Leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention are in quest of to transparent the air as a distinguished Baptist’s previous remarks about ladies, abuse, and divorce come newly underneath scrutiny.
Paige Patterson, president of Texas’ Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a significant determine in America’s greatest Protestant denomination, admitted Thursday that his description of a teenage woman’s frame as “nice” in not too long ago resurfaced pictures of a 2014 sermon had “obviously been hurtful to women.”
“I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity,” Patterson wrote in a observation on his seminary’s site.
In his 2014 communicate, Patterson perceived to condone the objectification of a 16-year-old woman’s frame. To illustrate how God “beautifully and artistically” created ladies, he recalled a time when he noticed “a very attractive” 16-year-old strolling via after he’d preached at an tournament.
On Thursday, Patterson apologized for his phrases.
“Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been,” the pastor wrote in his observation.
Patterson’s apology did indirectly deal with some other observation he’s made that has been inflicting controversy inside Southern Baptist circles. He used to be captured on tape in 2000 advising bodily abused better halves to keep away from divorce on every occasion conceivable and to “be submissive in every way.” He’s clarified since that he has recommended ladies to go away ― albeit to not divorce ― their abusive husbands.
In his apology, Patterson didn’t deal with the opportunity of divorce as an possibility for ladies in abusive relationships. He did, alternatively, explicitly condemn all kinds of abuse.
“I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts,” he wrote in his observation on Thursday. “There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person.”
Patterson’s previous statements have led to some department inside the denomination in contemporary weeks. Patterson is a distinguished determine inside the church. As a former president of all the denomination, he’s credited with main it towards better conservatism.
Some Southern Baptists are calling for Patterson to surrender from his seminary place and withdraw from different tasks, akin to handing over the sermon on the denomination’s annual assembly in Dallas this June. A petition condemning Patterson’s “damaging, sinful” feedback has collected over three,000 signatures, most commonly from evangelical ladies.
Others are providing their improve for Patterson. Female professors and scholars at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary say he has been a champion for ladies at their faculty.
Samuel Schmidt, a pastor from Kentucky and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has arranged a petition to shield Patterson.
He claims the chief is being focused via a “witch-hunt” performed via “culture warriors, for the sake of political correctness at the expense of the glory of the Gospel.” His letter supporting Patterson has won over 450 signatures.
Amid the strain, Steve Gaines, present president of the Southern Baptist Convention, launched a observation on Friday about Patterson. Gaines mentioned he disagreed with the recommendation Patterson gave abused ladies (even though he additionally didn’t deal with the opportunity of divorce). Gaines additionally mentioned he felt Patterson’s remarks concerning the teenage woman’s frame have been “improper.”
He requested for forgiveness from ladies who’ve been harm via Patterson’s feedback and referred to as on all Southern Baptists to hope for the church. He inspired them to talk “positively and constructively” about the problem on-line.
“Every word we speak, in private or public conversation, even on social media, should be Christlike and filled with grace,” Gaines wrote in his observation. “Far better to be wronged than to participate in an ungodly exchange of words before a lost world that is listening and watching.”
Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English on the evangelical Christian Liberty University, used to be one of the vital Southern Baptist ladies who signed the petition denouncing Patterson’s previous remarks. She instructed HuffPost that Patterson’s apology looked to be a step in the proper path. However, she mentioned, repentance is proven “not through words, but through actions.”
Prior mentioned she is ready to peer whether or not Patterson’s seminary will take a stand at the factor. The seminary’s board of trustees is scheduled to fulfill on May 22 in gentle of latest occasions.
“This situation is not just about one man. The power of this one man depends upon the support of many men,” Prior wrote in an electronic mail. “The leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are at a crossroads. The way they deal with this situation going forward will proclaim to the church and the world how they think women should be treated.”