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

"Deep Down I Was Scared." Dr. Sheri Klouda about Her Time at SWBTS under Dr. Paige Patterson

Dr. Sheri Klouda (Tom Strattman, Associated Press)
Dr. Sheri Klouda served as Professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas from 2002 to 2006.  In 2003, Paige Patterson became President of Southwestern Theological Seminary.  Patterson eventually released Dr. Klouda from her faculty position at the seminary because she was a woman.

I've written extensively on Dr. Klouda and the dark days she endured. Shortly after her termination, Sheri's husband had his leg amputated, and then in 2014, he died from his heart condition. Dr. Klouda relocated away from the south and from her family of origin to find work. There are not many jobs for a woman trained to teach Hebrew.

Sheri has rarely spoken publicly about what happened at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary during her tenure. Because of my knowledge of her situation, and my firm belief that the Southern Baptist Convention has been going down the wrong path in its views and treatment of women, I made a promise to do all I could to move the Southern Baptist Convention toward a more New Testament understanding of the equality of women. Christians who believe the Bible should be on the cutting edge of encouraging and empowering women.

I reached out to Dr. Klouda to ask if she would write her thoughts about the current Patterson controversy and her time at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. It took some cajoling, but I finally convinced Dr. Klouda that her voice needs to be heard. On today's blog, I present Sheri Klouda in her own words. Shari is transparent, humble, and respectful. I've learned a great deal from reading her story. 

You will too.

This is Part One.

Part Two of Sheri's story in her own words can be accessed here.

____________________________________________________________________

Written by Dr. Sheri Klouda

You might wonder what motivates me to talk about this now.

I believe that it is time to end the tyranny, time to eliminate control through fear and intimidation, and time to work together to clarify and redefine the position of the Southern Baptist Convention leadership on the issues of women and spousal abuse, if our Convention is going to grow and flourish in the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that this is our opportunity to underscore where we stand and to demonstrate that the Convention represents all of us and that Paige Patterson does not, cannot, represent the Convention’s views on spousal abuse, the denigration and objectification of women, and the general assumption that somehow, women are inherently more wicked just by virtue of their existence.

It is time to acknowledge that while we affirm the traditional roles of women in the family, that sometimes the circumstances of life and sin require that a godly woman may be called upon to help support a family when a husband is sick and no longer able, that spousal abuse represents the breaking of a sacred covenant, that we must seek to protect our children by modeling healthy marriages and the love of Christ for one another.

I also speak out now because Paige Patterson can no longer hurt me. He has nothing left to take away from me.

First, let me say, I am a proponent of strong and permanent marriages, and I believe in a lifetime commitment between a husband and wife. After all, I was married over 30 years before I became a widow. I suffered consistent and regular abuse at the hands of my husband; most of it was verbally cruel and chipped away at my self-esteem. I struggled to find reassurance of my value through my teaching. I was blessed with encouraging and supportive mentors, all male, and I realized some marginal success in research and writing and my work in the classroom.

It was not a secret that Paige Patterson did not advocate divorce or separation in cases of spousal abuse. I heard about the recorded statement. I read the things he said. That is why I talked about the abuse with a couple of my colleagues during my time at Southwestern. They were really at a loss to advise me. How can you actually prove systematic verbal abuse?

While my husband was often violent, he rarely laid a hand on my child or me physically, although it began to escalate during the time I served at Southwestern. I had, for the first time in our marriage, managed to get family medical coverage through my job. It was the first time we had hospitalization in 18 years. I could not endanger that medical coverage, let alone put our family in financial jeopardy by losing my job. My husband had just had triple by-pass surgery. He was seriously diabetic. He had been in and out of the hospital for years. 

It was in fear of how Paige Patterson could destroy my life that I remained silent. It was also because I did not want to put the jobs of my colleagues at risk by speaking out, even after I left Southwestern. It was a weighty responsibility. I think there is something inherently wrong about giving one man so much power and influence that he could capriciously destroy the lives and careers of others without question and somehow, justify it biblically. 

I remember the day I was formally elected by the Board of Trustees as a full-time faculty member. I had been teaching at least 18 graduate credit hours that year, courses in Old Testament Survey and Biblical Hebrew. I also served as a graduate assistant to another professor and graded the majority of coursework for another 3 classes each semester. I had submitted an acceptable dissertation that spring. Some said I had the opportunity to advance the academic reputation of Southwestern, and there was a great deal of pressure to write a dissertation that made a difference academically. 

When I finally received the news that I was officially part of the faculty, I was overwhelmed with gratitude to be part of the School of Theology. I was told by my mentors that “I had no time for rejoicing” and that I should avoid all media contact. I should stay below the radar, fail to answer the phone, and make no public comment. 

