Paige Patterson was ousted yesterday by a version of the MeToo which has formed within the Southern Baptist Convention. After a group of approximately 2500 SBC women sent a letter to the board of trustees for the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where Paige Patterson was President the board voted to remove him as President.
Scott Neuman, writing for NPR.Org in his article entitled “Southern Baptist Leader Removed Over Remarks On Rape, Abuse Of Women” summarizes the events that lead to Patterson’s dismissal today:
“As NPR’s Tom Gjelten reported earlier this month, in an interview Patterson gave in 2000, the religious leader recounted how he had told one woman, who had been assaulted by her husband, to simply pray for her spouse:
“Returning some days later with two black eyes, the woman said, ‘I hope you’re happy,’ [Patterson said].
” ‘I said, ‘Yes, ma’am, I am happy,’ Patterson quoted himself as telling the woman. ‘What she didn’t know when we sat in church that morning,’ he said, ‘was that her husband had come in and was standing in back, first time he ever came.’ ”
Patterson had also been criticized for a sermon he gave in 2014 in which he said women were created by God “beautifully and artistically.”
“He related a conversation he had with a woman while her son and a friend were standing alongside. As they talked, a teenage girl whom Patterson described as ‘very attractive’ walked by, and one of the boys said, ‘Man, is she built.’
“The woman immediately scolded him, but Patterson said he interjected in the boy’s defense.
” ‘I said, ‘Ma’am, leave him alone,’ Patterson recounted. ‘He’s just being biblical. That is exactly what the Bible says.’ ”
Hearing Patterson tell that story, Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., was outraged. She and about 30 other women immediately drafted the open letter addressed to the Board of Trustees of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.”
The full letter can be found at a petition page here.
The letter from Karen Swallow Prior and her cohorts begins with this introduction:
“Over the past week Southern Baptist women have been grappling with the video of Dr. Paige Patterson preaching at the Awaken Conference in 2014, the audio of his counsel to domestic abuse victims in 2000, and his response this week to the Southern Baptist concerns over these matters and all that has subsequently come to light. These one on one conversations between women who are grieved by the comments and concerned for the poor gospel witness they reflect has resulted in the following plea for SWBTS trustees to take decisive action.”
What were Paige Patterson’s Crimes According to SBC MeToo Women?
Supposedly he allegedly told a rape victim not to report her rape to the police but to date there is no hard evidence supporting this claim. This is something both he and the Seminary are denying. Another one of his “crimes” according to the MeToo Southern Baptist women was his statements regarding women staying with abusive husbands. The truth is that he was fighting against divorce and later clarified his statement saying he believes women who are in danger from true physical abuse can seek separation for themselves and their children.
I have already laid out my position on what kind of “abuse” a woman can leave for Biblically and what kind she cannot leave for in my recent article “Why God Wants You To Stay in An Abusive Relationship”. When we remember that to “abuse” someone is to “mistreat” someone then you could say your spouse is abusing you if they call you a bad name or are crabby with you. To say that God’s word allows for women to leave their husband over such things flies in the face of the Scriptures. It is not saying men are right in doing these things, but the Bible does not allow a woman to divorce her husband for just any sin he commits against her. It strictly limits the types of sin for which a woman may be free from her husband in divorce.
Today we have people comparing a husband calling his wife a bad name with him punching her in the face saying it is the same thing. This is the absurdity of the world we live in now.
But what I really want to focus on here is the utterly ridiculousness of the attack on Paige Patterson for comments he and a teenage boy made about a teenage girl and how he corrected the mother for scolding her son for saying it.
In the letter from the SBC MeToo Women they write the following concerning these comments:
“His recent remarks of clarification do not repudiate his unwise counsel in the past; nor has he offered explanation or repentance for inappropriate comments regarding a teenage girl, the unbiblical teaching he offered on the biblical meaning of womanhood in that objectification, and the inappropriate nature of his own observations of her body.
