Friday, May 10, 2019

A Victim Turns To Victor - Megan Lively Graduates

Megan, Danny Akin, and Vincent Lively
On May 10, 2018, one year ago today, Megan Lively, fighting through her fear and inner anxieties, reached out to current administrators at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina to report that the sexual assault (rape) committed against her while she was a student at SEBTS in 2003 had not been properly handled.

Back in 2003, when Megan reported to SEBTS administration that she'd been raped by a fellow SEBTS student, then SEBTS President Paige Patterson and three of his proteges met privately with Megan and shamed her with their questions and lack of empathy. President Patterson told Megan that the matter would be handled "internally." The police were "not to be notified."

Last year, when Megan came forward again to tell her story, the current administration of SEBTS did what they could to help Megan. But due to a lack of access to written records from 2003, and due to the fact police had not been notified, nothing much could be done.

That's when Megan Lively reached out to me, and I put her in contact with my friend at the Washington Post

The rest, as they say, is history.

Well, not really.

Today, May 10, 2019, Megan Lively graduates from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with her Master of Divinity Degree.

Megan dropped out of seminary after her assault in the early 2000s, just hours short of finishing her seminary degree. Megan no longer desired to continue her seminary education.

This past year, through the efforts of SEBTS President Danny Aiken and the encouragement of many others in Megan's life (including her incredible husband Vincent), Megan re-enrolled at SEBTS to finish her degree.

Today, Megan will walk across the stage at SEBTS to receive her Master of Arts diploma from SEBTS.

Congrats, Megan.

You are an example to women everywhere who've been abused sexually or physically.
Abuse doesn't define your personality.
Abuse doesn't determine your opportunity.
Abuse doesn't destroy your equality.
By the way, Megan, you have an open invitation to teach and tell your story at Emmanuel Enid any Sunday morning you desire. After all, you discuss the Scriptures in the seminary classrooms with men present, and until someone can show me from Scriptures that the "building" where the church gathers on Sunday is more sacred than the seminary classrooms on Monday, my invitation stands.

Megan, may your courage, determination, and accomplishments always be an encouragement to abuse victims on their road to recovery victory.


Debbie Kaufman said...

I love this! I hope Megan takes you up on the offer to speak at Emmanuel. I would love to meet her and shake her hand. What a wonderful beginning to Megan's new story.

Sallie Borrink said...

This is such a wonderful and encouraging update. I'm so glad she was able to complete her degree. Thank you for sharing Megan's story with us.

Christiane said...

Oh my goodness, what a travesty of justice Megan endured.

'Felonies are THE MOST SERIOUS TYPE OF CRIME and are often classified by degrees, with a first degree felony being the most serious. They include terrorism, treason, arson, murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and kidnapping, among others.'

Congratulations to Megan on her overcoming of this injustice, in spite of how her situation was (not) handled by those she trusted and went to for help.

Her graduation is a mark of strength of character and determination in response to the harm she endured.

May she go forward from strength to strength. Very encouraging news, this.

Shawn Clarke Madden said...

Good for her!!

Rex Ray said...


I’m glad Megan’s life has become a success story. It was her story of days gone by that reminds me of David and Goliath; her being David and Paige Patterson being Goliath.

But Patterson still has HIS ‘Flag’ of honor, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 that rules all States except Virginia and Texas. That BF&M rules that only men can be pastors and women must submit to their husbands.

In my opinion that conflicts with the teachings of Jesus.

If I remember right, you signed ‘his flag’ with reservations.

I’d like to see the SBC write a new Baptist Faith and Message, or adopt the 1963 one that Virginia and Texas abide by.

Bob Cleveland said...

Genesis 50:20 comes to mind.....

Bob Cleveland said...

And ... God used chapter 1 of her story to bring down an entity head who really did need to be brought down, and Chapter 2 will doubtless inspire many, many people who really do need to be inspired.

In the mirror of eternity, she will stand tall.

Christiane said...

Hello out there REX RAY and BOB CLEVELAND,

a question:

do you think one of the main reasons for Patterson's BF&M 2K replacing the 1963 BF&M was so a more 'patriarchal' misogyny sin could be installed ?

I don't think Patterson could have 'justified' his treatment of women under the '63 version, no. I'm an 'outsider' so I know I may not see into what happened, but just reading the '63 version and what was taken from it and discarded seems to have cleared the way for the whole patriarchy mess AND for the 'inerrantist' movement, both which seem somehow wrong when the truth was already in the 63 BF&M:
that the light of Christ IS the lens through which the whole of SACRED Scripture must be read AND interpreted. It's Our Lord's witness, the sacred Scriptures, the 'testaments'.

I like your idea, REX RAY, about returning to the 63 version. It keeps the focus on Christ. And if that wasn't 'enough' for Patterson, we have now come to see 'why' in the light of the terrible abuse of Megan and of so many other innocents who did not deserve such abuse.

I don't understand all I think I have seen, but my goodness the '63 version seems so much more appropriate to a Christian proclamation of faith in the keeping of its focus on Our Lord.

Rex Ray said...



I’ve written 11 pages showing the difference line by line between the 1963 and 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

Some important difference are these. For less space I’ll refer to the 1963 as “old” and the 2000 as “New”.

1.Old was written by Presidents of all State Conventions. New was written by Patterson choosing 15 of his friends.

2.Old welcomed any group with suggestions. New met behind closed doors, saying “We can’t tell you what we’ve written, but you’ll like it.” That meant messengers had no time to study the New.

3.Old “has not deleted from or added to 1925 statement. New deleted this statement.

4.Old: “Baptist believe in the priesthood of the believer.” New believes in “the priesthood of believers”. (Rex thinks that means the majority rules over the individual’s beliefs.)

5.Old: “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”
New: Replaced with, “All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.”

6.Old: Church committed to His teachings. New: Church governed by His laws. (Rex believes “governed” has a ring of ‘top down rule.”)

7.Old: Church has pastors and deacons. New: Office of pastor is limited to men.

8.New adds “The Family”. “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.”

Elizabeth said...

Congratulations, Megan! You are an overcomer, indeed! I am so proud of you, and so inspired by your vibrant and gracious faith. Can't wait to see what the Lord will do through you in the future.

Michael Leathers said...

Actually, in addition to Virginia and Texas, Illinois rejected at its November 2003 annual meeting the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as its sole official faith statement. Instead, messengers affirmed six faith statements (the 1925 BF&M, its 3 revisions in 1963, 1998 and 2000, the 1742 Philadelphia Confession of Faith and the 1833 New Hampshire Confession of Faith) as a consensus of what most Baptists believe. A last-minute attempt to add a sentence to give official status to the BF&M 2000 above the others was soundly rejected by Illinois Baptist State Association messengers. Illinois Southern Baptist churches are free to follow any and all of those faith statements. You can read the full account here:

Rex Ray said...

Michael Leathers,

Thanks for the link about Illinois rejecting the Baptist Faith and Message as its sole official faith-statement.

I wish they’d left off “as its sole official faith-statement.

They adopted the 1742, 1833, 1925, 1963, 1098, and 2000 BF&M.

That’s like the truth “If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one.”

This link states the 1833 considered the 1472 a little too much Calvinistic.

The 1963 did not take away anything the 1925 had.

But in my opinion the difference between the 1963 and 2000 is daylight and night.