Paige Patterson and a culture that breeds a generation of abusers – by Rebecca Davis, #ChurchDV

When a church elder said to a friend of mine, regarding her husband’s 25-year-long pornography problem, “It’s just a little porn,” I knew the problem went deeper than the husband’s porn. That church elder had a problem too.

When Sovereign Grace Ministries protects child abusers and accuses the victims, the problem is obviously way beyond child abusers. There is every indication of serious rot at the core of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

When Beth Moore describes the condescension, stereotyping, objectification, and downright misogyny she’s had to deal with in conservative evangelicalism, there is every indication of a much deeper problem at work at the core of the hearts of the men she’s interacting with on a regular basis than simply ignorance and arrogance.

When Paige Patterson promoted Darrell Gilyard, a pastor who raped many women—not just ignored his heinous sin, but actually promoted him—and almost none of Paige Patterson’s peers thought this was a problem, this indicates a problem in their own hearts and perhaps with their very own bodies. If a man does not see rape as a problem, then something is going on.

When Paige Patterson and other evangelical leaders stereotype older women as difficult gossipy biddies and younger women as sex objects, and the young men they’re speaking to just laugh and enjoy it, there is a problem in the hearts of those young men, and very possibly with their eyes and their very bodies.

And these are the young men who are heading out all over the country to start churches in the mold of the “conservative resurgence” that Paige Patterson himself directed, the leaders of which are getting stained-glass windows in their honor.

So here I am, learning about things such things as (for example, and I could give so many examples) a young man in ministry berating his fiancée to read “complementarian” material so she would submit to him to allow him to do sexual things to her and force her to do sexual things to him. The leaders of conservative evangelicalism might cry out that this is never what they intended, but they are breeding these men.

Another woman told me that her extremely abusive husband, one whom she had to flee from for her life, had been a seminary student under Paige Patterson’s teachings and loved how he taught submission.

When Paige Patterson spoke the atrocious words eighteen years ago showing not only a complete ignorance of abuse, but an apparent delight in it (he was “happy” when the woman in his story showed up at church with two black eyes), he demonstrated a problem in his own heart far beyond ignorance.

When recently instead of recanting these words, he defended them, and then his conservative evangelical friends considered him “under attack,” for the public outcry and held a prayer meeting to pray imprecatory psalms against his “attackers,” they show that they have a problem in their own hearts. They demonstrate that they themselves are the very people that Beth Moore describes. They demonstrate that something far deeper and darker is going on here than simply ignorance or even willful ignorance, which is bad enough. They demonstrate that they want to continue to breed a generation of abusers.

There are those of us who are in the trenches dealing with the fallout of horrendous teachings such as that which Patterson recently defended. But with a very few isolated exceptions, Patterson’s fellow SBC and conservative evangelical leaders will not decry his teachings, apparently because there is something going on in their own hearts.

Apparently continuing to breed a generation of abusers is more important to them than showing the love of God to those in need. God help us.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This post was written by Rebecca Davis and first published at her blog Here’s the Joy.
We thank Rebecca for allowing us to republish it.


Posts from other websites about Paige Patterson:

Letter from Southern Baptist women, PLEASE SIGN if you are from the SBC! Letter to SWBTS Board of Trustees [Internet Archive link]

Analysis: Paige Patterson’s Teachings on Domestic Violence Keep Victims in Harm’s Way – Julie Anne Smith

Not Only Did Paige Patterson Rejoice When a Woman Was Physically Abused By Her Husband, He Refused to Believe 25 Reports of Sexual Abuse by Darrell Gilyard — The Wartburg Watch

Paige Patterson and Doing the Right Thing for the SBC, Again  – Ed Stetzer, Christianity Today

Southern Baptist leader’s advice to abused women sends leaders scrambling to respond – Sarah Pulliam Bayley, Washington Post

The Scandal Tearing Apart America’s Largest Protestant Denomination – Jonathan Merritt, The Atlantic

The Contaminated Pulpit and Other Weird Things – by Wade Burleson, 2008. A quote from this article:

The pulpit from behind which Dr. Bullock spoke was eventually removed from Southwestern’s chapel under orders of the new President of SWBTS, Dr. Paige Patterson.  Dr. Patterson explained to those he had to remove it because “it had been contaminated by a woman preaching behind it.”

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Resolution on Domestic Violence (1979) They have not made any resolutions on it since then!

