FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, addressed editors of state Baptist Papers during the 2009 Association of State Baptist Papers (ASBP) fellowship in Horsehoe Bay, Texas, Feb. 10-13.

According to the Southern Baptist Texan, Patterson was slated to speak at the invitation of Texan editor and ASBP president Gary Ledbetter. To begin, Patterson told state editors that the seminary, like many other agencies, has taken a hit from the decline of the U.S. economy. It has been able to spare its 115 faculty members from dismissal. However, Patterson reported that the seminary cut various student and staff positions around campus.

Patterson also denied rumors that faculty members with Calvinistic views would be dismissed from the seminary. When it earlier appeared that the seminary would need to dismiss some faculty due to the economic situation, Patterson held “a one-hour interview with every faculty member.”

“I felt like they needed and deserved an opportunity to tell me what they thought I needed to do,” he said. These meetings also allowed him to assess the attitudes and concerns of faculty members. “I discussed all those things because I want to know where everybody is. After all I’m the president of the school, and [I’m] responsible for my faculty.”

Patterson reported that the College at Southwestern has grown over the past six semesters and has a lower attrition rate than other Texas universities. Southwestern, he added, has regained its place in developing the most international missionaries of the six Southern Baptist seminaries.

In further news, Patterson told state editors that the seminary is developing a jazz studies concentration within the master of music degree in the School of Church Music. The seminary has also nearly completed a building devoted to the homemaking concentration within the College at Southwestern’s B.A. in Humanities degree.

Accepting questions from his audience, Patterson urged Baptists to recover their heritage. He said, “I think we are in grave danger of squandering that which our Anabaptist forefathers and what our English Baptist forefathers and what our forefathers in this country bled for and often died for—and that is absolute religious liberty, absolute separation of church and state, and most important of all—the concept of the believer’s church.”

More of Patterson’s statements during the ASBP fellowship may be accessed on the following link: