Prominent Baptist Seminary President Removed After His Teaching On Abuse Surfaces

Joshua Gill | Religion Reporter

The president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary was removed Wednesday following the demand for his resignation from more than 2,000 women over his teaching on domestic abuse.

The seminary’s board of trustees announced Wednesday that Dr. Paige Patterson was removed as president in favor of new leadership and made president emeritus, according to The Associated Press.

While’s Patterson’s removal came in the wake of allegations that he counseled abused women to stay with their husbands and made lewd comments about a teenage girl, a statement issued by the seminary said that they found no evidence of misconduct on his part. (RELATED: Over 2,000 Women Demand Resignation Of President Of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary)

“After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the Institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership for the benefit of the future mission of the Seminary,” the statement reads.

“Additionally, the board affirmed a motion stating 1) evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse, 2) the Seminary stands against all forms of abuse and 3) the board has not found evidence of misconduct in Nathan Montgomery’s employment file,” the statement added.

Patterson and his wife will also live on the seminary’s campus as the seminary’s first “theologians-in-residence at the Baptist Heritage Center” once the center is completed in June.

While the board of trustees cast no blame on Patterson, fellow Southern Baptist Convention member and head of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission Dr. Russell Moore appeared to make veiled jabs at Patterson over Twitter.

The group of women who demanded Patterson’s resignation accused him of objectifying a teenage girl in an anecdote during a 2014 sermon, counseling a physically abused woman to stay with her husband and pray for him, and urging female seminarians to make themselves look attractive.

The husband of the physically abused woman subsequently repented and gave his life to Christ, according to Patterson, and the couple now openly share their testimony in their church as an example of the redemptive power of faith amid difficult and dangerous circumstance.

Patterson issued an apology for his comments four days after the women delivered their letter.

“I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity,” Patterson’s apology read. “Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been.”

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