Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Sr. Aided a Southern Baptist Victim of Abuse

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Autumn Miles tells her #metoo story at Christianity Today.  Writing in the context of recent remarks by Southwestern Baptist Seminary’s Paige Patterson, Miles credits Robert Jeffress and the late Jerry Falwell Sr. for helping deal with an abusive husband.

Here is a taste of her piece:

When I was in the midst of divorce, my father called our good family friend, Jerry Falwell Sr., founder of Liberty University, to ask his counsel on how to handle the situation. He told my father, “Tell your daughter to get away from that marriage and come to Liberty, where she can meet a young man who will treat her right.”

Years later, when my second husband (whom I did indeed meet at Liberty) and I were speaking with Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, I shared my story with him. He looked me in the eye and said, “What that church did to you was wrong.”

“It is never God’s will for a woman to endure physical abuse to keep a sick marriage alive,” he later told me. “God hates violence. In fact, the reason he gave in Genesis 6 for destroying the world was because of unbridled violence. To abuse another person is to abuse someone God created in his image; it is tantamount to abusing God himself.” (Jeffress has recently commented on the Patterson case.)

I had two Southern Baptist leaders affirm God’s love for me and his desire to use my story for his kingdom. Those two men gave me hope that someday, a change would come to the SBC. That day is today. As I track Patterson’s case and the larger conversation around it, I see the spirit of God working to bring freedom to the hearts of those who’ve been captured by domestic violence. Jesus came to set the captives free, and through these brave men and women, the bondage of domestic violence is being lifted.

Read the entire piece here.  These are the acts of compassion and love that we should expect from our evangelical pastors.

Quick Thoughts on Paige Patterson’s “Apology”

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If you don’t know why Paige Patterson is apologizing, get up to speed here.

Here is the apology:

Pastoral ministry that occurred 54 years ago, repeated as an illustration in sermons on more than one occasion, as well as another sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Gen. 2:22) have obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways. I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.

I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts. There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person. The Spirit of Christ is one of comfort, kindness, encouragement, truth, and grace; and that is what I desire my voice always to be. 

To all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches. I sincerely pray that somehow this apology will show my heart and may strengthen you in the love and graciousness of Christ. 

Two quick thoughts:

  1.  Nowhere in this “apology” does Patterson admit to doing anything wrong.  Warren Throckmorton is on it.
  2.  Alan Noble had a great comment on his Facebook page:  “Since I am not in the SBC and I am not directly affected by his actions and statements, I will defer to those closer to the situation to evaluate this apology. However, I do feel obligated to point out that the first few lines of this apology are almost incoherent. I had to reread them four times and then guess at his point.”

Robert Jeffress Backs Paige Patterson

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Robert Jeffress preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2015

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.

Where are All the Southern Baptist Men Calling for Paige Patterson’s Resignation?

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On May 6, 2018, Southern Baptist women published an open letter calling for the firing of Paige Patterson for a host of remarks he has made about women and abuse.  As I type this, the letter has 3032 signatures and counting.

Three days later, Southern Baptist men published an open letter calling for the firing of Paige Patterson.  As of today, that open letter has a mere 232 signatures and the number of signatures is growing at a very slow rate as opposed to the women’s letter.

Why is this the case?  Thoughts?

Which big-name Southern Baptist male leader is going to step-up to the plate first?

Paige Patterson “Apologizes” to Southern Baptist Women

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Paige Patterson has responded to an open-letter from Southern Baptist women.  I wonder if this means he will not resign, as the women asked him to do.

Here is the apology letter:

Pastoral ministry that occurred 54 years ago, repeated as an illustration in sermons on more than one occasion, as well as another sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Gen. 2:22) have obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways. I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.

I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts. There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person. The Spirit of Christ is one of comfort, kindness, encouragement, truth, and grace; and that is what I desire my voice always to be. 

To all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches. I sincerely pray that somehow this apology will show my heart and may strengthen you in the love and graciousness of Christ. 

Paige Patterson, President

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Fort Worth, Texas
Sarah Pulliam Bailey puts the apology in context here.

Slacktivist: “Baptist insubordination is an oxymoron”

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The hits keep coming for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson.  If you are not up to speed about what is happening in Fort Worth, I encourage you to begin with these posts.  The latest hit comes from Patheos blogger Fred Clark at his blog “Slacktivist.” A taste:

That vindictiveness is reflected throughout Sarah Pulliam Bailey’s article: “The women who wrote the open letter say they tried first to speak to seminary trustees, but felt they had to make their concerns public to be taken seriously, said one woman who works for a high-ranking leader in a Southern Baptist organization and spoke on the condition of anonymity because she feared her participation in organizing the letter could jeopardize her job.”

The bizarro-world detail there is so subtle you might miss it on first reading. It’s the reference to “a high-ranking leader in a Southern Baptist organization.”

This is Paige Patterson’s ultimate legacy — transforming what was once a Baptist convention into a hierarchical denomination. He has replaced soul liberty — the one and basically only Baptist distinctive — with rank. Nothing could be less Baptist. This is the whole thing about Baptists — each of us chooses, for ourselves, to be baptized. And no one else — no Pope or King or bishop or magistrate or seminary president — has any say in that matter.

It ain’t the full-immersion, it’s the choosing. That’s what makes a Baptist a Baptist.

And it’s what makes “high-ranking Baptist” an oxymoron. The priesthood of all believers means exactly that: one rank, no hierarchy.

This is why Paige Patterson is just about the least Baptist person imaginable. He sought to rule, and so he could not abide the inherent unruliness of Baptist polity. And so he transformed that polity, imposing hierarchy and structure and rank. That transformation was both the mechanism for and the substance of Patterson’s “conservative resurgence.” It wasn’t simply about the nominally “conservative” theology that Patterson et. al. sought to impose as the redefinition of Southern Baptist identity, but about their claiming the authority and creating the ability to impose and redefine it.

Read the entire post here.

Now Southern Baptist MEN Are Calling for the Resignation of Paige Patterson

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We have reported on the Southern Baptist women who called for Patterson’s resignation here.  Now Southern Baptist men are making the same call in an open letter.  Here it is:

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.

A Recent Southwestern Baptist Seminary Graduate Urges Paige Patterson to Resign

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Lee Enochs, a 2014 graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has an op-ed in the San Antonio Express-News calling for the resignation of seminary president Paige Patterson after a series of controversial remarks.  (Get up to speed here).

Here is a taste:

I am an alumnus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Patterson’s very image is imprinted on the stained-glass window of the new chapel building and where he reigns unquestioned as supreme over every aspect of life, ministry and education. So, I know some of my fellow alumni and former professors will be utterly shocked that I would dare to question a living Southern Baptist patriarch.

I am aware that many of my Southern Baptist peers will severely chasten me for speaking out against one of the most powerful men in America’s largest Protestant denomination.

However, as someone who applauds the recent Time’s Up movement and #MeToo movement, I can no longer remain silent about Patterson’s imprudent and ill-advised comments, which could endanger the very lives of women. For the sake of women everywhere, I must now take a stand and say that it is absolutely deplorable that a leader of one of America’s largest Southern Baptist seminaries has advocated that women remain in their abusive and unsafe circumstances.

The great tragedy of this whole ordeal is that the revelation of this audiotape is not new. I and many of my fellow alumni have known about Patterson’s comments on abused women for years, but have lived in fear of questioning one of the most powerful leaders in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.

The truth is that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and many other Southern Baptist schools do not allow their students to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech but censor any dissent or deviation from their agenda.

Yet, because I care about the safety of women throughout America, I cannot remain silent and am now calling for Patterson to resign immediately.

Read the entire piece here.  Patterson’s world is collapsing around him.

Michael Gerson on the Paige Patterson Debacle

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Washington Post reporter Michael Gerson reflects on evangelical Protestantism’s #MeToo moment.  Get up to speed on the Paige Patterson debacle here.

A taste:

Evangelical Protestantism, thank God, is experiencing its own version of a #MeToo moment.

Paige Patterson — head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and icon of conservative Baptist belief — is being called out for a story he told in 2000. An abused woman had come to him for counseling. Patterson recommended prayer. Later, the woman returned with two black eyes. In Patterson’s telling: “She said, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said, ‘Yes . . . I’m very happy,’ ” because the woman’s husband had heard her prayers and come to church the next day.

This, presumably, is Patterson’s version of a happy ending: A wife gets battered, but the church gets a new member. God works in misogynist ways.

A number of prominent Baptists have risen in criticism. Thom Rainer, president of the Christian publishing house LifeWay, tweeted, “There is no type or level of abuse of women that is acceptable.” Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, added: “Any physical abuse on any level is completely unacceptable in marriage. The church should immediately step in & provide a safe place for the abused.”

But it was the response of prominent Baptist teacher Beth Moore that laid bare the reality of being a woman in some evangelical circles. In “A Letter to My Brothers,” she recounts decades of being demeaned, dismissed, ignored and patronized by colleagues. “I came face to face,” she says, “with one of the most demoralizing realizations of my adult life: Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these men. It was only an excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.”

Read the rest here.

Southern Baptist Women Have Had Enough of Paige Patterson

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A group of Southern Baptist women (937 and counting) have signed a letter to the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Board of Trustees urging the board to remove seminary president Paige Patterson from his post.  As I said last week, Patterson’s world is collapsing all around him.  Read our coverage here and here and here.

Here is the letter:

Dear Pastor Ueckert and Board of Trustees,

We are concerned Southern Baptist women 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 urge 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 shocked by the video that has surfaced showing Dr. Paige Patterson objectify a teenage girl and then suggest this as behavior that is biblical. We are further grieved by the dangerous and unwise counsel given by Dr. Patterson to women in abusive situations. His recent remarks of clarification do not repudiate his unwise counsel in the past; nor has he offered explanation or repentance for inappropriate comments regarding a teenage girl, the unbiblical teaching he offered on the biblical meaning of womanhood in that objectification, and the inappropriate nature of his own observations of her body.

This pattern of discourse is unbefitting the sober, wise, and sound character required of an elder, pastor, and leader. It fails in the call to protect the helpless, the call of Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves, and the biblical standard of sexual purity. These comments are damaging, sinful, and necessitate a decisive response. It seems inevitable, for instance, that a youth pastor in any of our churches would be removed from his position if he made the comments that Dr. Patterson made at the Awaken Conference in 2014.

The world is watching us all, brothers. They wonder how we could possibly be part of a denomination that counts Dr. Patterson as a leader. They wonder if all Southern Baptist men believe that the biblical view of a sixteen-year-old girl is that she is “built” and “fine” —an object to be viewed sexually. They wonder if all Southern Baptist pastors believe it is acceptable to counsel an abused woman in the way that Dr. Patterson has done in the past. They wonder if the Jesus of the Bible is like such men. We declare that Jesus is nothing like this and that our first duty as Southern Baptists is to present a true picture of Jesus to the world.

We cannot defend or support Dr. Patterson’s past remarks. No one should. The fact that he has not fully repudiated his earlier counsel or apologized for his inappropriate words indicates that he continues to maintain positions that are at odds with Southern Baptists and, more importantly, the Bible’s elevated view of womanhood. The Southern Baptist Convention cannot allow the biblical view of leadership to be misused in such a way that a leader with an unbiblical view of authority, womanhood, and sexuality be allowed to continue in leadership.

This is a somber time. This is an important time. We are praying for you to have wisdom, discernment, and courage.

Here is the video referenced:

I first learned about this letter from the excellent reporting of Kate Shellnut of Christianity Today.   Here is a taste of her piece:

The letter comes from scores of Southern Baptist women, including leaders such as: Karen Swallow Prior, a Liberty University professor and research fellow with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Convention; Lauren Chandler, an author, worship singer, and wife of The Village Church pastor Matt Chandler; Jennifer Lyell, a vice president at SBC-affiliated B&H Publishing Group; and Amanda Jones, a Houston church planter and daughter of Bible teacher Beth Moore. (Victims’ advocates such as Rachael Denhollander and Mary DeMuth also signed on, as did some men, though the petition is intended for women at SBC churches.)

