A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Paige Patterson has never retracted his words on wife beating

THIS POST IS A REPRINT OF The Wartburg Watch’s Article: A Call for Paige Patterson’s Resignation From the Ministry Tue Jun 16, 2009 By Dee from Wartburg Watch. Where the article refers to the authors as ‘we’, that means Dee and Deb, the two people who run The Wartburg Watch.

Wife Beating: A New Tool for Evangelism

Some of you may be wondering what yesterday’s post on the Darryl Gilyard story has to do with domestic violence and the church. We contend that the church handles both sexual abuse and wife abuse in the same fashion: despicably! Today we will show you how “the architect” of the so-called “conservative resurgence” in the Southern Baptist Convention has become the poster boy for “pastors gone wrong.” We introduce to you one of our favorite whipping boys: Paige Patterson. We have one word to say to him, “Shame!”

The reasons why churches cover up sexual abuse and domestic violence are beyond us. The Bible is replete with admonitions to care for the lost and downtrodden. Who is more let down than victims of these crimes? We can only think of one possibility — murder victims. Perhaps it’s fear of lawsuits or disbelief that a minister could do such things. Frankly, there are no excuses.

Let’s start with Patterson’s view on domestic violence. Guess what? We have his own words on this subject, and he’s very proud of himself. This transcript is also available in audio via the internet. It requires a bit of a search because someone, who realized Patterson’s words are damning, attempted to expunge the record. They were uttered before the internet became an important factor in everyday life, so we’re certain Patterson never realized his address at a conference sponsored by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) would become available to the general public. In fact, when we came across his view on domestic violence, we didn’t know anything about CBMW. That’s what alerted us to this organization.

The Southern Baptist Outpost has an article with an excerpt from audio recordings and transcripts from a conference in 2000, in which Paige Patterson explains the counsel he gave one battered woman. Here’s the quote the Outpost posted:

I had a woman who was in a church that I served, and she was being subject to some abuse, and I told her, I said, “All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,” but I said, “You just pray there.” And I said, “Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.” And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.” And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.”

And what she didn’t know when we sat down in church that morning was that her husband had come in and was standing at the back, first time he ever came. And when I gave the invitation that morning, he was the first one down to the front. And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis. And remember, when nobody else can help, God can.

And in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him. Obviously, if he’s doing that kind of thing he’s got some very deep spiritual problems in his life and you have to pray that God brings into the intersection of his life those people and those events that need to come into his life to arrest him and bring him to his knees.

Note from Barb Roberts.  Thanks to Hannah Thomas (see her comment below) you can listen to this speech by Patterson here:

http://archive.org/details/PaigePattersonsbcAdviceToVictimsOfDomesticViolence

And refer to this link for further information: Paige Patterson’s View on Domestic Violence (Danni Moss)

Besides far reaching self-congratulations and egotistical pontification, what else is apparent in Patterson’s victory speech? The first thing to note is that he refers to the woman’s abuse abstractly. “ She was subject to some abuse.” [Note from Barb at A Cry For Justice:— using the passive voice is a classic tactic in the language of abusers and their allies. The passive construction avoids any mention of the perpetrator. In the sentence “She was subject to some abuse,” there is no agent, no cause of the abuse, the perpetrator is invisible. This language is often used in courtrooms and media reports when talking about abuse.]  It is far easier to blow off a theoretical situation. The use of ultrasounds in pregnancies has contributed to a decline in abortions because the theoretical fetus is now seen as a tiny baby with a face and arms and legs. That “byproduct of pregnancy” becomes a baby. Patterson should have found out and defined exactly what sort of abuse was going on. This woman was being physically beaten and she was asking for help. He tells her to toodle on home to hubby. She returns to him with two black eyes. The woman is obviously in a dangerous situation. Yet Patterson claims he is “very happy.” Why? Because her hubby showed up in church and supposedly had a broken heart and wanted to be forgiven.

Such naïveté is astonishing in the leader of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. (He was president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary when he uttered these words.) Go to any web site or, better yet, speak to any victim of domestic abuse. There is almost always a feeling of remorse on the part of the abuser in the immediate aftermath. Such an abuser often brings flowers, jewelry, etc. to his wife in an attempt to “make nice.” Unfortunately, the wife, and now it appears Christian leaders, buy the crocodile tears and the woman stays. The abuse continues and begins to escalate. Yet, Patterson claims this man is a “great husband” today. Frankly, we do not believe him. Yes, miracles happen. However, even with regular intervention and counseling the recidivism rate for abusers is astronomical! We believe that Paige has no idea what kind of husband this guy is today. Our guess is that he couldn’t care less. Why? We believe the underlying agenda is the subordination and/or the “submission” of the wife to her husband.