My new colleague Terri Stovall, who already had an established relationship with the Pattersons, made a formal statement to the press. Later that evening, I received a call from Dr. Craig Blaising, officially informing me of the Board’s decision. However, he made very clear that I would be limited to teaching only language-related courses. In the end, this meant that I could teach Biblical Hebrew and Cognate Languages, and Hebrew Exegesis, but no courses in English Bible or Hermeneutics. 

While some may think this was very limiting, how many new faculty do not have to teach Introduction courses as part of their contract? I had already been teaching Introduction to Old Testament and individual book studies in the past at the seminary. I was blessed with teaching all upper-level courses that specialized in biblical language and exegesis.

However, what I did not find out until later was that, with my election to the faculty, all adjunct women instructors in the School of Theology were no longer permitted to teach. The Southwestern Seminary Board of Trustees though hesitant, I assume, did not find that hiring me to teach in the School of Theology contradicted the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and thus, my hiring did not go against mainstream Baptist religious belief. Yet, other women suffered as a result of my hiring, and I felt tremendously guilty about it.

Those who knew me well also knew that I did not have a chip on my shoulder, that I was too busy trying to excel as an academician and a teacher to think about, respond, or be concerned with my gender and what that meant in my environment. I never felt I had anything to prove. I only wanted to be known for my expertise in the field, known as a good professor, not identified as the “woman” Hebrew professor.

It never crossed my mind that I would want to serve as a pastor of a local church. I never felt called in any way to that role. I knew that I was called to teach in an academic setting, and I have always been satisfied with serving in that way. I also know that I avoided groups of women from the seminary who really seemed to gather primarily to criticize the Seminary. 

In other words, I really didn’t spend any time on gender issues because I was too involved in teaching and writing, taking care of my family and serving in my local church. I was too interested in finding ways to help make Biblical Hebrew user-friendly for my students, whoever they were. I was busy writing, doing post-doctoral work in Comparative Semitics and Historical Hebrew Grammar, meeting with students, grading, and getting home in time to pick up my daughter from school.

While some of the women studying at seminary appreciated having a female role model on the faculty, I was instructed to avoid counseling women or building an entourage, a following, so that it would not appear as if I were encouraging other women to pursue my path and seek to teach at an academic institution.

I was also instructed not to speak at faculty meetings, and while I was asked to work on restructuring the curriculum and reading list for the doctoral program at the seminary, my name was officially kept off of any materials related to that restructuring. My involvement in any work related to curriculum or other seminary work was unofficial and kept quiet.

During the summer preceding my second year at Southwestern, Dr. Hemphill stepped down, and Paige Patterson was elected as the new president. I had already been warned by many that I should feel threatened concerning my job at Southwestern, and I did not know until later that there were a number of individual conversations with Paige and other Trustees in which he tried to block my hiring. 

I remember attending the announcement of his appointment and being very concerned because his words concerning women and the seminary were chilling. I remember thinking that I really needed to be afraid for my job. Then, when I introduced myself to Dorothy Patterson, she looked me square in the eye and said, “We know who you are.”

Later, Paige suggested I talk with Dorothy to ask her if there was some way I could be helpful in the women’s ministry and coursework, and I was met with the cold response: I don’t think there is anything you can do.
I was summoned to the office of the President in September of 2003. I asked Paige if I needed to be concerned about my job. He told me that he was fine with what I was doing and that he had no objection at all as long as I didn’t do anything to cause questions or concerns. He indicated he had no plans to remove me from my position. 

As I think about this, I wonder: if my teaching male students was religiously acceptable and in compliance with his religious beliefs, why later would he argue that what I was doing contradicted historically held Baptist belief and practice? 

Nevertheless, I was gullible enough to believe that my job was safe as long as I did not do or say anything that would jeopardize it. I was once again warned that I should keep my head down, that Paige would plant students in my classes to see if I did or said something that could be used to fire me. I learned very early to clarify my position on all theological and ecclesiastical matters and sought to have my students reiterate them in order to prevent any misunderstanding. 

I admit, though, naïve as I was in some ways, deep down inside I was scared.

_______________________________________________________________

Part II to come...

53 comments:

Alaskan in Texas said...

I got more and more upset with each paragraph. I was an MDiv student at SWBTS 2000-2003. When it came time to enroll in Hebrew classes, every fellow student I asked recommended Sheri Klouda's courses. Highly recommended. Unfortunately, my off-campus work schedule did not permit me to enroll in her Hebrew classes, and I fulfilled my academic requirements under the teaching of another excellent SWBTS instructor who was a PhD student and, incidentally, was a woman, too. (Her name escapes me at the moment). To learn now of extent of Dr. Klouda's obstacles and impediments both at home (spousal abuse) and at her workplace (shut up and keep your head down), it is a wonder to me how she succeeded at all, let alone to the extent of her excellent reputation among students. I am particularly incensed to learn that despite Dr. Klouda's humble entreaties and willingness, she experienced rebuffing and squelching from both Pattersons with respect to transferring to the College at Southwestern or the Women's Studies Department. Goodness! What did she do to deserve such condescending, spiteful, and rude treatment? I mean, other than being born female.

