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

Not Every Difficult Problem Has An Easy Solution

Ruth A.M. Ross B.A. LL.B. is a lawyer and the Executive Director of Christian Legal Fellowship (CLF), a national not-for-profit association of legal professionals in Canada. CLF, among other functions, explores the complex interrelationships between the practice and theory of law and Christian faith. The Fellowship has some 475 active members from several dozen Christian denominations working together to integrate Christian faith with law.

In a paper entitled When Christians Should/Could Sue Executive Director Ross makes the following statement:

Christians often disagree over how to apply 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. We cannot state categorically that this passage rules out all lawsuits between Chistians today. Reality dictates that there will be times when Christians will be involved in law suits, either at their institution or because they have been sued. While no one enjoys the conflict of court proceedings, in some cases it may be necessary. However, before commencing legal action, it is recommended that a number of conditions be met.

Ross identifies and elaborates on the following conditions that should be met before a cause of action is filed:

(1). Listen to the counsel of your church leaders and other wise spiritual overseers.
(2). Make sure your actions in pursuing the lawsuit are consistent with Scripture.
(3). Remember not all “rights” are Biblically based.
(4). Count the cost.
(5). Weigh the importance of this matter in the light of eternity.
(6). Consider how you prefer to spend or invest your time.
(7). Explore alternate methods to settle the matter quickly.
(8). Examine the attitude of your heart.
(9). Consider your ways.

It would seem that before we make a negative judgment, or speak a critical word, against a brother or sister in Christ who feels led to file a cause of action, we should at least know the answers to the above questions from the perspective of the one involved in legal recourse.

Until then, it seems the best course of action for those of us not involved would be to remember that God 'holds the heart of the judge in the palm of His hand, and he turns it whether so ever he will' and thank Him that He will ultimately make all things right.

In His Grace,



Bill Simpson said...

Well said.

art rogers said...

It is well, said, yet I predict a wail of unprecedented proportions upon the announcement of a high profile law suit involving any of our SBC personalities right now.

No matter who does the suing, who is being sued or what they are being sued over, they will be lambasted by someone.

This is a heavy subject and will cause much division within the SBC, should it occur.

I am praying about that day - a prayer for unity.

Bill Scott said...

I wish that I had those principles during previous civil proceeding in which I was involved.

I would add a #10 to the list:

10. When all else fails, read the previous 9 principles again.

Good stuff Brother.

Colin said...

Christians often disagree over how to apply this passage of Scripture (1 Corinthians 6:1-11). We cannot state categorically that this passage rules out all lawsuits between Christians today. Reality dictates that there will be times when Christians will be involved in law suits, either at their
institution or because they have been sued. While no one enjoys the conflict of court proceedings, in some cases it may be necessary. However, before commencing legal action, it is recommended that a number of conditions be met.

Who is "we"? She obviously has an ant in her pocket.

By reality, why do we often default to our senses and not to Scripture? Isn't the Bible the book about how the world "really" is? Or is our own understanding how it truly plays out?

It is also worth noting this statement in context:

If you are seeking to enforce a right, remember not all “rights” are biblically many instances, a Christian is taught to give up rights, go the extra mile, give tunic, and lay down his life for another. Ask yourself, “Will this action bring glory another, or advance God’s Kingdom in some way?” (1 Corinthians. 10:2333)

In other words, why sue over a right not granted to you by God?

The thrust of most of her argument is to deny the pursuit of lawsuits among Christians, with the exception of the unsubstantiated caveats of (paraphrased) "this is not how the world really works," and "as long as some scholars disagree on a text that spells liberty."

I am willing to give abrother the benefit of the doubt, but before we find out who is suing who and make this about personalities, could you answer this question for me to help me better understand:
In light of (2). Make sure your actions in pursuing the lawsuit are consistent with Scripture,

what texts in Scripture would guide a lawsuit between brothers (since, of course, the author references a text here that denies the possibility of suing)?

Brother Josh said...

Good post, but this seems slightly random. Did I miss something?

Roger Simpson said...

Hopefully there are no new additional "blockbuster" lawsuits on the horizon involving key SBC
agencies and/or leaders.

I am not plugged to denominational scuttlebut but as far as I know the only major SBC related lawsuits in recent years were those involving the criminal activity at the Baptist Foundation in AZ and also actions involving some of the schools trying to spin off from the Missouri convention.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Steve A said...

This is so ironic! Tonight at choir practice I heard a really tragic case. Any lawyer would jump to defend this worker's rights, but she's so afraid of what others would think that she probably won't do anything. (Her employer "forgot" to send in her health insurance premiums and now she has developed a serious condition.) Yet I guarantee you someone in her church will get their hair bent if she tries to protect her family's finances.

Jeff Whitfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Whitfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff Whitfield said...

I'll get it right this time...
The disagreement over how to apply 1 Corinthians 6:1-11, IMHO, is over whether or not we are going to obey God's biblical mandate and strengthen our witness or go the world's way and lose our witness. The pasage itself it quite straight forward.
Ken Sande, president of Peacemaker Ministries and an attorney, has an excellent article that addresses this issue on his website: http://tinyurl.com/2oxakw.
I highly recommend the very biblical Peacemaker model for resolving conflict in churches, denominations and even among neighbors.
I highly recommend the very biblical Peacemaker model for resolving conflict in churches, denominations and even among neighbors.

Colin said...

Sorry, I missed a few words above:

If you are seeking to enforce a right, remember not all “rights” are Biblically based. Rather, in
many instances, a Christian is taught to give up rights...(1 Corinthians. 10:23-33)

Tom Bryant said...

Too bad Paul didn't have a lawyer available to him when he wrote the command. He could have added all the clauses. I guess the Bible is not suffecient when someone has a case they want to pursue.

jasonk said...

Seriously, there is ample room for politically astute individuals who call themselves Christians to abuse this mandate in Scripture. The key, as far as I am concerned, is more about whether a person is behaving as a Christian, rather than calling themselves a Christian. As we all know, many call themselves Christians, but they are none of the kind.
If people act as Christians, there is never a need for a lawsuit. But when they do not act as Christians, this passage may not apply.

David R. Mills said...

I had three letters statng that I was dismissed from my radio station manager job because of age. I could have won a ton of money by pursuing that accusation, but settled for what the network owed me, and it cost them $5000 more than had they done it right in the first place. We settled it with two mediators,instead of court, and I am glad about that.

Amy said...

Call me jaundiced but unlike Brother Josh this does not seem random to me.

What is this post the set up for? What lawsuit do you support is going to be coming out to the public in the next few days?

BTW -- I err on the side of Scripture. And even though there are times in the past when I might have been tempted to file, I did not because of Paul's admonition against it.

S.A.M. said...

We need to seek counsel of God before men, and that counsel is through prayer and reading His Word. This should be the case for all Christ followers in all situations, since He is Lord of our lives. It's not always easy to do, and I fail at it daily, but I don't think there is any gray in this. When all else fails, go to the Word.

Stephen Pruett said...

As I understood the comments, the only condition in which the author clearly indicated it is permissible for a Christian to face another Christian in a lawsuit is when one is sued and has no choice but to respond. Although scripture doesn't specifically address this situation, it seems that if killing is allowed in self defense, then responding to a suit probably would not oppose biblical principles.

