The Southern Baptist Convention is in an uproar over allegations of blatant misogyny, its long-standing failure to denounce domestic violence, and accusations of rape and cover-up on a seminary campus.
The current turmoil is around Paige Patterson, architect of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC from the late ’70s through the ’90s. It has recently come to light that Patterson knowingly sent women back to abusive husbands. As these and other past remarks came to the surface, thousands of Southern Baptists women signed a petition for Patterson to be removed as the keynote speaker at the upcoming national convention. (For what little it’s worth, Patterson issued a statement half-heartedly apologizing for any offense.) All of this before it came to light that Patterson punished a rape survivor while taking no action against her attacker.
The past month culminated in Patterson’s removal as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. (He will still receive housing, a salary, and a job as “Theologian-in-Residence” because the seminary trustees refuse to take these accusations seriously.)
All of this has led Albert Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to issue a statement on sexual assault and the SBC’s many failings.
What is it about pastors like Mohler that make them so arrogant even when apologizing?
When people said that evangelicals had a similar crisis coming, it didn’t seem plausible—even to me. I have been president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for 25 years. I did not see this coming.
And yet he is the same man who has mocked abuse survivors who spoke out against Sovereign Grace Ministries and repeatedly defended CJ Mahaney.
The allegations of abuse in Southern Baptist and “neo-Reformed” circles are open secrets. The allegations against SGM have gone on for years, and yet Mohler provided cover. Patterson spoke openly and frequently, and Mohler was silent.
Albert Mohler is a co-conspirator in the active attempt to silence survivors and to spread the pernicious lie that women are objects.
He admits that he was wrong only to double down on the very doctrine that has led to so much strife, that has sheltered abusers, that has led to broken hearts, broken bodies, broken spirits.
Let me be very clear about this: complementarianism, the doctrine that women are inferior to men and should be subservient, is a perversion of Scripture, a lie from the pits of hell. And it lies at the very heart of the SBC’s many, many failings. Complementarianism systematically tells abusers that women are people of lesser worth. It systematically tells women that their voices don’t matter.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
For more information on abuse in the Church, consult Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE).