FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Paige Patterson announced a new seminary slogan in an address to incoming students on Jan. 8. “Do the work of an evangelist … Bring the books, especially the parchments” reflects Patterson’s vision to lead Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary toward an aggressive affirmation of world evangelization and theological education.
Patterson said the slogan, from the New Testament’s Pastoral Epistles, captures for a new generation of students the historic pledge of the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary to serve both Southern Baptist churches and a lost world by equipping ministers for their God-ordained task.
The Apostle Paul was in prison when he wrote to his young protege, Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4:5-13, Paul instructed his student to bring his books and parchments. Commentators agree that “parchments” refers to the copies of the Old Testament scrolls Paul needed for his ministry.
No slogan, however, is able make a name for Southwestern or guarantee the quality of the ministry training students will receive, Patterson said. “People anointed of God must provide the niche for Southwestern. The slogan simply says what we are about. We are paying whatever price must be paid to know the Lord and His mind as revealed in the books and especially the Scriptures, and we are translating this into the most aggressive evangelism and world missions program conceivable.”
This vision was the driving factor behind the founding and growth of Southwestern Seminary during the earlier administrations of B.H. Carroll and L.R. Scarborough, Patterson said.
“Carroll and Scarborough did not use this precise slogan, but it was the essence and uniqueness of Southwestern from its inception. Commonly, seminaries are either ministry-oriented or academically oriented. Carroll believed, as do I, that the two must be combined,” Patterson said.
“Few do it. Carroll and Scarborough did. The slogan shows Paul at the end of his life, still an evangelist, still a student.”
As the seminary’s 2008 centennial anniversary approaches, the new Bible-based slogan represents the groundwork Patterson is laying to reach goals of recruiting top-tier faculty, boosting student enrollment to 6,000 and finishing capital campaigns. As the seminary lives out its commitment to the Scripture and lifelong learning as a matter of spiritual discipline, Patterson said he is convinced God’s blessing will be seen in these areas as well as in missionary expansion and church growth.
“My prayer is that God will raise up a generation of students eager to acquire both orthodox, evangelical Christianity and a thorough grasp of all biblical knowledge available, and combine that with a heart for lost people and a desire to get their arms around the world,” Patterson said.
“Do the work of an evangelist … Bring the books, especially the parchments” replaces “Touch the world … impact eternity” as the seminary slogan. “Southwestern is decisively and deliberately returning to classical theological education, utilizing the ancient and contemporary learning devices available and immersing the whole in the passion of the Holy Spirit of God with the purpose of magnifying Christ in all things,” Patterson said.
“Anointed classical theological education is the great need of the church and society today, and the only kind of theological education worthy of the name,” he said.
During the fall 2003 semester, Southwestern enrolled 2,887 students, 2,782 of whom identified themselves as Southern Baptists, while 105 students identified themselves with one of nearly 30 other evangelical groups and denominations. Males totaled 2,132 students; females, 755. Students from 48 states, Washington D.C., and 47 countries are currently enrolled at Southwestern. The fall graduating class included students from 26 states and 16 foreign countries. They earned 17 diploma degrees, 198 master’s degrees and 52 doctorates.