"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Tale of Two Abusers

Over a decade ago an eighteen-year-old southern Oklahoma girl became engaged to her high school sweetheart. During the engagement there were signs of trouble, but this young Christian lady didn’t wish to disappoint her family and friends by breaking the now public promise to marry. Everyone seemed to love her fiancé. Though he hid from others his tendency to dominate and control everything about her, she excused his crass behavior with the thought that  “at least he isn’t physically abusive.”

That changed after marriage. Without going into details, the last straw for her was a threat involving a gun. Literal fear of death shook the abused wife into action. She left her husband of less than two years, enduring the shame of an early divorce. At least there were no children; at least there were no serious crimes committed; at least there was time to start over again. She dared to dream the God of all grace would somehow find a way to provide for her a future family.

 A few years later the subject of our story met the love of her life. He was everything her first husband was not -- gentle, funny, self-effacing, humble, and most of all, a lover of Christ and a practitioner of God’s grace. After a delightful courtship, they were married. The young couple moved to Fort Worth, Texas so that the husband could obtain his post-graduate degrees from Southwestern Theological Seminary. God blessed their marital union with a child, a girl, and then a couple of years later He gave the couple their second child, a boy.

Life for our Oklahoma mother of two was joyous in Texas. She had a husband who loved her, a growing family, and a positive outlook on life. She and her husband became involved in church ministry on weekends while he studied and went to school and she cared for the home and kids during the week.  

Her husband had a tenor voice that enabled him to sing like an angel and he conducted and played the piano with great passion and proficiency. One day he was asked to fill in at the last-minute for a sick seminary faculty member who was to lead the campus chapel services. As he led worship and sang a solo for the chapel service,  those in attendance were captivated by his voice and demeanor. One person super impressed by the young man was Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The President began calling  him “my favorite tenor.” He became the only student during his time at Southwestern Theological Seminary asked to regularly lead worship during the seminary chapel services. After graduation with his Master’s Degree, our subject's husband continued on with his doctorate at SWBTS, at which time President Patterson sought him out and personally offered him a faculty position at Southwestern as soon as he could finish his coursework.

Dr. Patterson asked the young man to do all he could to expedite the doctoral process. Other leadership in the music department confirmed their support and excitement for having him on the faculty. This excited our Oklahoma girl. She was proud of her husband. He worked even harder to finish his doctorate  sooner, and he continued to work as a bi-vocational minister of worship on weekends in addition to taking the role of Doctoral Teaching Assistant in several seminary classes.

God was good. Life was good. Ministry was good. Our Oklahoma girl's heart was knit to her husband's heart. She was happy how God had graciously answered her prayers and given to her a loving husband and a beautiful family.

Then, tragedy struck.

This young mother of two became the victim of abuse for a second time.

Here’s how it happened.

It seems that about a year into her husband's pursuit of his doctorate--several months after being told that a faculty position awaited him--her husband felt led to write a blog post about how God had delivered him from Gothardism and the legalism in which he had been raised. During the course of sharing his testimony on his blog, he briefly mentioned some of the abuse his wife had endured in her first marriage. He then beautifully articulated how God had begun restoring his wife's shattered life before they even met,  and he wrote with passion how the grace of God had allowed for continued healing in his wife after their marriage. God was restoring her trust in men.

Several months after writing this blog post, just as he was nearing the completion of his doctoral coursework, the job offer at Southwestern was taken off the table. After several attempts at trying to arrange a meeting with Dr. Patterson for an explanation, the day finally arrived when "the golden boy" of the music department at Southwestern received an explanation for why he was no longer welcome on the faculty. He was standing before the President in the President's office.

“I believe you made a mistake, son. You married a divorced woman. I know you’ve never been married before, but you married a divorced woman.  You received bad counsel from the pastor that agreed to marry you. You should have never married her. The faculty at my school must present a seamless picture of marriage, and your marriage does not do that.”

The shocked future professor of music reminded the President that it was his first marriage, and gave more details about the abuse suffered by his wife in her first marriage.  Dr. Patterson interrupted him and continued:

“I don’t believe it matters, son. I know 90% of the Southern Baptist Convention would disagree with me on this issue, but I’ve never hired a divorced person on my faculty or anyone who has been married to a divorced person in my 50 years of ministry, and I can’t do so now.”

 Dr. Patterson then reiterated that the man standing in front of him was one of the most talented composers, vocalists, and conductors he had ever met, but he was sorry that things would not work out for him to be on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The promised faculty position was being revoked because of the damage his marriage would give to the seminary's image of purity.  

Since that meeting in 2011, Dr. Patterson has not spoken with the young doctoral student to whom he broke his promise. The young man graduated last December (2012) with his doctorate from Southwestern Theological Seminary. He’s gifted. He’s now experiencing his dream of teaching music at the collegiate level in Southeast Houston. He’ll be fine. His career will soar. He, however, is not the focus of our tale.

His wife is.

She has been abused again.

Nobody at SWBTS, especially the President, seemed to give even one thought about what the revocation of the faculty position might communicate to the musician's wife.  I wish Dr. Patterson and the men around him had been forced to watch as the young man gave the bad news to his family. I wish they'd had to endure the emotional and gut-wrenching agony that the husband and the two children experienced as they watched mom cry her tears of pain.

Even though her husband tried to break the news gently, the message from the President’s office was clear -- she was the problem; she wasn’t good enough; she was worthless; she was a mistake. Her husband’s problems were all her fault.

