Thoughts On The SBC And Abuse

What do I think of the recent issues going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As someone who reads marriage blogs, I have seen several people writing about the events going on in the SBC. These issues have particularly centered around the treatment of women. The removal of Paige Patterson from his position is based on this kind of happening.

Controversies surrounding him have included people like Sheri Klouda and Darrell Gilyard. There was also a statement released concerning other allegations from the chairman of the Board of Trustees. One great concern I had in reading that was that Patterson said he wanted to meet with a student alone who said she had been raped. He wanted no officials there and he wanted to “break her down.” I’m not sure how to take that statement, but anyway I can think of is not good.

Also, some of this centers around women in abusive relationships. Sometimes, women were apparently told to just submit to their husbands. This would often put those women in great risk.

Patterson isn’t an isolated figure in this. Steve Camp who was a popular Christian singer back in the 80’s and today is a pastor got into a debate recently with Sheila Wray Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum. In the link, you can see Camp made a number of awful statements because Gregoire is a woman and began blocking other women on Twitter defending her. I believe it’s events like this that got J Parker of Hot, Holy, and Humorous to write her own take on this.

So let’s say a few words about all this going on.

I am not a member of the SBC, but let’s be sure that I do not think this represents the majority of SBC pastors and leaders. I think most of them want to be good and God-honoring men and if they are married, they want to love and honor their wives the best they can. Sadly, a few bad apples in any group can spoil the bunch.

As regarding marriage, I am complementarian in my approach. Yet as I say that, I have something important to say along those lines. If a man does think Biblically that he is the king of his castle, well guess what. Your wife gets treated like a queen. There is never any justification whatsoever for abusing your wife verbally, physically, emotionally, sexually, or any other way I might have left off.

I also hate divorce. When Allie and I go to another town around here for something else in the line of medical care, there is a billboard on the way back that says “Undo, I do.” I always reach over and softly pat Allie on the leg or something and just tell her, “Not us.” Because of a divorce culture where divorce is prevalent, though there are myths about how prevalent it is among Christians, there are many good marriages where one person fears a divorce from the other because it has become so easy to get one.

Yet my hatred of divorce can be much like our hatred of war. No one really should really like the thought of war, but sometimes it is necessary because of the evil of other people. Many people who have a concealed carry today carry it to protect their family and I am sure it is their great hope that they never have to use it.

Divorce is sadly a necessity if a spouse is abusive and they will not change. (While this is about women in abusive relationships, let’s not forget that women can be abusers of men too.) I would urge any couple that when abuse takes place, separate for a time being and try to work things out with a licensed professional counselor. If that cannot happen, there is no requirement that you stay with someone who is abusive, doubly so if children are involved.

Even still, divorce should be seen as a necessary tragedy. It is sad that someone who made a promise before God and man to love and cherish someone for the rest of their life ended up breaking that promise. It is a reminder that we live in a fallen world. We need to have zero tolerance for abuse.

So what about Biblical submission? What about wives submit to your husbands. I believe in it, but men, if you have to start quoting Ephesians 5 to your wives in hopes that she will get in line, you’re already not being a leader in your family. More importantly, when we are talking about someone’s spiritual condition, the only person we can do anything about directly is ourselves.

And men, we have a lot that is said to us in Ephesians 5. When I was engaged to my now wife, I remember once when I was visiting her and her family and one day it hit me that I was to be married really and then I remembered what the passage said. Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.

As Christ loved the church.


Look at those five words.

Pause in your reading men if you’re married and think about those five words.

If we’re being honest, we all fall short of that one. Yet that is our calling. We are to be such great husbands to our wives that if they didn’t know better, they could swear they were married to Jesus. The number one person in your wife’s life who should remind her of Jesus is you. If you are not that person, you are doing it wrong.

Paul has many other commandments to us. To the wives, he only tells them to submit to their husbands and respect them. We get far more attention given to us.

Submission is something that should never be used as a whip. Sex is always a big area in a marriage and guys, if you are using submission as a way to get sex, stop it. I suspect many of you are not doing that, but there could be that lone wolf out there. If it’s not happening as often in your marriage as you’d like, then maybe you need to ask yourself how you could be more romantic so that your wife will feel safe and want to make love to you.

