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SBC women (and men) ask for action regarding Patterson in online petition

SBC women (and men) ask for action regarding Patterson in online petition

May 6, 2018

Related articles:
– An "Open Letter to SWBTS Board of Trustees" regarding Paige Patterson asking Southern Baptist men to sign has been posted at https://swbtsletter-men.com.
– Patterson issues "An Apology to God's People" via Southwestern website

A FIRESTORM has erupted around comments about women made by Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – and now a petition signed by thousands of women from Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) churches – some of them in Arkansas – calls for action to be taken in the matter.

In part, the petition reads, “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.”

The petition cites a video that has surfaced from a 2014 speech in which Patterson talks about a 16-year-old girl as being “nice,” and quotes a teenager as saying she is “built.” Additionally, the letter mentions Patterson’s refusal to repudiate comments from a recording made 18 years ago in which he said he would counsel most women in abusive marriages to stay in the marriages and pray for their husbands.

“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.”

The petition was posted sometime over the weekend of May 5-6 after Patterson’s comments were widely publicized in various blogs, social media and websites in previous weeks. To read the petition in its entirety, visit http://swbtsletter.com.

In a recording made in 2000 Patterson recounts a story of a woman who he counseled about an abusive relationship, and how he told her to pray for God to intervene. Later, he said the woman returned with two black eyes. Patterson said the woman told him, “‘I hope you’re happy.’” Patterson said he responded, “Yes … I’m very happy,” because her husband had heard her prayers and come to church for the first time following the incident.

Matt Chandler, pastor of a Southern Baptist megachurch in Dallas, said in an interview that Patterson should have never have made the comments, The Washington Post reported.

“Anyone who would say that a woman has to stay in a violent or abusive relationship because it honors God is wrong,” the Post reported Chandler as saying, who added that he won’t preach on passages of the Bible that address wives submitting to their husbands without advising women who are experiencing abuse that “this text is not talking about you.”

A variety of current and past Southern Baptist leaders have commented on Patterson’s statements about women, including Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College; Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources; Russell Moore of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board.

Beth Moore, women’s speaker, evangelist, author and Bible teacher, posted A Letter to My Brothers on her Living Proof Ministries blog May 3, asking her male evangelical counterparts, “I’m asking that you would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence. I’m asking for your deliberate and clearly conveyed influence toward the imitation of Christ in His attitude and actions toward women.”

Complicating matters, Patterson, 75, is scheduled to preach the convention sermon at the annual meeting of the SBC to be held in Dallas June 12-13.

Patterson, in a statement issued April 29, said he has advised and helped women to leave abusive husbands, but stood by his commitment to never recommend divorce. In another statement issued on May 1 by Southwestern trustees, Patterson’s comments 18 years ago or the question of whether Patterson will deliver the convention’s sermon or remain president of the seminary were note addressed.

In an interview with Baptist Press April 30, Patterson told the SBC news service that he doubts “seriously” that a person experiencing physical abuse would be morally obligated to remain in the home with a spouse. He added, however, that “minor noninjurious abuse which happens in so many marriages” might spur a woman to “pray [her husband] through this” rather than leave. Baptist Press said the word “minor” was later added “to reflect Patterson’s intent.”

– Compiled from reporting by the Arkansas Baptist News, Baptist Press and various media reports.

Related articles:

David Allen, dean of Southwestern Seminary's school of preaching, defends Patterson in blog post.

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