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Thousands of Southern Baptist women sign petition against Paige Patterson

Paige Patterson speaks at the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix on June 14, 2017. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

(RNS) — More than 2,000 Southern Baptist women have signed a letter asking the trustees of a Fort Worth, Texas, seminary to take action against its embattled president after audio and video clips emerged in which he counseled physically abused women to quietly pray and described a 16-year-old’s body as “built.”

The letter does not explicitly demand a resignation, retirement or reprimand for Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the key leaders of the conservative resurgence in the denomination, the nation’s largest Protestant group.

But it does suggest Patterson cannot be allowed to continue to lead — a stunning development for a revered leader in the denomination and an indication of just how pervasive the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault has become.

“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,” the online letter says.

In the audio interview from the year 2000, Patterson said he never counsels divorce, since it is unbiblical. He then proceeds to tell a story of a woman who was physically abused by her husband and his recommendation that she get on her knees and pray quietly at night after her husband falls asleep.

In the video from 2014, Patterson disparages an elderly woman for taking him to task for his views on women and then describes a 16-year-old walking by as “built” and “fine,” noting the Bible uses similar language (“beautifully and artistically” made) to describe the creation of the first woman.

Patterson is scheduled to give the keynote sermon at the SBC’s annual meeting in Dallas next month and there has been much discussion about whether he should be allowed to do so. Patterson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Patterson said in a statement that he was misrepresented. Trustees of the seminary have issued a press release with Patterson affirming the importance of protecting the victims of abuse and allowing law enforcement and civil authorities to play their roles in investigating instances of domestic abuse.

“Alongside every church’s responsibility to report abusers to civil authorities stands the church’s responsibility to seek that the abuser confess to, denounce, and repent of the sin of abuse, accepting responsibility for those sinful actions, and trusting in Christ for salvation and forgiveness from sin,” says the May 1 statement from Patterson and the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.

But the women said that was not enough.

“There’s an attitude of defiance in that apology and in the board’s refusal to address it more concretely,” said signatory Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and a Southern Baptist, in a phone interview. “It’s the persistent present pattern of resisting wise correction and accepting responsibility for those past actions.”

Prior said she tried privately to contact the Southwestern Board of Trustees to no avail. She said a group of women drafted the letter in response. She declined to say who drafted the letter.

Dated Sunday (May 6), it had been signed by more than 2,030 women, and  several men, as of Monday afternoon. The letter is addressed to trustee chairman Kevin Uekert. Efforts to reach the seminary and its trustee board were unsuccessful. However, the board scheduled a special May 22 meeting.

The swiftness with which many women signed it may be the first sign that the #MeToo movement has pervaded Southern Baptist circles.

The social storm began last year with reports of a Hollywood mogul’s predatory actions toward women and has since mushroomed into a movement to address the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault against women in society.


RELATED: The ‘Splainer: Paige Patterson and the SBC’s stance on wifely submission


Southern Baptists hold in their doctrinal statement, “The Baptist Faith and Message”: “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

The signers of the letter take no issue with that view, known as “complementarianism,” the idea that men alone should hold leadership roles in the home and in the church.

But Prior said the national effort to address sexual misconduct is affecting Baptist churches, too.

“Women, both inside and outside the church are waking up to these power structures and saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ It’s new everywhere, and even newer in the church,” Prior said. “Once the dam starts to break, then it becomes a watershed moment. That’s what I hope this is.”

About the author

Yonat Shimron

Yonat Shimron is an RNS National Reporter and Senior Editor.

126 Comments

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  • Whatever the outcome of the letter, the larger problem the SBC faces is that it is not the only game in town. And the even larger problem is that more and more people are realizing that a person can have a full and authentic life without playing the game at all.

  • They said they were shocked.

    I’m shocked that they are shocked.

    I’m not shocked about PP’s attentions, if ya know what I mean.

  • If Paige Patterson had described a sixteen year old boy as “built,” he would have been fired on the spot, no questions asked. But since it was a girl, the attitude is “boys will be boys,” said with a knowing shrug. As former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards once said, “the only thing that can bring me down is getting caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.” When it comes to southerners, boy was he ever right. Will Southern Baptist double standards never cease?

  • I’ll take that pop quiz now, my fellow born-again Christian brother, “Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary”:

    TRUE OR FALSE: “In the right order that God has given, … all the husband can think of is, ‘Honey, what can I do for you? What can I do to serve you? How can I make your life better?’ And all the time she is submitting herself to her husband and saying, ‘You just lead and, honey, I’ll follow.’ … [Thus] she will find her greatest contribution and impact through the children she bears … [Her] highest and noblest calling of God is mother and grandmother.”

