“Anybody ever told you it's easy to be a Christian lied to you. It's a 100 percent commitment. It's not just what you believe; it is a commitment to follow the ways of God. And it is our Lord who says don't take it before the world. Settle it within the church of God. And If you suffer for it and if you are misused and if you are abused and if you are not represented properly, it's O.K. You can trust it to the God who judges justly.”
Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), two time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, and one of the architects of the Conservative Resurgence, delivered a chapel message earlier this week which ended with the above quote.
In his SWBTS address — So You Believe in the Inerrancy of God, Bully for You — Patterson preached on 1 Corinthians 6:1-11. After hearing his half hour message, it sounds like he is advocating the position "Let go and let God…"
Here is the Bible passage Patterson expounded (NASB version):
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
Interestingly, it was the Christian media that alerted us about this SWBTS chapel address. Bob Allen quoted portions of Patterson's message in his Associated Baptist Press article SBC Leader Says Don't Talk to Press. Here is an excerpt:
“If I had fifty dollars for every time that I have told somebody from the press: ‘I’m not going to comment on that because, frankly, it’s none of your business; it’s the church of God’ — if I had fifty dollars for every time I’ve done that, this would be a wealthy institution and you wouldn’t have to pay any tuition at all,” he said.
“I’m not going to talk to the press about things that are matters internal to the church of the Living God,” Patterson said. “It is none of their business. And they can’t possibly get it right, and they don’t get it right, so why do you take it to the world of unbelief? Whether that be the court, whether that be the press? ‘Well there’s just no other way to handle it.’ Yes there is. Commit it to the Lord God Almighty.”
Patterson said the reason grievances between church members wind up in court or the media is: “If I appeal to the church elders, if I appeal to the church congregation as a whole in the matter where I have been offended, where I’ve been misused and abused and misrepresented, if I appeal to them they may not get it right. What do I do if the church makes a mistake?”
“The church will make mistakes,” Patterson said. “The church is made up of fallible human beings — hopefully redeemed human beings, but we know not all of them are. We can tell it because by their fruits you shall know them, and we can’t be root inspectors but it’s unavoidable to be fruit inspectors. When there’s no fruit it’s pretty good indication that they’ve never really been saved.”
“But even if it’s the saved of the Lord Jesus, we still live in mortal bodies; we still can make mistakes,” he said. “The church of the Living God may very well make a mistake, and Paul anticipates it and says: ‘You don’t understand. You still don’t go to the court. Why don’t you learn to just accept wrong, just to accept injustice?’”
“You say it’s not in my basic makeup to do that,” Patterson said. “It isn’t in mine either. You know I’m an Irish Texan, let’s fight. But it is what God’s word demands.”
One of the primary reasons why TWW exists is because 'the church' is not dealing with crucial matters such as sex abuse, authoritarian elders, and the misappropriation of 'God's money', to name a few. Patterson said that "the church will make mistakes"; however, one has to wonder when, if ever, church leaders have admitted to those mistakes and rectified them.
We have presented story after story where those in charge have swept serious problems under the rug and pretended they do not exist. With the SBC in a serious downward spiral, what are the chances that Southern Baptist pastors will tackle crucial matters before a watching world? If those matters were being handled in a godly manner, then Christians would not be inclined to involve the court system or the press.
Patterson's message sounds like the same old, same old; and we have little hope that anything will ever change. Remember, this is the Christian leader who told a wife who was being physically abused by her husband the following: (audio link)
“I had a woman who was in a church that I served, and she was being subject to some abuse, and I told her, I said, “All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,” but I said, “You just pray there.” And I said, “Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.” And sure enough, he did. She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter. And she said, “I hope you’re happy.” And I said, “Yes ma’am, I am.” And I said, “I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy."
"And what she didn’t know when we sat down in church that morning was that her husband had come in and was standing at the back, first time he ever came. And when I gave the invitation that morning, he was the first one down to the front. And his heart was broken, he said, “My wife’s praying for me, and I can’t believe what I did to her.” And he said, “Do you think God can forgive somebody like me?” And he’s a great husband today. And it all came about because she sought God on a regular basis. And remember, when nobody else can help, God can.
And in the meantime, you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him. Obviously, if he's doing that kind of thing he's got some very deep spiritual problems in his life, and you have to pray that God brings into intersection of his life those people and those events that need to come into his life to arrest him and bring him to his knees."
Dee and I are praying for those who have been hurt by the church. As Christian bloggers, we are committed to exposing serious matters that church elders refuse to address.
"The press" is expanding thanks to the internet, and leaders like Paige Patterson need to understand that the rules of the game have changed. Silence is not golden…
Lydia's Corner: Job 16:1-19:29 1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Psalm 40:1-10 Proverbs 22:1