When a church elder said to a friend of mine, regarding her husband’s 25-year-long pornography problem, “It’s just a little porn,” I knew the problem went deeper than the husband’s porn. That church elder had a problem too.
When Sovereign Grace Ministries protects child abusers and accuses the victims, the problem is obviously way beyond child abusers. There is every indication of serious rot at the core of Sovereign Grace Ministries.
When Beth Moore describes the condescension, stereotyping, objectification, and downright misogyny she’s had to deal with in conservative evangelicalism, there is every indication of a much deeper problem at work at the core of the hearts of the men she’s interacting with on a regular basis than simply ignorance and arrogance.
When Paige Patterson promoted Darrell Gilyard, a pastor who raped many women—not just ignored his heinous sin, but actually promoted him—and almost none of Paige Patterson’s peers thought this was a problem, this indicates a problem in their own hearts and perhaps with their very own bodies. If a man does not see rape as a problem, then something is going on.
When Paige Patterson and other evangelical leaders stereotype older women as difficult gossipy biddies and younger women as sex objects, and the young men they’re speaking to just laugh and enjoy it, there is a problem in the hearts of those young men, and very possibly with their eyes and their very bodies.
And these are the young men who are heading out all over the country to start churches in the mold of the “conservative resurgence” that Paige Patterson himself directed, the leaders of which are getting stained-glass windows in their honor.
So here I am, learning about things such things as (for example, and I could give so many examples) a young man in ministry berating his fiancée to read “complementarian” material so she would submit to him to allow him to do sexual things to her and force her to do sexual things to him. The leaders of conservative evangelicalism might cry out that this is never what they intended, but they are breeding these men.
Another woman told me that her extremely abusive husband, one whom she had to flee from for her life, had been a seminary student under Paige Patterson’s teachings and loved how he taught submission.
When Paige Patterson spoke the atrocious words eighteen years ago showing not only a complete ignorance of abuse, but an apparent delight in it (he was “happy” when the woman in his story showed up at church with two black eyes), he demonstrated a problem in his own heart far beyond ignorance.
When recently instead of recanting these words, he defended them, and then his conservative evangelical friends considered him “under attack,” for the public outcry and held a prayer meeting to pray imprecatory psalms against his “attackers,” they show that they have a problem in their own hearts. They demonstrate that they themselves are the very people that Beth Moore describes. They demonstrate that something far deeper and darker is going on here than simply ignorance or even willful ignorance, which is bad enough. They demonstrate that they want to continue to breed a generation of abusers.
There are those of us who are in the trenches dealing with the fallout of horrendous teachings such as that which Patterson recently defended. But with a very few isolated exceptions, Patterson’s fellow SBC and conservative evangelical leaders will not decry his teachings, apparently because there is something going on in their own hearts.
Apparently continuing to breed a generation of abusers is more important to them than showing the love of God to those in need. God help us.
Go here to download your free Guide, How to Enjoy the Bible Again (when you’re ready) After Spiritual Abuse (without feeling guilty or getting triggered out of your mind). You’ll receive access to both print and audio versions of the Guide (audio read by me). I’m praying it will be helpful.