We’ll explore the seeming explosion of articles, doctrines, committees, etc. on the role of women in the church in the future. It’s important for our readers (thanks by the way for your loyalty) to understand the depths of stridency on the submission issue. It runs so deep that it appears that Patterson would rather see a wife die of beatings than stand up to her abusive husband and say, “Enough is enough!” Patterson would probably call that proactive woman “gender confused” and smugly go off on another safari on grandma’s dime. Has there been an outcry by the more compassionate seminary leaders on Patterson’s verbal abuse? Well, guess what? Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary recently rewarded this man who has covered up sexual predators and sent women back to wife beaters with a building dedicated in his honor!!!!!!! “In an effort to accommodate the school’s increasing enrollment and to house the Center, trustees approved construction of a new academic building at their October 2005 meeting. Since its completion late last year Paige and Dorothy Patterson Hall is now the flagship academic building on the campus and the anchor structure of the west end of campus.” Paige and Dorothy Patterson Hall

We have only one thing to say to Paige Patterson and all of those involved in dedicating a building to this confused, misogynistic man: “Shame on all of you!” No wonder people are fleeing the SBC in droves. Both of us have recently left, and this is one of the major reasons why we can no longer support the Southern Baptist Convention.

This travesty is all the more evident as we look at Patterson’s alleged cover up of Darryl Gilyard’s sin. He knew for years that there were regular complaints about this man. While Patterson was President of Criswell College, the complaints came in fast and furious! Let’s hear what this revered “man of the cloth” had to say. On the excellent stopbaptistpredators.org web site, there is an article from the Dallas Morning News from 1991 on the resignation of this predator from his Texas church due to sexual misconduct. Ironically, this man would continue to garner excellent recommendations from the likes of Patterson until his eventual arrest in Florida for continued sexual misconduct. As we detailed yesterday, Gilyard was finally sentenced just last Thursday! “The morning after the resignation (in 1991), Dr. Patterson described Mr. Gilyard as one of the “most brilliant men in the pulpit.” Wow! No, sorry for my cover up? How about an apology to the women and teenage girl raped and sucked in by Paige’s boy? Of course not. Just think, Patterson mentored this rapist for years! Exactly what was he teaching him? Good going, Paige! We sentence you to 10 years in a cell with Gilyard listening to endless repetitions of “Good-bye Earle” by the Dixie Chicks. Click on the link for a 30 second clip: Good-bye Earle

Let’s see exactly what happened in the years prior to 1991 when Patterson was Gilyard’s mentor. “First Baptist officials said they knew of the allegations of sexual misconduct, which began as long as four years ago when Mr. Gilyard was removed as assistant pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Cliff. But they said they did not believe those allegations, and continued to recommend him. “We were dealing with a man of special gifts and talents,’ Dr. Patterson said. “I was unwilling to call anyone guilty until I had demonstratable evidence that these allegations were true.’ Dr. Patterson said that according to Scriptures, action cannot be taken against a minister accused of adultery unless there are two or more witnesses. He also asked for any other proof, such as photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests!” Christa Brown on Darrell Gilyard (Christa Brown has been doing a yeoman’s job exposing sexual abuse and cover up in the SBC. Please visit her website for more information.)

“Hey, Paige, can you help us get this straight? The Bible says that you can’t fire a minister for adultery unless you have witnesses? Where’s that verse, Mr. Seminary President?” When was the last time you heard of a rapist bringing in two witnesses and videotape equipment and giving the woman a copy of the tape afterwards as a fond remembrance of the occasion? What would any of readers do if they received over 40 individual complaints of sexual misconduct of a minister in training? Apparently, this is not a rhetorical question since ol’ Paige didn’t seem to know or, more realistically, care. It’s vitally important to understand that most women do not lie when asking for help for abuse. By that point, women are embarrassed and broken. It’s not easy to muster up the courage to tell another man that her husband is smacking her around, especially one’s pastor. By the time this has happened, the abuse has escalated to the point that the woman fears for her life or the lives of her children. Can you imagine how this already broken woman feels when her pastor doesn’t believe her? Tomorrow we’ll post the story of a woman who contacted us through this blog. She was abused as a child, as a wife, and as a mother. The church’s response, “We don’t know who to believe.” So, based on quotes from the man himself, we call for the resignation of Paige Patterson from the ministry. He’s neither a role model nor a mentor. He also needs to issue an apology for his lack of care and compassion to the abused women and girls he was called to lead, protect, and serve.

