Southern Baptist Convention messengers elected Paige Patterson as president by acclamation during the June 9 afternoon session in Salt Lake City. He was unopposed for the presidency.
Patterson, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., since 1992, is generally regarded as one of the architects of the conservative resurgence in the SBC which began in 1979.
Patterson, 55, succeeds Tom Elliff, pastor of First Baptist Church, Del City, Okla., who concluded two one-year terms at this year's annual meeting.
A native Texan, Patterson is the first seminary president to serve as SBC president since L.R. Scarborough, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas, in 1939-40.
In nominating Patterson, James Merritt, pastor of First Baptist Church, Snellville, Ga., called him a "proven leader and a champion of the cause of Christ."
Merritt also cited Patterson as a man of courage. "Because of his commitment to his beloved Southern Baptist Convention, he was willing to lay his personal reputation and denominational future on the line in calling Southern Baptists back to their biblical roots," Merritt said. Patterson has never wavered from the infallibility and truth of God's Word, Merritt added.
Patterson is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned both his master's and doctor of theology degrees.
Throughout his ministry, Patterson, who began preaching at the age of fourteen, has visited several dozen countries spreading the gospel through revival crusades, missionary assignments, and study tours. He has extensive editorial experience and served as the managing editor of The Believer's Study Bible.
Prior to joining Southeastern Seminary, Patterson served as president of The Criswell College and associate pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas for seventeen years. Before going to Dallas, Patterson served churches in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Patterson is married to the former Dorothy Jean Kelley of Beaumont, Texas. They have two adult children and one grandchild.