Paige Patterson’s tears

Paige Patterson thought he had a chance at redeeming one Muslim and converting him to Christianity because, according to Patterson, the man was only a “cultural Muslim.” I doubt that that word belongs in the mindset of Muslims, but it found its way in the mindset of Dr Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

So Paige violated his seminary’s policy and the Southern Baptist Convention’s charter when he allowed this young man into Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. And now it is under review, and Paige cries.

Laws and rules! He will break one rule when it suits him, but Paige will not break the most important law and rule of the Southern Baptist Convention. That law is one that Paige, himself, helped write. It is found in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 which says that women cannot be “senior pastors.”

I always wondered about that word ‘senior’ before I realized that of course Baptists sometimes call women ‘Children’s Pastors,’ or better yet, ‘Women’s ministries pastor.’ So women can teach children and other women.

Paige looks to the Old Testament to find his excuse. Ezekiel was told by God that if he does not warn a sinful person from his wicked ways to save his life, the man’s blood will be on Ezekiel’s hands.

So Dr Paige Patterson, wrung his hands (well maybe not the wringing of hands, but certainly the shedding of a tear), and he said “I did the best I knew how.” A little dramatic, don’t you think?

He went on, “When I stand before God I will say, ‘God, I violated a policy, but I didn’t want to stand before you with blood on my hands.’”

But, Dr Patterson, I have a fear that you will stand before God and have to explain why you threw up road blocks in front of women whom God chose for the ministry.

Dr Patterson, you don’t have to find some obscure passage in Ezekiel to justify your violation of policy laws and rules. Look to Jesus! Look to Jesus to find where he violated rules and cultural policy when he told the Gentile woman that he had also come to save her and her people.

 “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s tables.”

In other words, Dr. Patterson, women are eating the very same food that comes from the Master’s table that men are eating. And that food has nourished women the same way it has nourished men.

Rules and Laws! Violating a rule is not the problem. Violating God’s people (women) by refusing them full discipleship, is the problem. And Jesus himself violated his rule when he gave the Cannanite woman the “Good News” that he had come to save Gentiles also.

Paige, you are crying for violating one rule, but you still have blood on your hands. You have the blood on your hands of all the people who needed a preacher so they could hear the word, and you would not send a woman to preach to them. You have relegated women to second class by refusing them a seat at the Master’s table.

The harvest is great, but you will not send a woman. 


About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
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