23 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Speakingtruthinlove's Blog and commented:
    I heard this speak at our Bible College a few years ago and he called his wife “a good southern sow!”. What a jerk.

  2. LorenHaas

    So why didn’t he call the police when he saw evidence of domestic violence? Wasn’t he required to by the law in his state?
    I have dealt with this kind of idiocy before in a former church. A “counseling” pastor tried to push a battling married couple back together again under one roof. Even the couple knew it was a bad idea and refused. They were kicked out of the church for disobedience.
    We left soon thereafter.

    • What is disturbing is this man is a big time leaders in the SBC. It’s not just pastors and churches on the fringe pulling this stuff. This is as mainstream evangelical as it gets, and I’ll bet most people just have no idea. This is the only kind of thing that happens at “other churches”.

      This story makes my stomach churn- it’s disgusting.

      • Memphis Rayne

        Of course he did not call the police, instead he gave himself a high five and a pat on his own back…..and he is a liar, the story stops for him on that day(if it in fact even happened) most likely the woman was beat again as soon as her husband recieved his forgivness and blessings. How smug he sounded when he told her that he in fact was “Happy”…and made her sound like the unforgiving problem. THEN he takes the power of God Almightys supposed “miracle” and claims he was in fact the one who “changed” the abuser……his story is bogus, next time she prays, and get two black eyes I can here him say “” Well what did you do that for, you already knew it was going to piss him off again”” Complete and total Cracker Jack….and yes its sickening, and yes he should not be allowed to open his mouth in public.
        Think about the abuse victom, if she trusted this guy enough to actually go to him for help…..I seriously doubt she would come back to church with her black eyes, much less saying “I hope you are happy” he just went out of his way to make her look as a villian, “angry at the world”…..and ya where is his proof that the husband is reformed?…this guys proof is what? That the victom is now silenced into taking the beatings? ……barf. Also because he is so almighty and powerful, he is able to tell her that he is “”happy” about her suffereing? Then expects people to go AWE STRUCK over his idiot advice? DBL BARF.

    • Memphis Rayne

      I kinda wanna scream one of my old pastors names out right now!!! But I wont…but this guy saw my bruises on more than one occassion, and told me if my husband hit our children then and ONLY then I would be required to leave for a time, or I was responsible for him hurting them!!! So I couldnt rescue myself, or my children until death do us part.
      Nice guy huh?

    • Memphis Rayne

      …..oh! and the churches response of “”We do not know who to believe?” is such a lie too. Its another way of saying “”What? Who?….meeeee? I didnt see anything???????”” and that response immediately implies to the victim they are “So outta luck” and it directly tells the abuser….”Is okay, we got your back”…..

  3. This makes me sick to my stomach but sadly it doesn’t surprise me. The “c”hurch is rotten to the core!

  4. Katy

    This is sick but it doesn’t surprise me at all. I have zero confidence in any church leader of any kind – they must prove themselves to me. They are guilty until proven innocent of these views. This is the state of the modern church.
    We really need a list of “good churches” that abuse survivors can use….

  5. Anonymous

    I am sorry. I just couldn’t finish reading this. I got to these words:

    “And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis. And remember, when nobody else can help, God can.

    And in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him.”

    and thought to myself, that this pastor or whoever he is, doesn’t even know if that so called sorrow is genuine or not. What is the real end of this story? Did this man never abuse again, ever? We really don’t know that do we? In the meantime, he approved of the beating, because it brought himself glory, but really, where is the glory for God in that? Glorifying God means that we, because of the Spirit of Christ living in us, give off the essence of God through the way we live. It is not complicated, but it is also certainly not living in abuse and showing up to Church with blackened eyes. I wonder if any of these pastors/leaders/elders will do any kind of study further than their own peers, to find out what abuse is really like and what the dynamics of it are, so they can stop misleading people into believing that God approves of it and smiles when a woman’s eyes are blackened by the man who is supposed to love and protect her. And, what does he mean, “when nobody else can help”? Doesn’t he really mean, “when nobody else WILL help”? He had a chance to help and instead he sent her back into the devil’s arms. If the man truly repented and his life was completely changed, then hooray, but what about her brokenness and sorrow and what about her needing healing? It reminds me of that story “When Love is Not Enough”.

  6. Anonymous

    Seminary presidents have one job: to bring in money. Evidently SWBTS leaders think Paige Patterson’s the right man to do that. It’s really sad. And it shows the cold-hearted love of money over the protection of the oppressed. The U.S. church is reaping the consequences of cavalier leadership and not caring about people. That’s why people are leaving in droves. Who can blame them?