Signatories hail from a wide array of noteworthy congregations including Bellevue Baptist Church, Capitol Hill Baptist, Cross Church, First Baptist Church of Dallas, Houston’s First Baptist Church, Long Hollow Baptist Church, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Saddleback Church, Thomas Road Baptist Church, and The Village Church.

Shellnut reports that a special meeting of the Southwestern board of trustees will take place, at Patterson’s request, on May 22, 2018.

Paige Patterson Fires a Student and Takes Away His Financial Aid After a Disloyal Tweet

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Sarah Pulliam Bailey is reporting at the Washington Post that Southwestern Baptist Seminary president Paige Patterson just fired a Ph.D student from his job in the seminary kitchen and took away his financial aid because he was disloyal to the seminary.  (That should probably read “disloyal to Patterson”).

Why did the 31-year old student get fired?  Because of this tweet:

Montgomery’s tweet endorses Wheaton College’s Ed Stetzer‘s Christianity Today piece calling for Patterson’s retirement in the wake of an audio tape in which Patterson suggests that women undergoing physical abuse from their husbands should submit to it.  See our post on Stetzer’s article here.  (It looks like the old “Christianity Today crowd” is up to their old tricks! 🙂 )

Here is a taste of Bailey’s story:

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, numerous powerful men have come under scrutiny over sexist treatment of women. But Patterson, who has long held a special status within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination for his role in a conservative takeover of the convention going back decades, is known for not backing down from positions.

After his 2000 comments were published on a blog, he stated that while he would never recommend divorce, he has advised abused women to leave their husbands. Though Patterson issued a statement earlier this week with his trustees that did not mention resignation or retirement, two seminary graduates who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the trustees of the seminary, who control Patterson’s future, have been divided over how to handle its controversial president who some say has a pattern of poor behavior.

Patterson, in the interview, referred to the PhD student who was fired. “If you are going to be problematic and you’re indiscreet, you’ll be fired,” he said.

Nathan Montgomery, a PhD student in the philosophy program at the seminary, who recorded the meeting where he was fired, was told that his tweet did not exhibit loyalty to the seminary and that it did not reflect the institutional voice…

In Montgomery’s tweet promoting Stetzer’s blog post, he said he felt like he should say something publicly, but he said he didn’t expect anything to happen.

Patterson said in the interview that Montgomery had “a long history,” but declined to provide specifics. The document that lists reasons for Montgomery’s termination cited just one previous incident, which Montgomery said was a misunderstanding over catering for Patterson’s wife. He said he has never been given any warnings.

Montgomery still hopes to stay at the seminary, where he expects his PhD will take another four years to finish.

Read the entire piece here.

This should not surprise anyone who is familiar with Patterson’s tyrannical and authoritarian rule at Southwestern. This is what tyrants do.  They circle the wagons and purge dissent.

Paige Patterson’s World” is falling apart before his very eyes.

Paige Patterson “does not often get criticized without the critic receiving significant backlash”

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Ed Stetzer‘s piece at Christianity Today confirms everything I have heard about Paige Patterson’s authoritarian rule at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Stetzer writes in the wake of this.

Here is a taste:

Because of the Conservative Resurgence and the role that he has played for decades, Patterson is one of the most significant leaders in SBC life, and one who does not often get criticized without the critic receiving significant backlash.

I know this first hand.

In 2008, I first publicly criticized Southwestern for the way certain faculty members were (repeatedly) registering disagreement with the results of our research. That day, several SBC leaders told me it was my last day as an SBC employee. As one son of an SBC entity told me, “Nobody criticizes Paige Patterson and keeps their job.”

I still have the letter from Patterson. It was not the last.

Stetzer goes on to chronicle some of Patterson’s recent antics.

Here is Stetzer on Paige Patterson’s role in the conservative takeover of the Southern Baptist Church in the late 1970:

In the aftermath of the Conservative Resurgence, the SBC made a mistake. We spent more time taking victory laps than really leading. We let our history become mythology. We turned men into heroes, and then we turned our heroes into gods.

What we really needed to do was be about our mission and hold each other accountable…

…Patterson, in a sense, built an era. I am glad. I am a Southern Baptist today because of its inerrantist theology, and I’ve personally benefited from that era and from the SBC that he helped create.

