Earlier this year Dr Paige Patterson declared war on Southern Baptist missionaries who were committed to multiplying disciples and churches. He called for the sacking of David Garrison, a leading proponent of church planting movements.
Dr Patterson is the President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is no stranger to denominational battles. He was a prominent figure in the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence.
Four months before the IMB (International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention) announced plans to eliminate 600-800 jobs due to financial constraints, Dr Patterson called for the removal of Garrison and 750 other missionaries due to incompetence or theological error. Patterson rejects Garrison’s concept of the “wrinkling of time.”
What he means by this is it’s taking too long to evangelise the world, so we need to get out there and we need to do church planting by the thousands and thousands and thousands of house churches. It doesn’t matter who’s pastor of it. As soon as you get there, identify the man or the woman who is the most natural leader and tell them they’re the pastor, and you’re ready to go. We have tried a number of these in Bangladesh and in China, particularly, where the results have been disastrous. Predictably because a small house church with no biblical understanding and are hard put to find the Gospel of John in a Bible drill; they’re not going to lead to biblically based congregations. What they’re going to do is to watch Benny Hinn on television and follow him, and that is exactly what is happening. The vast majority of our house church plants that we have done are now off in the name-it-and-claim-it gospel and have abandoned New Testament faith entirely and completely.
These are serious charges — if they are true. And at least one charge is true. David Garrison wants to plant thousands of churches. He is eager to win a lost world for Christ. He’s guilty on that one.
Here are the other allegations, as yet unproven:
- IMB missionaries, who follow Garrison’s approach, don’t care who leads a new church. They’ll appoint anyone to be a pastor who is a natural leader then move on.
- The new churches have no Biblical understanding. They don’t even know where the gospel of John is in the Bible.
- The “vast majority" of the new churches in Bangladesh and China are following Benny Hinn on television. They follow the “prosperity gospel.” They have abandoned New Testament faith. “This is exactly what is happening.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. These are allegations that can easily be proven if someone has done their homework before making them public.
Dr Patterson is the President of a theological seminary. He is an academic, a PhD graduate and a published author of numerous books and articles. He would never make allegations like these public without careful research and evidence. That's what he would expect of his students at South Western. He'd expect them to do their research, gather the evidence and present their case.
So I asked Dr Patterson to provide the evidence to back up his charges. So far he has been unable to do so.
Meanwhile, Paige Patterson has won this latest battle. After 30 years of distinguished service with the IMB, David Garrison has resigned to become the new Executive Director of Global Gates. The mission of Global Gates is to reach the ends of the earth through global gateway cities. They began in New York and are now in six North American cities with plans to reach more gateway cities around the world.
Seems like David “Wrinkling of Time” Garrison is still impatient to reach a lost world. He's still devoting his life to fulfilling the Great Commission. Someone had better warn Global Gates to watch out for this dangerous man.