Anonymous said...

Wade, have you reached out to Dr. Karen Bullock at BH Carroll Institute? She was at SWBTS with Patterson, too.

Wade Burleson said...

Alaskan in Texas,

"What did she do to deserve such condescending, spiteful, and rude treatment? I mean, other than being born female."

Precisely.

I do have an answer though::

"Sheri rightly assumed that the Bible and the Holy Spirit gave her the freedom to use her giftings, education, and experience to teach men Hebrew; and in Paige's world that is unacceptable."

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I reached out to Dr. Bullock a few years ago. She politely declined to speak. She was at the time not wanting to cause waves in her professional field of expertise, which is a tight collection of scholars who know one another and work for Presidents. I have not reached out lately, but I would be thrilled if Dr. Bullock would add her thoughts to what it going on, and hopefully can reach out to her soon.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder if Dr. Norma Hedin would have anything to add. She was wonderful. And she felt the weight of the Patterson presidency.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

I have no contact info for Dr. Hedin, but if you'd give her wwburleson@gmail.com, I'd love to hear from her.

Rex Ray said...

My heart goes out for this woman.

Rex Ray said...

PS. Maybe I should have said ‘…goes out to…” :)

Anonymous said...

I too came to SWBTS under Patterson & was told by other students Dr. Klouda was the best Hebrew professor. Everyone I talked to loved her because she made it understandable & enjoyable. I couldn't take the summer 2005 class because I needed to earn money for the fall. By the time I could take Hebrew, she had been let go. I always felt cheated. I ended up taking George Klein & didn't really learn much. He scolded those of us who weren't required to take the extra semester of Hebrew that Patterson demanded starting Fall of 2004. How grateful I am I came in right before PP's changes but sad I never had Dr. Klouda. He needs to be fired.
Former SWBTS student/Current Pastor

Jim Roebuck said...

I am so sorry for what this lady has had to endure. I have the utmost respect for Dr. Klouda. Her treatment by Dr. Patterson is a stain on the history and legacy of SWBTS. It is beyond my understanding how anyone could continue to defend Dr. Patterson. God bless you Dr. Klouda.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dr. Klouda, for sharing. I know that this cannot be a pleasant task but your experiences are so relevant to the larger conversation.

Former SWBTS student

Anonymous said...

I am one of Dr. Klouda's former students. I am one of Dr. Klouda's former students who is a FEMALE. Let me just say that it would have been so nice to have her as an encourager and role model for me. I graduated from SWBTS with a Master of Divinity soon after PP got there. I saw first-hand and heard from many of the victims of PP's first terms at Southwestern. In my opinion, some of the most spiritual and most influential professors were fired during that time. Many of them inspired me not only then, but also now, fifteen years later. May God give all of them the courage to speak out. For what it is worth, at the very time that Paige Patterson became the head of SWBTS, a vulture started perching on the women's dormitory. I don't think that was a coincidence.

Scott Shaver said...

Dr Klouda: I am the father of 3 wonderful Christian daughters who grew up watching their pastor-dad shake his head in unbelief at the antics of Pressler Patterson.

One of those daughters is currently on staff at a Southern Baptist church that still operates in biblically consistent fashion

I share that just to let you know how much, i appreciate your period of reflection after crushing circumstances and finally speaking from your heart now.

Not all of us jock-like white male types have been silent during this time. Many under the indirect influence of Patterson have forfeited prolonged Christian ministry.

Aussie John said...

Wade,
While I was appalled at the time of your initial writing about Pattersons disgusting,unbiblical treatment of Dr. Klouda,it breaks my heart to read her own words and causes me to ask a question regarding the membership of the denomination he represents: SINCE WHEN DID BAPTISTS HAVE A POPE?

Surely there are at least some in such a large denomination,(other than those who we see as correspondents on your blog)and even faculty members, who study Scripture for themselves? I have always expected members who disagree with their leaders (pastors) to respectfully question them, and even disagree with them,on the basis of Scripture, questions such as that regarding women.

It seems for many, as is the case in my country, that the Biblical teaching regarding "the priesthood of ALL believers" doesn't rate a mention, and, "Standing on the premises" is more important than "Standing on the promises".

Scott Shaver said...