This pattern of discourse is unbefitting the sober, wise, and sound character required of an elder, pastor, and leader. It fails in the call to protect the helpless, the call of Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves, and the biblical standard of sexual purity. These comments are damaging, sinful, and necessitate a decisive response. It seems inevitable, for instance, that a youth pastor in any of our churches would be removed from his position if he made the comments that Dr. Patterson made at the Awaken Conference in 2014.
The world is watching us all, brothers. They wonder how we could possibly be part of a denomination that counts Dr. Patterson as a leader. They wonder if all Southern Baptist men believe that the biblical view of a sixteen-year-old girl is that she is “built” and “fine” —an object to be viewed sexually.”
The Bible says Women are “Built” and “Fine”!
In the Scriptures we are told that Jacob loved Rachel, “the beautiful and well favored” of two sisters.
“17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured.
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.
Genesis 29:17-18 (KJV)
The Hebrew phrase that is translated as “beautiful and well favoured” in the KJV is not as literal to Hebrew text. In the Hebrew it reads yâpheh[beautiful,lovely,fair] tô’ar [form, figure, shape] yâpheh[beautiful,lovely,fair] mar’eh[sight, vision, appearance]. So when we take this phrase together it said Rachel had “a beautiful figure and was lovely to look at”. In modern terms we might say “Rachel was built and was fine to the eyes”.
In the Song of Solomon we are told:
“How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter!
The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.”
Song of Solomon 7:1 (NASB)
The KJV calls a woman’s body “the work of the hands of a cunning workman” and the NASB translation I showed above calls a woman’s body “The work of the hands of an artist”.
Therefore we can rightly conclude based on the Scriptures that there is no sin in a man calling a woman “built”, “fine” or saying that God made women “beautifully and artistically”.
So to my SBC MeToo lady friends YES I believe “the biblical view of a sixteen-year-old girl is that she is “built” and “fine” —an object to be viewed sexually”. AMEN and AMEN!
And Paige Patterson was absolutely right in calling out that mother for shaming her son’s God given masculinity. God created him to derive pleasure from female beauty just as he designed Paige Patterson and every other man to derive pleasure from female beauty.
This false notion that God wants men to have this “off and on” switch that women want is lubricious, stupid, absurd and unbiblical. What I mean is a lot of women want men to only derive pleasure from the beauty of a woman if he is either dating her, or married to her. Otherwise if a man has no relationship with a woman and especially if he far older than her there is this magic off switch that must be installed in his mind that all of a sudden makes him not derive pleasure from her beauty.
This belief of this mother and far too many Christians today is founded in a complete and utter misunderstanding of what the Bible actually says about lust.
Most Christians Today Don’t Have a Clue What Real Lust Is
This mother that Patterson scolded, like many Christians today, would probably defend her shaming of her son’s expression of his God given male sexuality with this verse:
“27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
Matthew 5:27-28 (KJV)
This mother might think to herself – “the Bible says a man should not lust after a woman or else it is just like committing adultery with her”. How many sermons have you heard that in? But you know what you won’t hear in those same sermons? You won’t hear how the Bible defines lust for us:
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”
Romans 7:7 (KJV)
The Bible tells us exactly what lust is – it is covetousness. So now let’s go to the 10th commandment to find out what covetousness is:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Exodus 21:17 (KJV)
Let me ask a question to all you ladies out there. Have ever admired your neighbor’s house? In fact have you ever gone over to a neighbor lady’s house hoping to get invited in to see the inside? And if you did get invited in to see the inside did you ever find it beautiful and desirable? I am willing to bet that a lot of women could answer these questions with “Yes”.
So were you coveting your neighbor’s house because you found it desirable and wondered what it looked like on the inside? The answer is NO. Covetousness is when you have an unlawful desire to possess someone or something. So maybe your neighbor lady had a nice piece of jewelry laying on a table as you walk through her house. If you have the desire to unlawfully possess that jewelry and you start to think of how you could swipe it when your neighbor was not looking that is covetousness. That is lust. Covetousness always proceeds theft of some kind.