Let me offer some bizarre suggestions. Maybe you could take your wife out on dates more. Maybe you could actually talk to her some. Maybe you could do some work around the house or help with the kids more. Maybe you could touch her lovingly and do so other than when you want sex. And maybe all of this could be part of loving her as Christ loved the church.

Now to the women, many of them don’t understand this need in a man, but imagine you wanting to hear your man say he loves you and he says, “Okay. I love you. Are you happy now?” Well, no. Of course not. It was done, but begrudgingly. The same would be if he took you out on a date and acted like it was just a chore for him. Unfortunately, many women don’t realize that this is often how they come across to their husbands in the area of sex. It’s a necessary evil that they put up with. Your man wants not just to have intimacy with you, but for you to want him and want that intimacy with him.

Ideally in a marriage, this will begin a circle of love. A couple that is more loving will have more sex together. In turn, they will be more loving to one another. That will result in their having more sex together. As a result, you get the picture.

And men, our role is to love our wives and always seek to improve. For me, I started a men’s group on Facebook for Christian men who are married, engaged, dating, or hoping to date and marry called “As Christ Loved The Church”. Honestly, part of this was for myself. I wanted to be a better husband and I was sure other men wanted to join me on that journey. Nowadays, I am seen by many as a sort of expert in the field, but I realize I have a long way to go.

If any denomination has any issues with how men are treating women, they do need to clean house. By the way, a lot of this starts before marriage. The church needs to be teaching on sex far more often. Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice has said we need at least one sermon a month. Think about it. Our kids in popular culture and all around them are seeing the world’s view of sex everywhere. How often are they going to get the Biblical view? What are they growing up believing about marriage as a result?

This also means that pornography must be talked about. This isn’t just a men’s issue anymore but if you’re engaging in pornography, stop it. You are doing damage to yourself and any future marriage relationship you will have. This can be undone, but it would be best to avoid it to begin with.

We should pray for the SBC in this time and hope the new president will build up the denomination to honor women to be sure, but even more that it will honor the name of Christ. Abuse in any relationship should never be allowed and definitely if you’re dating someone who is abusive, get out now. Husbands and wives need both to seek to honor one another in marriage and definitely get rid of pornography.

This scandal has given the world one viewpoint of how the church treats these issues. Let’s make sure we give them a better one.

In Christ,
Nick Peters



Paige Patterson is on the wrong page.

Does Paige Patterson’s opinion carry any weight in the Geisler controversy? Let’s find out as we plunge into Deeper Waters.

Looking at the latest from Geisler today, we see this:

“Let’s be clear. A story, an affirmation, is either true or false, but not both true and false in the same way at the same time. That is a long accepted law of logic, and no amount of fudging can make it change. While I have no reason to question the sincerity of the author and while only God can judge his heart, Southern Baptists paid far too great a price to insist on the truthfulness of God’s Word to now be lured by a fresh emergence of the priesthood of the philosopher, especially when a philosopher raises a question about the truthfulness of Scripture.” (1/9/2012)

Dr. Paige Patterson
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Alright. What does Geisler have to say about this?

Thank God for the courage, conviction, and character of the man of God to whom the SBC owes the most for its orthodoxy on inerrancy—Dr. Paige Patterson. I Hope there is a place reserved in Nashville for a bronze statue of him. It is time for other SBC leaders to close ranks on the Licona issue.

Dr. Norman Geisler
Professor of Apologetics
Veritas Evangelical Seminary

When I see this, I think of the scene in “My Fair Lady” when Eliza returns from her successful visit to the royal event and only has her two teachers sitting together congratulating themselves on how well they did. So Geisler has found someone else who agrees with him. Impressive?

Not really.

Let’s see what the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary web site has to say about Patterson.

“A graduate of Hardin-Simmons University, Patterson also completed Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees in theology at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He was twice elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, serving Southern Baptists in that role from 1998-2000. During those years he appointed a committee to revise the Baptist Faith & Message, the confession most widely employed by Southern Baptists, and also presided over the historic session of the convention in which this revised confession was adopted.”