The shame of it is that there are Christians treating other Christians in ways that would result in a quick and successful lawsuit in the secular world. Our standards should be higher than the secular world's with regard to how we treat each other. The Bible could not possibly be clearer that loving one another and showing it is, along with fulfilling the great commission, our top priority. Maintaining doctrinal integrity is important, but not at the expense of treating people badly. The only exception I can find in the NT church is in the case of overt heresy. Am I missing something? I objected strongly when lifelon missionaries were terminated or forced out because they could not, with integrity, sign the B F & M 2000. Regardless whether this document includes only the best and most defensible interpretations of scripture, it should not have been used in this way. If these folks were breaking established rules, they should have been dealt with. However, to enter into an agreement with someone, then arbitrarily change the terms of that agreement and use it to fire people would induce any attorney in the secular world to begin salivating and counting his share of a huge punitive damage award. Worse, it indicates that the SBC and the IMB elevated relatively minor issues above the Law of Love. Could someone who favors their actions please explain the reasoning for me? What BIBLICAL PASSAGES can you use to defend placing priority on these relatively minor doctrinal issues over the preeminent command to love one another?

Bart Barber said...

With regard to antecedents, I think Bro. Wade has provided more than enough information to help us understand the antecedent. The remarkable revelation of this article is that the practice of suing one another has been vindicated by...

...an association of lawyers in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Wade this post seems strange. You have often stated that you believe in the sufficiency of scripture yet site an ecumenical board about how 1 Corinthians 6 is not sufficient. I am confused. Did you post the article because you disagree with their view of the sufficiency of scripture or are you changing your perspective on what part of scripture is sufficient and what is not? Just a request for a little clarification as an explanation about what this post is in response to.

Oklahoma Joe

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that some who would howl over a Klouda-type lawsuit would cheer on the Missouri Baptist Association for suing those god-forsaken liberals for taking over the 5 breakaway entities.

Anonymous said...

It's just a little bit of laying the groundwork...Hint, Hint, Hint, Justify, Justify, Justify, Sue, Sue, Sue...

Kevin Bussey said...

Why not try Christian mediation? I think it is tragic when believers take each other to court.

Pamela Cook said...

Steve A,

You are probably right about the gal not doing anything for fear of what other church members might think. Church folk can get mean at times, especially if they have not walk in the person's shoes.

However that gal may have another thing to consider. If she does sue her employer and at some point wants to find another job she will probably have a pretty hard time once a potential employer finds out that she sued another employer. She will be flagged as a troublemaker.

I know a Christian gal that worked for a Christian organization. She was fired from her job because she would not have sex with her boss. Because of the scriptures mentioned she did not file a lawsuit. I do not know how 'good' she feels about obeying that verse. She felt she was taken advantage of by a so-called Christian and had no recourse.

I currently attend a church that leans heavy on being a witness to the world. The leadership believes that the law of love should rule when dealing with lawsuits, especially when dealing with lost/backslidden people. This is not clearly stated in the word but I can see where they are coming from. They feel like our witness is more important that we getting what we can legally get from other people. They believe that the Lord wants to use us in every situation, including lawsuits, to see the people involved redeemed. How can that be done if you are fighting trying to beat down your opponent? In that mindset the only right to be in a legal situation with another believer would be if you are the one being sued and are forced to court.

I remember the first time I heard this I thought 'boy these people are truly mortified in their flesh'. The amazing thing to me is that this is not just theory. At least two of the teachers, including the pastor, have found themselves being sued by other Christians. This is how they live. It is truly amazing.

Ken Colson said...

Wade,As Jeff has said, Ken Sande has written an excellent book, "The Peacemaker". He is the head of an organization called "Peacemakers" based in Billings, Montana, my home state. He has Biblically based course work to help anyone work through issues to a Biblically based outcome of peace. I recommend this.

Wade Burleson said...

I'm at the Big 12 Tournament today. Everyone be nice. Don't prove me to be a prophet. :)

Bart, tell Jason hello for me.

Cecdaddy said...

Forgive me my ignorance, but when I read Wade’s post, I found it to be a follow-up, not a precursor.

While the post talks about legal action, I believe the words of caution in rushing to judgments are true in broader matters as well. James used legal language to show how we create "courts" within our own church bodies when we make distinctions between people (James 2:1-4).

With the news on Monday of the exchange through the press between Dr. McClain and Bro. McKissic, I and many others, either willfully or ignorantly, jumped to conclusions and judgments about the motivations and attitudes of either or both of these men. We did it whether we blogged about it or not.

James 4:1 says, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war against your members?”

Later, verses 11 and 12 say, “Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?”

I found the ending of Wade’s post,

“It would seem that before we make a negative judgment, or speak a critical word, against a brother or sister in Christ who feels led to file a cause of action, we should at least know the answers to the above questions from the perspective of the one involved in legal recourse."

"Until then, it seems the best course of action for those of us not involved would be to remember that God 'holds the heart of the judge in the palm of His hand, and he turns it whether so ever he will' and thank Him that He will ultimately make all things right.”

…to be a gentle and much needed rebuke. Perhaps he did not intend it to be, but I, for one, will take it as such, as well as an admonition to be less hasty in the future.

David Cecil

John Fariss said...

cdtlqWithout taking sides at all, I would like to point out one issue no one has mentioned: the 21st Century Americal legal system is vastly different from the 1st Century Roman system. Why might this be important? Because of PRESUPPOSITIONS. Paul's presuppositions in the Scripture might (or might not) affectv the application of this passage in today's world. Presuppositions always influence the meaning of a Biblical text, and we HAVE to examine those in order to know what God actually meant.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

The #1 point that the CLF has before us is; "(1). Listen to the counsel of your church leaders and other wise spiritual overseers." Are you advising Dr. Klouda to sue SWBTS?

In today's litigious culture I would agree that Christians should sue institutions if done wrong by the institution. However, that institution would have to be a secular institution, not a Christian institution. Sufficiency of Scripture prohibits Christians taking other Christians to court. In NC we have just lost our all of our Schools. While I disagree with this direction, I will yell from the top of my lungs that we do not sue them to get them back.

The only way you can hold to Sufficiency of Scripture in this case is to say that Scripture does not apply here. And that is where we had the moderates standing during the conservative resurgence.


Addendum--I am in no way saying that Wade is a moderate.

S.A.M. said...

AAAAH, yes. March Madness is drawing near. Enjoy the tourney Wade!


G. Alford said...


You said:
Sufficiency of Scripture prohibits Christians taking other Christians to court.

That is stretching it a little don’t you think? Perhaps you might need to preface your statement with “In my opinion” or “According to my Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:1-11” But to make a blank statement that the Sufficiency of Scripture prohibits Christians from ever taking other Christians to court is to link the “Sufficiency of Scripture” to “your personal Interpretation” and that is just a little over the top as you are painting the person who does not agree with your personal interpretation as someone who does not believe in the Sufficiency of Scripture.

Without the protection of our Legal System then every scoundrel out there is free to do whatsoever he desires to Christians and then claim “you cannot defend yourself because I am a Christian too”.

Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is a Christian, and not everyone who is a Christian always acts like one or does the right thing when confronted.

Grace to all,

Todd Pylant said...

While lawsuits are often used and abused, they CAN be the only legal means to seek justice. Paul was not above claiming his legal rights as a Roman citizen. He did not choose to be wronged instead of appealing to Caesar. Paul's teachings in 1 Corinthians encourages Christians to solve their problems without the aid of the court system, and to be personally wronged if that is not possible. But, would Paul agree that there are never any issues of justice so large that the assistance of the courts are not to be sought? Civil Rights would not be part of our country if some had not taken the issue to the legal system. It was not enough for Rosa Parks to just choose to be wronged; the injustice needed to be corrected. The "sufficiency of Scripture" claim does not over-ride the need for good hermeneutics. Excercising good principles of interpretation are no more an attempt to manipulate the Scriptures than equating my interpretation with "sufficiency of Scriptures."

Paul Burleson said...


