BALTIMORE (AP) — The president of a Southern Baptist seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, has offered a tearful apology for his decision to admit a Muslim student.
Shortly before the denomination's annual meeting wrapped up Wednesday in Baltimore, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson apologized for admitting a Muslim student to the seminary's Ph.D. program. That decision has inspired harsh criticism and debate at this year's meeting.
Patterson told members that the student, a Palestinian man who worked on an archaeological dig the school runs in Israel, is a "cultural Muslim" who is "very open to the gospel of Jesus Christ." The seminary's board of trustees plans to meet in the fall to discuss the decision.
Patterson quoted a passage from the Bible in which God tells Ezekiel that if he does not warn a sinful person from his wicked ways to save his life, the man's blood will be on Ezekiel's hands. With tears in his eyes, Patterson said, "When I stand before God I will say God, I violated a policy, but I didn't want to stand before you with blood on my hands."