More than 2,000 evangelical women have signed an open letter condemning the words of Paige Patterson, an influential leader of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The May 6 letter addressed the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) demanding that they remove Patterson from his position in the light of an audio clip from 2000 advising women in abusive relationships, Staying with her husbands and a video of a speech at the 2014 Las Vegas resurrection conference in which he called a teenager "biblically".
Patterson was President of the Convention between 1998 and 2000, and President of the Texas-based SWBTS since 2003.
The clips were released to the public on "The Baptist Blogger" in late April, a blog run by Pastor Benjamin Cole, who was described in Baptist News as "one of the loudest critics of some Southern Baptist Convention leaders". [1
In the audio clip, Patterson advises women to go a relationship "only in the most serious cases," while in other cases he advises to trust in "the power of concentrated prayer". In the Awaken Conference sermon, he described a scene in which a "very attractive young co-ed," who was "no older than 16 – but I say, she was nice" – was approached by a young man who was promptly scolded from his mother.
Patterson said he defended the young man. "Leave that boy alone, he was just biblical, that's what it says right here, God built it and brought it to Adam," he said, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.
But to the letter subscribers, which also include men, this is not a laughing matter. "These comments are harmful, sinful, and require a firm answer," the women wrote in the letter. "The world looks at us all, brothers," a sign that the awareness-raising power of the MeToo movement has found resonance in sexual harassment and assault even in the most conservative communities.
After the clips reappeared, the SWBTS published two press releases in Patterson's name. The first statement, dated April 29, laments what Patterson calls a "rigorous misrepresentation" that affects not only him but his family as well.
"I've never insulted a woman for the report, I've never advised it or approved of any abuses," he said, adding that he helped women leave abusive relationships, but that he also witnessed one Man who stopped praying after being prayed in the church. "I do not apologize for my point of view for the family and for wanting to remedy a marriage through forgiveness, not divorce, but I deeply regret that the way in which I expressed this belief did damage," he wrote. 
The second statement of May 1 affirms these positions. "In addition to the responsibility of each community to report abuse to the civilian authorities, the church must ensure that the abuser confesses, denounces and repents the sin of abuse, takes responsibility for these sinful acts, and believes in Christ for the salvation and forgiveness of sin "It was read."
The letter signers were not satisfied with the answer. "The fact that he did not completely reject his earlier advice or apologize for his inappropriate words suggests that he continues to hold positions that contrary to the Southern Baptists and, more importantly, to the increased viewpoint of the Bible, "the letter says." The Southern Baptist Convention can not allow the biblical view of leadership to be so misused as to make a leader with one unbiblical view of authority, femininity and sexuality allowed to continue his leadership . "
The Washington Post tried to contact Patterson on Sunday, but he made no comment. On Friday he said the release, "I can not apologize for what I did wrong."