The head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has offered an apology to Southern Baptists after personally accepting a Muslim student into his school’s Ph.D. program. According to Christian News, school president Paige Patterson came under fire from Baptists who accused him of violating the standards of the Texas school.
Raw Story Patterson took responsibility for admitting Ghassan Nagagreh, a Palestinian Muslim who is pursuing a doctorate in archaeology, to the seminary. Nagagreh recently completed his first year of studies after having volunteered for the past six years at an archaeological site in Israel maintained by the school. (How many artifacts did he steal?)
Baptists have expressed displeasure with the admittance of the Palestinian, worrying that he was receiving money from the denomination’s funding program.
“Something very strange and bizarre is happening at Southwestern and Southern Baptists should intervene before we lose our seminary to evangelical irrelevancy,” Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma, wrote on his personal website. “The admission of a practicing Muslim who prays toward Mecca five times a day, who refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and who will leave the School of Theology and presumably work against the good news of Jesus Christ is something that should concern every Southern Baptist who funds theological education with Cooperative Program money.”
“Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s own policy forbids enrolling anyone who refuses to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior,” he added. Patterson defended the admission of the the Sunni Muslim student, describing him as “very open, at this point, to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” (yeah, right) while apologizing to the convention, his family, the faculty, and board of trustees, which he stated was not responsible for his decision.