  7. Anne

    This also bothered me, Patterson compared female submissiveness to an encounter with a police officer. Although the officer and Patterson would be equal before God, “He is above me,” Patterson said. “God gave him an assignment that affects me and made him a minister of God to correct my evil ways.”

    My husband really wanted the job of correcting my evil ways.

    Ugh, that just sits so wrong and really makes me want to find a different denomination.

    • Katy

      yes the image of a husband = police officer who is charged with “correcting” his wife. yowza. I bet if her husband had tied her up and left her for dead Patterson would have found a way to justify it.
      I’m sensing that perhaps this Patterson fellow has abusive tendencies of his own. :/

    • Anonymous

      I don’t really believe that Patterson actually believes that the police officer is “above” him, or he would have called him on the numerous occasions he was given, that he should have called the police!! The woman above’s blackened eyes, being just one example. He should have called the police and let them “correct his evil ways”! Where is his example of submission? He was simply using that to say, that as a pastor, “he” is like a police officer and everyone should bow to him, or that as a husband, his own wife should bow to him, but that is not what submission is, so again, we have a pastor misusing the Word of God for his own benefit. Nice example to use if you really want to lord it over someone.

  8. http://archive.org/details/PaigePattersonsbcAdviceToVictimsOfDomesticViolence

    I uploaded his nonsense about the woman with two black eyes if you want to hear it in his own words and voice.

    Great example of using spiritual pixie dust, and not the Word and Principles of God.

    • Thanks Hannah! We really appreciate your technical nous and your giving us this link to the audio file of Paige Patterson actually saying those words.

  9. At the end of his advice to the woman, Patterson said:

    in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him.. . . you have to pray that God brings into the intersection of his life those people and those events that need to come into his life to arrest him and bring him to his knees.

    Hmm.
    He tells the woman to ask God to bring into her abuser’s life those people and those events that need to come into his life to arrest him and bring him to his knees. But he does not permit the woman herself to be one of those people. He tells the woman to be a perpetual doormat and let other people (who? some abstract others that God will send in on white chargers?) have agency. But not her. The woman is allowed no agency, no overt resistance or boundary setting against the abuser. The formula is: stay—pray— submit yourself—elevate him. This is precisely what victims of abuse have been told by their pastors: go home and be a ‘better wife.’

    Patterson’s speech is a dreadful insult to victim-survivors! Haven’t they already been praying till their knees are almost raw? Haven’t they already been submitting in every which way to the shifting goalposts of the abuser’s demands? Haven’t they been staying in the marriage despite the horrific fear, personal degradation and risk to themselves and their children? Have they forgotten for one moment the power of God? No, Mr Patterson, they have not. It is their very faith in God that has kept them going in the face of the driving winds of abuse, and that is why documented evidence shows that Christian victims stay in abusive marriages way longer than victims who have no religious faith.

    • Anonymous

      Agreed and amen, Barb!

    • Still Scared( but getting angry)

      Exactly!! If I hadn’t had the Lord, there is no way I could have stayed as long as I did! And I really do see God’s timing on when I got out (kids older I can still homeschool, my oldest can drive so I have another driver) but still not a good enough reason for me to ever encourage anyone else to stay. The minds games and wrong thinking I have to correct in myself and my kids…
      On another note, when I now see this kind of advice..”stay, pray, submit” in my mind due to trying to text at stop lights( I know bad, bad) I often see in my mind “Stay, you are PREY” .
      Pray/prey..which are you if you are staying?

  10. Jeff Crippen

    Time to turn this Paige and leave him in obscurity. The only way such a person could continue in the positions this guy has held is because he is backed by a culture that approves of the evil he supports.

  11. People like this minister have an anti-Christian attitude about women, as well as men. He’s delusional. Jesus would never defend his talk. In Matt. 24:45-51, Jesus said, “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed’, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
    His comments are made at a convention, perhaps because they were made before he knew he could be broadcast all over by youtube and the Internet, but I think this anti-female bias is still held by many.

    • I’m attributing this statement by Jesus to any sphere of authority, pastors over their congregations, husbands over wives, parents over children, and any other place where people take authority to care for others. It need not be strictly attributed only to people who physically beat their fellow servants, and who eat and drink with the drunkards. The statement is clearly about abusive behavior.

  12. Elizabeth Sullivan

    When I first read some of paige patterson and voddie baucham’s words I thought they were the scum of the earth and traitors to both God and women. Many months later I discovered that they were in fact men not women and I had to laugh. I would probably be a whinny old fart too if people kept confusing me with the very humans I so utterly despise. Of course now I can’t blame their husbands for giving them a mike.

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