    FALSE. I’m just so lucky, I guess, that you’re not my husband. Nor my father. Nor my grandfather. Otherwise … well, you know.

    Source: Paige Patterson, in Gregory Tomlin, “Patterson: Women are treasured by God, have high calling”, Baptist Press, October 25, 2004.

  • To paraphrase Barry Goldwater, every good Christian ought to kick Paige Patterson right in the nuts…

  • I said I was shocked. Now I’m even more shocked.
    They’re actually making themselves heard in defiance of all that biblical submission stuff? They may want to believe they aren’t challenging scripture, but it sure sounds like it.

    Or worse yet, challenging their self declared master’s beliefs about scripture.

  • Sadly this is just another symptom of a diseased patriarchy that desperately needs to die out.

  • Funny enough, Paige Patterson didn’t describe the girl as “built” that was the word that the boys in the story used. I’d argue that saying “she wasn’t more than about 16, but let me just say, she was nice” was actually worse than saying she was “built”, however if you want to jump on somebody for what they’ve said, or write an article disparaging him, at least be truthful to what was said.

  • Thousands of cattle sign petition against the slaughterhouse.

    Methinks they fail to realize who holds the power or how little the powerful care about anyone without power.

  • Here’s the irony. There are only a handful of Christians in the world. Those are the people who follow the actual teachings of Christ, and try to live as he did.
    Everyone claiming to be Christians are really Biblists. They parse the book for sentences or parables to justify their hatred and mistreatment of their fellow man… and woman.

  • This should come as no surprise to anyone. Most Evangelicals are big GOP supporters. We all know about the attitude of the GOP when it comes to women. It’s just one big boys club.

  • Let’s see: World Hunger, World Peace, Global Warming and all you people have to talk about is “he said, she said.” I have an idea, let’s take all you women (#MeToo) and will give you the state of California to live. That way you will be happy trying to live the life of a man and us men will be happy to be rid of you.

  • I don’t understand your comment. How do you think his comment shows a lack of knowledge of the reformation?

  • It would seem that the Reformation involved “challenging their self declared master’s beliefs about scripture”.

  • Those men only hold the power in this context because women let them. If all these women decided to stop attending SBC churches tomorrow, the denomination would collapse.

  • Gee. Elevating a mere mortal to the position of Jesus over another person because of his dangly bits turns out badly. Who’d a thunk.

  • Actually, this is he said, full stop. We have tape. We have witnesses to multiple retellings of the story on the tape. He said it. Repeatedly. He expressed joy at a woman getting two black eyes. His ex post facto obfuscation doesn’t change what he is recorded to have said.

  • Yes. From your lips to Spag Monster’s ears.

    In many fundamentalist religions, women perpetuate the misogyny as strongly as the men. It is women who perform genital mutilation on their daughters. There must be some sociological reason, but this appears true across religions.

  • PP was telling the story. Yes, it is clear that he agreed with the fictional dudes in the tale.

  • Long past time, I’d say. The insanity that is the patriarchy of the Southern Baptist Church has been a disservice to our children and our greater Body for far too long. it’s time to go back to the Scriptures and to our prayer closets and take this to God. How did Jesus treat the women in his life? Did he expect servitude? Tell them to stay in the kitchen and follow the Disciples? No. Women were the first to announce his resurrection. They were leaders in the early church. Too much of the Bible is ignored in this tradition, and it’s time for revival and repentence. To my Sisters in Christ, trapped in this false theology, we see you. You are loved. God has your back, even if the failable human beings around you don’t always get it right. We all have our flaws and weaknesses. Only in Christ are we made whole.

  • So your obfuscation is #MeToo is actually #HeyWorldI’mTheCenterOfTheUniverse movement.

  • Of course, what he said was wrong, and it needs to be pointed out, again and again if needed. But, I believe most male pastors don’t speak like this, nor did most speak like that at any time in history. I do believe more women should be pastors if that is their choice, but don’t make the mistake that having a “matriarchy” will make things rosy. Women have their own sets of issues, and as more women get into power, they will abuse their power also. Why would it be otherwise, from a logical or moral point of view? We are all a bunch of screwballs, male or female, given the right conditions.

  • No, we are not all a bunch of screwballs, Both women and men should be pastors and nobody should be “submitting”. That should be easy.

    The problem is — the guys don’t want to move aside and let the ladies in the room.

  • 1/3 of the world is Christian. And half of that 1/3 is busy telling the other half that they aren’t true Christians.

    But otherwise, you are right.