It is obvious in this comment section that all of us are grasping for a clearer meaning of scripture on the issue of using the courts to settle problems. Since 1 Peter 2:13 indicates that God has established such courts for certain purposes, and we're to allow them to be punishers and protectors, and to submit to their jurisdiction, it does behoove us to attempt to understand what those purposes are and are not.

I'm in need of better understanding myself and am going to do my own study for my own blog. Your admonition to tread lightly in regards to judging anyone one facing such issues is well taken. Since neither party, on either side of any yet unknown litigation is my servant, but the Lord's, I personally will leave judgment to Him. But for my own understanding, and any people I might have teaching responsibilities for, some research is needed on my part.

Thanks for giving a reminder for the one and for being the inspiration for the other.

Anonymous said...

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you." (Matthew 5:38-42, ESV)

Kevin Bussey said...

I think it is a shame that two Christians would sue in a secular court. There are alternatives. I had the privledge of meeting a Christian Lawyer in Woodstock, GA who goes to FBCW.

He left his law practice to do Christian mediation.

Here is a linkChristian Mediation

Anonymous said...

Each of our SBC institutions has carefully drafted constitutions, bylaws, personnel manuals, policy manuals, etc. These are the standards for the practices and procedures of the governance of the institution. They are, by their very nature, legally binding. If these documents are violated by the administration and/or trustees who are supposed to uphold them, the redress requires a legal solution, in whatever form that takes. Mediation is almost always preferred, even in secular lawsuits. However, mediation generally occurs only after a lawsuit has either been threatened or is actually filed.


Tim Rogers said...

Brother G. Alford,

If we were speaking of say, women as deacons, you would hear me use, IMH, or according to my understanding. However, we are referring to a specific Scripture that as you look at the background, you find it deals specifically with Christians taking Christians to court. Or, to use Paul's words "Brothers". We are not talking about people who profess to be Christians but act like they are not. We are speaking to Paul's statement of Christians taking Christians to court. Paul says in verse 7. "The very vact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? NIV. The foot note in the NIV Study Bible explains the term "completely defeated". "Most likely by greed, retaliation and hatred, instead of practicing unselfishness, forgiveness and love--even willingness to suffer loss."

As I said, we are in a litigious society and secular institutions must be held accountable within the legal system. However, we now have a threat of a Christian bringing a Christian up on charges in a secular setting. As Paul asked:"Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?"

Brother Todd,

To charge that the Civil Rights movement would not have been successful without lawsuits is not even in the same context. Rosa Parks and other blacks were wronged and a nation was torn apart, which needed to happen, in order for that right to be corrected. However, Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement were not taking churches to court that movement was correcting a secular institution.

Taking a Believer to court or a Christian institution brings about a dichotomy in interpretation of Scripture and Sufficiency of Scripture. Either the Scripture is adequate or it is not.


bryan riley said...

I personally don't think a Christian should ever sue another Christian, individually. But, I do see a difference, at least technically, if the lawsuit involves an organization/company/school/entity. However, even then we as Christians must conduct ourselves in a way worthy of our calling. That is where I see those 9 principles coming into play. I think the caveats that you quote, which are great, should only apply when a Christian is thinking about suing a nonperson, and then they should go through that list. With regard to suing another individual who is a brother or sister in Christ, I would say that Corinthians is clear.

Your Christian attorney turned missionary, BWR

bryan riley said...

At the same time, your admonition not to judge should go without saying because scripture is pretty clear about that, too. :) As is it about gossip and backbiting.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Bryan,

Do you believe that Missouri acted in a proper manner of taking the renegade agencies to court?


G. Alford said...

Brother Tim,

The Scriptures are 100% Sufficient… Yet Mans understanding of the Scriptures is a little less certain... as the Apostle Paul said “For now we see through a glass, darkly”… The Sufficiency of Scriptures can only be argued for when the two parties agree upon what the Scriptures actually say… So trying to use the Sufficiency of Scriptures to support your opinion on this issue will not gain you a lot of points in this debate.

Now, back to the real issue… Are you suggesting that (1 Corinthians 6:1-11) teaches that there is never to be any Legal recourse for a Christian who has been wronged? After going to the one who is guilty of the offence and being rebuffed, after Christian mediation has failed to bring correction, are you saying that God forbids the Christian the use of the Legal System altogether?

What about rape, assault, or even murder? Is the Christian to suffer these without seeking recourse from the Legal System?

In my “Opinion” (and that’s all it is) the Apostle Paul is speaking of Frivolous Lawsuits as he mentions in the text “the smallest matters”.

And is their no such thing as a Christian Judge? Just a thought…

Grace to all,

Bob Cleveland said...

For what it's worth, I don't think there is such a thing as a "Christian organization" any more than there is a Christian nation. People are the only things that can be Christian.

These organizations will not be in heaven, and Jesus did not die for the SBC, SWBTS, or any other man-made entity.

And when an organization does something out of line, and the legal system is the only recourse, so be it.

James said...

Technically, the passage in question says nothing about "sisters" taking anyone to court. There's a "literal" reading for ya. :)

Good comment, Jason K, way up about 30 or so posts.

William Madden said...

There is a parable of Jesus in which he describes a woman who kept on pleading to a judge until she received the justice that was her due.

Also, we know that King David set up courts in the land to hear the complaints of the people and make sure that they were dealt with fairly.

If Jesus thought it was wrong for a woman to seek justice from a court, he would not have used this example in his parable. If David truly was a king after God's own heart, then we must accept that sometimes courts are necessary when all other approaches have failed and justice and wrongs have not been righted.

Alyce Lee said...

I'm not an attorney, a scholar, a theologian or a judge. I've read all these comments as well as the text of scripture.
Stephen always makes me think and I almost always agree with Bob, Bryan and Paul (among others)
In saying that, It seems we might just leave our 'protection' of saint/church status when our behaviour demands it. (Is it not possible to go out from that covering) As one commentor noted. If we behave like an unbeliever and claim we are a believer and can't be sued-that's pretty ridiculous.
Also, we have churches filled with unbelievers. This isn't after all FBC of China. It cost us NOTHING to belong. In fact, are we really not inferring to one sueing another. Aren't we really talking about agencies of the SBC? They aren't churches. Could you consider that perhaps, just perhaps, if we aren't holding them accountable-God might?

Alycelee said...

Sorry I left you out-it was you I was referring too.
Good comment

Bill Scott said...

I really appreciated your observation about how church membership here in the western world costs NOTHING. How true that is. That comment would have fit very well into yesterday's thread.
Bill Scott

Debbie said...

Alyce: Wise words and I agree with everything you have said.

Debbie said...

G. Alford: I think those who are just reading this, need to read your post. I see you brought up some really good points regarding this issue.

selahV said...

If all Christians took these guidelines to heart before filing for divorce, we wouldn't see any anymore. selahV

david j. sanders said...

Can we say foreshadowing...good work.

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bryan riley said...

Tim Rogers, I don't know anything about what happened in Missouri so I cannot respond. I'm not very knowledgeable of the politics within the convention, let alone state conventions.

bryan riley said...

I don't know that I agree with the notion that when someone doesn't act as a Christian the passage doesn't apply. I sure am glad that God doesn't approach me that way. I do think that if it is unknown whether someone is a Christian that we then need to think through these nine well thought out principles.

Colin said...