Not "ALL" believers but "THE BELIEVER" closer to theology of Mullins. Preferable IMO.

Scott Shaver said...

If we are all priests unto GOD IN Christ and there is no Jew,Gentile,Male NOR Female...what's the rancor over giftedness and roles of service in the local church? The SBC and its leaders are NOT A CHURCH!

Christiane said...

Half way through reading, the tears came. I am so moved by what this good woman endured and so upset at how fear-filled Patterson made her life.

Has he ever apologized or repented of his abuse? He needs to do this for the sake of his soul. Especially if he used Our Lord as reason to hurt people. He must realize this on some level. (?)

Dr. Klouda, your story has always touched my heart since I first heard of it on Wade's blog. I am not in your faith tradition and my own tradition has its problems sorting out 'the place of women', but at least there is a better view these days on how Our Lord Himself made Mary Magdalen 'the Apostle to the Apostles' . . . and now my tradition has a number of women who have been formally named 'Doctors of the Church', so there is hope for better times to come. The Church moves so slowly . . . so slowly (sigh)

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You are one of my heroines of the faith. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Pastor Burleson, for your witness and your stand. May God continue to grant you (and us) wisdom and courage for the facing of this hour, and the hours ahead.

Anonymous said...

Sir,

I sent you an email about my time there and some difficulties I had that I feel the trustees of the seminary should be made aware of.

Wade Burleson said...


Anonymous,

I received your email. I would be happy to make the trustees aware, but to do so would reveal your identity due to the unique nature of your role. I understand you wish to remain anonymous because you are still in the Fort Worth area, so I’m not sure how to make the trustees aware without your exposue.

An incredible story, BTW.

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is how many people, including myself, feel the need to comment as anonymous. That speaks volumes does it not?

Julie Anne said...

I have so many thoughts. First of all, thank you, Wade, for posting Dr. Klouda's personal story. It's important - especially now.

I was saddened to read about the domestic violence Dr. Klouda experienced. Although remaining married was a choice that Dr. Klouda made, as an victim's advocate, I think it's important to say that when there is abuse, especially where lives are threatened, God does not expect you to remain married. I firmly believe that at the moment of abuse and contempt, the abuser has already broken the marriage. If a victim divorces, this is simply legal paperwork underscoring the already-broken marriage.

When reading of the conditions that Dr. Klouda had to work under, I became increasingly angry. This obviously talented woman was squelched at every turn, unable to freely use her gifts. The more I read about Dr. Patterson, I see a man who obviously has very little respect for women. He is so unlike Christ.

Leigh Powers said...

I studied under Dr. Klouda at SWBTS. I am grateful that she has shared her story, but continue to be grieved by the way she was treated. And I am even more grieved to know that her treatment at SWBTS came at the same time she was dealing with abuse in her marriage. Unjust doesn't come close. Church, we can do better than this.

Donald Johnson said...

I think Patterson's treatment of Ms. Klouda is a firing offense, all by itself. That he was kept on after that is something that the SBC will need to repent from.

Rex Ray said...

Patterson has the President of the SBC, Steve Gains, in his hip pocket as can be seen by Gains choosing him to be chairman of the ‘prayer group’ for the SBC, and has him praying to start the Convention.

I see a similarity in the book of Esther. The SBC is the King, Patterson is Haman, Wade is Mordecai, and Klouda could be Esther.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Our church is scheduled to send messengers to the SBC in Dallas June 5, 2018. But our church doesn’t know what motions, resolutions, etc. are to be voted on.

How do we get this information?

I know what would yank Patterson’s chain:

1. SBC vote to give Klouda restitution for being fired.
2. Elect a woman president for next year.
3. Have all the presidents of states write a new BFM to present next year to be voted on.
4. A motion to join the BWA.
5. No permanent housing on SWBTS campus.
6. A motion for him to get the axe.

Scottie Day said...

Many of you are commenting as 'Anonymous'.

In the interest of exposing the power dynamics in Southern Baptist culture, can any of you explain the consequences you fear could befall you from speaking truthfully and candidly using your real name?

Wade Burleson said...

Scottie,

I can't speak for all, but I will for myself.

Prior to confronting the power structure of the SBC in 2005, I had a long list of speaking engagements in other Southern Baptist churches that I could not fill (I have four weeks a year for professional conferences in other SBC churches). After the imbroglio at the IMB in 2005-2008 where I first privately, then publicly, confronted what was taking place - signing my name in every piece I wrote - I have not received one invitation to speak at another SBC church but for one pastored by a friend of mine. I've received numerous other invitations to speak, but not in SBC churches. There is a concerted effort to destroy one's reputation, denigrate one's character, and diminish one's ministry when someone opposes the "power structure."

There is a price to pay when opposing the powers that be if you wish to remain in the SBC.

