Trustees of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission named Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson the recipient of its 2005 Richard D. Land Distinguished Service Award during the commission's annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 13-14.
The award is given annually to a denominational statesman or pastor who has exemplified theological and ethical integrity in service to the denomination. Land said Patterson was given the award because of his leadership during the tumultuous 1980s and 1990s in the SBC.
"Dr. Paige Patterson was an essential man in the Conservative Resurgence," Land said, noting that the controversy over the SBC's theological direction "cost Dr. Patterson a lot personally and emotionally."
Land said every Southern Baptist owes Patterson an "incalculable debt of gratitude" for his role in turning the SBC around. "If there was ever an indispensable man, it was Paige Patterson," he said.