In an online article published by the Southern Baptist Texan, Dr. Patterson was given an opportunity to answer some of his critics. In this article, he was clear to define himself as not “Landmark,” but “convinced Baptist.” To read the article in its entirety click here. Below is an excerpt from the story.
“As pastors begin to retire and all us old cats die off, beware of what is happening,” Patterson said. “We have so emphasized church planting – and we’ve been pretty successful with that – that what we don’t have in our seminaries are people who are interested in going into FBC Navasota, Texas, or wherever it may be, and see that those too are God’s sheep, and that they need a pastor also.” The convention needs pastors for smaller, existing churches, he said.
Church planting is an additional area that would benefit from a return to Baptist roots, Patterson added, indicating his concern that partnerships be clearly defined with other Great Commission Christians who are not Southern Baptists.
“There a lot of things that we can do, even with others who aren’t Great Commission Christians,” he said, referring to standing against abortion or for family values with Roman Catholics. “[However], I am constitutionally opposed to doing church planting with anybody other than Baptists. Baptists are paying for it so it ought to be a Baptist church that is planted. That ought to be true in Kenya, and it ought to be true here; it ought to be true everywhere. If we’re going to pay for it, and we’re going to put the people out there to do it, we ought to plant Baptist churches.”
Anticipating this his view might be mischaracterized by some as that of a Landmarker, he refused the title.
“Landmarker: no – convinced Baptist: yes,” he said. “I’m not Baptist because I grew up in that. I’m Baptist because that’s what I believe – what Baptists believe. And I think we are in very 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.