Since I view the Kingdom as bigger than a church, broader than any one denomination, and the best way to view one's calling and purpose in life, I would counsel anyone confronting powers that be in your denomination to never clutch to denominational influence, never seek denominational positions, and never desire denominational prestige.

Only then will the Kingdom expand through my efforts.

The Kingdom is built by Jesus regardless, but I'd sure rather be on His building team than anyone elses'.

The Anti-"Pope PP" said...

@Aussie John, the answer to your question is: Archbishop Patterson of Criswell archdiocese rose to a Cardinal Prefect ruling the Southeastern sub-kingdom after his successful co-leadership in the Insurgency phase of the unholy but declared "holy war" against members of the Southern Baptist Family,and after his Highness led the complete Victory in the Resurgency campaign,he made his triumphant entrance to the Cowtown Vatican (formerly Seminary Hill) to finally claim his expected throne as the first Southern Baptist Paw, with Maw right beside him--in the palace and hall of power...and on the Texas-sized stain glass window in the Pattertine Chapel.

Pope Paige I (the first, for those who failed Greek)formally* began his reign in 2003,his reign strated off with the terror inflicted on the talented Hebrew professor and Biblical scholar whose-gender-cannot-be-tolerated (Harry Potter fans will appreciate this reference) before that and another inferior being with the scarlet letter ("W") were finally banished from the presence of His Holiness "Pope PP" as some are fond of calling his Holiness. It is yet to be confirmed if the pulpit/lectern that was contaminated by the second "W" branded person was only just locked up in the dungeon or if an exorcism was performed as well. There's even a theory that it was "burned at the stake" Texas style: with Pope PP blowing it to Purgatory (orto the Texas Panhandle, about the same thing)by His Holiness's holy shotgun blasting holy holes into the impure piece of furniture. May the reign of the First Baptist Paw (there's a reason we're called SOUTHERN!!) Pope Paige I last for...a few more days, weeks at the most. And it be the one and final Paige in this ugly chapter in Southern Baptist his-tory (not h__-story for the scarlet-lettered group). Ahhh-mayne (and Sic'em Bears, Beat Notre Dame).

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

RIGHT ON! After I gave your post of Dr. Klouda’s story to the ones at the prayer meeting last night, people asked our pastor how to locate your blog.

And BTW, ANYTME you could preach at our SBC church we’d rejoice to hear you.

Your father held a revival here years ago. He left hearing these words: “Come back Shane, we love you.” How’s he doing these days?


Anti-"Pope PP",

LOL; you nailed it.

Anonymous said...

"
Anonymous The Anti-"Pope PP" said......

,he made his triumphant entrance to the Cowtown Vatican (formerly Seminary Hill) to finally claim his expected throne..."

I'm reminded of the scene in the show Gotham where Penguin looks out over the city and declares "I"m the King of Gotham, I'm the King of Gotham!"

Great piece, by the way. PP will love it.

Anonymous said...

Scottie,

I have experienced some mild repercussions in my SBC church for some comments addressing injustices at SWBTS in the distant past. The message that they do not want a dissenting voice, however, is clear. I'm not including particulars here as they might be identify me to those involved. I am currently where I believe God wants me to be and would not want my "political" opinions to be a hindrance.

I do try to balance my critical spirit by praying for the individuals I am criticizing.

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...

Dr. Sheri Klouda, I support you 100% and I am so proud of you for speaking out. I am sorry for all of the losses and the pain caused by this tyranny, I grieve for you. I completely resonate with your statement that he can no longer hurt you and there is nothing left to take.

Thank you Pastor Wade for always standing up and stating the truth.

https://www.facebook.com/Abuse-Matters-and-The-Rise-to-Break-the-Silence-114628306075715/

brian said...

I was a student of Dr. Klouda's at SWBTS in the Hemphill years. Her work with me in Hebrew and with my master's thesis was part of the reason I got into a graduate program at the University of Chicago. She was a great professor and what happened to her at SWBTS was shameful. The Pattersons' treatment of her alone justifies their removal, not to mention his comments on marital abuse and remarks about the appearance of a teenage girl.

Former SWBTS Student said...

I had Dr. Klouda for Hebrew Exegetical Method shortly before her departure. I wondered if she ever actually liked me; however, with so much going on behind the scenes, I would not blame her either way. Just know I liked you and appreciated you. I still rock the Hebrew skills this day in my local church. For what it's worth you have my love and respect.

Bring on Part 2!

Rex Ray said...