But many SBC leaders I know think this and privately acknowledge that it is time for a new era.

They can’t say it because of the unofficial rules, so let me say it.

If Patterson preaches at the SBC, he will, because of his past work, get a standing ovation. Every news story will point to that moment, tie it together with the accusations against Paul Pressler, and say that Southern Baptists don’t take abuse seriously.

And it’s not just a public relations crisis. It’s a message to women that we must not send.

I think a better way forward is to think of the SBC’s future mission rather than Paige Patterson’s past success, and I hope he desires the same for the SBC he gave his life to.

Thank you, Dr. Patterson, for your service. You did the right thing when it was hard. Now, let me encourage you to do so again. Thank you for thinking first of the SBC as you step into a well-earned retirement.

Read Stetzer’s entire piece here.

Southern Baptist pastor Wade Burleson is also calling for Patterson’s retirement.

Paige Patterson’s World

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Paige Patterson‘s world is collapsing all around him.  This audio tape is the latest example.  The authoritarian, gun loving, Christian nationalist leader of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has suggested that women undergoing physical abuse from their husbands should submit to it.  Michelle Boorstein has it covered at The Washington Post.  Here is a taste of her piece “Southern Baptist leader pushes back after comments leak urging abused women to pray and avoid divorce“:

The leader of a major Southern Baptist seminary issued a statement Sunday pushing back after a 2000 tape surfaced purporting to quote him saying that abused women should focus on praying and “be submissive in every way that you can” and not seek divorce.

Paige Patterson is president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Fort Worth school whose Web site says it is one of the largest seminaries in the world. About 15 million people are part of Southern Baptist churches, the largest Protestant group in the United States. Patterson is slated to deliver the primary sermon — a high-profile honor — in June at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Dallas.

Patterson, who declined to comment Sunday, is heard on an audiotape being interviewed in 2000 about what he recommends for women “who are undergoing genuine physical abuse from their husbands, and the husband says they should submit.”

“It depends on the level of abuse, to some degree,” Patterson says. “I have never in my ministry counseled anyone to seek a divorce and that’s always wrong counsel.” Only on an occasion or two in his career, he says, when the level of abuse “was serious enough, dangerous enough, immoral enough,” has he recommended a temporary separation and the seeking of help.

He goes on to tell the story of a woman who came to him about abuse, and how he counseled her to pray at night beside her bed, quietly, for God to intervene. The woman, he said, came to him later with two black eyes. “She said: ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said ‘Yes … I’m very happy,’ ” because it turned out her husband had heard her quiet prayers and come for the first time to church the next day, he said.

Read the entire piece here.

Jonathan Merritt offers his opinion in another piece at The Post.  Apparently Patterson is delivering the keynote address at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in June.   A taste:

The seminary president is nearly untouchable among Southern Baptists, who revere him for decades of denominational leadership. But much has changed during Patterson’s reign as a religious gatekeeper. America has experienced a cultural reckoning where powerful men have been held accountable for abusive behaviors and dangerous comments.

After a wave of scandals from Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein, most Americans have adopted a zero-tolerance policy for the abuse of women. We have collectively decided not to abide powerful men who have contributed to bodily violence. During the past year in particular, this cultural consensus has seemingly reached a fever pitch, touching every corner of America from Hollywood to Wall Street.

But are Southern Baptists ready for their #Metoo moment?

Patterson is scheduled to deliver the coveted keynote sermon when Southern Baptists gather for their annual meeting in June. It would be wise for denominational leaders to rethink this invitation lest they appear both culturally out of step and lacking in moral courage. Replacing Patterson will send a message to millions of Southern Baptist women that their bodies are not dispensable and that their valid concerns have been heard loudly and clearly.

Twitter is also weighing-in:

Patterson has responded here.

Of course this is not the first time in recent years that Paige Patterson and his crew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary have gotten into trouble.  Remember this:

tweet-swbts

And this:

Gun and Board Meeting

Read about it here.  According to this report, Patterson requires all vice presidents, deans, and “at least three people in every building” at his theological seminary to carry guns.