Monday, November 06, 2017

More Abuse Victim Blaming

It's a year or so old, but this quote by Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is striking.

“I know there are a fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view, It’s called Presbyterian.”
Charming man. And delightfully ignorant of history.

His unpleasantness popped up again on my radar due to this post on A Cry For Justice. On that site there is a link to a recording that confirms the claims of the post regarding Patterson:

He never allows divorce for abuse. He allows separation only for ‘the most serious cases of physical violence’. 
He tells women to not forget the power of prayer. He advises the wife to kneel beside the bed when her husband is falling asleep and pray to God to intervene.

It is actually worse than A Cry for Justice claims. For what he is actually telling abused women is that if they really prayed fervently enough all will be well. In very thin disguise it's the old your prayer would be answered if you are faithful enough, so if your husband beats the living snot out of you, you must not be faithful enough victim-blaming argument. As I said, charming man.

Sigh. Once again: the bible is intended to be read intelligently. We generalize and extrapolate all the time as we seek for applications of the text. But there is a group of recalcitrant chowderheads who refuse to do so when it comes to the issue of divorce. There they argue that it is only what the bible explicitly states--we are not supposed to use our brains. The bible doesn't say you can divorce your husband if he puts his cigarettes out on your back, therefore you can't.


Once again we see that atheists can't harm Christianity. Islam can't harm Christianity. The government can't harm Christianity. There are only self-inflicted wounds.

I'd like to (and I will) take some pleasure in the fact that he is not a Calvinist. However, plenty of Calvinists make the same mistake.

UPDATE: I see that in regards to Calvinism Patterson attempted a "ruh roh" backtrack. He wasn't, you see, suggesting that Calvinists in the SBC would be more comfortable chillaxing across the street with the Presbyterians. He only meant to imply that if he were a Calvinist, he would feel more comfy leaving the SBC. He was only speaking for himself. Right.


  1. The "if you prayed hard enough, submitted enough, etc." is no better than the name-it-and-claim-it prosperity gospel. It reveals that we don't worship God but worship the idealized happy American Christian family that we think He will give us if we do all the right things. This is why well-meaning but morally culpable Christians will sacrifice human lives on its altar. Calvinists like John Piper and those who promote the permanence view make this same mistake.

  2. Great article David! I'm pasting a bit of it over at A Cry For Justice.