  • Like every verse and parable in the book, it says whatever you want it to say. Christ’s words, choices, and actions, however, are unspinnable. Who do you know that embraces the poor, dedicates his/her life and livelyhood to taking care of the sick and elderly, loves all, and judges no one? I’m sure there are others, but the current Pope is the only one I’ve seen in my lifetime of 60+ years. I say this as an outsider. My parents tried, but I never bought the any of the all-powerful, all-seeing, judgmental super-being in whose image we are made Bible stuff. I’m sure there is a spiritual life after death, but I don’t think it has anything to do with a god as described in the Bible. The dollar is America’s god.

  • Ah, but that’s where the rest of Matthew 7 comes into play, particularly the twice-repeated “you will know them by their fruits”; fruits are an indicator of what the narrow gate is, vs. the wide road.

    That’s how I meant it. Not as some condemnation of the pope or any particular denomination. Argumentum ad populum is fallacious, after all.

  • My point is that next to none of them are Christians. They just call themselves Christians. To be Christians, they would have to emulate Christ. But they don’t. They don’t want to even try. They’re all about judging others, and holding themselves as morally superior. Money is the most important thing in their lives. These are not Christians.

  • But, see? You’re stuck on interpreting words written by people so superstious that they would smear blood on a goat’s head and set it loose in the hills to absolve the sins of their village. The teachings of Christ are simple and few. They resist interpretation.

  • I get the impression we’re talking past each other and applying quite different contexts and transitions in each other’s words. Judging from your first comment, though, we’re probably more similar than different in ultimate application. 🙂

  • I think you may see that I’m not a biblical scholar. But, from what I know of it, the Bible seems to be pretty much worthless. It’s been stepped on, interpreted, translated, and bastardized for much of two centuries. Much of it consists of contradictions of the teachings of Christ.

  • We differ in that premise regarding the usefulness and knowability of the Bible, but you expressed a focus on the good fruits or consequences of the pope’s actions, as a positive indicator regarding whether someone is genuinely Christian. I agree with that manner of evaluation. 🙂

  • The #MeToo movement has brought a lot of upheaval to some long-standing social conventions. Most of that upheaval is good, but I do wonder about some of it.

    It seems to me there’s a difference between actual sexual harassment and the kind of boneheaded tone-deafness people like Paige Patterson represent. Yet the response seems to be the same sort of vilification.

    Should Patterson be removed from his leadership position? Probably. But when popular causes take on a life of their own, I worry about due process getting swept aside. We human beings have a tendency to respond to injustice with more injustice. That’s troublesome and, in the long run, doesn’t really accomplish anything of lasting value.

  • I think the problem with the usefulness and knowability thing is that initial leap of faith required to revere the Bible as written by divine hands at the instruction, and with the input, of God. I think that’s just preposterous. It was written by a simple, superstitious people who saw God in EVERYTHING that they couldn’t fathom. Hot springs bubbling from the soil. A swarm of locusts. An erupting volcano raining fire and brimstone. That’s my problem with that. I think that the worship of the book is the antithesis of what should be Christianity.

  • If the Bible is worthless, from where do you draw your interpretation of the teachings of Christ?

  • I don’t interpret the teachings. They’re simple and unimpeachable. I said “pretty much worthless”. Yes, they’re in the bible. But how much of it? How many sentences? They fit easily on one page. And how many pages DON’T cite the teachings, the words, or the deeds of Christ?

  • Cluelessness is not a defense. Boneheadedness is never applied when discussing a woman’s statements. Why is that? Why do we men get the bonehead defense? We run things. Boneheads shouldn’t be in charge, right? How is it an injustice to remove a bonehead from a position of power and authority?

  • Sorry, but you do interpret the teachings. We all do. We can’t help it. It’s human nature. That’s one reason why we should be cautious about over-trusting our own judgment when it comes to matters of spirituality.

    I think most of us have a tendency (though we won’t admit it and may not even realize it) to give preference to the teachings we like and filter out the ones we dislike or find too challenging. But there’s plenty in the Gospel to challenge each of us if we pay attention.

    There’s an old saying that the purpose of the Gospel is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Anyone who doesn’t experience both those responses from time to time probably isn’t experiencing the wholeness of the Gospel of Christ.

  • Alright, then. Please quote for me a single, instructive sentence credited to Christ, that is subject to interpretation.

  • I don’t think I was offering a defense, and if you read my statement carefully you’ll see that I agree that Patterson should probably be removed. My point is there are gradations to these things.

    Boneheadedness, while repugnant, is not a criminal offense.

  • I don’t see any criminal charges in this article. I see very few resulting from the metoo movement.

    Just one more thing.

    EMAW!

  • Any and all of them. That’s the nature of both spoken and written language. There is no such thing as pure communication. Between the speaker’s intent and the listener’s understanding, we each filter things through our own experiences, biases, levels of education, etc. We can’t help it.

  • Aw, that explains so much. Just kidding. I hope you have a great football season this year. God knows we won’t.

