"If you live your life submitting to what you perceive as "the authority" of men, particularly the husband God has given you, then fine! Just don't dare call it biblical. Call it your cultural preference…. Don't call it biblical Christianity."
Women's Evangelical Commentary
(B&H Publishing Group for LifeWay)
Recently, there has been some brouhaha on the internet regarding the SBC's latest offerings by Dorothy Patterson and Rhonda Kelley, specifically their Women's Evangelical Commentaries on the Old and New Testaments (pictured above). During last year's Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, Russ Rankin updated the rank in file about LifeWay.
In his briefing called Rainer reports on LifeWay's health, focus, Rankin writes:
"Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, shared with messengers at the SBC annual meeting June 14 that LifeWay is "doing well by doing good."
Bringing attention to LifeWay's unwavering focus to provide biblical resources for churches, he said, "It is by God's grace working through incredible men and women at LifeWay that we have come through these past few years."
Despite being "in the midst of the worst economic depression since the Great Depression, LifeWay has been able to be financially stable and good stewards of that which God has entrusted to us," Rainer said.
Rainer used his convention report to highlight "examples of the incredible biblical faithfulness and creativity of the LifeWay family," including…"
Here is one of the resources Rainer listed:
"Women's Evangelical Commentary, written for women wanting deeper biblical study"
As I did a little research to prepare for this post, I discovered that the New Testament commentary edited by Patterson and Kelley is actually a re-publication. If you were reading the Baptist Press FIVE YEARS AGO (January 5, 2007), you would have see this headline:
The article began as follows:
"Feminists and egalitarian proponents often interpret Scripture through a gender lens, but editors of a new commentary offer a conservative woman-to-woman approach to Scripture interpretation. The Women’s Evangelical Commentary New Testament from LifeWay Christian Resources’ B&H Publishing Group offers verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible for women, by women.
With the help of more than 15 contributors, editors Dorothy Kelley Patterson and Rhonda Harrington Kelley systematically explain the purpose of the New Testament texts. The commentary is designed for women to use when teaching a class, directing a small-group Bible study or studying Scripture."
Interestingly, it ends with this announcement: "The Women’s Evangelical Commentary Old Testament will be released in 2007."
As far as I can tell, the Old Testament commentary wasn't released until just last June. Perhaps the formation of the Women's Studies Programs at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminaries took precedence. Yes, these "homemakers" both hold doctorates and are wives of seminary presidents. Not only that, they are sisters-in-law. For verification, here is an excerpt from a Baptist Press article announcing the death of Dorothy's father:
NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Charles S. Kelley Sr., a Baptist layman with ties to four Southern Baptist seminaries, died Dec. 9 in New Orleans. He was 86… Kelley was the father of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Chuck Kelley and Dorothy Kelley Patterson, wife of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson.
Have you ever seen Dorothy Patterson's bio (found on her own website)? (link)
"Dorothy Kelley Patterson resides with her husband Paige Patterson, the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, at Pecan Manor in Fort Worth, Texas. She describes herself as first and foremost a homemaker, and that task has always commanded her priority in time, energies, and creativity. Dr. and Mrs. Patterson are proud of their children: son Armour and his wife Rachel are living in Arizona; daughter Carmen and her husband Mark Howell reside in Houston, Texas, with their daughters, Abigail Leigh and Rebekah Elizabeth.
Dr. Patterson has traveled to more than 75 countries; she met with Pope John Paul in his private apartment in the Vatican; she served as Chair for President Ronald Reagan's Presidential Bible Committee and was received in the Oval Office; she has had coffee with former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin in his Knesset office; she's been the guest of Yaser Arafat at a midnight banquet in Saddam Hussein's palace guest house in Baghdad.
Dr. Patterson is a widely used free-lance writer and speaker. Currently she is Professor of Theology in Woman's Studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary."
