Paige Patterson Calls Ed Stetzer A False Prophet Even As SBC Sex Scandals Blossom


Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

 

Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson is throwing stones.

Reacting in an open letter to last month’s scandal and resignation of SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page, Patterson attempts to pull the collective SBC heart out of the ashes.

But as Patterson himself faces allegations of an illicit sex-abuse cover-up with Baptist cohort Paul Pressler, the words ring strangely hollow.

Despite living in such a precariously teetering glass house, Patterson punctuates his smooth-tongued “encouragement” with a barely-veiled blow at prominent SBC figure Ed Stetzer. Though Patterson does not name the “prophet” he mocks here, there’s little doubt who he’s pointing to. He writes,

“…when the Ashley Madison list of those willing to compromise their marriages went public in 2016, one “prophet” predicted that hundreds of Baptist churches would be pastorless in only a few days. There were a few Baptist pastors on the list, and certainly there are others who are guilty. However, out of 40,000 preachers and in excess of 15 denominational leaders, the number of those who appeared on the list was few. “But for the grace of God, there go I!” True, but how wonderful is the grace of God that sustained 98 percent of our pastors, keeping them from falling!”

Stetzer doesn’t claim to be a prophet, but he undoubtedly takes a less-than-euphemistic approach to problems facing the troubled denomination.

While Patterson pontificates about scandals past and seems to prophesy a Phoenix-like resurgence of the declining institution, Stetzer points to statistical realities that could spell its demise.

In fact, last year Stetzer told the SBC,

“…if something does not change, the denomination will depopulate itself in a matter of decades.”

and,

“If we don’t turn around this decline of baptisms, maybe we should drop the name ‘Baptist’ from the name Southern Baptist Convention.”

Ed Stetzer

It was with this same candor that Stetzer reported in 2015:

“Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church—and it should be. To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.”

Patterson says only “a few” Southern Baptist pastors fell in this scandal.

But if his 98% number is correct, that would mean 2% of 40,000 pastors appeared on the list.

That would be 800 pastors— twice the number predicted by Stetzer. (The actual number doesn’t appear to have been reported.)

Be that as it may, both Patterson and Stetzer agree on one thing: the number of adulterous ministers caught is much lower than the number who are guilty.

The difference is that Stetzer faces the problem head-on, while Patterson minimizes it to the point of dismissal, claiming 1) only a few Baptist pastors were on the [Ashley Madison] list, and therefore 2) the grace of God has “sustained 98 percent of our pastors, keeping them from falling.”

Patterson is quick to impute innocence to all pastors not found on the list…even though he acknowledges that “certainly there are others who are guilty.”

This “nothing-to-see-here-folks” approach does not bode well for a man currently being accused of covering up sexual abuse.

It’s reminiscent of the response of Patterson’s fellow former SBC Pres. Jack Graham to the arrest of Prestonwood Baptist Church associate pastor Joe Barron.

Barron was busted in an undercover sting for attempting to meet a 13-yr-old-girl for sex.

Graham, lead pastor at Prestonwood, did not set up a hotline or encourage any other victims to come forward. He simply told his congregation, “”We want to put this in the rearview mirror.”

Patterson seems more than eager to put any inconvenient truth about SBC sin in the rearview mirror.

But here’s a prophecy for Paige Patterson from someone with a pretty good track record: your secret sin is getting ready to be exposed.

Nothing is hidden that will not be revealed, and nothing is secret that will not be made known. So then whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops.” Luke 12:2-3 (NET)

Mr. Patterson, you can’t drive fast enough. Sooner or later, God’ll cut you down.

“God’s Gonna Cut you Down”

[Verse 1]

Well, you may throw your rock and hide your hand

Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man

But as sure as God made black and white

What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

[Chorus 1]

You can run on for a long time

Run on for a long time

Run on for a long time

Sooner or later, God’ll cut you down

Sooner or later, God’ll cut you down

[Chorus 2]

Go tell that long tongue liar

Go and tell that midnight rider

Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter

Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

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