Technically I am still proud to have graduated from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary of the time. For most of my time there Dr. Russell Dilday was president of SWBTS and it was an amazing place. Dr. Dilday was dismissed, on the day Pam went into labor with Adam, because of a power struggle for the future of the seminary (he didn’t do anything wrong other than to have been moderately conservative with a board that had become increasingly more hyper-conservative). Dr. Dilday led SWBTS in such a way that it was one of my favorite places ever. Dr. Hemphill, who replaced Dr. Dilday, may have done a good job I just wouldn’t really know because I was only there for for a few weeks while he was president at SWBTS.
What I know is that the changes I learned about after Paige Patterson became the president of SWBTS in 2003 made it more and more difficult to want to support my alma mater. I went from encouraging people to go to SWBTS to conveniently forgetting to mention it when I talked to people about going to seminaries. When I decided to start working on a Doctor of Ministry degree SWBTS was no longer a place I would consider attending. I went to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary for my D.min because I couldn’t stomach so much of the ideology in which Patterson had led my alma mater, specifically in regard to women in ministry. Patterson continues to act and lead the seminary in manners that I can’t and won’t support. A place I once loved has become a place I am no longer have pride in.
This past week there has been an uproar, rightly so, over a story that Patterson has apparently been telling for years concerning his recommendations for dealing with spousal abuse. Dr. Ed Stetzer writes about Patterson’s loony comments in his Christianity Today article “Paige Patterson and Doing the Right Thing for the SBC, Again” from April 30th. I’ll just quote part of an audio recording in which Patterson shares a story of advice he gave to a wife who was being abused by her husband. The recording can be listened to here.
‘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,'” Patterson said. “And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry with me, and with God and the world for that matter. And she said, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said, ‘Yes ma’am I am.'”
Patterson went on to explain that he was not happy about the abuse but her husband’s attendance in church (and believed repentance), which Patterson thought was from his guilt from the abuse he had inflicted on his wife. Please let me stress this.
THIS IS HORRIBLE ADVICE!
It saddens me that one of my alma maters is lead by a person who gives this type of terrible pastoral counseling. I saddens me even more that some have probably been hurt by such counseling.