While these accomplishments can be all well and good, there is a striking omission from it. There is absolutely nothing here about being trained in NT scholarship and exegesis. Being a competent and even skilled theologian and/or philosopher does not make one an expert on NT scholarship and/or biblical exegesis.

For instance, I have had a number of people think that because I’m knowledgeable in an area and seem to be a nerd, I must know computers very well. Not a chance. I have to call someone whenever my computer is on the fritz. When I move somewhere, I have to call someone to hook up my gaming systems and anything else. I even have a problem getting the date on the blog to work. (Which made it all the more laughable when some people thought I produced the Christmas Carol video.)

Having knowledge in one area does not transfer knowledge to another. Nevertheless, let us look and see what Patterson says.

“Let’s be clear. A story, an affirmation, is either true or false, but not both true and false in the same way at the same time. That is a long accepted law of logic, and no amount of fudging can make it change.”

Good. No problem. I agree 100% percent. I’m also wondering what this has to do with the price of tea in China. Can someone tell me where Mike has said that the account of the saints rising is both true and not true in the same time and in the same sense? Has he said the saints both rose and didn’t?

To point to the laws of logic to settle this then is useless. No one is contesting that point.

” While I have no reason to question the sincerity of the author and while only God can judge his heart,”

Please note this language. This is speaking of Mike’s spiritual well-being and I am remembering the line of Francis Beckwith on a technique some Christians use in debate. “If you can’t beat them with logic, trump them with spirituality. Could it be Patterson saw how weak his opening statement was and switched directly to spiritual onslaught mode?

Notice that right off, the idea is that Mike is the one who has a spiritual problem. Of course, in all of this, going after another person’s livelihood and smearing their reputation by calling their orthodoxy into question and using bullying tactics is not a spiritual problem. It’s actually presenting an interpretation of the text that’s different from what we grew up with that’s the problem!

Might I suggest a unique approach to this? How about we actually study Mike’s proposal itself back and forth in a scholarly manner and see how well it holds up.

Oh wait. That was offered and turned down.

And as you should know, it wasn’t Mike who turned down an offer from Geisler to speak at a scholarly conclave. It was the other way around.

This idea of sincerity and God knows his heart is taking the debate somewhere it doesn’t belong. Note also that to say this statement about God knowing the heart automatically I take to mean “Well I think he’s living in rebellion in someway, but God knows his heart.”

“Southern Baptists paid far too great a price to insist on the truthfulness of God’s Word to now be lured by a fresh emergence of the priesthood of the philosopher”

Two mistakes here. First off, the minor one. Mike is not a philosopher. He is a NT scholar. That does not mean he does not have interest in philosophical matters, but he is not a philosopher.

To speak then of the priesthood of the philosopher is getting it wrong and no doubt, pointing back to the priesthood of the believer, but why should every believer have equal authority on what a text means? Should I turn to Mike and say “Yeah. I know you know NT Greek and all that, but I obviously know the text just as well as you do because I’m a Christian.”

No. You know the text by studying the text. The priesthood of the believer does not say anything about the competency of the one exegeting the text. It also gets into this idea that the Holy Spirit is all we need, which in turn I see as an insult to the Holy Spirit. The idea of “I don’t need to study. The Holy Spirit will tell me all I need to know.”

How would that work elsewhere?

“I don’t need to pray. The Holy Spirit expresses Himself with groans and utterances on my behalf.” (Romans 8:26-27)

“I don’t need to confess my sins. Jesus is making intercession for them.”

“I don’t need to study for this test in Seminary. The Holy Spirit will give me the answers.”

“I don’t need to go to church and hear what the preacher has to say. The Holy Spirit will tell me what I need to know.” (Of course, if your pastor has the same mindset, it might serve you well to not go to that church)

“I don’t need to go to the grocery store. The Holy Spirit will provide my daily bread.”

“I don’t need to have a job. The Holy Spirit will make sure I’m provided for.”

Yet somehow, we think biblical exegesis is an exception.

Second part. No one is calling into question the truthfulness of God’s Word. All sides I know of in this debate are saying that they believe that the Bible is without error. Here’s an important difference. If Geisler says “I believe the Bible is without error” Mike says “I think you do believe that. I just think your interpretation of it is wrong.” If Mike says “I believe the Bible is without error” Geisler writes open letters saying his interpretation is a denial. Thus, interpretation is equaling Inerrancy.