Ross makes the point earlier that lawsuits are inevitable because all Christians cannot go through life without being sued. In other words, involvement would always be defensive. If you want to talk offensive, then she makes valid points in regards to local church discipline and the casting out of those who claim to be "believers." But this is not contrary to Scripture, as she points out- believer and unbeliever. BUT do not miss the correct point here, that, judgment rendered as to someone walking in the faith is carried out by the local church through church discipline, not how you think someone is behaving. What leads the reader to conclude Ross is speaking of a brother taking legal action against a brother is the phrase "before commencing legal action." The brother is clearly commencing action, plaintiff style. Wade is making the argument that once criteria is met, a Christian may be justified in suing another Christian. (see a brother or sister in Christ who feels led to file a cause of action)

Matthew 18 dictates we judge, as a church. This of course is where the "believer acting like an unbeliever" fits in. The local church is to rule in that matter. Additionally, if you desire to apply the standard of who is acting like what, then you are judging the heart- "Well, he acts like an unbeliever, so I think he is one, and I am justified in suing." This is clearly outside any right you have been given. There is right judgment and wrong judgment. The right judgment is always rendered by God through His word. Someone going against the command of Scripture is judged by that Scripture, and that judgment is enforced by believers through the church.

Then you have the secular courts. They are judges in secular matters. When one murders, it is not the family that takes action, but the state, and rightly so.

Then you have the sufficiency of scripture and Deuteronomy 29:29. Is what you think Paul would have said given your criteria the important default action, or what Paul did say? The Corinthians passage is clear, not only in specifics but also in general principles. I hope the question wasn't "So what does this passage mean to you? How does it make you feel?" But from the everyone's interpretation is valid vibe, maybe that should have been the question.

Jesus Christ suffered shame knowing he would suffer it. A Christian is called to bear up under the pain of unjust suffering, not sue for personal rights. I am sorry, but it is ridiculous and irresponsible to suggest a Christian is justified in suing a brother because he has the right not to be trampled on. We were called to be trampled on.

Bart Barber said...


I'll be glad to. Jason who?

Bart Barber said...

I'm sorry, I really don't see how Jason's comment relates to mine.

Alycelee said...

I get the feeling we aren't all looking at the post from the same viewpoint. In fact, I looked at in a much broader application, perhaps I was out of sync.

It seems most were talking about brother against brother. Same church. But, what if your dispute is a business dealing with an elder at the Church of Christ. Whose counsel are you going to seek then? Which church are you going to submit to?

And Colin, I'm with you when you speak on being a servant, not 'demanding rights' I hear you and I agree. But there is a broad line from 1-100 when you talk about being trampled on. I'm not referring to proudly demanding ones RIGHTS as most American's see them.(and demand them) But if you're talking about physical danger or abuse, that does cross the line and people, especially women go to court all the time to stop it, they have to.

When Paul wrote to the church to settle these issues inside the church-there was one church. Today, we are a fragment of the body and in most cases we refuse to even work along side the rest of the body in ministry, how could we possibly negotiate a judgement with them?

Maybe I'm naive, I see the laws of the land and the court system as instituted by God for our protection. I believe that's why we are commanded to pray for those in authority.

Jeff Whitfield said...

usoThere is a vast difference between the criminal courts and civil courts. The scriptures are quite clear that the state is responsible for enforcing the law. See Romans 13:4 as an example.
But Paul is talking here about using the secular courts to settle disputes among believers. This is about lawsuits to preserve our "rights". Paul says we are better off being wronged for the sake of our witness rather than pursing a lawsuit before unbelievers. He does not say "just take it" though. He says that the Church itself is responsible for resolving disputes. We ned to take this responsibility seriously.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Hmmmm - who is suing who? Wade, is this paving the way for something?

bryan riley said...

Alycelee, I hear you, and what you are saying sounds good, but, I really wonder whether Jesus would have ever signed on as a plaintiff against any individual? I could see him suing a company, but an individual? Someone dream up the situation where He would do that. I'm not saying it wouldn't happen, but I would think there would be quite a few distinguishing factors involved.

Lawsuits in America are very ugly things. I happen to know.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Guthrie,

This SBC pastor only paves the way for his personal ministry and family. I, like you, am only calling for gentleness and respect toward those with whom you disagree over their choice of actions.

Wade Burleson said...

Back to the Big 12 basketball tourney in OKC.

Go Sooners.

Strider said...

I would not normally comment on a post like this but this commment string was annoying me. The whole point that Paul is getting at in 1Cor 6 is not that victims should take it like a man and roll over. The point is that there ought to be- must be those in the Church who will defend the abused and judge the wrongful doing between believers. If a person takes someone to court the fault does not lie with the victim of a wrong but with the Church who refused to meet out justice. I have no clue who Wade is defending here but if any of you know who it is then the answer is found in 1 Cor 6 - Do justice now before it goes to court. Are there any wise among us?

Wade Burleson said...


An out the door 'Amen.'

G. Alford said...


You said:
Matthew 18 dictates we judge, as a church. This of course is where the "believer acting like an unbeliever" fits in. The local church is to rule in that matter.

Just a couple of quick questions…

As Alycelee pointed out in her comment aren’t you assuming that both parties belong to the same local church? In Paul’s time there was only one local church, and the local church had the authority to discipline all the Christians in that city, but just how is a local church today to make a disciplinary ruling when one of the parties is not a member of their church and not under their authority.

Also, as Southern Baptist our polity pretty much makes church courts impossible as we do not recognize any authority outside of the local church. If we were Presbyterian that would be a different matter, as they actually have the means to judge a matter of offence between members of different churches.


Are you saying that it is ok for the Christian to sue another Christian in a Court of Law if they have the blessing of their local church to do so? Or if the local church has looked into the matter and is unable to get the offending Christian from another Church to do the right thing should the local church take any further action?

Just thinking out loud on these things…

Grace to all,

R. Grannemann said...

Jeff Whitfield is right, there should be no lawsuit. Take the the matter to the "church", in this case to the SBC messengers in San Antonio. I have no knowledge of this, but reading between the lines I suspect Ben Cole is out preparing the most gosh awful lawsuit we have ever seen on behalf of Dr. Klouda.

Paige Patterson has abused his authority in terminating Dr. Karen Bullock, Dr. Stephen Stookey and Dr. David Crutchley. Then he terminated Dr. Ken Hemphill so he could have his job. Then he terminated Dr. Michael Dean from the post of chairman of the trustees so he could install his lieutenant David Allen in that position. Most recently he broke his promise to Dr. Klouda and terminated her. Now he wants to terminate Dr. McKissic. There are innumerably more people he has terminated that are not mentioned here. Paige Patterson's solution to every problem in life is to terminate others. Now it is time to terminate him. Let's go to San Antonio and vote him out. But a lawsuit? Certainly a lawsuit would be more likely to succeed than the one in a hundred chance of voting him out in San Antonio. But that is for the messengers to decide. Still, a lawsuit is not right. Besides, we don't want to pull the Feds into our hiring practices. Let the SBC annual meeting handle it.

Or, simply use all the information Ben Cole is gathering to present a case to the San Antonio messengers to reinstall Dr. Klouda. How about that?

Alyce Lee said...

THE SBC and an agency of the SBC is not a church.

Thanks G. Alford-it seems no one wanted to even take a look at offenses of Christains outside of our denomination, surely we don't think we're the only ones :)

Jeff Whitfield said...

Bro Alford, I am saying that a Christian should NOT sue another Christian, whether they have their church's blessing or not because they do not have God's blessing according to the scripture. A CRIME should be reported to the police who's responsibilty it is to enforce the law. Again, those are two different issues.
While it is true, Alycelee, the SBC is not A church, it is a cooperation of churches with recognized denominational leaders. Surely the SBC has a few wise folks who can help resolve a dispute in a way that honors God, grows relationships between fellow believers and actually ehances our witness?
I again refer you to the Christian Conciliation ministry of Peacemaker Ministries at 'www.peacemaker.net' he resource page and read the free articles. These guys know their stuff. I teach and use these materials on the mission field, even with fellow M's!
We are all sharing our opinions here but these guys actually work through major issues utilizing nothing but biblical principles within the context of Church.