Full text of President Trump’s remarks as Billy
Graham’s body lay in honor at U.S. Capitol.
by “DECISION’, a Publication of the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association

“Thank you, Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell. And, most importantly, thank you to the entire Graham family for honoring us with your presence here today. Thank you.
In the spring of 1934, Billy Graham’s father allowed a group of Charlotte businessmen to use a portion of the family’s dairy farm to gather for a day of prayer.
On that day, the men prayed for the city. They prayed that out of Charlotte, the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
We are here today, more than 80 years later, because that prayer was truly answered. Billy Graham was 15 years old at the time. Just a few months later, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
That choice didn’t just Billy’s life; it changed our lives. It changed our country, and it changed in fact, the entire world.
The North Carolina farm boy walked out of those fields into a great and beautiful history. Starting at a small Bible school in Florida, he soon led a nationwide revival; from a large tent in Los Angeles, to 100,000 people in a single day at Yankee Stadium, to more than 2 million people at Madison Square Garden over 16 weeks in 1957.
And I remember that, because my father said to me, “Come on, son”; and by the way, he said, “Come on, Mom. Let’s go see Billy Graham at Yankee Stadium.” And it was something very special.
But Americans came in droves to hear that great that young preacher. Fred Trump was a big fan. Fred Trump was my father.
In London, Tokyo, Seoul, Bogota, Moscow, New Delhi, Saigon, Johannesburg, and scores of other places all over the world, Reverend Graham shared the power of God’s Word with more than 200 million people, in person, and countless others through television and radio where people loved to watch and listen.

Rex Ray said...

In 1978, with the support of the Catholic Bishop who would soon become Pope John Paul 11, Reverend Graham with to Poland and spoke of the meaning of the cross to a people suffering under the soulless oppression of communism.
Billy Graham carried his message around the world, but his heart, as Franklin will tell you, was always in America.
He took his message to the poorest places, in the downtrodden and to the brokenhearted, to inmates in prison, and to the overlooked and the neglected. He felt a great passion for those that were neglected.
Everywhere he went, Reverend Graham delivered the same beautiful message; God loves you. That was his message. God loves you.
We can only imagine the number of lives touched by the preaching and the prayers of Billy Graham; the hearts he changed, the sorrows he eased, and the joy he brought to so many. The testimony is endless.
Today, we give thanks for this extraordinary life. And it’s very fitting that we do so right here in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol, where the memory of the American people is enshrined.
Here in this room, we are reminded that America is a nation sustained by prayer. The painting to my left is the pilgrims as they embarked for America, holding fast to the Bible and bowing their heads in prayer.
Along these walls, we see the faces of Americans who prayed as they stood on the Lexington Green, who prayed as they headed west, prayed as the headed into battle, and prayed as the marched for justice, and always marched for victory.
Around us stand the statues of heroes who led the nation in prayer during the great and difficult times, from Washington to Lincoln to Eisenhower to King.
And, today, in the center of this great chamber lies legendary Billy Graham, an ambassador for Christ who reminded the world of the power of prayer and the gift of God’s grace.
Today we honor him as only three private citizens before him have been so honored. And like the faithful of Charlotte once did, today we say a prayer for our country, that all across the land the Lord will raise up men and women like Billy Graham to spread a message of love and hope to every precious child of God.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America. Thank you very much.”

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. My heart has been so broken over the recent statements I've heard about Patterson and his comments about women and spousal abuse. I loved my days at SWBTS under Hemphill. It breaks my heart that in 2018, women are still being belittled. When I accepted my call in ministry, I studied scripture closely to see how God used women through the Bible. When I shared my calling, my pastors fully supported me in attending seminary at SWBTS. My daughter desires to attend SWBTS someday too, but this kind of teaching is disappointing.

But the saddest thing of all of this is realizing there are women in ministry who are afraid to speak up about the abuse they are receiving in their home because of the fear of how others will receive this information, or even the fear of being let go. I know I have been on that side too. Very few people know the abuse I experienced from my ex. Even though, I'm now no longer married, I'm fearful to be a voice because I can't take the risk to lose my job.

Deana Holmes said...

I work for an evil too big to fail bank. We have lots of problems, but punishing women for being women and nothing else is generally not one of those problems. Reading what Dr. Klouda has to say here makes my jaw drop. And it concerns me, because if these are the men training the next generation of pastors, who will go on to lead churches and impart this plainly hostile view of women to their congregants, then eventually it's going to try and seep its way into secular workplaces and cause conflict. This needs to be cleaned up for the benefit of the women and girls in the SBC and for the larger society as a whole.

Christiane said...

Hello Wade,

you wrote, this:
"Since I view the Kingdom as bigger than a church, broader than any one denomination, and the best way to view one's calling and purpose in life, I would counsel anyone confronting powers that be in your denomination to never clutch to denominational influence, never seek denominational positions, and never desire denominational prestige.

Only then will the Kingdom expand through my efforts.

