Shun, as you would the plague, a cleric who from being poor has become wealthy, or who, from being nobody has become a celebrity.”
When Pontius Pilate interrogated Jesus before the crucifixion, Jesus boldly proclaimed: "Everyone on the side of truth listens to me." (John 18:37). Then Pilate asked the all important question: "What is truth?"
We are asking the very same question. Judging from the recent behavior of leaders who led the Conservative Resurgence in the SBC, truth seems to be evasive. Today we will take a glaring look at two specific cases involving Paige Patterson, one of Mac Brunson's closest colleagues, and we will attempt to discover the truth in each of these controversial situations.
Dr. Sheri Klouda
In yesterday's post, we explained how Mac Brunson misrepresented Sheri Klouda's testimony during a Sunday evening sermon. Here's what Sheri Klouda had to say about that:
"While it is true that the lawyer had me read I Corinthians 6, I responded that "it appears to suggest that one should avoid bringing suit against another believer," however, I clarified this by explaining that this declaration assumes the wronging party will do the right thing to the one accusing him, or that other believers will compel the wrongdoer to respond appropriately…."
You can read Dr. Klouda's comment in its entirety at this link:
(Scroll down to the July 17, 2008 post).
Sheri Klouda's sworn statement explains why we are addressing this very serious matter. She stated: "…other believers will compel the wrongdoer to respond appropriately." That's exactly what we are doing in this blog post.
A frequent commenter who goes by the handle "Junkster" made an excellent point in response to yesterday's post. Here it is:
"Hmmmm … so Dr. Klouda was given a Bible and asked to read 1 Corinthians 6 and asked if she was violating scripture by bringing a lawsuit. But how could she answer the question (regardless of what her answer was) without teaching what 1 Corinthians 6 means? Since she was fired because a woman supposedly isn't supposed to teach "theology" to men, what sense did it make for men, in the trial about that very issue, to ask her what a passage of Scripture means? Talk about irony — and hypocrisy. Had she been inclined to be sarcastic, she could have said, 'If I answer, then I, as a woman, will be teaching Scripture to men — and by requesting me to do so, you have just proven that you consider it ok for me to do so; therefore, I ask for a summary judgment of this lawsuit in my favor.' 🙂 "
Why didn't we think of that? Thanks, Junkster, for your brilliant comment!
We also pointed out that when Paige Patterson arrived at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the summer of 2003, he met with the faculty and assured them that all of their jobs were secure. Apparently, only men and Paige's wife have job security at Southwestern. A year later, Patterson gave Klouda the boot for "teaching men theology" while at the same time teaching them Hebrew.
Paige Patterson claims he offered Sheri Klouda another permanent position with the same salary and benefits. Dr. Klouda responds to this rumor as follows (see link provided above):
"I would like to put some rumors to rest, if I may.
First, I was never offered another permanent position with the same salary and benefits. The only position I was offered was temporary, and would only last until my pending dismissal in December of 2006. I begged Dr. Patterson to find a place for me at the seminary several times, and I would have taken anything I was offered, given my husband's rapidly declining health and the need to financially support my family. I was desperate. We just bought a home based on the premise that I was hired on the tenure track and would be given the same opportunities as other professors to apply and achieve tenure. My daughter was already in high school, and all of my family, including my elderly grandparents, parents and my siblings all reside in the area. There is no document related to this new position, nor was anything ever produced to support this claim."
Even more startling is the following claim made by Dr. Klouda. Again, here are her words:
“Second, Paige Patterson testified that several students came to him complaining that I was "teaching the Bible," soon after he decided he would eventually terminate me. However, he took no notes, has no records, no emails, and does not know the names of the students that accused me of this.”
As we move to the Darrell Gilyard case, please keep in mind the above claim made by Sheri Klouda. She explained: “Patterson took no notes, has no records, no emails, and does not know the names of the students that accused me of this.” This will prove to be EXTREMELY important!
Before the tremendous advances in technology, it was easy to stretch the truth or hide a lie. That’s extremely difficult now because almost all information known to mankind can be found on the internet. You just have to know where to look. The Gilyard fiasco is a case in point. For those who may not be familiar with Darrell Gilyard, you should know that Jerry Vines, pastor of FBC Jax "discovered" him decades ago. We hope he's proud! He contacted his good friend Paige Patterson, who found a way for Gilyard to begin his theological training at Criswell College. Gilyard became problematic not long after arriving in Dallas.
