Thursday, May 10, 2018

Patterson Must Apologize to Those He's Harmed: Part II of Sheri Klouda's Story in Her Own Words

This is Part II of Dr. Sheri Klouda, former Professor of Hebrew at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Part I can be read here. Dr. Patterson, when you apologize to Dr. Sheri Klouda personally, as well as other women whom you've harmed with your unbiblical beliefs about women and your patriarchal behavior toward women, your apology for your insensitivity toward women will be deemed genuine.

Part II of Sheri Klouda’s story in her own words.


Written by Sheri Klouda

It wasn’t until the end of the academic year (May, 2004) that anything significant happened. I did my best not to wear bright colors or clothing that would draw attention. I attended faculty meetings and events, but remained quiet.

I spent most of my time teaching and working with my students, and actually, taught 6 credit hours over my contract requirement. I finished a book length manuscript, contributed to publications, garnered a number of doctoral students interested in writing about biblical intertextuality, wrote for an Apologetics study Bible, worked on a translation and commentary of Psalms for another Bible, continued my studies with Stephen Geller at Jewish Theological Seminary, gave papers at SBL, and taught 7th grade Sunday School. 

I met regularly with students, and carefully monitored everything I said and did. I didn’t stay in the faculty lounge any longer than necessary, I didn’t meet in totally closed door settings with male colleagues; actually, I really did not spend an inordinate amount of time with any of my colleagues in the interest of appearance and discretion. In some ways, it was a bit isolating, but I really enjoyed my work so I didn’t let it bother me too much. I received high marks in my student evaluations, and I felt confident that I was making a difference in the kingdom of God.

In May, as soon as classes were over, I was summoned to the Associate Dean’s office. He told me that Paige Patterson wanted me to actively seek a new academic community as soon as possible. I asked him what I had done, and if there wasn’tsomething I could do to stay at the seminary. I expressed to him that I had done everything to stay below the radar, and that finding another job is not that easy. I asked how long I had to find another job, and the dean told me that there was no specified time limit, but he indicated that I needed to leave before it was time for me to come up for tenure. (Dr. Patterson, by the way, does not believe in tenure). The dean also told me that the seminary would do everything it could to help facilitate a transition, but that Paige did not want me to speak a word about this to anyone.

Continuing to teach at the seminary in the meantime relied on my total silence. I was also instructed that if I consulted or mentioned anything about an attorney, that the conversation would stop there. Admittedly, I was blindsided, simply because I took Paige at his word, and I wasn’t sure what to do next. There were subsequent conversations throughout the first part of the summer with the Associate Dean, and I asked him whether it would be appropriate for me to write a letter to Paige formally asking if there was some way I could continue at the seminary. I did so, and the dean took it to Paige.

Since, of course, I needed references for applications of employment, a few faculty members in positions of authority were aware of the circumstances behind my job search. During the 2004-05 semester, I began supervising doctoral dissertations and masters’ theses, teaching a doctoral reading seminar, and attended an ATS conference on research grants and writing. I continued to present at the professional meetings, write and edit, and complete my post graduate courses with Dr. Geller, combined with teaching a full schedule. 

On occasion, I was asked to report on my progress of finding another job. The Associate Dean conveyed to me that Paige was impatient and disturbed that I had not yet moved on. I was asked to keep a log concerning when and where I applied for positions. There were just not that many open positions in Evangelical institutions for biblical language professors and the field was very competitive.When I managed to interview for a position, I had to explain “why” I was looking for another job. In some cases, the fact that Paige was dismissing me because of my gender presented a disadvantage, since I believe some institutions did not want to get in the middle of a gender dispute, and others wanted to avoid crossing Paige. 

In other cases, more progressive institutions shied away from candidates with degrees from religiously conservative institutions, regardless of the applicant’s qualifications. It was also at this time that Dr. Terri Stovall contacted me, asking if I was interested in teaching Biblical Hebrew to the ladies. I explained that I would be happy to, but that she needed to check with Paige and Dorothy because I did not think they would approve the idea. I never heard anything else about it.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, I saw a great deal of professional growth. The student projects I supervised were well under way, and I was awarded a Theological Scholar’s Grant of $10,000 by the Association of Theological Schools for a book project. I had completed my additional work with Dr. Geller, and I was involved in a number of research projects. I began attending interview panels for potential doctoral students, and participated in interviews for new positions. 

