A press release on Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's website contains an apology by Paige Patterson concerning words he used pertaining to domestic abuse and women in troubled marriages. Patterson's words were recently and originally stirred up in social media by two longtime adversaries of Patterson, Oklahoma Baptist pastor, Wade Burleson, and disgraced former Baptist pastor, Ben Cole.
In Patterson's apology, after citing the charges and contexts arising around them, he explicitly says, "I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity. We live in a world of hurt and sorrow, and the last thing that I need to do is add to anyone’s heartache. Please forgive the failure to be as thoughtful and careful in my extemporaneous expression as I should have been." In addition, Patterson specifically not only appealed to the broader Christian community, but also named women as being particularly offended. "To all people I offer my apology, but especially to women, to the family of Southern Baptists, my friends and the churches. I sincerely pray that somehow this apology will show my heart and may strengthen you in the love and graciousness of Christ."
Doubling down on his earlier unequivocal confession concerning what he believed and counselled concerning domestic abuse, Patterson noted, "I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts. There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person."
Unfortunately, Patterson's humble apology has already been spurned and firmly rejected by those who've for years, as noted above, attempted to boot Patterson out of the president's quarters on Seminary Hill. Predictably, Patterson adversary, Wade Burleson, responded,
Dr. Patterson, when I hear you apologize to Dr. Sheri Klouda personally, I will believe your apology for your insensitivity toward women is genuine (link)1
Given Burleson's unbelievably cold-hearted response, however--especially a most brutal response from a pastor of all people, a reaction that surely must confuse at least some of his parishioners concerning the unforgiving attitude his reaction projects--I'm afraid Burleson's knee-jerk reaction reveals far more about him than about either Paige Patterson or the very incidents that occasioned the social-media uprising leading to Patterson's present apology.
Rather than assume Patterson was sincere and genuine in asking forgiveness for the illustrations critics found offensive, Wade Burleson strangely goes back to his basement storage bin only to retrieve another old club he's beat Patterson black and blue with beginning over a decade ago--Sheri Klouda. So now, Burleson holds his forgiveness to Patterson hostage. Though Patterson addressed by name and apologized for the issues raised against him by the current social media frenzy, Burleson categorically rejects Patterson's apology as purely bogus unless he comes clean according to Burleson's perfect satisfaction.
For my part, given this monstrous knee-jerk reaction Wade Burleson just posted, people should clearly see what Burleson is really about. He's about vendetta. He's about vengeance. He's about destroying Paige Patterson. By Burleson's unconscionable reaction in rejecting Patterson's explicit apology, he ignored the woman who was supposedly beaten and the young girl allegedly objectified only to bring up yet another issue against the man, Paige Patterson.
While Wade Burleson cares about women's issues, his care apparently goes only as far as the obsessions he satisfies. In this case, Burleson's obsession seems to be to get Paige Patterson. Hence, since Patterson apologized for the offenses charged against him, Burleson exploits another offense and demands he apologize for it too or Burleson will withhold his blessing.
Indeed Burleson's idea of forgiveness seems rooted more in Greek mythology than Scripture and reminds one of Corinth's King, Sisyphus, who got trapped in Hades and forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again as soon as he reached the top. Over and over and over. Never. Ending. (link). And so goes Patterson if he ever contemplates satisfying Burleson.
More significantly, if what Burleson has done in rejecting Patterson's apology outright and adding yet another contentious issue about women to the long list of sinful grudges he has with Patterson does not in some significant ways square with the exploitation of women in troubling circumstances, I'm unsure what does.