We believe it is highly probable that Paige Patterson knew of Gilyard's sexual escapades, yet did nothing about his horrendous behavior. Here's an article from the Dallas Morning News dated July 14, 1991, where Patterson calls for witnesses and proof in order to take action against someone.
"Dr. Patterson said, "I was unwilling to call anyone guilty until I had demonstratable evidence that these allegations were true.' Dr. Patterson said that according to Scriptures, action cannot be taken against a minister accused of adultery unless there are two or more witnesses. He also asked for any other proof, such as photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests."
You can read the article in its entirety at this link: http://stopbaptistpredators.org/article/darrell_gilyard2.html
It seems Patterson has compromised his standards since 1991 because Sheri Klouda alleges he didn't produce any evidence that she was "teaching theology to her students". By the way, "demonstratable" is not in the dictionary. We assume that "demonstrable" was what Patterson intended to say.
In our attempt to discover "the truth" regarding what Patterson knew about Gilyard and when he knew it, we came across a fairly recent interview on the Jacksonville news with a former police chaplain named Don Simpkins. Take a look at the video clip:
We'd like to share what we consider to be the most significant points Don Simpkins makes in this interview, which occurred the day of Gilyard's pre-trial hearing. According to Simpkins, Paige Patterson asked him to counsel Darrell Gilyard because he was a fallen man. Simpkins makes the following claim: "The day that I was with Dr. Patterson and we sat in there with his wife, there were probably six to eight women that started seeing us from approximately nine o'clock in the morning til five o'clock that afternoon, everything from being raped to being sexually assaulted to sexual affairs that went on with Mr. Gilyard."
Obviously, this is why Paige Patterson requested "spiritual counseling" for Gilyard. If Patterson thought the women he and Simpkins interviewed were lying, why in the world did he involve a spiritual counselor? Simpkins explains during the interview that the counseling sessions were supposed to last for a year, but Gilyard refused his help after just a few months. Gilyard became aggressive during the sessions, and at one point he said to Simpkins: "Don, nobody will believe you at all because you're just a peon individual and I'm an upper rising person and who's gonna believe you?" According to Simpkins, Gilyard told him that "if I ever interfered with his income, that would be a real problem for me." Did you happen to notice the front of Gilyard's home in the Action News segment? If not, please replay the video clip.
Simpkins explains in the interview that when the counseling didn't work and when Gilyard rocked the foundations of other churches in and around Dallas with his perverse behavior, he exposed Gilyard to the news stations and media. Kudos to Simpkins for wanting to keep Darrell Gilyard out of the pulpit! He explains that he was "more concerned about protecting other churches and women". As soon as Simpkins exposed Gilyard to the local media outlets, his phone began ringing off the hook with threatening phone calls, including death threats. Individuals claiming to be pastors would call and protest by saying things like "How could you take a godly man out of the pulpit? This is all your fault?" We hope those pastors have repented of their grievous sins before Almighty God now that Gilyard has publicly confessed to his guilt and is serving a three-year prison term. They owe Don Simpkins their sincerest apologies; however, the chances of them doing that are slim because of cognitive dissonance. In other words, they will probably refuse to believe that Gilyard is guilty because their faith is tied up with his being a man of God. They cannot deal with Gilyard being a sinner, so everyone else must be wrong. To explore this matter further, please read our previous post "Your Pastor is a Sinner".
At the time of this interview, Simpkins explained that he had already met with the State Attorney's Office (located in Florida) and that he planned to travel to Jacksonville to urge those who had been victimized by Darrell Gilyard to come forward in order to help the State Attorney's case. It certainly appears that Don Simpkins had a hand in helping put Gilyard behind bars, where he should have been decades before. Now that you know the rest of the story, do you believe Patterson was telling the truth to the reporter at the Dallas Morning News in 1991? Here’s the million dollar question – how many women who have been raped can bring two or three witnesses to testify to the crime? This is absolutely ludicrous!
Here’s another important article that causes us to question whether Patterson is telling the truth.