    As for criminal charges, no, there haven’t been many. But there have been a lot of guilty verdicts in the court of public opinion. I’m not saying they’re all unjustified, but that sort of thing should always be a concern.

  • I’ve been waiting for your guys to schedule Haskell and create a cross-town football rivalry. But, so far, it’s just a dream…

  • And I’ve been waiting decades for you guys to get past the Elite Eight. I guess we’ll both have to live with disappointment.

  • If we both have the same end application, of evaluating folks’ Christlikeness based on the benefits that result from their actions, what does it matter how we both get there unless we’re specifically discussing our respective views of how we get there?

    Your belief that it’s preposterous to believe the Bible could be divinely inspired doesn’t harm mine, any more than my belief that it is harms yours. So what if we’re starting from mutually exclusive premises? The post regards use of the Bible to control others and some folks’ response to that use.

    The Bible shouldn’t be used that way—I think we both agree there. Your example of the pope indicates you believe that you’d also agree with me that the Bible doesn’t have to be used that way, either.

    Ergo, cooperative fist-bump.

    Or are you meaning you want to go down that rabbit trail of discussing the divinity of Scripture? We both agree that the concept can be and often is abused. Our divergence there boils down to a point of belief that neither of us can definitively prove, so I don’t see the point in that unless you want to practice elucidating a view.

  • I see that we agree on plenty. I guess I do want to practice. I can’t see how the worship of the Bible is not a distraction and/or diversion from the very simple practice of Christianity. While given much study and dedication of conversation by millions, for thousands of years, it has never been embraced as a way of life. In any country, in any time in history. The opposite is almost always true. Folks embrace the pursuit of the dollar … they fret, worry, and chase it, never having enough even when they have much too much.
    If one considers himself a faithful Christian, why choose that instead of the practice of Christianity?

  • I know. Me too. We can’t attract anyone but student-athletes to the Flint Hills. But we usually get more out of them than expected. The stars aligned this year. We had a chance. Then they went brick-house at the worst possible time. We won’t get another chance like that in what’s left of my lifetime.

  • Quote me one that can be interpreted, or spun to two different forms of action, and prove your point. Please

  • Believing the Bible is divinely inspired ≠ worship of the Bible. Some people do idolize their specific interpretation, and it’s often easier to simplify things to an either-or that is a false dichotomy.

    In this case, embrace of the Bible as a divinely inspired guide for Christians need not conflict with embrace of Christian practice. If you believe the Bible is divinely inspired and your reading conflicts with embracing Christian practice, then something’s wrong with your reading it.

    In fact, from my position, it’s the divine nature of Scripture that makes Jesus’s commands important. “Love your neighbor as yourself” can be translated as “Treat others with the same respect you do yourself,” and “Love God above all else” can be translated “Only person who belongs over others is God.”

    If the Bible is not divinely inspired, what’s the big deal about those statements? What reason is there to think that pursuit of others’ benefit is any better than pursuit of our own?

    To that end, the fruits of a belief can be evidences about the accuracy of that belief. The way the anti-homosexual position ignores and dismisses intersex persons was the first thing I noticed that caused me to care enough to push through the retaliation to really look at the arguments.

    Now, why would someone claim to be Christian and then just use that as a tool to elevate themselves? Hierarchy is humans’ natural organization method, in so many ways, and so we’re naturally inclined towards it. Some folks do it on purpose, for reputation management, and some are just misled.

    Redefinition of terms plays a huge part, too, where some folks pursue power over others while claiming otherwise and calling it by another name.

    I suspect I may have missed a transition in there. Did that make sense to you?

    (Note that I’m not asking you to agree. [wink] Just if I caught the points of confusion.)

  • Okay. Try this one:

    “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 19:24)

    What does that mean, objectively, without interpretation?

  • Exactly my point. How is worship of the Bible a substitute for practicing Christianity.?
    With the previously mentioned exception. Which people who claim to be Christian AREN’T using that claim to elevate themselves above others?

  • That’s an interpretation. Some interpret the verse as meaning that no one obtains the Kingdom without the grace of God, as expressed later in that same chapter. Still others interpret it as a play on words, since “Eye of the Needle” was the popular name for one of the gates into the city of Jerusalem.

    My point is that meaning is often dependent on factors of which we may be unaware, not the least of which is our own subjective viewpoint.

  • I actually think Bruce Weber is a better coach than he gets credit for, but he definitely has his quirks. That weird face he makes on the sidelines sometimes cracks me up. Then there’s that fingernails-on-a-chalkboard voice of his…

  • Expressed later in the same chapter? He already says “Again”, didsn’t he? It could be interpreted as a comment on the girth of camels and rich men, but that would be silly wouldn’t it? This is exactly my point. The discussion, the research, the pouring over the definition of “is” replaces the actual practice of Christianity. I just don’t understand how it qualifies people to call themselves Christians.