Those were the messages given and received. Were they abusive messages? Absolutely. They were the SAME messages the woman's first husband gave her when he was abusing her.

I must ask the question, “Which abuser bears the most guilt?” Is it the first husband or is it the President of Southwestern Seminary? What amazes me is the number of  Christians who would have a hard time identifying the actions of the President as abusive. Worse, some Southern Baptists might even defend him. If one wonders why the Southern Baptist Convention is in a period of decline, one needs to look no further than this story.

Our young Oklahoma girl is strong. She’ll make it. Her kids are getting older. Her husband has kept his sense of humor. Most of all, her God is able to work all things for good.

Remember the blog post that her husband wrote in which he briefly mentioned his wife's first marriage, abuse, and divorce? That post struck a chord in hundreds of people who have been on their own journey out of legalism, abusive authority and into grace? Some of those people who've been helped by his post have joined together to start a blog called Recovering Grace. This blog is bringing hope and healing to thousands of Christians around the world.  God does indeed work all things for ultimate good.

My Tale of Two Abusers is a story with an ending not yet fully written, but it contains a promise of God’s faithfulness. For your listening pleasure I close with a video entitledYou Raise Me Up,  sung by the gifted man who received his doctoral degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary last December and the one who is married to our Oklahoma girl at the center of the Tale of Two Abusers. Godspeed.



Rex Ray said...

Interesting. :)

Abuser number one got his just deserts—lives in shame, but abuser number two struts his stuff—proud of ‘glorifying’ God’s commandments as he believes.

“Little evil would be done in the world if evil never could be done in the name of good.” Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

If I could end the tale of two abusers, the young man would black both eyes of the one who hurt his wife the most.

Aussie John said...


I closed my comment on your previous article by saying "when in fact they are still in bondage". I feel sorry for the young man and his wife, but more so for the duplicitous President, who is a case in point.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victorious said...

Ahh...yes. She and Hester Prynne..branded for life. A mark she must carry for life. Cover it up with a sweater; cover the memory of the past with the joy of the present; pretend the past really is the past. Doesn't matter. It will resurface like a cancerous lump that has been unsuccessfully removed due to the extent it's tentacles reached in the body. No matter that Jesus knows the cause of “missing the mark.” No matter that He will remember that cause no more. No matter that she is righteous because He has made her righteous. No...she will not be forgiven by some of those with whom she fellowships. They will eventually uncover her brand and pride themselves for finding the cancerous lump. And like a leper, she will be emotionally removed from the camp.

But lo and behold! Outside the camp she finds a whole new life; one of love, understanding, acceptance of like-souls who graciously minister one to another as they identify with Christ outside the gate.

I wear my own “D” brand and wear it proudly. I wear it as a badge of courage. I wear it as a reminder that there are abusers both in the world and in the church and that it should not be tolerated.

Thank you, Wade, for the video. It brought tears to my eyes. They were not tears of sorrow or remorse, but rather of joy, strength, and determination.

And last but not least, thank you for this post. It demonstrates a caring, compassionate heart that recognizes hypocrisy and cruelty and seeks to eliminate it.

Daniel said...

In Isaiah 44, God speaks to the Israelites about their idolatry that has drawn them away from Him. In verse 12 it describes how a blacksmith makes an idol. The blacksmith is a symbol of power, strength, and brute ability.I had just written about this tendency in our lives before reading your article here.

It is my belief that the picture of the blacksmith shows us our tendency to craft idols from an area of perceived strength in our lives. Sadly, professing believers have been doing this since time began. It is sad, however, when such behavior becomes celebrated as I'm sure the behavior of this president will be in the circles in which he associates.

Bob Cleveland said...

I recall many leaders in the Bible who started well and finished poorly. Saul comes to mind.

The fact that the same conditions still exist in Dr. Patterson testify to the fact that the Adamic sin nature is still alive and well in men; only the trappings and accessories have changed. And, just as Israel turned out well, so will the church and so will this young couple.

Rex Ray said...

Aussie John,
You nailed it describing Patterson—“duplicitous”.

I didn’t know what the word meant so I looked it up:

“Deceitfulness in speech or conduct, as by speaking or acting in two different ways to different people concerning the same matter; double-dealing. Synonyms: deceit, deception, dissimulation, fraud, guile, hypocrisy, trickery.”

Proving your description is this:

After preaching at Prestonwood Baptist Church, there was a crowd standing in line to shake his hand. When my turn came, I told him my son was a missionary in Israel where at 65, I had swam four miles across the Sea of Galilee but it was taking more courage to ask him a question.

I presented The Criswell Study Bible where he wrote the forward—saying:

“Harmonization of apparent discrepancies and explanations of passages thought by some to contain error are afforded the reader.”

I asked if they explained all the supposed errors or only some of them.

Patterson looked at the crowd and yelled “WE GOT ALL OF THEM”

I asked, “What about the girl being dead in Matthew and alive in Mark and Luke?”

Patterson moved close and said softly, “We got all we could.”

BTW, at the time Prestonwood had not decided to stay with the old convention of Texas (BGCT) or join the new convention (SBT). After Patterson preached, they joined the new convention and their pastor became the next president of the SBC. Hmmmm

Have you noticed the SBC promotes the Holman translation where (Matthew 9:18) agress with (Mark 5:23) and (Luke 8:42) with the girl being alive?

Your description of the wife’s pain makes my heart go out to both of you.

Gerald Polmateer said...

