Baptist leader apologizes to women
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/11/18, 11:18 am
Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, in a statement Thursday apologized to “every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity.” Last month, remarks Patterson, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, made 18 years ago about domestic abuse and divorce began circulating widely on social media. He spoke of advising an abused woman to go home and pray at her bedside for her husband. She did so, came to church with two black eyes, and asked Patterson, “Are you happy?” He said he was because her remorseful husband came to church that day for the first time. Patterson also received criticism for a sermon illustration in which he spoke approvingly about teenage boys saying a 16-year-old girl was “built.” Initially, the seminary issued a press release in which Patterson condemned physical and sexual abuse of women and said, “I do not apologize for my stand for the family and for seeking to mend a marriage through forgiveness rather than divorce. But I do greatly regret that the way I expressed that conviction has brought hurt.” Since then, more than 3,000 people have signed an online letter from Southern Baptist women expressing a lack of faith in Patterson’s leadership. In Thursday’s statement, Patterson asked forgiveness for “the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been,” adding, “to all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches.” On Twitter, Patterson’s latest apology drew gratitude from some and criticism from others who said he didn’t go far enough to recant his earlier statements. The seminary’s board of trustees has called a meeting on May 22 to address the controversy.
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