  • Unfortunately, it’s not only the Southern Baptist Christian women that are now seeking the expulsion of “Mr.” Patterson, #MeToo. It’s a shame that he set his so-called denomination back 200 years, though.
    Just curious, many sisters would love to hear directly from the woman with the two black eyes about the present state of her marriage…if she’s still alive, that is.

  • Someone told me he’s had throat cancer. So, I gave up that part. But I loved Frank, and he was hosed by our weaselly AD. He deserved better. Bruce beat Kentucky this year, with a depleted team. No small feat.

  • But he didn’t say “Again.” That’s an English translation of a word in Koine Greek that doesn’t mean repetition but emphasis. It’s like saying, “Listen up. I have something important to say!”

    You have a personal understanding of what the practice of Christianity entails and you interpret the Scriptures accordingly. There’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something good to be aware of.

    We each have our biases. Understanding that helps keep us humble. Denying it leads to judging others, and there’s already way too much of that, IMHO.

  • I just wanted to see how far I could go before I made you angry. Seriously, the #MeToo movement has lost its momentum (and will continue to lose its momentum) because the movement no longer has the correct goal in sight; that being, creating a better world. How much better the remarks made after the verdict of Bill Cosby (“Guilty, Guilty, Guilty”), if the movement had stated “A Better Time, A Better Day, A Better World.” As much as I hated seeing Bill Cosby guilty, we all knew he was – another Greek tragedy but by his own deeds. The #MeToo movement is now out for vengeance instead of creating a better world. I can say the #MeToo movement has the same agenda for Paige Patterson or any other male in a powerful position. I don’t deny his actions or guilt but you don’t beat an enemy by becoming the enemy. The real issue here is that for decades the SBC and its affiliates have not met the needs of its people. So, I ask you ladies: “Why do you belong to such an organization that has always viewed women as mere chattel?” Don’t believe me! Just start writing down the names of men and the names of women in the Bible – makes one believe that old Moses had a good thing going by creating God.

  • Okay, fair enough. I don’t want to pile on to someone who’s had cancer.

    I never cared much for Martin’s shtick. The wild-eyed lunatic thing might work as long as they win, but if he doesn’t have a second gear, what does he do when they lose?

    I much prefer coaches who know how to adapt to different circumstances and can get the most out of their teams no matter what. Let’s see, who’s a good example of that ability? Hmm. I know… Bill Self!

  • Your use of “worship” is fallacy of four terms in this context. Believing God’s behind the creation of something ≠ worshipping it. I believe God’s behind the creation of people, too, for example.

    There are lots of Christians who don’t use their beliefs about the Bible to elevate themselves above others in action or word, or who at least try not to. (It’s an incredibly easy trap to fall into.) Most of us just don’t end up in positions of leadership—or are small fry if we do. We also get a lot of pressure to keep our mouths shut.

    Due to how manipulation games work, if there can be in something or appearing to be something, someone’s gonna take advantage of that. The more benefit, the more folks are going to flock to it. That’s just how people work. Being right feels nice. Being uncertain, not so much. “I’m right, and you’re wrong!” has its own allure.

    Everyone’s fighting for social power. Some folks are fighting to spread the power equally, but some folks are seeking it for themselves. The smart and mentally ill folks like this will “spin” how they talk about things, in order to claim that they lack social power that others have, that it’s uneven and against them even when they have advantages. Their insistence gets mistaken for evidence, and others go along whether due to being tricked or due to benefit.

    Case in point: male vs female privilege. Overall, male > female, in terms of privilege, with some specific situations that support the male > female dynamic where female > male.

    Ex. A male with an abusive mother is at an extreme disadvantage, when in need of help. A female with an abusive father has a noticeable advantage over other dynamics, but even that’s relative to situation and dependent on the type[s] of abuse. Regardless, folks are more likely to believe that a male can be abusive, and more likely to believe a female can be a victim—which fits quite well with assumptions that females need protection and males are the most capable.

    So, many professing Christians fail to live in a Christlike way because it’s a façade, not reality. And then many others do so because they’re misled. And then plenty actually do bother to think things through and seek to be a light to the world as Christ directed.

  • So, why didn’t the people who interpreted that in English, write that? Christianity is as individual as fingerprints, is what I think you’re saying. And as subjective as the individual minds, egos, and insecurities of those who read the Bible.
    And what I’m saying is the same is true for those who wrote/translated the Bible, and all the other sacred texts.

  • No, what I’m saying is that interpreting Scripture is a community exercise that must be approached with humility, intellectual honesty, reverence and scholarship. Not one of us can do it by ourselves.

