Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's (SWBTS) board of trustees released the list of names on its presidential search team Aug. 24. The 9-member committee will seek a replacement for former president Paige Patterson who was terminated in May.
The seminary, based in Fort Worth, Texas, is currently under the leadership of interim president Jeffrey Bingham, who previously served as dean of the SWBTS School of Theology since 2016.
SWBTS identified search team members in an announcement on the school’s website :
Danny Roberts, committee chairman, At-Large, Texas
Denise B. Ewing, Ill.
Jamie R. Green, At-Large, Texas
Guy G. Grimes, Calif.
N. Todd Houston, N.C.
Thomas R. (Tom) James, Ky.
Philip Levant, At-Large, Texas
Andre M. Palmer, N.Y.
Calvin R. Wittman, Colo.
Trustee chair Kevin Ueckert, At-Large, Texas, and vice-chair Cornelious C. (Connie) Hancock, Ohio, will serve on the committee ex officio.
Ueckert said the team will focus on developing a candidate profile and application process before the board’s October meeting. He also said trustees would enter a time of “focused prayer.”
Nominations and “expressions of interest” may be submitted via email at [email protected].
Houston, senior pastor of Beach Road Baptist Church in Southport, N.C., told the Biblical Recorder he is grateful for the opportunity to serve both as a trustee and a search committee member. He expressed confidence in the committee as an “excellent team to lead us through this critically important search process.”
“I know our Board of Trustees and the entire Southwestern family are eternally grateful for the many prayers from our brothers and sisters in Christ, both within and beyond our convention,” Houston said. “I pray those prayers not only continue, but intensify as we begin this search process. We have one agenda: to find the man God has chosen to lead SWBTS for many years to come. My prayer for both our Search Committee, and for our entire Trustee Board, is to hear from God as the Prophet Samuel heard from God when He said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is the one’ (1 Samuel 16).”
Controversy engulfed Patterson in early 2018 when audio and video files were posted online that included past advice he gave to a woman about domestic violence and comments about a teenage girl’s physical attractiveness in a sermon.
Trustees initially decided to move Patterson into an honorary role as president emeritus, which included compensation and a lifetime housing arrangement on campus, but days later the board’s executive committee removed him from leadership at the seminary entirely, citing new information about his mishandling of two sexual assault allegations.
A committee member also said publicly at the Southern Baptist Convention's 2018 annual meeting that Patterson acted inappropriately in response to the board’s investigation of the school’s financial condition.
Patterson was president of SWBTS from 2003-2018. He had previously served as president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and Criswell College in Dallas, Texas.