But yet so many women would scold their husbands for thinking the neighbor’s wife is desirable.
Listen up ladies. I am going to lay down some logic for you.
A man thinking his neighbor’s wife is desirable is EXACTLY the same as a woman thinking her neighbor’s house is desirable.
A man wondering what his neighbor’s wife looks like under her clothes is EXACTLY the same thing as a woman wondering what her neighbor’s house looks like on the inside.
A man imaging how great it would be to have sex with his neighbor’s wife is EXACTLY the same as a woman imaging how great it would be to live in her neighbor’s house.
So we can rightly say that when Christ said that a man commits adultery in his heart when he “looketh on a woman to lust after her” he was talking about a man coveting a woman. In other words, he is having the desire to seduce her into sex outside of marriage. Christ in no way is condemning a man for being sexually attracted to a woman or him noticing her beauty or him even imaging what it would be like to be with her sexually. He is condemning a man thinking about adultery or fornication which is the act of a man unlawfully possessing a woman.
I highly encourage Christian women and Christian men to truly reconsider their views on masculine sexuality and lust.
Let us stop condemning our young men for noticing female beauty. Let us also stop condemning our older men such as Paige Patterson for still noticing it too. Ladies let me tell you something – just because we men get older does not mean we don’t still find young women attractive. There is no “age” switch that says we can find a young lady even her teens attractive. You may not like it, but that is how God made man.
Time and Place
I want to give a final word about “time and place”. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”. For example we would all agree as Christian that sexual relations between a husband and his wife are a beautiful thing in marriage. But even in marriage there is a time and place for sexual relations. I am not going to have sex with my wife in the middle of the living room with my children or my parents present. That would not be the time and place for this activity even though the activity itself is not sinful.
In the same way I am not saying it would be right for a youth pastor or a pastor or even this young man to just walk up to a young woman or older woman and say to them “You are built” or “You are fine”. It’s not good manners. It’s not the right way to go about it.
However if a couple of young men say quietly after a teenage girl passes to each other “Man, is she built” there is no sin in this. Or if they leave the restaurant and were driving home and they mention this there is no sin in this. Even if a Pastor like Paige Patterson talks about a random girl in a restaurant and says she was “fine” there is no sin that. It is exactly as he said – “Biblical” for a man to do so. It is how God created us as men to notice female beauty.
But let’s say a youth pastor goes up to one of the teen girls in his youth group and says “Man you are built” would that be inappropriate? Of course it would be inappropriate. Because it is not the time or place for him to express such a thought.
But our SBC MeToo women and many other women in our culture today would have us believe that it is wrong for a man to ever have such a thought about a woman unless he is married to the woman. The problem with such thinking is that is utterly unbiblical. Ladies you might not like how God made men and you might not like that God did not put an off switch in men’s head when it comes to sexual attraction to women. But that is how he created men.
Ladies, I encourage you to study the Scriptures I have presented here and ask God to help you accept men as he created them and accept your place in his creation. I encourage you to stop shaming men for how God designed them.
And Christian men – I encourage to do the same and study out these passages I have given. Stop engaging in self-flagellation over your own God given sexuality. The pleasure you get from seeing the beauty of women around you or on TV or online is not sinful. Sexual desire toward a woman is not sinful. It is lust, which is the desire to fornicate with a woman (have sex outside of marriage) that is sinful.
I also hope and pray that some of our Christian leaders will grow spines and start standing up to all this man-shaming and character assassination that is rampant across our nation. We need to start standing up to the feminism that has poisoned our homes, churches and country.
I encourage to read more on how male sexuality actually works and the way God designed it these other articles:
Why it is NOT Wrong for Men to See Women as Sex Objects
Why Christian men should NOT be ashamed of “locker-room talk”
How should Christian women respond to their men looking at other women? Part 1
How should Christian women respond to their men looking at other women? Part 2
How should Christian women respond to their men looking at other women? Part 3