Dear Pastor Ueckert and Board of Trustees,
We are concerned Southern Baptist men who affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, including its statements on the roles of men and women in the family and in the church.
We have read and support the May 6 letter published by concerned Southern Baptist women. We affirm the courageous and biblical stance taken by the women who drafted that letter and by those who signed it. We weep with sisters whose concerns for safety may prevent them from adding their names in such a public format. We join our voices with theirs in urging you to exercise the authority you have been given by the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention and to take a strong stand against unbiblical teaching regarding womanhood, sexuality, and domestic violence.
We are aggrieved by Dr. Patterson’s remarks at the 2014 AWAKEN Conference in which he used the Bible to defend a teenaged boy’s objectification of a teenaged girl, equating Moses’ word choice with vulgar slang used to accentuate one woman’s physical qualities over another. His rebuke of the boy’s mother (in front of her son) and his own commentary on the attractiveness of this teenaged girl only serve to heighten our concern. These comments and his decision to share them give the watching world cause to question Dr. Patterson’s character and his view of women.
Were the principal of a public high school to make such remarks about a teenaged girl in a public presentation, we can reasonably assume that he would immediately be called to meet with the school board and be reprimanded for his remarks and may even face termination of employment. That Dr. Patterson’s remarks have been public for four years without reprimand by your board or repudiation by Dr. Patterson suggests that the unbelieving community takes a stronger stand on the public treatment of women than Christians.
Furthermore, Dr. Patterson’s remarks in 2000 regarding his counsel to an abused woman were dangerous, unwise, and unbiblical. His failure to repudiate these remarks, along with the silence of the SWBTS Board of Trustees, gives the impression that such counsel is appropriate, wise, and biblical. We declare it is not.
In his recent remarks of clarification, Dr. Patterson has failed to repudiate and repent of his dangerous counsel and his inappropriate speech regarding a teenaged girl.
As our sisters suggested, the watching world is asking if Southern Baptist men believe it is biblical to view and speak of sixteen-year-old girls as sexual objects. They wonder if abused women will be counseled according to the pattern of Dr. Patterson’s remarks. Far worse, they wonder if such views and counsel reflect the God of the Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ.
We join our sisters in declaring that Jesus is nothing like this. Such behavior is “not in step with the truth of the Gospel” (Galatians 2:14)—the Good News of a King who addresses sin, heals the wounded, protects the oppressed, calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and honors all women as human beings created in the image of God and all believing women as joint heirs in the Kingdom. Dr. Patterson’s behavior confuses the message of the Gospel. His continued leadership—without repentance and reprimand—calls into question the witness of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The world is watching, brothers. We pray the Lord will grant you faith, courage, and wisdom to act in a way that represents well our Savior Jesus Christ and the Good News of his Kingdom.
Patterson’s world continues to implode.
I don’t recognize any of the signers of this new letter. It will be interesting to see if any of the big guns of the SBC will sign it. I suspect they will remain true to their longstanding tradition of not soiling the reputation of one of their own.
I am also interested to see who will be the first SWBTS faculty member (or ANY Southern Baptist seminary faculty member or administrator) to break ranks and criticize Patterson.
We will see what happens.
If you are new to those Paige Patterson story get caught-up here.