“especially when a philosopher raises a question about the truthfulness of Scripture.”

And again, Mike is not doing that. Can someone tell me one time that Mike has said that Scripture is not truthful somewhere? Some of you are ready to jump up and down with the resurrected saints, but Mike is not saying the Bible is not truthful. He’s also not saying God cannot do that. He’s saying that he honestly believes Matthew did not intend for that to be taken in the sense of a straightforward report, but rather was to be read as an apocalyptic account.

So what of what Geisler says?

“Thank God for the courage, conviction, and character of the man of God to whom the SBC owes the most for its orthodoxy on inerrancy—Dr. Paige Patterson.”

Ah yes. What great courage and conviction and character. It takes great courage this day to stand with Norman Geisler after all. Geisler and Patterson both say this with comfortable teaching positions not under attack and while getting to speak at various locations. Meanwhile, Licona and company have job losses, being uninvited from conferences, and I myself being spoken of in a letter from SES on account of a YouTube video.

Let’s say this at least. At least Patterson put his name on it instead of being another “anonymous.”

Now that he has taken that step of courage, let us remember that his great threat that he could receive according to Geisler is “annoyance.”

One side causes the other side to lose income. One side causes the other side to be annoyed.

Which side takes more courage to stand on?

Note something also in all of this. Geisler speaks of this with pride, but what argument did Patterson put forward? None. All he said was that the Law of noncontradiction can’t be violated. Well I seriously doubt that he’s going to find any disagreement here with that! So what’s the point?

“I Hope there is a place reserved in Nashville for a bronze statue of him.”

Oh good grief. It’s not as if we don’t have enough hero worship going on in all of this. When I go to Geisler’s Facebook page, I see too many posters there that I am sure that if Geisler said that the sky is purple and the moon is made of green cheese, that they would immediately be shouting that from the rooftops.

“It is time for other SBC leaders to close ranks on the Licona issue.”

And to what end? What will be accomplished? Inerrancy will be saved? Inerrancy has not been under attack, but the end result of this would be that the sword of bullying is what will win the day rather than the sword of studying the text and doing exegesis.

Note also again, that there is no argument in all of this. This is getting tiring. Max, JPH, and myself all make it a point to write out arguments for why we believe what we believe on this. Do we get refutations? No. We get “Well so and so says Geisler is right!” So because X says Geisler is right, I’m supposed to drop all that I believe and jump on that bandwagon immediately? Sorry.

Also, remember what Geisler said in his third open letter where he responded to the scholars Mike listed?

“Sixth, listing some scholars who agree with him misses the point. First, as he admits, most of them do not agree with his unrecanted in-print view. Further, the fact that they say they are “in firm agreement that it is compatible with biblical inerrancy” misses the point entirely. For it does not answer the question of with whose view of inerrancy it is in agreement? As we all know, the term “inerrancy” can be twisted to mean many things to many people. In my “Open Letter” I affirmed only that Licona’s view was not in agreement with the ETS (of which Licona is a member) view of inerrancy as expressed in the Gundry case. Of course, one can always find a number of people with whose views on inerrancy it is in agreement. But that is not the point.”

The idea of whose view of Inerrancy is indeed the question. Interestingly, Geisler says “One can always find a number of people with whose views on inerrancy it is in agreement. But that is not the point.”

Licona lists thirteen scholars, two of whom are ICBI signers and many of whom are NT scholars. It doesn’t matter. The question is whose view of Inerrancy do they agree with?

Geisler lists Thomas Howe and Paige Patterson who are not NT scholars and we are immediately supposed to surrender.

Apparently, the idea is that the scholars that are mentioned don’t matter, unless those scholars agree with Geisler. It’s an interesting way to play the game. Simply rule out of court as wrong anyone who happens to take the position that is opposite yours and hold up all who agree with you as the real scholars.

Here at Deeper Waters, we don’t play that game. We want to see the arguments and we not only want to see them, we want to see myself, Max, and JPH answered on our counter-arguments.

But we’re not holding our breath for such to happen.

In Christ,
Nick Peters