What do Hollywood Celebrities, politicians and high profile Baptist leaders have in common? The answer is sexual scandal known today as “#MeToo Moments.”
Baptists have not been faring well in the news recently. Frank S. Page, former President and Chief Executive of the SBC Executive Committee resigned in March over a “morally inappropriate” relationship. Page Patterson and Paul Pressler, co-architects of the “Conservative Resurgence” better known as the “Fundamentalist Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention,” which began back in the 1960’s and came to fruition in 1979 and the following years have both tarnished their Christian witness and the name Baptist.
Judge Pressler has been accused of sexual misconduct going back to the 1970’s and continuing until 2016. Judge Pressler’s case will be decided in the Courts. Page Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, was just fired by Southwestern Trustees. Patterson is said to have covered up an alleged rape during his presidency at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and advised the victim not to go to the police but to forgive her assailant. He also faces the backlash of Baptist women for telling an abused wife that she should stay with her husband and pray for him. Not to mention inappropriate remarks made in a sermon about a teenage girl’s body. He apologized for his remarks about the teenager but did not apologize for his ill-conceived advice to the abused wife.
Page Patterson is scheduled to bring the main sermon at the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. Whether that occurs or not will be up to messengers at the convention or hopefully his own decision to withdraw.
In the Patterson case that unfolded in the month of May, Trustees, at first, just slapped his wrist by firing him from the Office of President. They turned right around and rewarded him by naming him President Emeritus of the Seminary, gave him compensation and awarded him rights to live in luxury in the new Baptist Heritage Center on the Southwestern Seminary Campus. When the Southeastern covered up rape case came to light, the Trustees rightfully took away Patterson’s status as President Emeritus, his compensation and right to live in the luxury home on the Southwestern campus.
“How the mighty are fallen, “to take a line from David’s lament over the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan (2 Samuel 1:25). Saul and Jonathan died fighting the enemy. In the case of our Southern Baptist Leaders, their reputation died from self-inflicted wounds. What these high profile leaders have done is shameful, painful, embarrassing and destructive to the Christian witness in a day when Christianity is struggling to make a positive impact on our permissive world. This is a sad day for Christianity and for Baptist Trust has been broken. The Christian witness has been greatly damage. God help us!
In His Love, Charles