And we wonder why people do not do what is right when the church leads the way.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw somewhere that there's some type of connection between the Pattersons and Bill Gothard? Mrs. Patterson has spoken at ATI conferences, and has invited ATI people (like the Duggars) to speak at her conferences. I don't have any connection to the Pattersons, but I do know Gothard, and this is *exactly* how Gothard treats anyone who disagrees with him: shaming, shunning, and kicking to the curb. It's spiritual abuse at its finest to treat people this way in the name of God and/or "scriptural principles." It's so sad. :-(

Jay said...

This story begs some questions... Did the seminary president not already know this young couple's background, or was it simply the public nature of the musician's blog post that made the president react? Has Dr. Patterson been duped and influenced by Gothard (how alarming!)? Is the seminary's image regarding divorce truly seamless?

My father was a Trustee when Dr. Patterson was at Southeastern. Perhaps they don't get to know their Trustees...which would seem unwise, like not knowing the people to whom you offer jobs...but my father was remarried to a divorced woman, and the fact was no secret. The seminary was happy to accept my father's money in order to hire professors, build buildings, etc.

The rules are different when it comes to money, and this makes the decision seem less "seamless" and pure.

Dr. Patterson has done many good things, and I'm not making light of the tragedy of divorce. It's just frustrating to hear of such harsh treatment of this young couple through whom God is clearly working. Equally or more frustrating to think that the seminary gives a nod to Gothard's false teaching and immorality. www.RecoveringGrace.org has some shocking stories.

RRR said...

"The promised faculty position was being revoked because of the damage his marriage would give to the seminary's image of purity."


Have you been able to discuss this directly with Paige Patterson and received his portrayal of events?

Bob Cleveland said...

It should be noted that God is able to save, forgive and restore anyone, but at least one seminary president cannot do the same.

Anonymous said...

And the powers that be wonder why the SBC is faltering. Why seemingly "good people" pursue education and ministry outside the camp. Most of us that have hit some form of these walls have been told it's an isolated experience.

But it's not. The pursuit follows you, dogs you, until they take everything from you.

Anonymous said...

I guess that the term "on staff" is the discriminator since I know an individual who is employed there and is divorced, but is not in a teaching position. Too bad PP didn't have the manhood to tell her himself.

Wade Burleson said...


I do my due diligence. The story is confirmed by multiple sources.

Christiane said...

it is time that shaming and shunning people who don't fit 'a pure image' was examined differently . . .
as the only purity the Church has ever known resides solely within the Person of Lord Christ

if He is to be obeyed as Lord, then it is forbidden by the Royal Law for any follower of Christ to bring further suffering on anyone who has been hurt

In the great mercy of Our God, Christ has commanded us to care for those who have endured suffering, with a compassion like that of Our God;
and if a Christian entity is to project a 'pure image', then let it do so by pointing to Christ the Lord and honoring Him in all their ways, as if He Himself were in their midst.

nothing else makes sense, does it?

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

Even though her husband tried to break the news gently, the message from the President’s office was clear -- she was the problem; she wasn’t good enough; she was worthless; she was a mistake.


(This is over-the-top for ME, and I've got one of the most extreme cases of Virgin/Whore Dichotomy you could run across.)

This is Taliban-level Purity Culture(TM). All that's missing is the Honor Killing for hubby to redeem himself, In'shal'lah.

Headless Unicorn Guy said...

It should be noted that God is able to save, forgive and restore anyone, but at least one seminary president cannot do the same.

Begs the question as to which one is Holier and More Pure.

Don said...

This just confirms that Paige Patterson is an abuser. He needs to be called to repent from such legalism.

My prayer is that this episode will be used by God in this couple's life in the way of Joseph.

Anonymous said...

After 24 years of marriage, I am getting a divorce. I am a Christian and member of a Southern Baptist Church. I have lived for the last several years as the wife of a sex offender and serial online adulterer. I have paid the price for his crime and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. Many people never spoke to me again after finding out about his arrest. I wonder if they will talk to me now that I have made it worse by ending the marriage?

Nicholas said...

More on Paige Patterson:


Audio of Paige Patterson giving horrific advice to an abuse victim:


Download it while you can.

RRR said...

As I read this post account I do see that it is more complex than might be apparent given this sole portrayal of things.

Brother Wade mentions that he has accounts from various sources but if all sources are in sympathy with the alleged victims it may be considered as a single source. Has anyone heard from the side of the original husband or any seminary representatives who would tend to be sympathetic to Dr. Patterson’s view?

It leads me to ponder what possible thoughts Dr. Patterson might have had. Was there anything that might have led me to come to the same decision as he did? For instance:

1. Some of us believe that when two people who have made the commitment to follow Jesus Christ and have been born again into the eternal Kingdom of God and then commit to each other and to God to marry for their entire lives that God holds them accountable to that commitment for life. The only specific “out” is sexual immorality. Even if they divorce for “sexual immorality” there is nothing that indicates that they are free to marry again. Given these parameters, any believers that divorce and then marry again are considered by God to still be married to their original spouse and are therefore living in adultery if they have subsequent partners. If this is the position that Dr. Patterson is taking this young man and young lady are living in adultery and she is still considered as being married to her original husband.

2. If the above position is taken then anyone who is a believer and marries another believer and then gets a divorce should not marry again as long as they and their spouse are alive.