Southern Baptist leader who advised abused women not to divorce doubles down, says he has nothing to apologize for – Sarah Pulliam Bayley, Washington Post

Paige Patterson and a culture that breeds a generation of abusers – Rebecca Davis

Harem Building – the revealing patriarchy at Paige Patterson’s seminary – Tim Fall

We are shocked’: Thousands of Southern Baptist women denounce leader’s ‘objectifying’ comments, advice to abused women – Sarah Pulliam Bayley, Washington Post

9 thoughts on “Paige Patterson and a culture that breeds a generation of abusers – by Rebecca Davis, #ChurchDV”

  1. serious rot

    That about sums it up! Deadly, inner rot inside their hearts and souls. (Matt 23:27)

  2. I really believe abuse is the hallmark of the devil and what is porn if not woman-hating abuse? We have such a pornified culture as it is.

    How is Paige Patterson a pastor? Wolves and pervs in the pulpit. It aggrieves me how many abused women encounter a Paige pastor and nearly lose their lives, minds, and faith because of it.

    When I encountered such in my church in my most desperate times, I really questioned if the Christian faith wasn’t but a scam. The unleavened bread parable comes to mind. One wolf in pastor’s robes is too many and too dangerous to be tolerated. But that’s my opinion, from the sidelines.

  3. This was wonderful. Thank you so very much for it, Rebecca!

    When women started coming out with their stories, people from other generations (when abuse wasn’t talked about) had mixed reactions. Some wanted to keep it in the closet, others were so grateful that such an important issue was FINALLY being allowed to have a voice!

    They too could share their stories, now that silence was no longer the norm.

    Patterson is from one of those generations when talking about abuse was taboo, probably very much frowned upon—most especially in the church!

    He is the kind of person who is NOT celebrating or encouraging the fact that the silence is breaking, and now people are feeling free to speak. Free to express the pain they’ve kept inside for so long. Free to tell their brutal, heartbreaking stories of abuse.

    In fact, he seems to be not only trying to KEEP such stories in the closet, he is also trying to put a big lock and key on it!

    I am not sure how he is justifying his attitude and actions. I saw a headline about Patterson defending, refusing to apologize for his past words and behaviors. Refusing to retract anything or change in any way. I did not read the whole article as it made me sick.

    We are supposed to expel wolves in sheep’s clothing, but Patterson seems to have too many defenders and supporters to make that possible (for now! We can never be sure how the Holy Spirit will move, and I will certainly pray He does.). But for now, men and women like Patterson should be avoided, and we need to warn others to stay away from him.

  4. Narrative is an important tool in the belt of both magicians and abusers. Narrative is just one more layer of controlling the spotlight of attention.

    This quote came from and it’s applicable to so many things but look at how Patterson crafts his narrative in his sleazy YouTube clip where he talks very disrespectfully about this woman / mother who challenged him on something, then a 16 year old girl being “nice” (vomit) and enjoying the teenage son’s description of the 16 year old as being “built” and then the audience laughs along with him as thought this is an amusing anecdote.

    Just like Rebecca Davis says,

    stereotype older women as difficult gossipy biddies and younger women as sex objects

    Crafting a narrative. It’s such an important tool of abusers. It is yet another measure of the abuser’s control, to always be dictating the narrative, controlling everyone’s perceptions and directing people’s attention whichever way suits the abuser.

    The wicked men of this world and their huge bag of tricks.

    1. Done! This issue (distorting Scripture to morph it into abuse-enablement by sinful men, and the unwillingness to publicly stand against it and it’s promoters by good men) is why I’m now a former SBC member.

  5. Excellent job calling out sin and those promoting it, Rebecca! And excellent job giving further vital background (as always), Barbara! Thank you, both!

  6. It’s so subtle, it’s so insidious.

    These homeschooled, brainwashed proteges of patriarchal do or die!

    I enjoy an out of the church weekend job. May I add that I am a senior citizen. So relieved to be free of church abuse.

    Enters: 18 year old arrogant homeschooled grad.

    We work as a team, now he is aware that I embrace God at some level (he calls Christianity). Apparently, by observation, he senses that I am the target female to challenge and disrespect. (Most outside this culture would not understand.)

    When I encountered him face-to-face with irresponsible choices, he denied and pushed back.
    Others were observing. I kept his face to the coals until he acknowledged incorrectness on his part.

    I am angry, energies drained, by this disrespectful mentality that males, at all ages, have rights to disrespect and devalue women of all ages.

    I want to disappear.

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