I spoke at the opening of what at the time was the Institute for Biblical Literature Library on the Southwestern campus. I met with Paige in the Fall of 2005, asking once again if there wasn’t some way I could continue to work there, even in the College. I explained to him that I worked hard at finding another job, and asked if there was something he could do to help. I also explained the position he was putting my family in. He did not have a response at that time other than to thank me for coming in and reinforcing his opposition to my teaching at Southwestern.

In the early spring of 2006, the Associate Dean came to my office. He told me that Paige Patterson would no longer allow me to teach, and that I would not be on the class schedule for the next academic year. I could remain in my office, and come in each day, but that I would not be teaching at all. I made an appointment with Paige and went to see him. He allowed that they would continue paying me for the time being, but that there were no guarantees beyond the Fall of 2006. I also met with the Dean, who counseled me that I should explain to all my classes why I would no longer be able to teach at the seminary.

In some ways, this was a humbling experience; in other instances, there were questions I could not answer, and some students expressed incredulity at the idea that I was being asked to step down, thinking surely, I could appeal.

In the meantime, Taylor University contacted me in April of 2006 as the result of a recommendation by a colleague, and eventually, I accepted a job there. We had only lived in our house two years, and the recession began shortly after we moved to Upland, so we lost money on our home in Texas when we sold it 9 months later, and were unable to buy another home in Indiana for years.

The employment situation in rural Indiana made it difficult for my husband to find a job paying more than $7 an hour. I accepted a large cut in salary, and while we had medical coverage, I had to wait to invest in my retirement account. I am, however, eternally grateful to the University for their confidence in me. I was always treated fairly and everyone, including the administration, was very supportive.

 One thing worth mentioning: I worked in a department that was dividedregarding the roles of women in teaching biblical studies and theology; nevertheless, we were all able to acknowledge our differences and work together for the benefit of the school and our students. The school provided a safe place for my family to live and work, and I appreciate all they did for us.


Part III to come...


Bob Cleveland said...

One might surmise that the bad things which result from Dr. Patterson's actions, throughout all eternity, may well outweigh any and all good his activities in the SBC or at SWBTS.

Victorious said...

It takes a cold, hard-hearted individual to treat a well-respected, diligent, conscientious professor in such a manner.

I admire the way Dr. Klouda conveyed the sad, unfair events that transpired with no hint of animosity but simply providing a journal of factual occurrences. I can't imagine the emotions these incidents and such treatment evoked (and still do most likely.)

Thank you, Dr. Klouda for your willingness to share your story which will, no doubt, give strength and courage to others who may have or will experience such discrimination in the future.

May the Lord Bless you and keep you....

Mary Ann

Sallie Borrink said...

Every time I try to comment on one of these posts I have to delete everything I write and repent of what I was thinking when I wrote it.

I'm ready to break out the imprecatory prayers toward the people doing evil in these situations. It's disgusting and vile, especially at a CHRISTIAN SEMINARY.

Wade, you have far more faith than I do in Patterson. I wouldn't trust his apology to be anything more than an attempt to deal with potential fallout and maintain his power. True repentance for this level of wrong doing would require some real brokenness, not just an apology.

Rex Ray said...

Patterson showed his true colors when he THANKED Dr. Kouda for reinforcing his opposition to her teaching at Southwestern. The ultimate cutdown was not letting her teach but to stay in her office. That’s treating her like a kid to go stand in the corner.


I believe you’re right about any apology from Patterson. It’d probably be like the one he gave at a SBC for allowing a Muslim to go to school at Southwestern.

Basically he said he was sorry some had hurt feelings, and ended up sounding like a martyr: when I stand before God, it can’t be said that I turned anyone away from having a chance to be saved…blah blah blah Boohoo, boohoo; poor Patterson; getting criticized for trying to help a lost person; shame-shame.

Scott Shaver said...

Man. I bet you Miss Dorothy can flat button-hole ole Paige every now and then.