  • “You have a personal understanding of what the practice of Christianity entails and you interpret the Scriptures accordingly.”
    “We each have our biases.” What do these mean, if not, Christianity is subjective to each and every individual?

  • But reading and quoting the book is part of your worship, isn’t it? If you worship the words, aren’t you worshiping the book?
    If Jesus was the only son of God,shouldn’t his words be considered the gold standard for the word of God? Shouldn’t those be the words that you parse for meaning and divine direction?

  • Community support and common prayer was the model of the early Church, as expressed in the Acts of the Apostles. It’s also been the norm throughout history whenever healthy expressions of Christianity have been manifested.

    I think this conversation has run its course. I’ve given you my take. You’ve given me yours. I’m moving on. Have a good rest of the day.

  • Something being used as part of worship doesn’t make it an object of worship. Two quite different things.

    It’s like if you’re reading this series of novels and there are various point of view characters, each with part of the truth. Understanding what’s actually going on in the series requires you to compare those parts and find the points of consistency.

    Generally speaking, series will have authorial errors. If you believe that an omniscient, omnipresent, outside-of-creation deity authored a text, though, then authorial errors don’t exist. Therefore, “Is this congruous with other parts of the text?” is a test for if something’s been authored by God at all. This is why there are some different canons, where folks disagreed on what should be included.

    The book and its words are tools. How we use those tools will reveal a lot about us and our attitudes. Personally, I think that’s why God set up His word this way. We have plenty of rope to hang ourselves with or to help other humans across quicksand, revealing where our hearts are.

    As for quoting the Bible as part of worship, the worship is in the use of the words, not to the words. We’re elevating a single entity that wrote it, which is why any quote from Scripture needs to be compared against other scripture. We don’t pray to the book or the words.

    At least, I’ve never known anyone who worshiped the book or its words. If such persons exist, it’s a distinct and different thing from believing the Bible’s divinely inspired or has a divine nature—though I do suppose someone could warp the “divine nature” thing to cause confusion there. I’d not noticed that before. Thanks. 🙂

  • Quoting/studying is religious ritual, not a worship of the words themselves because of their divine origin. Do I have that right?

  • The quoting and studying is not a ritual. It’s a resource, a source of help and information, often considered the closest thing we have to a primary source about God. Still a secondary source, but more direct than others.

    Some church traditions use rituals when using that resource, theoretically as an outward sign of respect, that they believe the ultimate author (God) is elevated above other authors. But the ritual then is in the approach to the text, not the text itself. And, again, distinct from believing the Bible is divinely inspired.

    If you focus on the definition of “ritual” that’s essentially synonymous with “habit”, some people will also have a habit of regularly quoting or studying Scripture. This practice is consistent with embracing Christlike behavior.

  • probably!?

    He sent this woman and probably dozens or hundreds of others back to men who had and would continue to beat the shit out of them.

    He may have sent women to their deaths.

    And you think it might be a good idea to remove him from a position of authority, but then again maybe not.

    Disgusting

  • Christ didn’t quote scripture. It just seems to me that, as the only son and singular messenger of God, what Jesus said and did would be the focus of every Christian. Not the opinions and parables of ancient, extremely fallible men.

  • I’m not defending Patterson. I said ‘probably’ because I’ve learned not to presume I know all the facts from a short article.

    You and I have no quarrel.

  • Actually, Jesus did quote from the Old Testament sometimes.

    This also goes back to premise. Believing God is the ultimate author behind the men who wrote down the words affects how you read those words.

  • The Old Testament being the Tora? Do you have a cite for that? A quote of Jesus quoting Tora?

  • “But when popular causes take on a life of their own, I worry about due process getting swept aside”

    We know from what has happened in the RC Church how easy it is for the powerful to avoid responsibility, even though the leader of the Church pretends to care.

  • Yes, and the lesson to take from that is to be fiercely devoted to the rule of law, for once we bypass it we give permission for those with bad intent to do so as well.

  • If memory serves, they did it without us bypassing anything and without us giving permission. Indeed, they seemed to be under the impression that they did not need our permission since they had God’s permission in order to protect His Church from scandal.

  • It’s a 5-second Google search to find examples of Jesus quoting the Torah. In the temptation of Christ alone, described in Matthew 4 and Luke 4, He cites both Deuteronomy 8:3 and 6:13 when rebuking Satan.

    Jesus also sometimes paraphrased or adjusted terms to more clearly tie the meaning to the context—like, the Torah says to love the Lord your God “with all your might”, but Jesus shifts the quote to “with all your mind”. He kept the intent, but adjusted the verbiage. What He outright challenged were faulty interpretations of the words, not the words themselves.