3. If this position is taken then the young lady should have escaped the abusive situation but lived as a “single” person until there was reconciliation with her original husband or one of them died. She could have prayed, encouraged him to seek help/recovery and take all means possible to salvage her marriage. Her new husband should have recognized that whether she had a “paper” saying that she was divorced or not she was still considered to be married by God and was not free to marry again. If he married her he was committing adultery according to the words of Jesus Himself in Matthew 5:32 and Mark 10: 11, 12. Hence, Dr. Patterson expressing regret that they had not received proper counsel prior to being married.

4. If Dr. Patterson was indeed taking this interpretation of Scripture as I personally do then we could see that he was not necessarily being insensitive or cruel but rather seeking to obey and stay consistent with the Word of God and the Spirit of God as he hears Him.

5. The reason he apparently mentored, encouraged and supported the young man but refused him a position on the faculty “might” have been because he considers the qualifications for faculty positions to be the same as those outlined in Scripture for “pastors” which this man does not meet when the above interpretation is followed.

I realize what a controversial person Dr. Patterson is and that he has many who do not like him. I have never met him and do not know him. If we changed his identity to someone that we all know and love, say, Dr. Wade Burleson, we might slow down and consider some possible reasoning he had if he came to this same conclusion.

Bob Cleveland said...

RRR: Did someone say "Authorial intent....."?

If not, someone should.

I might also add that I am quite aware of Dr. Patterson's thinking, owing to circumstances of which Rev. Burleson is aware, and I'm quite positive the situation is exactly as Dr. Patterson is quoted as saying.

Victorious said...


Jesus reminded the Pharisees that a certificate of divorce was permitted because of the hardness of their hearts. He said it was not that way from the beginning, but that because the purpose of marriage had so deteriorated, a divorce was permitted.

While God hates "putting away" one's spouse, he also hates the dealing treacherously with one's wife. Malachi 2:15-16

If abuse of one's spouse isn't "hardness of heart," I don't know what is. For such a time as this, a writ of divorcement as permitted by Moses is justified in my opinion.

Even God Himself alludes to a writ of divorcement presented to His people. That officially ends the marital relationship. Without that document proving the dissolution of the marriage, Jesus said the one party would be committing adultery should they remarry.

Victorious said...

I might add that the greater sin is staying in an abusive marriage where children are exposed to the abuse and will likely perpetuate that type of interaction in their own relationships. They are, in fact, being trained to mirror and imitate dysfunctional, cruel treatment rather than one of self-sacrifice and mutual respect.

Divorce is not the unforgiveable sin and it's certainly not an arrangement that permits bondage and abuse with no recourse. When the necessary components of love and respect have been violated, the marriage is extremely unhealthy and often beyond repair.

God didn't design marriage to be an arrangement that affords an environment with legal protection for abuse.

RRR said...

Bob Cleveland, I'm sorry but I'm slow in catching on to your reference to "Authorial intent....."? Is that in reference to Wade's blog, Patterson's decision or my rather lengthy response? Thank you for elaborating just a bit to help me understand better.

I'm sure that you and Wade both have much more insight and understanding of Dr. Patterson's personality than I do and this may lead you to your position without having heard from his side. You may well have additional information regarding this story that is not apparent in the account given in the blog. As I mention, I've never even met the guy. In this specific instance I didn't read anything that suggested that there was more than the testimony of the victims although Wade did later explain he had witness from others.

RRR said...


I’m not sure if I am interpreting the spirit and intent of your comments correctly. Are you proposing that Jesus was saying that since Moses had begun a system of allowing men to write “certificates of dismissal” when they felt they had reason to dispose of their wives that Jesus was accepting this system too? Do you interpret Jesus’ teaching on this to suggest that people were free to re-marry if they had such a certificate?

Thank you for being patient and explaining your thoughts. I think I can understand the other comments you made if you are indeed interpreting it this way; i.e., “For such a time as this, a writ of divorcement as permitted by Moses is justified in my opinion.”

You also mention, “Even God Himself alludes to a writ of divorcement presented to His people.” Is this in reference to this Matthew 5/Mark 10 dialogue with Jesus? If you have some other Biblical reference to God Himself accepting some violation of the marriage union as justification for divorce please enlighten me. I don’t believe the Malachi reference addresses this. I’m always anxious to learn and grow.

Rex Ray said...

Thanks, Nicholas, for the links.

It’s hard for me to believe even for Patterson, that he would advise a woman being beaten by her husband to not leave but pray for him.

In my lifetime, I believe Patterson by making women second class Christians, has been used by the devil to cause more harm in spreading the Gospel than Hitler.

He placed enough trustees at Southwestern Theological Seminary to fire Dilday whose leadership had the enrollment at 5.000. Now as President, the enrollment is so low students learning how to cook are counted to save embarrassment.

When students praised one of the women professors for giving the best sermon at chapel, he put the podium which she use in a closet—saying it had been contaminated

He attacked the IMB for having women in positions ‘higher’ than men.

He picked 15 friends to write (I’ll bet with his approval) the 2000 BF&M which states ‘men only’ can be pastors.

In one day, 15 long-time missionaries were fired for refusing to sign his ‘man-made creed’. About 100 missionaries left by retiring or for other reasons.

Even today, some SS quarterlies state: “The 2000 statement of the Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal guideline.”

That means if there is a question about what God says, go to the “guideline” for the answer.

If egos had weight, Patterson would be pushing a wheel barrel.

Rex Ray said...


Sheri Klouda was considered the best Hebrew teacher at SWBTS.

Wade wrote: “We already know that Dr. Karen Bullock and Dr. Sheri Klouda were removed from faculty at SWBTS because trustees and administration hold to the belief that women should not teach a man anything in a seminary classroom.”