Christiane said...

I think once Dr. Klouda told Patterson about her husband's illness, that he had an added burden on his conscience if he continued to cause stress and worry to her life. There is something 'else' in his unkindness towards her that troubles. And that I find disturbing because I think it is deep-rooted and would be hard to overcome . . . and yet, he must . . . he must at least make effort sincerely.
May God give him the grace to repent fully. And asking forgiveness of people that he has injured might be a way of his celebrating his faith in Christ.
I know confession well and what a Christian goes through to prepare for it, and what must change in one's own life in order for confession and repentance to be meaningful . . . it's not easy, but it does bring a needed peace.

Former Student said...

I arrived to do my MDiv in the Spring of 2001. I had great professors Klein, Taylor, Bingham, Blount, Tolar, Spivey, Swain, etc. After PP arrived the diversity of thought within the bounds of orthodoxy was choked out. The ethos changed. He touted goals of enrollment numbers reaching 5000. I wish someone had a recording of the promise. I realize that his comments are owning the spotlight. Why hasn't his poor leadership ever been questioned? He is a gifted Christian and I believe his motives are as pure as most leaders. However, he is not a good seminary president. That is ok, neither would I be good at it. I just don't understand why no one ever seems to question the SWBTS decline and dismal atmosphere that settled over the school under his watch.

Jerry said...

True apology involves repentance which is shown by actions. Certainly we do not know Dr. Patterson's heart but meeting with Dr. Klouda and acknowledging his deep regret for the pain he caused her would show his true heart. At least that's what my mother taught me - I hated that when I was a young boy.
He could also forego speaking at SBC convention - his speaking would exacerbate the situation - in my opinion.
Even more proof of genuine repentance would be to retire from his presidency.

Jerry said...

True apology involves repentance which is shown by actions. Certainly we do not know Dr. Patterson's heart but meeting with Dr. Klouda and acknowledging his deep regret for the pain he caused her would show his true heart. At least that's what my mother taught me - I hated that when I was a young boy.
He could also forego speaking at SBC convention - his speaking would exacerbate the situation - in my opinion.
Even more proof of genuine repentance would be to retire from his presidency.

Scott Shaver said...

Why are apologies even needed? So he can go back to doing same as last 30 years. Apologize and accept apologies is both fine and Christian.

But change locks so the SBC doesn't have to air this particular dirty laundry any longer.

"Insanity". Doing same thing over and over expecting different results.

Ray said...

Dr. Tolar once told us a story about when he was a young pastor and he had counseled a woman whose husband was a drunk and abusive. A few days later the husband saw Dr. Tolar downtown and came over to him clearly agitated. When he got close he swung at Dr. Tolar who, being a former boxer, ducked and then knocked the guy out. That’s how you deal with an abusive husband. :).

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon L. Estes said...

Will there be a call for an apology and repentance from the many who are spewing hate through your blog towards a fellow believer?

Selective sin targeting is sad.

Rex Ray said...

Jon Estes,

If you were president of SWBTS, would you have fired Klouda? If not, why do you defend the “fellow believer” that did?

“…you can identify people by their actions.” (Matthew 7:20)

Rex Ray said...


We better stay low in that “foxhole” or Estes will do us in. :)

Rex Ray said...


“The 2018 Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting will convene at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas on Tuesday, June 12, at 8:15 a.m. and conclude Wednesday, June 13, at 4:55 p.m.”

That’s not the good news. The good news is Patterson’s name is not mentioned on any scheduled events and all prayers have other names listed.

Scott Shaver said...

Sad also is wholesale "dismissal" of sin based on hero-worship and SBC politics.

Scott Shaver said...

Reread my words Christianne. Carefully.

Scott Shaver said...

He's firing rubber bullets Ray.

Jon L. Estes said...

Rex Ray -

Sorry, but my comment was not in support of or anti of or Dr. Patterson.

It was a simple, and I think fair, question.

Jon L. Estes said...

Rex Ray,

Let me also say... I would not have fired Dr. Klouda. I would have been glad to see her continue to be used by God at SWBTS (or any of our seminaries), if I were President.

John E. Gatliff II said...