    Insisting everything beyond Jesus’s words must only be humans’ opinions is forgetting the omnipotence of God. If God exists, He’s fully capable of maintaining the accuracy of His words, and of having prophets write things down on His behalf. There are debates about which books belong in the Bible, but most of them are universally accepted, and that’s because a person can find a general consistency and congruency through the texts.

    Of course, such study requires a person to care to look for or consider such congruency; that takes time and effort, and humans have limits to we can study. There are points where even the most sincere of researchers must trust someone else’s expertise, and sometimes that trust proves ill-founded.

    This is one reason fruits can be such a valuable thing to look for: they’re flags to help identify areas where something needs re-examination or where something looks to be as it should.

  • Glad you brought up the omnipotence of the God of the Bible. He’s all-powerful, sees all, and protects the innocent. What father, Holy or otherwise, can watch silently and do nothing, while a baby is tortured and murdered?
    Answer: none. There is no protector of innocents in the room. If he isn’t in the room, then he doesn’t exist as described in the Bible, I see this as proof that the God Of the Bible doesn’t exist.

  • “The #MeToo movement” doesn’t pause to “wonder about” itself; what are you talking about? You propose a regulation on it, or a conference of panels about it, books written about it with authority?

    Nope, these women are doing just fine. As to quote someone you know, “Moving on” is precisely what they’ve been doing – no thanx to men like you.

  • Now that you’ve been blatantly offensive for multiple types of abuse survivors, I’m done. That degree of ignorance isn’t something I can deal with without losing my temper.

    Hope you have a good rest of the week.

  • I propose nothing more than self-reflection for any movement that grows that big that quickly. Cast me as a villain if you like. I’m secure in my support of just treatment for women and the women in my life know that.

  • Have no idea what you mean with the offensive stuff. I understand why you don’t want this discussion to progress any further.

    Good luck!

  • She. Didn’t. Exist. Which makes the whole thing worse. He was joyful about an imaginary woman getting both eyes blacked and presented her as a model for real women with real eyes and real abusive husbands to punch them.

  • What process is due, though? No one is locking him up. They’re talking about firing him from a leadership position where he is expected to give wise counsel and speak articulately and intelligently for, on multiple occassions he indisputably (the whole speeches are on tape) dispensed dangerous and heartless counsel and spoke stupidly and inarticulately. About women being beaten (yippee! What a great way to bring the beater to God!). About women as sex objects (that 16 year old sure was built! Ladies, pretty yourselves up more to be worthy of a godly husband!). About women as objects, period (every one should own one!).

    He said these things. The glory of the blacked eyes was declared on multiple occassions. And he refuses to repent, adding to his sin by lying about what he said. So, given that exactly zero facts are in dispute, the only decision is whether he keeps his leadership position. No more process is needed or meritted.

    Oh, but I forgot. He’s a powerful white dude. We can only critucize him after a full blown Congressional investigation, followed by a criminal trial and a chance to exhaust all appeals. Throw in a trial by combat. Then, and only then, should people with lady parts suggest he be fired. But they must do it humbly, in a soft voice, with gentle words, through the proper channels.

  • I have no sympathy for Patterson, as I’ve made clear, and I think he should be fired. My reference to due process was mainly because I don’t want to see the #MeToo movement derailed. Due process is not just for the benefit of the guilty. It is mainly to protect the integrity of the final decision.

  • As a woman, I must say that I am disappointed that only 2000 women added their names to the letter. Which begs the question as to why. To me, that is the proverbial canary in the coal mine. that the SBC needs to also address.

  • The petition is relatively new, it’s not like every other woman has seen and declined to sign.

  • The remarks are much worse than this article synopsizes. Patterson didn’t just tell the abused woman to pray, he told her to “submit in every way that she can.” When she returned to him with two black eyes and said, “I hope you’re happy,” Patterson answered that he was happy because her husband had come to church for the first time ever. (the likelihood he was there to stalk/keep track of his devoted Christian wife was lost on Patterson — all he saw was another potential sign-up).
    As to the girl, Patterson (a) specifically acknowledged she was 16 years old *at the oldest*, (b) described her as “very attractive . . . let’s just say, she was nice,” and (c) described the lustful reaction of a teenage boy toward her as “biblical.”

  • The Lord God chose to reveal Himself to His created beings in the Holy Bible. If your view of Him is not based on His revealed Word, then what god are you talking about?
    Since you’re not familiar with God’s Word, you’re really not capable of judging it (thus, judging Him who is revealed therein). No one is worthy to judge God. He is the only Righteous Judge, to whom all people will give account of their lives.

  • God’s Word is His love letter to His people. If your dearly beloved one sends you a love letter, and you read it often and refer to it, does that mean you worship the letter?

