Faith leader Paige Patterson came under severe scrutiny this past weekend after a 2000 tape surfaced of his advice to women whose husbands lay hands on them.
Patterson, who was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the time and is currently the president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a rambling response which advised these women to focus on prayer and “be submissive in every way that you can” rather than seek divorce.
The Baptist Blogger posted leaked audio of Patterson’s commentary, the most telling of which is transcribed below.
“First of all, I say to them that you must not forget the power of prayer. Just as one of your little children comes to you with a broken heart, crawls up into your arms, looks into your face, and with tears running down his cheeks, ask you to intervene in a situation, if you have anything in you of a loving parent’s heart at all, that will bring you to your attention, and you’re off and running.”
“Now if you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more should your Father in Heaven do good to them that ask Him? Do not forget the power of consecrated, concentrated prayer. Get on your face before God and ask Him to intervene and He is a good and a dear Heavenly Father. And at some point he will intervene.”
Patterson proceeded to tell the story of a woman who, when faced with a husband who hit her, took Patterson’s advice and prayed about it. The prayer itself didn’t do a whole lot – her husband still blackened both eyes — however he went to church the next day, so…it all evens out?
“I’ll just give you one brief example of it. I had a woman who was in a church that I served in. She was being subject to [a husband who lay his hands on her] and I told her, I said, ‘Alright, I want you to do this, 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. 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 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 in the world for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.” And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And what she didn’t know when we sat in church that morning was her husband had come and was standing at the back — the 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.”
“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 him to 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.“
Patterson issued a statement defending his comments and claiming that they were taken out of context.
“For the past several months, my life and the lives of my family have been subjected to rigorous misrepresentation. Even had I done some hideous wrong of which I am accused, my wife, children, and grandchildren have not and do not deserve such mischaracterization.”
Patterson then said he was not allowed to advocate for divorce, and tells the story of how he courageously put himself in harm’s way in order to get a woman to safety.
“I have also said that I have never recommended or prescribed divorce. How could I as a minister of the Gospel? The Bible makes clear the way in which God views divorce. I have on more than one occasion counseled and aided women in leaving…
“So much is this the case that on an occasion during my New Orleans pastorate, my own life was threatened by an abusive husband because I counseled his wife, and assisted her, in departing their home to seek protection.”
The resurfacing of the tape sparked debate among Christians on social media. Though the Southern Baptist Convention refused to comment, many Christians were quick to denounce Patterson for his poor life tips.
This is not the first time Paige Patterson has used the Bible to excuse the behavior of men. Jonathan Merritt, who reignited attention of The Baptist Blogger’s audio on his Twitter on Saturday, also posted a video of Patterson’s problematic view of underage girls (the video has since been deleted.)
Patterson says, in his sermon:
“… About that time, a very attractive young co-ed walked by. And she wasn’t more than about 16, but mmmmmm. Let me just say, she was nice. As she walked by, they didn’t think that momma was paying any attention to them, and one young man turned to the other one and he said, “Man, is she built.”
In the middle of the synod, she stopped, wheeled around, slapped a hand over his mouth, loosened his teeth, said, “Young man, don’t you ever say anything like that again. If you do, I’ll mop up the face of the earth with you!”
I saw my opportunity. I said, “Ma’am, leave him alone. He is just being biblical. That’s exactly what the Bible said.”
Lord God brought her, he built her, and brought her unto the man!”
According to Patterson, women are temptresses who are responsible for changing men’s reprehensible behavior through prayer and submission. He’s living in 1818 while the rest of us out here in 2018.