Rex Ray's claim that "The good news is Patterson’s name is not mentioned on any scheduled events and all prayers have other names listed" is wrong. I just looked at the entire 2018 SBC Schedule and Patterson is listed on several sections:

Wednesday 9:36 AM Evangelism Task Force Report Paige Patterson, chairman; president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

Wednesday 9:55 AM Convention Sermon Paige Patterson

Wednesday 10:40 AM Joint Seminary Presentation and Reports . . . . Paige Patterson, president, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas

AND THAT's THE REAL "GOOD NEWS" . . . the mobocratic attempt to destroy him is dying.

Sallie Borrink said...

If someone doesn't feel righteous anger more than once on behalf of Dr. Klouda (and other women who have been treated in a similar fashion) while reading these accounts, then they aren't paying attention or don't understand how wrong all of this is. Righteous anger and doubting someone's track record of sincerity isn't spewing hate. It's called being discerning.

I've been through spiritually abusive situations a couple of times. I no longer allow myself to be intimidated by those who would try to shame me into silence for speaking against a "fellow believer." Evil and wrong doing needs to be called out. What was done to Dr. Klouda, A SISTER IN CHRIST, was SIN. It would be seen as abusive in a secular workplace. In a CHRISTIAN SEMINARY? It makes it a hundred times worse.

Anonymous said...

Patterson Apology:

Anonymous said...

I appreciate Dr. Klouda’s courage in sharing her story here. Although I cannot verify the details Dr. Klouda shares about SWBS, I can verify the Patterson modus operandi she speaks about. To be more specific, I taught for many years at a school in Ohio that underwent massive change about six years ago, a school at which Patterson is still a trustee—Cedarville University. Patterson was the apparent architect of the ultra-fundamentalist, hyper-complementarian SBC takeover of CU at that time, and he basically handpicked the new president. Although the takeover was not ostentatious or obvious to outsiders, for all intents and purposes, it was meant to right a ship certain members of the board and constituency believed was veering left. Many veteran faculty have felt, as I did when I was still there, that we had suddenly found ourselves in “occupied territory.”

What Dr. Klouda shares about her experiences mirror female faculty’s experiences at CU, especially the one female Bible professor ousted in similar fashion to Dr. Klouda when the new president arrived. But so much more happened, too; everything about CU’s work environment changed instantly. For instance, the new president told all us faculty in the first meeting he had with us that if we didn’t like the changes, we should leave—and he’d have the career services office help us find another job. He also told us in that same meeting he had both the ability and the willingness to survey all social media (something he’d done consistently at his previous job, yes, at Patterson’s seminary), insinuating that he would come after us if we posted anything negative about him or the university.

I could go on with many more specific details, but I don’t want to detract from Dr. Klouda’s testimony. I’m just here to say I get it. I’ve seen Patterson in action, heard him speak in chapel (in horrifying ways), and worked under a president who often says Patterson has been one of the most influential men in his life--that Patterson has been, and still is, his closest friend and mentor, his hero, a man like a father to him. We at CU knew about Patterson’s misogynist views and comments years ago—we’d read them. We didn’t want him on our board wielding power. But the trustee board itself was purged before the purging began in the faculty. Patterson had all the power. It is not surprising then that his pick for president has often spoken in insensitive, hurtful ways about and against women in his chapel messages, in committee meetings with faculty, and to individual female faculty. He is following in Patterson’s footsteps.

Rex Ray said...

HORROWS! How could I be so blind?

Gatliff is right about Patterson’s sermon at 9:55. Maybe that name knocked my eyes shut. I thought it strange Gains had forsaken his ‘golden boy’.

I thought a prayer was bad, BUT a sermon! I’m afraid my atrial-fib can’t take it.

This link gives names, church, and address of 257 men who have signed the letter below to the SWBTS Board of Trustees.