  • Misti is right. Christ Jesus quoted the Old Testament *extensively*, from beginning to end. He also told the Pharisees, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” They understood the significance of that statement.

  • But wouldn’t the wordS of Jesus carry more weight than the words of the later scribes? This is CHRISTianity, is it not?

  • If a man looks at a woman with lust, he has committed adultery with her in his heart.

    There’s biblical for you.,

  • Playing the odds. It’s an open secret that most “real life” sermon anecdotes are inventions.

  • That I can understand. But I always think speculation should be labelled as such.

  • Go back and look at the Star Telegram article when he first arrived as president. You don’t even have to read the words. Look at the photographs. They say EVERYTHING. The photos on his desk were not of wife or family, they were of his DOG! Now read what he said. He was a misogynist from the beginning and ANYONE who bothered to read it with an open mind saw it. His presidency cost many fine professors their job. THe SBC faith statement cost jobs and it cost others their souls.

    If you research further you will discover other advice given from seminary counseling that will curl your toes and freeze your heart. Keep investigating. It neither began nor ended with the re-discovered recording. His appointment cost the SBC a great many thoughtful believers.

  • So let’s ask a question. In this post, you say “My parents tried, but I never bought any of the all-powerful, all-seeing, judgmental super-being in whose image we are made Bible stuff.” Okay, got it.

    So your parents were apparently Christians. But previously you said, “(Christians) would have to emulate Christ. But they don’t. They don’t want to even try. They’re all about judging others, and holding themselves as morally superior. Money is the most important thing in their lives.”

    So were you talking about your own parents there, or not? And if not, why did you reject their message?

  • In the 50’s it was the cultural norm that to be a good parent, you made your kids go to church. My parents, hell ALL parents, lived very few of the words and actions of Jesus.
    It was, and is still, about the pursuit of money

  • Possibly but in an era of instant communication through various social media and a 1 million strong women’s auxiliary, still wonder if it is a red flag. My comments also stemmed from comments elsewhere as to the courage of these women is writing the letter period

  • What “later scribes” are you referring to? Christ Jesus taught and trained His apostles for three years before He died, was raised from the dead, and ascended back to Heaven. Apostles went on to write letters to the early believers, and those comprise most of the rest of the New Testament. Saul/Paul was not one of the original twelve, but he encountered the resurrected Christ, was transformed by His love, truth, and power, and became an apostle to the Gentiles.
    Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus referred to the Old Testament again and again and again, verifying its significance as the Word of God. He said, “The scriptures testify of Me.” He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” He was with the Father from the beginning. See John 1.
    One thing people often overlook is the fact that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit (as He had promised before He went back to Heaven) to the early believers, including the apostles. As He said, the Holy Spirit brought to their remembrance His teachings, and also continued to teach them and minister to them throughout the early days of the Body of Christ. (He still does this today, for those who are the children of God.)
    Again — if your dearly beloved sends you a love letter, and you read it often and refer to it, does that mean you worship the letter?
    Or does that mean you love your dearly beloved?

  • I totally understand what you said here about that cultural norm. Even today, zillions of Americans assume that if they aren’t Jews, Muslims, Hindus, pagans, or atheists, then they are Christians. Just because they were born in America.
    This phenomenon is called “cultural Christianity”. It is not Christianity at all. It is just an assumption that because one grew up in a country where many people identify as Christians, that one is also somehow a Christian.
    It was the same when Christ Jesus came to earth to minister to His people, the Jews. The Pharisees assumed that because they were descendants of Abraham, they were God’s people. But Jesus turned that assumption on its head, telling them they were actually children of the devil. Today, only those who have been born again of the Spirit of God are the children of God.
    I don’t know what you experienced re money, but I know that the parents of the ’50s had mostly grown up during the Great Depression, and they were very motivated to be financially stable. I know that led some to be focused on money, but that wasn’t true for all of them. Just as with any generation, some put God first in their lives and some didn’t.

  • Again, why wouldn’t the words of Jesus carry more weight? Wouldn’t his words, above all others, be the words of God? Or are you saying he was no different than the others? How do you know the Bible is God talking to you? Because the Bible says so.

  • Put God first? This is what passes for Christianity. Not following the teachings of Jesus. This is my point. You can find anything in the Bible to justify any kind of mistreatment game of your fellow man

  • The Word of God is the words of Christ Jesus from Genesis to Revelation. He is God the Son, and He has existed from the beginning. In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
    Obviously He was absolutely different from the others. They were all just men. He came to earth in the form of a man, but He was God in the flesh.
    The Bible is not just words on a page to those who have been born again, filled with the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit testifies in one’s spirit and soul. He is the Spirit of Truth who leads His people into all truth.

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