Jeff Whitfield said...

Sorry guys. I'm still struggling with getting that html right in a blog comment. You might just have to do the ol' cut and paste.

Colin said...


Do you really want to say this: I could see him suing a company, but an individual?

An as far as companys/institutions go, that is a cop out. Companies and institutions did not evolve out of the primordial ooze- there is always an individual(s) at the helm.

Further, g.alford, that is exactly what I am saying. The local church has the perogative of instituting church discipline on its own members. Tell me how you would keep someone in another church from taking communion?

Anonymous said...

"I do think that if it is unknown whether someone is a Christian that we then need to think through these nine well thought out principles."

How is it that you propose to KNOW someone is a Christian? Do you mean if is is unknown whether someone signed the BFM2000? Or was baptized in the right kind of church? Are some assumed to be Christian and for others it is unknown/suspect?

Only God knows our hearts. If we are to treat Christians in a certain manner, but it is okay to treat nonChristians in a different manner, how do you reconcile the knowledge that you might in fact end up treating a Christian in the manner acceptable only for non Christians?

Tom from Indiana said...

In light of the article in the Dallas Morning News regarding Dr. Klouda's lawsuit against SWBTS and Patterson, I think Wade's post has a real timeliness to it.

In reading Paul's instructions to the Corinthian Christians, it seems to me that he is saying something more along the lines of "As Christians, you ought to work things out yourselves rather than depend on pagan courts to work them out..." It does not seem to me to be an exclusion from pursuing matters of justice. It also should not be something that any Christian should hide behind to avoid doing right and making peace with another Christian.

A number of years ago I heard about a "Christian" businessman who ran a mortgage company in Atlanta. In many markets, mortgage companies actually don't mind loaning you more money than you need and/or more money than you can afford to repay if you have adequate collateral. This was the case in Atlanta. Upon reviewing the applications this guy would ask those applicants who were marginal if they were Christians. If they said yes, he'd turn them down. If they said no, he'd make the loan. Why? He didn't believe he should take a Christian to court, but he didn't mind suing a non-Christian.

I really don't think Paul intended such an interpretation and I think we ought to be embarassed when we accept such an interpretation. Further, we ought to be embarassed by fellow Baptists and Baptist institutions that cannot deal justly with others (whether Christian or not) and who try to hide behind Paul's instructions to avoid doing so...

Alycelee said...

Amen Tom.
Can you provide me the link to the news article about the Klauda/SWBTS case?

Alycelee said...

Nevermind Tom, I found it thanks

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For those interested, the article on Klouda's lawsuit can be found here

Colin said...


Like stop signs in small towns...

The imperatives of the Bible are merely...

divine suggestions?

Fine. If you want to take the divine suggestion route, than do not deny what Paul is saying:

The fact that you have lawsuits between believers is not justice for the abused, but rather already a defeat for you.

And, the fact that you take it before unbelievers, compunded with defeat, is shame. Now why are we so adamant about defending what Paul says should shame us?

He uses the verb tolmao- to dare, to take upon oneself... Do we dare to take our case before unbelievers? Do we presume to take upon ourselves this act of shame to the church?

I am not seeing the wiggle room here.

Alycelee said...

dyColin, we aren't talking here about offenses between two people in the same assembly.
With that, I agree.
We're talking, at least I am about outside the confines of "ekklesia" and outside of those confines I certainly do think there is much more than wiggle room.
As I said earlier, IMHO agencies, faith-based corporations, for profit businesses are NOT part of either the local assembly or ekklesia and can not take refuge in this text of scripture. (nor should they have to)

If they have broken the law, justice should be met out in civil courts. If our collective churches have oversite of said agencies and have sat by and turned a blind eye to injustices, the God help us.

I've about beaten this horse to death.

G. Alford said...


Ok, I understand you position… a Christian may NEVER EVER sue anyone who claims to be a Christian, no matter what that person does.

What about a Church? Is the Church also forbidden any legal recourse for wrongs done unto it… after all the church is not a building, or an institution, but is a group of individual Christians?


Yes, yes, yes, the local church is the proper place to handle a dispute between two members of that local church. No room for disputing this exists between us! I do not under any circumstances support two members of the same church suing one another.

However, how do you handle a matter between a Catholic and a Baptist? Which church gets to decide the issue?

I am not sure what communion has to do with this? But I would not attempt to prevent any properly Baptized Christian from taking communion in my church. Would you?

Grace to all,

Tim Rogers said...

Sister Alycelee,

You said; "As I said earlier, IMHO agencies, faith-based corporations, for profit businesses are NOT part of either the local assembly or ekklesia and can not take refuge in this text of scripture. (nor should they have to)" You have built me a straw man. According to this statement agencies of the SBC, and other faith based organizations, also places like Chic-fil-et should not operate according to scriptural principles. I do not think you intended to say that.

Also, if we relegate 1 Corinthians to the local church, then I can sue anyone that is not a member of my local church body. I am not even going to comment on the slippery slope that produces.


Anonymous said...


With all due love and respect. That seems like a "Landmarkist" statement. "Scriptural rules are only for the local/visible congregation." I do not think that is what you would want to say, but in view of previous discussions regarding Landmarkism, one needs to be consistent.

God's Grace,
John B.

Bob Cleveland said...

The real tragedy in this case is not that a suit was filed, IMO. It's that the institution and its administrator, that perpetrated this alleged wrongdoing, would not correct it.

If the courts and/or a jury hold that a wrong was committed, then a wrong was certainly done and the suit was certainly merited.

If we as believers are to respect our legal authorities, then so should our institutions.

But that's just my opinion.

Greg Hicks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Hicks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


My dear pink-hatted brother, I was always taught "2 wrongs don't make a right." Whether it was right for Dr. Klouda to sue is an issue. It is an issue that stands alone. Regardless of whether PP was right or wrong, Dr. Klouda will stand responsible before God on her own. We are not judged because of the sorry circumstances that life can hand us. We are judged by how we react to the sorry circumstances of life.

With Love,
John B.

Jeff Whitfield said...

Bro Alford, the principle is the same whether it is in regard to an individual, church, para-church, inter- or intra-denomintional. The issue Paul is getting at, IMHO, is about becoming more like Christ and preserving and even enhancing our witness to a lost world for the glory of God. Read this passage in the context of the rest of the epistle and indeed the rest of scripture, especially the New Testament. We are called to be Ambassadors of Reconciliation (2 Cor 5). Thus the "why not rather be wronged..." statement.
Believers and churches in the US have no concept of persecution. The sad fact is, most of our difficulties are self-inflicted or inflicted by fellow believers. Talk to a Chinese (or Middle Eastern or even European) believer about going to court when he is done wrong. Believers there have to pull together and live out the "one anothers" because the persecution is all too real for them. They would be (are) shocked about some of the petty stuff we get ourselves bogged down in. What has happened to dying to self? Loving our neighbor and one another? "...and this before unbelievers!" Christians are not the dominant culture in America that it once was and seems to think it still is. People are dying and going to hell and we are concerned about "my rights"! As one wise man has said, "it's not about you!"
Yes, there is some poor modeling by high profile leaders. But if we recognize the poor model and still imititate the poor model then we too are part of the problem. If I want things to be different in the SBC then it has to start with me.

Alycelee said...

