of compromise of our historic position.”