Check out the link and an excerpt from the article: http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=12135
"But a 1991 story in the Dallas Morning News said Patterson knew of allegations against Gilyard dating back at least four years and viewed Gilyard as a victim when he was fired from a church amid allegations of sexual impropriety in 1987. Patterson reportedly told the pastor of Hilltop Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., there was nothing to substantiate rumors about Gilyard. The Oklahoma church hired Gilyard as assistant pastor. A year later Gilyard returned to Dallas, as assistant pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Garland, where allegations of sexual misconduct resurfaced. Reports continued after Gilyard became pastor of Victory Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, a multi-racial congregation that Gilyard led to affiliate briefly with the SBC before resigning under a cloud in 1991.
The Dallas newspaper said multiple Criswell College students claimed to have reported abuse or suspicion of abuse by Gilyard to Patterson, but he told them not to speak about it or did not return their calls."
When we were investigating Darrell Gilyard last year, we remembered seeing Mac Brunson's name. Here's the link and an article written by Christa Brown, an advocate who speaks out against predatory pastors.
A Southern Baptist email acquaintance directed me to this recent audio-interview in which Pastor Mac Brunson offers his thoughts on Darrell Gilyard and Paige Patterson. Mac Brunson is the pastor who took over Jerry Vines’ Florida mega church, First Baptist of Jacksonville. It’s one of the biggest Southern Baptist churches in the country. For those of you who haven’t followed this story, Darrell Gilyard is the Baptist pastor who was recently charged with lewd conduct for sending sexually explicit text messages to underage teens in Florida. But Gilyard had a past in Texas, and two former Southern Baptist presidents, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, both knew about it. Patterson’s connection to the Gilyard saga is particularly tragic because he was so dismissive of so many women who tried to report abuse and assaults by Gilyard. At that time, Patterson was president of Criswell College, a school that was part of First Baptist Dallas, and some who tried to talk to Patterson were students there.
In Gilyard’s first church alone, there were 25 women who reported him, but Patterson and other officials at First Baptist Dallas “continued to recommend” and promote Gilyard. Finally, after being forced to resign from 4 churches in 4 years, Gilyard was allowed to confess to “adulterous relationships,” and he moved on to a Florida church. All of this was reported in the Dallas Morning News account of the Gilyard/Patterson history.
As for Jerry Vines…when Gilyard moved to Florida, Vines “agreed to forgive” him for his Texas troubles. Now Mac Brunson comes on the scene. Bear in mind that Brunson used to be pastor of First Baptist of Dallas and was chancellor of Criswell College there. His tenure was a bit after the Texas part of the Gilyard saga, but he obviously has some institutional connections to it. In the recent interview, Brunson was asked this question (at about the 10 minute mark): “What do you believe the next SBC president needs to focus on for the next two years?” “Saving his hide!” said Brunson, and he then brought up the Gilyard case entirely on his own. Here is what he said, with the commentary of the guy who sent me this shown in brackets: “I’m worried about the convention… What concerns me more than anything else is the way we [he’s talking about pastors] treat each other… Guys we need to be loving each other more… I just see pastors are just hurting… they hurt… and they’ve got problems at home, they’ve got problems in their church, and they’ve got problems in their own spiritual life. You know, here's a pastor right down the street here, all over the headlines, who is being arraigned today in this city… he’s being arraigned today… and of course there are people that have tried to blame Dr. Patterson for that.
Dr. Patterson didn't make that man do that [as though someone is claiming Patterson MADE him do it???]. They tried to blame Dr. Vines. [no…but they did criticize Vines for preaching at the man's church, but Brunson conveniently avoids that]. You know that man, he sinned on his own [gee, what a brilliant analysis], and I can assure you that Dr. Patterson and Dr. Vines didn't cover up anything [Patterson did]. They'd enjoy exposing it too much to cover it up ["enjoy exposing it"…that's a bizarre statement…that there would be any "enjoyment" in the matter of an abuser]. But I see men like that … they’ve got their own spiritual struggles and things like that… my concern is how we treat each other."
While Mac Brunson may be concerned about how pastors are being treated, we are terribly concerned about how the flock is being treated by their shepherds. That seems to be the focus of The Wartburg Watch, and we will continue to keep you informed. Stay tuned…