On the subject of cooking classes at SWBTS, Wade wrote:

“On the other hand if you won't let a woman teach men Hebrew, then you best teach that woman to bake men cupcakes.”


Anonymous said...

I find this whole discussion humorous and dangerous all at the same time.

First, as RRR is correctly stating, it would be good to hear from others who were involved in the different aspects of Wade's post. This has a hint of some of the stories you see on HLN when they cover a trial and are sure they know what the verdict will be based on how they portray the evidence.

2nd: I think the whole problem hinges on Patterson. This story certainly reflects his notorious reputation as being a shoot first ask questions later personality. He shoots his mouth off, and then finds out more information that are contrary to his belief of divorce, and has to backtrack.

Nicholas said...

@Rex Ray

Your welcome!

Victorious said...


You also mention, “Even God Himself alludes to a writ of divorcement presented to His people

"And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce...Jer. 3:8

Thus says the LORD, "Where is the certificate of divorce By which I have sent your mother away? Isaiah 50:1

Anonymous said...

Jer.3:8. Here Israel deliberately constructed the divorce and ,figuratively, God gave her a conditional writ as a warning. But we see in verse 14 that God is merciful, long-suffering and bound to His covenant. He calls on faithless Israel to return, "for I am your husband (still). I will choose you.....and bring you to Zion". The marriage is still open.

Isaiah 50:1. This shows that God did not initiate steps to send Israel away,and has not annulled the marriage covenant with her. There is NO certificate of divorce. Israel has rejected God and turned away, but He has kept the door open for her to return. It would seem the marriage bond is unbreakable.


Victorious said...


According to the terms in the Mosaic law re: "putting away" one's wife, if a Certificate of Divorce is given and the wife turns to another, the first husband cannot take her back.

When Israel turned to pagan gods, God declared the New Covenant because they broke their covenant with Him. The New Covenant would be written on their hearts but would need to be accepted on an individual basis which is where we are now. See: Jeremiah 31:31-34

My point to RRR was that God Himself did refer to a Certificate of Divorce which evidently proved to be a valid, legal proof of a divorce between two parties. Had that not been the case, it would not likely be mentioned by Him in His disdain for the people He spoke of in terms of a bride.

Anonymous said...


Here are some verses from the New Covenant scriptures to consider:

1 Cor 7:39. " A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives".

1 Cor 7:10. "To the married I give this command(not I ,but the Lord): A wife may not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband may not divorce his wife".

Should it happen, we ought to accept that no restored Christian believer...restored in body, heart mind and spirit..... is ever useless in God's service. But sometimes the events may call for a change of direction in the type of ministry engaged in. Through grace,this could prove to be even more fruitful than before as they identify themselves with the service, suffering and sacrifice of Christ.


Victorious said...


Re: 1 Cor. 7:39 "A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives."

Paul makes the same statement in Romans 7:2: For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband.

What "law" is Paul referring to when he states this marital law for the married woman but does not apparently apply it to the married man? How could that be?

My opinion... First, in Romans Paul is speaking a metaphor which he clarifies in verse 4. He is comparing a "law" binding a woman and the "freedom" from the law now because of the work of Jesus Christ. But what law was he referencing? I find none other than the "oral" law. The same "law" that Paul referenced when he said women should be silent in the church. 1 Cor. 14:34

Paul was a genius imo at using metaphors, sporting event terms (run the race) and "beating the air" (a reference to shadow boxing), etc. to make his point. Unless someone can provide a law in scripture that binds a woman until her husband dies, I can only conclude he is referring to the oral law of the Jews.

After all, he was very knowledgeable about the common practice of husbands divorcing their wives "for any cause."

I hope we would agree that neither Paul nor Jesus would ever condone nor overlook abuse of any kind in the marital relationship. They required obedience to laws of the government and that judicial body in our country requires punishment for violence against one's spouse. The perpetrator of violence in marriage has neglected to love his wife as Christ loves the church. This type of sin imo requires serious professional help and even then the rate of recidivism is very high as we tend to give men the power and permission for his anger and ill-treatment of family members.

And finally...

The scripture that accuses either the wife or husband of adultery as a result of remarriage is completely interpreted correctly with an understanding of the purpose of a Certificate of Divorce (required by the state). Without that document, both are indeed guilty of adultery. That, to me, causes the misunderstanding concerning second marriages. Needless to say, one marriage for life is the ideal, but I see very few, if any, such marriages in scripture due to too many reasons to mention.

That's how I see it; others will no doubt disagree and that's ok.

Mary Ann

Tom Parker said...

Paige Patterson has abused many people in his lifetime. He just might find that God has not been has pleased with his actions as he thought God would be.

Christiane said...

I wonder where and how and from whom Paige Patterson absorbed his belief that some women should be treated in the ways he himself has treated them?

There are many Christian gentlemen who would never cause harm to women knowingly or even consider doing something to harm women,
and yet here you have an example of a 'repeat offender' who is the head of one of a denomination's seminaries, and proclaims that he is a servant of Christ.

I use the term 'harm' here to mean unfair intentional treatment causing emotional distress (and in one case, severe financial distress) to a number of women.

I had always hoped he would repent of what was done to Dr. Klouda, and that God would help him understand how wrong he was to do what he did, so this recent news about the seminary student and his wife is disappointing. God will help him some way, I hope. It is sad to hear about this most recent incident. He needs prayer. And an intervention. I don't think the powers-that-be in the seminary or the SBC will intervene positively to get him some help . . . I don't see it happening. I trust God to intervene to help him realize that the harm he has done is wrong.