Tim and John,
In fact, I think both of YOU are taking my statement out of context and worse, I suspect you both knew exactly the meaning of my comment.
If not I apologize.
However there are some here who insist the local/visable congregation can make judgements-yet time and time again I have and others and ask-what do you do with those of the Baptist persuasion being sued by Church of Christ or Mennonites?
The point I have unsuccessfully been trying to make is this: systems are NOT THE CHURCH.
I don't care if they are Baptist systems, Catholic systems whatever. Should the Catholics have handled their indiscretions 'in house'? They didn't, still aren't.
Let's cut to the chase shall we. I'm not talking about two people in the same church being mad at each other and suing. I've never seen it, never experienced it, never even heard or it and it shouldn't be so. That's NOT what I'm talking about and I think you know it. If you didn't-You do now.
By the way, that is a first for me, I've never been called a Landmarkist before. Liberal, moderate, all kinds of things-thats a new one.

Anonymous said...

I must have missed the comment in which who is suing whom is listed.

By the way, what if the judge is a Christian, can you sue then? Certainly you wouldn't be taking your case before an unbeliever...Maybe that matters...

Without a doubt that comment is tongue in cheek.

Anonymous said...

By the way that comment (with the tongue in cheek what if the judge is a Christian) is by me. I forgot to sign it...

David Eaton

Anonymous said...

Alyce, [I am using a very gentle tone]

I apologize for your offense. My statement did not say that YOU were a Landmarkist, only that your STATEMENT was Landmarkist [be careful with were you apply the spin]. Specifically I was referencing the following statement that you made...

"We're talking, at least I am about outside the confines of "ekklesia" and outside of those confines I certainly do think there is much more than wiggle room."

How do you escape the confines of the 'ekklesia' unless it is a visible church only? A Landmarkist would hold only to a Visible church.

One other word you may want to consider. According to the Dallas News, Klouda is not only suing the entity [SWBTS], but also the entity's president [Paige Patterson]. PP is a person, a brother of Dr. Klouda, and a child of God. I reference 1st Corinthians 6:5-6. "I say this to your shame... brother goes to law with brother." I fail to see the 'wiggle room.'

John B.

Debbie said...

Scripture interprets scripture and Romans 13 seems to be ignored.

Alyce: I understood what you are saying and I'm not a theologian. It was clear to me what you were and are saying. :)

Debbie said...

BTW Alyce: your statement is not Landmarkist, furthest from it. Whoever says this needs to look up what Landmarkers actually believe. :)

Colin said...


Paul doesn't confine his admonition not to sue to a single church, but to all believers. Why would you want to?

Further, if you want to argue against the local church in favor of a universal church ecclesiology, then church discipline isn't possible anyways, so you must accept everyone's word that they are a Christian.

Looks like the affadavit for the lawsuit is out: Dr. Sheri Klouda, represented by Gary Richardson of Tulsa, OK, et al, suing Dr. Paige Patterson and SWBTS.

Debbie said...

Jeff: I don't know what persecution such as some have experienced is like. Thankfully so. But what has this to do with the subject at hand. Staying on the subject would be more profitable.

Alycelee said...

John, let me ask you a very direct question and please answer me as directly.
If Sheri Klouda's assertions are proved to be factual and true, do you think Dr Patterson has violated his trust as President of SWBTS?

It would, after all be impossible to sue a corporation without naming those responsible there, would it not?

Should we John have let our SBC taken this to the floor of the convention and 'judged it'? Is that what we should have done?

The disregard for this woman, her life, her career, her family is totally repugnant to me-and that's only what I've heard in blog land, I'm not even talking about the chance that her lawsuit may be true.

Anonymous said...


I will answer clearly. If Paige Patterson has done anything immoral, he should suffer the consequences of discipline.

However, this post is about whether or not Sheri Klouda should sue, not whether PP has done something wrong. Do we really want to set a precedence for lawsuits?

Jesus could have sued the Pharisees for 'defamation of character' and the Romans for 'wrongful death.' Yet instead, He "suffered silently as a sheep before the slaughter."

I dare say, Paul would have spoken out about injustice, but would he have sued?

"For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong." 1 Peter 3:17.

John B.

Alycelee said...

Colin, I just ventured over to your blog. :)
I have a copy of the civil action on my desk
The law suit is against SWBTS first defendant,
Second defendant, leighton Paige Patterson,
and thirdly some trustees may be added.

Is there a local church Sheri Kloudi could have gone too? Come on-shes been tarred and feathered here.

You and I are never going to agree about this.
I pray for God's mercy and His judgement, because His are always right.

Anonymous said...


Why should we be afraid of judging this at the convention?

John B.

Alycelee said...

John, you say ... "Do we really want to set a precedence for lawsuits?"
Did we in any way perpetuate this? Think about it?
We've heard about this for a long time. Has there been a call from you, from anyone to SWBTS to account for it? Colin?
All things done in darkness will be brought into the light. Even if we try and ignore it. Even if she's just a woman.
This makes me sick and I'm ashamed.

Alycelee said...

John, once a year?
10,000 people?
Where is the precedent?
Why should a system judge the church or people in the church. I just don't get it. I love the SBC for what we can do together. But I fear we have fallen in love with a system and out of love with our first love. Especially when I see people guarding it with their lives.
This is my last comment.
I'm passionate about this and I'm hurt about it.
I believe the one person who needs to be helped, the helpless one is the one who is being trampled on and I can't talk about this any more.

Anonymous said...


I never said I did not feel for Dr. Klouda. My only point is IF it is 'unjust suffering,' it must be admitted that it is under God's allowance [remember Job?] and therefore should be suffered with a Godly attitude. Nowhere did I say this was easy, only that it is right. We do everything we can Biblically do to relieve the suffering, but we do not behave unbiblically to relieve suffering.

John B.

Anonymous said...


BTW, it seems that you are the one who has fallen in love with the system in that you did not want it brought to the convention floor. Why?

I honestly am not trying to anger you, only to get us all to think through the issues Biblically. Either the Bible is sufficient or it is not.

John B.

Debbie said...

John B: Read Strider.

Bob Cleveland said...

John B:

No disagreement. But I also agree with Romans 14:4.

Brother Josh said...

Nevermind. I stand corrected. It's clear now ;)

B.L. said...

"Brother Josh said...
Good post, but this seems slightly random. Did I miss something?
Thursday, March 08, 2007"

Aparently not, Josh...

B.L. said...

For Clarity:
My "apparently not" statement refers back to Bro. Josh's first statement...irony is a funny thing...

Rev. said...

Ross states, "We cannot state categorically that this passage rules out all lawsuits between Chistians today."

I agree with those who have already stated that the clear teaching of Scripture is that believer is not to take believer to court. St. Paul declares, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, "Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?.... I say this to your shame.... But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers! Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. WHy do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be defrauded?"

Anonymous said...


I may somewhat agree with Strider. I would need some more time to think about the context and theological ramifications. However, he states to the effect that when the church refuses to do something then there is warrant to sue. Tell me, when did the church refuse to do something? Was it with the Trustess of SWBTS? It was formally stated that SWBTS is exempt from 1 Cor. 6 because they are not a local church, so, Debbie, you cannot be referring to the Trustees refusing to do something, as they do not constitute the Church, as has already been argued in this post. I do not think you can make the accusation that the church has refused to do something until there is warrant to do so. I do not believe you have that warrant at this point.

Grace and Truth,
John B.

Anonymous said...

By dear brothers and sister,

My concern goes much farther than this particular instance. The question is, do we really want to start having theological issues solved within the court of law? Gender issues are theological issues, for it has to do with the very foundation of Creation. Does the court really have the final say of who is allowed to serve in what capacities within church life. I know, I know, the seminary is not a constituted church, but can we really separate the seminaries from the church in SB life? I do not think we can.