Her sister-in-law, Rhonda Kelley, has an equally impressive bio. (link)
How dare these highly educated women who both hold doctorates, are married to seminary presidents, and are pursuing their own careers tell the rest of us how to behave in our marriages! The hypocrisy is absolutely incredible!!!
If you're not familiar with complementarianism, you might benefit from reading the following articles:
What boggles my mind is that Dorothy Patterson and I were members of the same Southern Baptist church when the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 was passed. Time is a great teacher, and I have learned quite a bit about the hidden agenda of SBC leaders during the past twelve years.
Allow me to ask the inevitable question: Is the Southern Baptist Convention better off today than it was in 2000? Absolutely NOT!
Dorothy's husband Paige and his cohorts did a power grab, and the fruit of their labor is becoming more apparent with every passing day. How long will the SBC continue to erode until Southern Baptists say enough is enough? No wonder certain leaders want to change the denomination's name.
I believe the complementarian position, which has been highly promoted by SBC leaders over the last decade, has contributed greatly to the decline in membership and baptisms in the denomination. Kudos to Southern Baptist pastor Wade Burleson for taking a stand against what he rightly defines as a "cultural preference". Here is an outstanding excerpt from his post "New Testamant Equality Leads to Healthy Relationships and Female Subordination Brings Dysfunction":
"If the Spirit of God leads you women to never work outside the home and to focus on having as many children as possible while creating a safe environment in your home for your husband and kids, then go for it! If you are led to the seminary to learn the skills of sewing clothes and folding napkins for a proper Southern home, then more power to you! If you live your life submitting to what you perceive as "the authority" of men, particularly the husband God has given you, then fine! Just don't dare call it biblical. Call it your cultural preference. Why? Because one day when you die you will not have a man you will call your husband. One day when you die you will exercise your gifts in God-given creative work. One day when you die your entire identity will be in Christ and no other man. One day when you die you will be given a new name, a new place to live and a new purpose for eternity–all based upon who you are as a person–equal to any man God created. While you are on earth, I hope you find that the teachings of grace and equality in the Bible prepare you for eternity. But if your cultural preference is to find your identity in a man, then just be honest that you feel safer and more secure in the shadow of man's identity, and if (you) equate your submission to God to that of a visible, physical man, then just be honest about what you are doing. Don't call it biblical Christianity. In fact, it's so unbiblical to the Christianity portrayed in the New Testament that it may be people who are as comfortable as you in your cultural preferences will write a Bible just for you."
Guess what . . . that's already in the works! Rhonda Kelley spills the beans in her bio (see below):
"Managing Editor, Women's Evangelical Study Bible. Nashville, TN. Broadman-Holman, To be published in 2012."
Can't you just hear Tom Rainer singing accolades to Dorothy and Rhonda next June at the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans (home of the Kelleys)? I, for one, am voicing my vote of dissent. My husband and I have had a wonderful egalitarian marriage for close to a quarter of a century, and he wouldn't have it any other way. There is mutual love and respect between us, and our relationship grows stronger by the day. I am so grateful I married a man who insisted upon equality in our marriage, despite my early leanings toward complementarianism. I am truly blessed! My prayer is that other Christian couples will say NO to dysfunctional complementarian marriages, which in reality are built on the principles of patriarchy.
While the old guard of the SBC tries to maintain the status quo with its complementarian framework, a different approach is being taken just 40 miles up the road. (link)
To peak your interest, there is a congregation loosely affiliated with the SBC whose pastor has some very different ideas about how husbands and wives should relate to one another. In fact, he and his wife will be declaring those ideas from the rooftop for 24 hours later this week. Dee will be chiming in on Wednesday.
And to think that The Wartburg Watch almost didn't get off the ground because yours truly didn't believe there was enough to blog about in Christendom…
You will not want to miss our upcoming post! Oh my!!! Check out the first Bible reference below. That's a pretty strong hint for what's coming up…
Lydia's Corner: Song of Solomon 1:1-4:16 2 Corinthians 8:16-24 Psalm 50:1-23 Proverbs 22:22-23