RRR said...


You could be right in your interpretation but it is different than the way I understand Scripture.

I do not at all believe that Jesus was insinuating that He accepted the writing of certificates of divorce as being a means of invalidating the man and woman’s marital covenant with each other and with God. Having their own means to depart from their marriage and behave as though they had never married in the first place did accommodate the weakness and preferences of the people.

I believe that Jesus meant what He said when He explained that a man and woman are “one flesh” when they marry. Nobody can separate them for the rest of their life. I get mad at my body’s insistence on getting older and fatter but I’m stuck with it and have to continually work to help it along to do the best job that it can until I depart this world or Jesus comes back to give me another one.

Jesus said that anyone who exercises this method of “putting away their wife” for any reason (other than sexual immorality) was causing that woman to commit adultery should she re-marry and if any man married such a woman he was committing adultery. The sin of sexual immorality that violates the sacred union is so severe that it justifies a man leaving a woman OR as is specified in the Mark account, a woman leaving a man but there is no reference given that even this violation discontinues their original bond with their spouse and frees them to marry a second person although perhaps that’s there somewhere.

Paul says clearly in Romans 7:3 that if a person marries a second person while their original spouse is living they commit adultery. He does compare this to us when we leave the Old Law and make a covenant with the New Law, the resurrected Jesus Christ; because then the Old Law is dead releasing us from that former commitment in the same way a person is released from their marital commitment when their spouse dies. As we’re bound to God through faith in Jesus Christ we’re released from the former commitments to the Old Law!!

By the way; I have not read anyone’s comment in these blog responses that suggests in any way that a woman should remain in a dangerous and abusive situation as did Dr. Patterson in the link given to us by “Nicholas”. Out-of-control anger situations, drug addiction, child abuse, drunkenness, criminal activity and imprisonment and such destructive behavior certainly must be addressed while creating an environment of protection and provision for the family separate from those that would harm them. Divorce as a remedy? How can you extract yourself from your own body?

One final thought; I personally believe God announced His New Covenant in Genesis 3:15.

Rex Ray said...

Hey! I’m about to blow a gasket reading Bible verses written by Paul about marriage and divorce. Having never been married, what made him qualified?

Paul’s reason for marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9):

“But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.” (NLT)

“But if they do not have self control, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with desire.” (Holman)

WHAT?? This verse implies the only reason for marriage is to have sex. What happened to the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13? What happen to God’s plan to populate the earth by marriage? Taking Paul’s advice, it wouldn’t be long before there wouldn’t be any Christians.

Reminds me of my dad telling me, “Rex, you’re right…you’re always right except when you’re wrong, you’re dead wrong.”

I think of these good Christians believing they were doing God’s will when they drown and hung witches.

Here’s a real story of a church (not Baptists) dealing with divorce. A woman married a divorced man and had children. Her church convinced her she was going to hell if she didn’t leave the marriage. After a year of endless pleas, the man committed suicide.

Which would God agree; Marriage to prevent lust or Wade Burleson?

“The euphoria and ecstasy of heaven are pictured in the sexual union of marriage. The intimacy in relationship between a husband and wife pictures the intimacy of relationship between Christ and His people. Sexual union within the context of marriage is a picture of our eternal union with Christ.” (June 23, 2013)

Adrian Rogers (speaker on "Love Worth Finding" program and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention) was asked this question (as found in "Ministry Moments," January-February, 2001):
"My husband and I have been happily married for two years (this is the second marriage for both of us). I have been reading about divorce in the Bible and am wondering—are we committing adultery because we got remarried?"

After admitting that many people have ‘fallen into the trap of divorce and remarriage’, Rogers goes on to say, "In your first marriages, God’s purpose and will were clearly not pursued.
Through the healing power of Jesus Christ, however, your past can be washed away (1 Corinthians 6:11). Now, you and your husband must lay your marriage at the feet of Jesus, prayerfully submitting to God’s principles (Ephesians 5:22-33). You cannot repair your sin, but Jesus can erase it, and you can begin a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17)."

Mary Ann,

Just read your excellent explanation of Paul quoting "oral" law.

I was listening to a tear jerker cowboy song and the last words were: “He was just a hundred yards from Mary Ann.” Made me wonder how far away I was…hope that’s not ‘over the top.’ :)

Anne Vyn said...

Wade, thank you for raising awareness to how abuse occurs within so many different contexts and at so many different levels.

Victorious said...


So can I assume you are taking the "one flesh" description of marriage literally? If so, the two are technically only "one flesh" during the sexual union. Think about it.

The more reasonable (and accurate imo) meaning of "one flesh" is that they become a team... acting in one accord. Hopefully they become united in their mutual goals and values relating to finances, children, responsibilities, and spiritual beliefs. They function in perfect unity as do the persons of the Trinity.

When one party breaks that "one accord" in the area of child abuse, drug addiction, violence toward the other, the dissolution has already occurred. A one-time occurrence can certainly repair the unity, but a continual rejection of the original shared values agreed upon, further alienates one party from the other. The divorce actually happens long before the "Certificate of Divorce" affirms what has already taken place.

To believe that God insists that two live in total discord when the agreement has been violated, makes no sense. That arrangement is not only detrimental to the two parties, but to their children and future generations. It makes a mockery of marriage and the effect is the complete opposite of the intended purpose.

