Robert Jeffress just prayed at the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem. Today he is also on record supporting Paige Patterson, the president of Southwestern Baptist Seminary who has been in some trouble lately. If you are not familiar with Patterson’s problems, get up to speed here.
Here is a taste of Bill Bumpas’s reporting at One News Now:
On Thursday, SWBTS president Paige Patterson again offered an apology, “especially to women,” for past comments he has made about females and domestic abuse. In that statement, Patterson explained – as he had before, when audio clips of interviews and sermons began circulating on social media – that he rejects any form of abuse.
Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist-Dallas, explains there is no tolerance toward physical abuse anywhere in the Bible, adding that God never asked a wife to endure physical abuse to keep a sick marriage alive. That being said, he offers: “I think this is unfair what is being leveled against Paige Patterson – and I’m going to predict he’s going to survive it.”
It’s ridiculous, says Jeffress, to take sound bites from Patterson’s past and accuse him of condoning physical abuse, especially since the seminary president has clarified that he does not condone abuse of women and children. The Dallas pastor contends that those hoping Patterson will be removed as seminary president are misdirected.
“I know trustees at Southwestern Seminary,” he tells OneNewsNow, “and I sense there’s a great level of support for Dr. Patterson – and also the realization that this is really, in many ways, a witch hunt.”
Addressing the motives behind this movement against Patterson, Jeffress acknowledges there are real legitimate claims of abuse that have been hidden and are coming to the surface in both the secular and religious worlds.
“I think some of the motivation is pure in trying to put an end to this awful practice,” he explains, “but I do think others perhaps are using this to further their own political or theological agendas, and I think that is a shame because it trivializes the very real problem of violence against women.”
Jeffress says “there is a battle going on right now for the soul of the Southern Baptist Convention,” but that the good news is that the denomination is built on the autonomy of the local church – and in this “post-denominational age,” he says, what a denomination does has very little impact on local churches and believers.
Read the rest here.
The piece also mentions Southwestern Baptist Seminary professor Candi Finch, a defender of Patterson. Finch teaches theology in Southwestern’s “Women’s Studies” department and is the “Executive Assistant” to Paige Patterson’s wife.