The page long letter states in part, “:…We join our voices with theirs [women] in urging you to exercise the authority you have been given by the churches of the SBC and to take a strong stand against unbiblical teaching regarding womanhood, sexuality, and domestic violence. We are aggrieved by Dr. Patterson’s remarks at the 2014 AWAKEN Conference in which he used the Bible to defend a teenage boy’s objectification of a teenage girl…These comments and his decision to share them give the watching world cause to question Dr. Patterson’s character and his view of women…Dr. Pattersons remarks have been public for four years without reprimand by your board…suggest that the unbelieving community takes a stronger stand on the public treatment of women than Christians…We declare it is not. Dr. Patterson’s behavior confuses the message of the Gospel. His continued leadership…calls into question the witness of the SBC. 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.”

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”.

Anonymous said...

So Dr Patterson will preach in an auditorium named after a divorced woman, Kay Bailey Hutchinson? If he banished a podium used by one of SWBTS best teachers, Dr Bullock, how will he lower himself to preach in a place tainted by such a divorced woman?

Christiane said...

it occurred to me that Dr. Patterson may not realize that making amends by apologizing to those he has hurt is an opportunity

Making amends is not easy, but it is not a 'punishment', no . . . . it is a chance to ask for the person's forgiveness/ or at the very least, to say 'sorry' for what was done . . . it's a way of taking ownership of the wrong-doing and confronting it and it is an outward sign of remorse

part of remorse is a commitment not to do the same harmful thing again, and to avoid all of those things which might lead you into temptation . . . . you really have to re-think your behavior in order to reach this stage . . . it's a very grown-up activity and it's not for the faint hearted

Anonymous said...

As a Cedarville College alumnus, class '97 this saddens me. I cannot in good conscience recommend any of my childrens' attendance at my alma mater. Things were not perfect with the GARBC, but they were better than now. It will be interesting to see if the university moves to cut Patterson loose.

Cathy Madden said...

I do not know what to say...but I have always felt that Dr. Patterson's PROMISE to Dr. Klauda that her job was safe and then to break his word was the end for me! Christians must always remember that the world is watching us with keener eyes than others. Shameful treatment of fellow brothers and sisters speaks volumes! Dr. Patterson treated me and my husband over the loss of our son with sincere kindness and for that I am grateful. I pray for healing for Southwestern and for Dr. Patterson to ask himself whose cause he puts first - the cause of Christ or his own. I am happy Dr. Klauda you have settled in to a new life and I know your desire was not revenge just mercy and fairness. God Bless You!

Unknown said...

Often, even after repentance, there are consequences to correct the social and communal ill that came about from the sin. 2 Samuel 12 comes to mind. Even with Ps 51 in view, David’s son was taken from him ‘because [he] treated the LORD with such contempt.’ The witness of Scripture is that your treatment of the LORD is reflected in how you treat his children, your brothers and sisters, and ill treatment of them, even with repentance (notice what happened in the lives of the children of David), can (often) bring about severe and public punishments.
Repentance does not alleviate punishment due to the consequences of the sin.
True repentance is best and biblically displayed in acts of reparation equal to the level of the sin. Even Zacchaus, baby Christian that he was, understood it. Surely those who see them selves in positions of leadership, would recognize and adhere to that principal with more than a sermon. Good chance that if they do nothing themselves God will extract it himself.

Unknown said...

I know that in the case of the sin of Darrell Gilyard, Patterson, who was his 'father/mentor', told him that he should step down and not preach for at least two years (if memory serves). Gilyard's whole being was tied up in his standing before a crowd and preaching. It was a severe (and many said, righteous) punishment in line with the recommended repentance. It was not, of course, heeded. And sin followed sin as those who know his story are well aware.

I will believe Paige Patterson in his apology when he measures to himself such a recommendation.

Christiane said...

I believe that if PP could honestly go to the people he has injured and ask their forgiveness, it would be an act of humility that would enable the Lord's grace to help heal his soul. Every time he knowingly injured someone, he hurt himself worse.

I don't think he's 'there' yet. But in time, when he himself has suffered 'loss' of a job, of income, of prestige, of what he clung to in THIS world; maybe he will be able to be sorry that he did cause many people to suffer while he was blinded by power and arrogance.

Maybe it's a blessing this has happened to him. Grace sometimes comes to us in strange forms. And then, we only recognize it when it has changed us and healed our souls.

I hope God helps PP to come to repentance and healing, that he doesn't leave this Earth carrying the weight of having hurt all those people. God have mercy.