Scripture is replete with the mockery made of marriage as a result of the abuse of women; i.e. used as spoils of war, discarded for any cause, chosen on the basis of outward beauty, and marginalized in polygamous practices. Moses recognized these situations evidenced the intent of marriage had already been violated and conceded the tangible proof so those violated would not suffer a life devoid of support, love, children, and companionship.

God is a God of second chances as demonstrated in the parable of the Prodigal Son.

I leave the discussion here but have thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and respect the different views.

Anonymous said...

All I can do is shake my head.

Two days ago we were driving from our small town in China to a larger city to take care of some business.
We passed a Black Esplanade on a windy mountain road. My husband, jokingly said, "there goes Paige!"

This was followed by a conversation with our kids about who this man (with a girl's name....one of them said) was and why we didn't care for him.

Then, I get online and see this!
When will it ever end.

Just reaffirmed why we do not care for him or his tactics.

More than that, it makes me really sad. We pass a huge, luxury vehicle here, while on that same road are lots of poor trying to sell their produce to make a living....and ultimately they will die without Christ unless they hear the Truth.

My kids, who've lived overseas their whole lives, can see the huge disparity between the "rich" of the world and the lack of so many simply trying to eke out a living. Just this week my oldest commented on this; not understanding why people keep wanting to buy things instead of helping others.

Time is wasted treating folks in an unChrist-like way.... so much more could be done to help others, and share the Truth, if all that energy spent judging others was put into living as Christ lived.
(I direct this at myself as well, as I'm sorely lacking in grace towards others.)

Thanks for sharing this.
I'll be remembering this family...

.... a Christian worker

RRR said...


Thank you for your thoughts. I've benefited from the discussion.

Rex Ray,

I enjoyed your comments, especially the story on Adrian Rogers.

Nicholas said...

Paige and Dorothy Patterson are indeed connected to Bill Gothard.

Dorothy Patterson is a speaker for a Gothard seminar: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/tab2.aspx?EventID=1137209

Not surprisingly, David Gibbs, the "clean-up man" for fundamentalism, is also involved.

I believe Paige is a friend of Gothard, and wrote an article entitled “The Theology of Bill Gothard.” The Theological Educator 6 (Spring 1976): 11–13.


Bill Gothard expresses the same ideas about spousal abuse that Patterson does: http://www.stufffundieslike.com/2013/03/gothard-theres-no-such-thing-as-a-victim/

Nicholas said...

According to Wanda Martin at the Wartburg Watch, Adrian Rogers was also a good friend of Bill Gothard: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/05/03/designed-to-be-a-finger-another-bill-gothard-testimony/#comment-96351

So it seems that Gothardism may be imbedded into some sectors of the SBC, and given the Pattersons' promotion of it, it is a top-down influence.

Bill Gothard is also a huge influence on Doug Phillips, a man who oddly represents a convergence of the thought of Gothard and R.J. Rushdoony. Some in the SBC, such as Voddie Baucham, follow and/or are influenced by Doug Phillips.

Rex Ray said...

I believe this guy hit the ball out of the park.


After Tom Elliff (Number 21 of 30), two time president of the SBC, told incoming president, Paige Patterson, that all the barnacles and parasites had been scraped from the ‘Ship of Zion”, I wrote the following letter to the Baptists Standard 7-29-98:

If I was a seminary teacher or maybe a missionary, I could have been shook from the boat or cut from the tree long ago. But I’m just a construction volunteer looking forward to my ninth trip of building churches or missionary homes in Japan. I’ve just received a usual “Certificate of Appreciation, May June 1998” on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. This “barnacle” and “parasite” is wondering if there is a double standard.”

After 13 trips to Japan, my friend who was a missionary over 20 years became pastor of Tokyo Baptists Church. He was fired by the IMB for being their pastor. Some silly rule about not allowed to preach in English. He is still their pastor.

Number 4 on the list was Adrian Rogers.

“Rogers is probably best known for his "pickles have souls" statement. The statement related to the hiring and firing of SBC seminary professors. He said, “If we say pickles have souls, they (seminary professors) better teach that pickles have souls.”

I gave Rogers my “Truth of Acts”, but he never replied. :)

Rex Ray said...

What is the greatest need in America?

What is the greatest need for boys in America?

Who said the following, and who did he say it to?

“The greatest need in America is for every boy to have a dad, a dog, and a gun!”

Sued for firing women.

Anonymous said...

I've endured a bit of barnacle scraping myself, but this story raises some honest questions for me.

If this young man was all so true blue SBC he surely knew that many churches would not hire him because of his wife's previous marriage. We can argue all week whether they should, but that is a different issue.

He must have known. He must have. Did he write his blog post to try and change the SBC world? Did he just see himself as such a golden boy that the rules wouldn't apply to him?

Every place of employment has its implicit and explicit rules. No divorced pastors and no pastors married to divorced women has been around the SBC for eons. It is S.O.P.

If the rule needs changing, change it. But Paige Patterson is not evil for enforcing it unless it is changed.

Many employers demand total abstinence from marijuana. I live in a state where its use is legal.

Even those employers without a stated no use policy may decide to hire the candidate who tested no use over one that did not.

Is that also morally reprehensible?

What is reprehensible is sin. The first husband, if the story is true, clearly caused sin damage that will haunt many for their entire lifetimes.

Forgiveness comes through Jesus, but consequences still last.

Sin is the enemy, not Paige Patterson.


Rex Ray said...

I was surprised to see your name.

Our church has a Constitution and Bylaws, and probably most churches do. Surly, Southwestern has ‘rules’ that govern their Seminary.

