After his controversial remarks about divorce, many Southern Baptists are urging Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson to resign from his post.
A recently resurfaced interview in which Paige can be heard saying that divorce is “always the wrong council,” even in cases of spousal abuse, went viral earlier this month. The interview garnered severe criticism from many, including prominent Christian leaders.
As we previously reported,
Patterson was asked whether or not a woman should submit to an abusive husband. Patterson answered, “It depends on the level of abuse to some degree. I have never in my ministry counseled that any seek a divorce and I think that’s always wrong counsel. There have been, however, an occasion or two when the level of abuse was serious enough, dangerous enough, immoral enough that I have counseled temporary separation seeking of help. I would urge you to understand that that should only happen in the most serious of cases.”
In response, Patterson defended his comments, saying that his position was being misrepresented.
On Sunday, an open letter to the SWBTS board of trustees, which has now been signed by nearly 2,000 people, stated that Patterson’s comments are indefensible: “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,” states the letter. “The [SBC] cannot allow the biblical view of leadership to be misused in such a way.” (h/t Christianity Today).
The document has been signed leaders including Liberty University professor Karen Swallow Prior; 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.
Christianity Today reports that there has been a “quiet campaign among some Southern Baptist leaders to pressure Patterson, who has led SWBTS for 15 years and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for 11 years, to apologize and step down. The chairman of SWBTS’s board of trustees recently announced that “in light of recent events” the full board plans to hold a special official meeting on May 22.
is managing editor at RELEVANT Media Group. He holds a B.A. in Practical Theology and an M.A. in Theology with an emphasis in Biblical Languages. He's passionate about music, faith, racial justice, and social change. You can find him on Twitter @andrehenry, and more of his writing at http://andrerhenry.com