The Kingdom is built by Jesus regardless, but I'd sure rather be on His building team than anyone elses'."


I did realize when I heard of your support for Dr. Klouda and others, in the face of the powers that be, that you were already a strong and enduring member of that larger Church, the Kingdom of Our Lord, where serving IS leadership, and caring for others being persecuted is done even when it requires self-sacrifice . . . . .

Your work with people who have issues with substance abuse and other difficulties also tells me that you 'get it' what Christian leadership is all about. The Servant Model was the model Our Lord left to His Apostles . . . it was a selfless model that 'gave' without thought of self because of love for others.

Thank you for giving me an insight into my Southern Baptist grandmother's faith that makes sense: she was also a person who served others selflessly because she loved them without expecting anything in return . . . she just wanted good for others who needed help. When I came to your blog almost ten years ago to learn the truth about the faith of my grandmother, I did not know what I would find.

I think in retrospect that Providence helped direct me to the right source. :)

We may not agree on all things theological, but in matters of the Kingdom of God, I find that you are very close to Our Lord in your service to Him and to His wounded ones. Be encouraged. You looked at the destruction of lives by 'the powers that be' and you chose another way . . . the better way. That your choice has cost you only highlights your commitment to the Good Path. A choice like that comes from a heart that walks with Our Lord.

Bob Cleveland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Cleveland said...

One of Peg's and my greater blessings for having had some limited involvement in SBC matters is our friendship with Dr. Klouda.

Suppose it were true that God noticed what happened to Dr. Klouda at SWBTS, and decided to remove His blessing on the seminary?

What if it were true that God noticed what happened at SWBTS, and and the SBC's collective inaction with regard to the treatment of Dr. Klouda?

I wonder what the results of his noticing, and deciding to act (which seems to be common with God, as Moses can attest), would have been.

Yeah. That could explain a lot. Couple that with a general failure to make disciples ... as opposed to converts ... and you just may have the explanation for what's happenin'....

And, FWIW, Dr. Klouda was a contributor of study notes, for the HCSB (a-k-a Hardcore Southern Baptist Bible).

Christiane said...

Hi Bob Cleveland,

FWIW, I don't see God punishing a seminary that brings innocent people in who have been called, no. But instead, I see God providing support in the way of good friends for Dr. Klouda during her crisis, in the way of those who would stand 'with' her.

For those who looked the other way, or joined in support of Patterson's abuse of Dr.Klouda and others, I think that God will work with them to help open their eyes in giving them some interventions that may offer them an opportunity to 'see' more clearly what they have done, and to repent of it.

I think God works in the POSITIVE more than we know, all though some of the interventions we must go through are to us very painful, but somehow necessary to knock us off of our prideful horses and wake us up. . . . I speak from experience......

As long as there is time, there is hope.

But what a terrible story of those who came to Wade and told him they would make trouble for him and try to ruin his reputation. I can't know what God plans for us, but that 'loyalty' to a mis-guided leader that involves turning against all things Our Lord taught us has no place in our Christian practice. Those men are in a world of trouble and I can only hope that God works in their lives for good so that they have a chance to repent for the sake of their souls. Their harbored ill-intent harms them far more than anything they ever did to Wade. But God knows what He is doing in our lives. He can be trusted to try to help them heal also. That is what I hope, at least.

Scott Shaver said...

There are more clones of Paige running around than one can shake a stick at.

Bob Cleveland said...

Hi Christiane:

I don't see God "punishing" SWBTS or the SBC either. What I see is His withholding of His blessing. He's the only One Who gives increase to your efforts, anyway.

Christiane said...

Yes, Bob Cleveland, I see the difference. Thanks for responding.

Steeley Upshaw said...

I wonder if it was just by chance or maybe a bigger lesson God is showing me today, but I watched a documentary today on Susan B. Anthony and the suffrage movement. I bring this up because in this documentary they pointed out that many of those opposing woman’s rights at the time were men who justified thier actions through a munipulaton of the Word and the character of who God really is. Though I am fairly confident of the accuracy that this munipulation took place, I am a little more skeptical and trying to do a little more research but the video also pointed out that many of these were from the Baptist influence. I don’t say this to down the denomination, but yet back up the idea that Patterson and others of our day have yet to mature and enter into the 21st century. Jesus himself in is time said that one day the truth will be preached. He never specified that it would not be by a woman. He just said his followers will walk in truth John 4:23 -24.

Anonymous said...

Rex Ray, so that explains the triple P emblem blended into the stained glass iconoclasts' likeness in the Chapel--I see what Anti-Pope PP did there with the "Pattertine" Chapel. A little lighthearted humor is needed in the midst of such painful truths and period of sadness.