If our pastor made ‘new’ rules, the church has the right to agree or disagree.


The question arises, who runs Southwestern—trustees or Patterson?

I believe most of the trustees know when to keep their mouths shut because Patterson gave them their jobs.

I also believe the “pastor throws hissy fit’ would tell Patterson his kingdom needed an attitude adjustment.

How about responding to:


Rex Ray said...


When Patterson told me Criswell’s Study Bible answered all they could of the Bible ‘errors’ but told the audience it answered ALL OF THEM, which of us was he lying to?

My father taught me if someone lied about something small, they would lie about anything.

Didn’t you disagree with Patterson when he fired the Hebrew teacher only because she was a woman? Wade started a fund for her and her husband. I gave $100. Did you contribute?

http://www.baptistlife.com/flick/screwup.htm tells how Patterson and Adrian Rogers thought the same about seminary professors on hiring and firing.

Rogers said, “If we say pickles have souls, they better teach that pickles have souls.”

Confused said...

My heart really goes out to this young man, his wife and his family. I pray God opens up many wonderful opportunities for them.

I am a bit confused here. I don't claim to be a biblical scholar by any means. However, according to the Scriptures, specifically, I Timothy chapter three, I read what the Bible says are qualifications of some leaders within the church. Some would say this young man meets these qualifications since he is the husband of one wife. Others disagree since his wife has been married before. We can argue this topic all day.

Here is what is confusing to me. These are qualifications for church leaders on how best to care for God's church. Have I missed something here? Since when is a seminary a church? According to several definitions that I looked up online, they all either said a "school of higher learning.....or an institution....." Hmmm?

So why would Patterson or anyone hold someone to this questionable qualification regarding a seminary position?

Someone help me understand.

G. Casey said...

What is interesting Wade, in reading Henry Wright's very biblical book A More Excellent Way recently, he mentions on wives married to a husband not following Christ, especially if he is violent. He states that the most important thing is to follow Christ and honor that relationship first and foremost. Wives are not to be co-dependent to sin. It is a very good book on healing as well

G. Casey said...

What is interesting Wade, in reading Henry Wright's very biblical book A More Excellent Way recently, he mentions on wives married to a husband not following Christ, especially if he is violent. He states that the most important thing is to follow Christ and honor that relationship first and foremost. Wives are not to be co-dependent to sin. It is a very good book on healing as well

G. Casey said...

You know Wade, Paige stood out to me once as one who was the only one who called Bill Clinton out on the carpet for his affairs back in the 90's. But after the Gillard situation, Klouda, and then after hearing and seeing the chapel service on prosperity tithing this minister is erring greatly. Paige needs to retire. By the way the by laws at SWBTS says he HAS to retire by 70 unless something has changed. He turns 71 in October.

Wade Burleson said...


SWBTS is deemed "a church" when it is beneficial for them to be deemed one; i.e. the Sherri Klouda termination for "being a woman in a man's job" (she taught Hebrew).

G. Casey said...

The thing I was told with Paige's reforms at SWBTS was in regards to getting back to an equipping elders and ministry staff model. That is why I was told that they cut the state licensed counseling program. They want to limit to equipping elders. But in this video that someone sent Paige indicted ministers in chapel services as being poor due to NOT tithing???? In recently studying through a Messianic Institute recently, tithing is strictly held to Levitical priesthood and to the Temple only. Also many aspects of the Torah where strictly tied to the land of Israel and its Temple.

TOM PARKER said...

G. Casey:

You said:"You know Wade, Paige stood out to me once as one who was the only one who called Bill Clinton out on the carpet for his affairs back in the 90's. But after the Gillard situation, Klouda, and then after hearing and seeing the chapel service on prosperity tithing this minister is erring greatly. Paige needs to retire. By the way the by laws at SWBTS says he HAS to retire by 70 unless something has changed. He turns 71 in October."

I think beyond retiring PP needs to repent of the many lives he has destroyed in the name of God.

Nicholas said...

@G. Casey

Tithing is considered a command for Christians by many in the SBC leadership:




Anonymous said...


But these fund raiser would say that, wouldn't they ? Some are just like Judas Iscariot who wanted the power of the purse in his control (John 12:6). The object of his interest was 'poor Judas'.


Anonymous said...

Ever noticed how much Paige Patterson and Ned Betty look a lot a like. Even the mannerisms are somewhat similiar.

G. Casey said...

This is unbelievable as well..I to post this link to you Wade about the lack research and incongruities the Caner's have and that were also students of Patterson is another bewilderment.


Anonymous said...

I divorced after 20 years. My e husband was an abuser, a sexual deviant and a cheater. He has lots of money and so married his mistress immmediately after the divorce finalized. I became a Christian a year later. I never cheated in my marriage. I have raised my kids into great human beings alone.

ONLY men who claim to be Christians seem to care that I am divorced. I have been called an adulterer, a whore (yes really) accused of "trying to tempt men" and much worse, all because I seek to marry again. I have been treated abusively at more than one church and women in many churches walk up and clutch on their husbands if I am talking to them. Worse is seeing the husband back up and act differently when his wife approaches. So I know the pervert was thinking something I was not. I no longer hug any men in church. I do not stand near them or have more than a brief conversation. I am a maked woman, hated, condemned and rejected... yet I have done nothing wrong.

Sometimes it seems that a loving man who is NOT a Christian would be a better choice than any man who claims to be a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Wade, you are a foolish man. The Bible never teaches remarriage after divorce.