For the Church to place this issue in the court system is to set a precedence for other issues to be placed before the court. What if a professor were to "come out of the closet?" Would we want the court to decide if they have a right to teach within the seminary?

Perhaps the Episcopals thought that was a huge leap a few years ago, too. My concern is that whether the SBC would decide rightly or wrongly, do we really want the courts to begin to make these decisions. I, for one, do not.

With Grace,
John B.

Karen in OK said...

I don't really know how to comment on the Klouda lawsuit except to say that the concept of that kind of lawsuit troubles me.

But some of you who are saying that a Christian should NEVER sue another:
Suppose a Christian woman is being stalked by her Christian-or-not estranged husband. She is the innocent party, as much as one can be innocent. She is told she needs to file a restraining order.
You would tell her that she and her children should just suffer the wrong? Or you propose that your church will find this guy and deal with him?

Bob Cleveland said...

Random thought: I wonder what effect it would have on this comment string, if critical comments, relative to the lawsuit, were limited to those people who had actually helped Dr. Klouda in the difficulties brought about by her treatment at SWBTS.....

Steve A said...

We are not to leave our civil responsibilities and rights behind once we become believers. Paul didn't plea to the Sanhedrin to get to go to Rome to have his caqse heard. Christ backs up our involvement in gov't issues/ practices when he has us look at the imageon a coin, in this layman's opinion. Besides, I do feel God's hand led to the creation of this country and its legal protections.

The lady who lost her job due to sinful demands by her boss should definitely have sued, Klouda and those mistreated like her should seek civil justicem and if the lady I brought up asks my opinion, I'll back her suit up as well.

None of us are seriously asking Dr. Klouda's daughter and husband to wait until the SBC meets, are we? Even if the SBC were to demand that Dr. Patterson set things right, the testimony of his life leads me to assume he'd refuse to do so.

Jack Maddox said...

I read much about judgment on this thread...Wades admonition to us all not to be to hasty to "judge" others. Many here doing their best to 'wiggle' scripture to obviously fit their own pre determined opinions on what constitutes 'legal' biblical suits, brothers against brothers...yet all the while the many of you JUDGE Dr. Paige Paterson. I have in the last months seen him scoffed at, belittled, his integrity called into question. He has been accused of everything from "Robert Tilton" type extravagance to impropriety in the burial of a family pet. He is chided, made fun of, slandered and attacked from every side...yet have any of you noticed that he has not one time attempted to defend himself. He has never spoken an unkind word concerning anyone in this whole sordid mess. I spent some time with him in personal conversation this pas week and assured him of my prayers and not one time did he speak in a unkind or unseemly way of anyone involved. In fact all he said was that 'well, there is certainly a lot hurt going around, and I share much of it" but never, and I mean never did he snipe at, attack or insinuate anything even remotely negative concerning any of his known or unknown attackers. I have it from a very reliable source that his wife is deeply concerned and worried about him...that he is deeply wounded by all of this. That he is not dealing with it as he was once able to. One said this concerning it all..."Paige was able to hold up when it was the moderates that attacked him, but now that it's coming from inside his own house...this is the most hurtful thing" But hey, what does this matter to those of you who are so slow to judge yet you have already assured yourselves and are quick to tell others about the 'sin' and 'guilt' of one Paige Patterson. I mean it's obvious you all know so much about all of this going on don't you? I mean you get your information from Blogs. Blogs being the great source of Christian truth and virtue that we all love and appreciate.

Let me as you all a some questions.

1) Do you know Paige Patterson? Have you spoken to him personally about this whole issue? Have you taken your complaints about him to him personally? Do you know his heart? Is he an evil man? Is he a saint? What motivates his service? Do you know? Have you asked him? Have you prayed for him? Have you taken joy when he has been accused of being everything from a 'Nazi' to a 'racist' to a 'money grubber'
Those who are quick to speak of the alleged injustices to others while quickly committing the injustice of gossip, back biting and slander have a hard time convincing me of my need not to judge (I am not referring to Wade's post, however it's timing is very telling and curious to many)when all they have done is cast their stones at a brother who they really know very little about.

Let me sum up by saying that I am not blindly defending Dr. Patterson. I do not agree with him on every issue he champions. He has not always done the right thing...he has obviously made everything from mistakes to gross errors of judgment. Sounds like he might just be a fallen creature redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less. His contributions to 20th century theology and orthodoxy will hold their own merit in years to come, of this I am sure. But behind the myth and the persona which is Paige Patterson there is a man...just a simple man...Who loves Jesus, loves the church, loves preachers and people...and even loves those of you who are so quick to...dare I say it...


just one example: Steve A says

"Even if the SBC were to demand that Dr. Patterson set things right, the testimony of his life leads me to assume he'd refuse to do so."

The testimony of his life??? My Lord man!!!! What know you of this mans life? Of his heart? Of hs person?
This is shameful...and I mean it...shame on you Steve A...and shame on us all for judgeing Paige, Ben, Wade or anyone else as if our judgement or opinion matters

I pray all of this comes to an end soon. I fear only darker days loom ahead for our SBC.


Jack Maddox said...

John B

You are dead on!


Jack Maddox said...

"The disregard for this woman, her life, her career, her family is totally repugnant to me-and that's only what I've heard in blog land, I'm not even talking about the chance that her lawsuit may be true.

the 'and thats only what I have heard in Blog land' speaks to my previous point concerning gossip, slander and innuendo


Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

In legal terms,
there is no one at the head of a corporation, they are separate entities. if you sue a corporation you could bankrupt it but you couldn't bankrupt the president of that company unless you also sued him/her. for example Microsoft did you bad and you sue the pants off it--you would not bankrupt Bill Gates or take any money off him that's his. (the wonders of a corporation, it limits liability)

Lesson to be learned:
small companies are off-limits.
corporations are fair game with an ethical cause.

Ethical Causes: sueing for wages (unpaid ones)
sueing for benefits
sueing for illegal termination
sueing for libel and slander

take it how you want

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R. Grannemann said...

Jack Maddox,

I once felt like I was on the Conservative Resurgence side, but became disenchanted some years ago. Rather than being true evangelicalism, it became endorsement of the Republican Party and a war, American nationalism and science illiteracy. It became a denomination that didn't understand where the true threat lay. They fought off the people that could of helped them.

Oh yes, there was some critical analysis that went too far, and I'll actually give Dr. Patterson some credit for balancing some of that. But the CR brought back Dispensationalism which is just as destructive and in danger of confusing another generation. Or maybe I just grew too much in my appreciation of 20th century science to fit in anymore.

But from what you've written above, I see no indication that Dr. Patterson even yet "gets it" Sometimes I think I see some changes in him, but it just seems to come so very slow. Let me tell you what changed me. I stood on the rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and it finally "clicked" how the canyon was made (you can see it right there, though most visitors probably miss it). I learned enough science to understand "red shift", "microwave background radiation", "black body radiation" and "the death of stars." Somebody in the CR needs to understand this so they can grow. You will never look at the world the same again, and this is NOT some liberal conspiracy (though some of our seminaries now seem to think so). The CR is simply living in the 18th century. I'm probably not making much sense, but I'm trying to tell you what is wrong with the whole SBC and why the whole USA ignores us - and probably should!

Baptists will never be the same, and we shouldn't be. It is often through pain that we grow. Maybe some good will come out of all this - even out of the lawsuit. I hope so. We have so very far to go.

Debbie said...

John B.: You will have to clarify your post to me, because frankly I didn't understand it.

I will say I agree with Strider and think that what he said is pretty easy to understand, at least for me.