Insurgency=>Resurgency=>=Complete Victory=> Conquest/Sharing of spoils of victory=> Purge of allies, those lacking complete "purity" or just for daring to question the powers that be. This kind of sums up the campaign and reign of Pope PP (#PPP or Triple P---goid pro wrestling names or rapper names...but don't let the Paw know because I can't handle seeing him in wrestling tights or rapper outfits).

X-Baptist in Texas said...

Steeley Upshaw,

The key words are "pride and power," a very destructive combination since Adam and Ece, through spiritual role models like King Saul and then King David, whose tragic lives and destructive actions exemplify the adage: power (tends to--my words) corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Power is not inherently bad, but we sinful/fallen beings are, so across all cultures, political, sports, religions, abd other social groups (including spouses and family units), unchecked power usually leads to misuse and/or abuse of good qualities, authority, etc.

Steeley Upshaw said...

I agree with you about the corruption of power what’s interesting is that what many fail to understand is that much of the beliefs that shaped that which Mr.Patterson holds came within only the last 150 to 200 years. Though women have always been seen as less equal it’s within the last 200 years or so that they were treated as such. My belief is that it’s because the culture lent its self to this not simply because of Biblical reasons but it started as an industrial and farming cultural reason and was justified through the Bible. Remember there was a time there was no Bible to read and there were many Christian groups such as the Quakers who didn’t hold such strong beliefs that opppressed women. My point is that I believe it was a cultural thing that grew into something man was able use the Bible to justifie his own purpose, desire and needs in stead of God’s and others. With this came generations of traditional beliefs passed down. Even in my own family as a child I can remember hearing things about other races and women I wish I would not have. Things have changed now because I have chosen to change them but if I had not it would continue as such. This is Mr.Patterson he chose not to change and here we are today reading this blog about the hurt caused to Professor Klouda.

Rex Ray said...

Steeley Upshaw,

You bring out an interesting point that within the last 200 years women have been run over by men.

I’m 86 and noticed our father ‘ruled the roost’. He was ten years older than mother. Living through the ‘Great Depression’ of the 1930s he didn’t like spending money on clothes etc. He would wear old worn out cloths. When Mother bought him new cloths, he’d take them back.

This story will illustrate my point. Mom told Dad, “While Rex is here with his boys, it’d be good for them to help you put tags (identification) in those cows you bought.” [REMEMBER HER WORDS.]

The cows were pretty wild and were hard to get them in a correl. I was suppose to keep them in by holding a large 12 foot board. But when there was nothing to eat they almost knocked me down. Ran off with their tails in the air.

“They’re spooked! We’ll never get them back now.”
“I’ll get them!” And he took off in his truck.

I drove back to the house. A couple hours went by. “I’d better see about Dad.”

The 80 acre pasture had a lot of trees. Couldn’t find Dad or the cows. Finally saw his truck in a gully with a back tire in the air. I parked on a hill and waited. Cows came by with their tongues hanging out. It was a hot July. Soon Dad came.
“Got any water!”
“No. Get in and we’ll get some.”
On the way back, he said, “Let this be a lesson to you!”
I doubted what words of wisdom I was going to hear.
“NEVER LISTEN TO A WOMAN.”

Rex Ray said...

Does any MAN want to sign a letter written by men to the SWBTS Board of Trustees?

The one page letter ends with these words:

“Dr. Patterson’s behavior confuses the message of the Gospel. His continued leadership—without repentance and reprimand—call into question the witness of the Southern Baptist Convention. The world is watching, brothers. We pray the Lord will grant you faith, courage, and wisdom to act in a way that represents well our Savior Jesus Christ and the Good News of his Kingdom.”

At present there are 280 men on eight pages that list their name, their church, and their town.

I believe if we let our churches know, there’d be 2,000 names before the convention meets.

To sign the letter, click on the link below and follow directions. They’ll email you asking if you want to sign, and you must reply before they add your name.

One guy had the guts to sign who listed his church as: “Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary”.

https://swbtsletter-men.com/index.php

Ronald Stimphil said...

My goodness! Where have we come to? Is not the Bible crystal clear about women NOT allowed to teach men? Now, I agree that we must be loving about how to address it, but this command from the Holy Spirit is not dispensational, not based on a specific culture, not based on ability, and certainly not sexist. It is BIBLICAL. It is from God. I have been taught by women, and I sat through the teaching because I believed in the ability of that female professor. I do not believe I'm going to hell because I was taught by a female teacher, but does that mean that just because I can receive teaching from her, that nullifies God's word? Absolutely NOT. God's word is supreme. Thank God that there are courageous men out there who stand for the word. We need more of that. Thanks for the article. It just proves to me how feminized and cowardly men have become. Man up y'all.