Southern Baptists Cry Out After Paige Patterson Steps Down

Paige Patterson, the now former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president, has released a statement about his decision to resign by saying that he’s “hurt” by the events that transpired amid controversies surrounding his past comments, but has vowed to carry on his Christian witness.

Patterson agreed to resign on Wednesday following a 13-hour discussion with the SWBTS board of trustees, though he was also appointed president emeritus effective immediately.

In an email Wednesday morning to SWBTS students, Patterson said that he is thankful for people’s “prayers and support.”

“For Southwestern, this is not the end of the book. It is just the end of the chapter. Please do nothing that you are not certain is God’s will. Finish your studies, get your degrees, and faithfully serve the Lord. Support your new president, and be ready to be part of an exciting new day,” he urged.

Speaking also on behalf of his wife, Dorothy, Patterson continued: “As for the Pattersons, we are, of course, hurt. But we did not compromise and we still have our voice to witness. That we will attempt faithfully to do.”

He concluded: “What matters in all this is not the lives of a couple of old soldiers, but your bright futures for Christ. Pray for us when the thought arises, but steady your life and preparation for service to our Lord.

Patterson’s resignation followed the revelation of comments he made over a decade ago, in which he said he doesn’t advise couples to divorce, but does support separation in some cases. Many felt he was suggesting that divorce is always wrong and that women should stay with their husbands even if they are being abusive.

Patterson first garnered controversy when the Baptist Blogger posted audio of an interview Patterson did in 2000 in which he commented on the question of whether wives should submit to their husbands, even when they are abusive.

“It depends on the level of abuse to some degree. I have never in my ministry counseled that anybody seek a divorce, and I do think that’s always wrong counsel,” Patterson said in the audio recording.

“There have been, however, an occasion or two when the level of the abuse was serious enough, dangerous enough, immoral enough that I have counseled temporary separation and the seeking of help. I would urge you to understand that that should happen only in the most serious of cases.”

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Source: Christian Post