I also say that while I am sad that Dr. Klouda had to take the route she did, I am quite comfortable with her decision. It wouldn't matter if I were or weren't, it's her decision to make, no one else's..... to write as if she was the one who is doing the wrong however is ludicrous. She was wronged by Paige Patterson, Paige Patterson is not the one wronged. He is the one who did the wrong.

Rev. said...

Consider the conditions Ross identifies and elaborates on:

(2). Make sure your actions in pursuing the lawsuit are consistent with Scripture.
*Is suing a fellow Christian consistent with Scripture?

(4). Count the cost.
*Is taking the case before the secular media and the secular courts honoring to God and/or furthering the Gospel?

(5). Weigh the importance of this matter in the light of eternity.
*Consider the effects of our sin, our selfishness, our division, our lack of grace towards each other, on unbelievers. Think about how our Lord prayed for our unity in John 17 so that the world might believe.

(7). Explore alternate methods to settle the matter quickly.
*Is there not a better way to handle this?

(8). Examine the attitude of your heart.

Brother Josh said...

It's all good, b.l.

Much love, my friend =)

Jack Maddox said...


How is it you come to te conclusion that PP is the one who has wronged her? Please understand I am not defending him...I really do not know enough about it to make a "JUDGEMENT". Thats my point. We are quick to speak and quick to act like we are "In the Know" when in fact we all really do not know all that is involved.

WOuld you concede that this very well could be a theological issue? Maybe not one in which you agree but a theological issue none the less...and if so then is it prudent to have the courts decide theological issues for our SBC Institutions? Is that not what the trustee system is for? The Convention? Yet what we see in this forum and others are those like yourself that are so sure to assume that PP is the 'villan' when in fact there is no villain here...a serious impass and disagreement over the role of women in ministry...but n vilain.


Jack Maddox said...

r grannemann

I really do not know what my comments have to do with the Conservative Resurgence, but I am glad that you have taken the time to help me "Get it" I don't know what you want PP to "Get" I am sorry he still does not in your opinion "get it"...I did not know that the CR brought back dispensationalism...I did not know that it had left and gone anywhere...I did not know that this was even a issue...again, I guess I just don’t "Get it"...as far as endorsing the republican party and a war...I thought that was G. Bush and he is a Methodist...I am glad you had a good trip to the Black Canyon and that it changed your life...I took a trip to Calvary and it changed mine..so I guess I "Get" that...as far as not making any sense...on the contrary...you are making perfect sense...basically you are saying that conservatives are back woods, 18th century Neanderthals that have hurt the cause of Christ because of our inability to understand science and modernity and our preoccupation with the republican party and war...we spend to much time attacking text books...that if we would simply take the time to learn that we need to come to grips with

"science… to understand "red shift", "microwave background radiation", "black body radiation" and "the death of stars."

That we would understand and then begin to grow.

That makes perfect sense to me! : )

by the way...do you know Paige Patterson?


Jim Champion said...

Jack - do you not agree that the same trustees hired Dr klouda, then allowed her to be fired. Who, if not the courts is she to go to for an impartial hearing?

The SWBTS trustees are strong loyalists of Dr Patterson - I daresay that most are hand picked.

It is my hope that cool heads prevail at the next trustee meeting, a good and fair offer is make to Dr Klouda and that she takes it - and a strong apology from Dr Patterson and the Trustees is included.

this is not about women teaching or pastoring - this is about fairness in the workplace.

Debbie said...

Jack: The facts speak for themselves. No, I would not concede that this is a theological issue.

Alycelee said...

JRM-you misinterrupted my post.
I found out about this issue on blogs. I researched it myself.
I heard Mrs Klouda speak in her own words. I watched her as she spoke. I believed her. Have I made a final judgement, no. However, if all the charges listed in this civil action are true, it's sad nothing was done prior to this action-for it could have and should have been. I have confidence that God will sort it all out and I am completely confident in His judgements.

A disagreement over the role of women in ministry? Is that what you really think this is?
124 comments and this civil action is about women in ministry?

Jack Maddox said...


I disagree...this is not about fairness in the workplace, this is about a theological position that a presiding President of a SBC seminary has taken on the issue of Women in Ministry. You may not agree with PP position, but it is his and he will answer to the convention for it. Whether you and I like it or not that it is the system we have. For you to disagree is fair and I realize that there is another position to hold...but trust me on this, With PP it is purely theology. However my comments were geared more to the hypocrisy of being told not to judge by folks who have been consumed with the judgment of PP.
As far as the suit...for me that also is a theological issue that Ms Klouda will have to work through and answer for...I am not her judge...however I do believe that John B and Rev have nailed it!


Jack Maddox said...


Thanks for clarifying your position. You and I certainly agree that God is the final arbitrator and judge.
Yes, I do believe that this has everything to do with PP"s view on the role of women in ministry. He is very clear on this and has a track record...he does not want women teaching in roles that he deems are pastoral in nature and deal with pastoral theology...to him the biblical languages have everything to do with exposition which is a pastoral function...so yes, from his perspective it is theological.

I do not know what bearing 124 comment has to do with the reality that this lawsuit is because of perceived mistreatment of a employee and the employee happens to be a woman...so yes, I do believe that this is what this is about.

Or maybe PP just does not like women...perhaps that is what it is...he is a genuine he man woman hater! : )

By the way..do you know PP and have you spoke with him concerning this issue?

I am also curious where you heard Ms. Klouda speak?


If it is not theological then what is it pray tell?


Jack Maddox said...

This was a interesting observation made by 'Big Daddy Weave"who is by the way,no friend to us spooky fundies, on another web site

"I did find it interesting that the lead attorney in Klouda's suit is Gary Richardson. Gary Richardson is Wade Burleson's personal friend and attorney."

WOW! Talk about quick to judge!


R. Grannemann said...

Jack Maddox,

Yes, you did "get" what I was saying. However, I don't think it only help conservatives "grow" but will also help them be a little less persecutory.

No, I don't know Paige Patterson personally, but I did personally know some of the people he "fired."

Anonymous said...

If either side of this issue was really concerned about the witness of the SBC, they would not not continue to discuss this in the press. But discuss it in the press is exactly what they have done and will continue to do. Politics on both sides. Klouda could have filed gher lawsuit and sought redress and court (which I agree she should do) without dragging the name of the entire convention into the mud.

I don't think either side of this debate has clean hands when it comes to protecting the witness of the convention. None of the public discussion was needed. As soon as it became obvious that Paige Patterson wasn't going to talk - the obvious step was court. There was no need to bring this to the press.

It is time for folks on both sides to start showing a certain amount of decorum and concern for the greater cause of Christ.

By the way, Klouda was teaching more than languages. Go back and check her teaching schedule. Her exegesis courses on Old Testament books required standing over men and applying Scripture authoritatively. If that wasn't done, then her high marks as a teacher were undeserved.

At least leave this one up for more than thirty minutes before you delete it.

Wade Burleson said...


Your concern about the witness of the SBC is not shared by me, nor have I claimed to be concerned.

I am concerned with justice, treating people with respect, and honoring Christ.

Anonymous said...

I am a 1977 female graduate of SWBTS. It saddens me that the precious memories I have of those 2 1/2 years on The Hill will not be memories of current students in 2007. Jesus must be highly disasppointed in the self-serving attitudes of those in charge. I think of all the widow ladies and their widow's mites that are buying headstones for dogs! Mercy, Jesus have mercy on us. Genoa McMahan

Anonymous said...

Paige Patterson jumps the theological shark!

-I challenge you to visit the SWBTS website and listen to PP's 03/08/07 chapel sermon. Listen carefully to his conclusion and exhortation to the seminarians and be afraid; be very afraid.