Why the “Removal” of Paige Patterson Isn’t Enough

In 2007, I graduated with a Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.Th) from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I went to SWBTS at the age of 22 with a fresh B.A. in hand. I’d gone to college in the same town where I grew up, and I’d been homeschooled well before most people knew there was such a thing as homeschooling. And now I was in another state, trying to make sense of how to navigate a new city alone. I had faith in Southern Baptists, though—a misplaced faith. I was sure it was going to be wonderful. I was unprepared for what my first semester, in the fall of 2004, had in store for me.

FSCN5881[1]This is a story that is only partly about Paige Patterson, whom many of us in my time at Southwestern considered a wholly unapologetic misogynist—and yes, I mean woman hater, not just a conservative man. This story is, in fact, mostly not about that. This is about the unrelentingly abusive environment women at SWBTS endured and the culture of silence that enabled and continues to enable it at SWBTS and other Southern Baptist institutions.

What I write below comes from my memory and the journals I kept as a student at Southwestern from 2004-2007.

On October 18, 2004, by the sheer grace of God I had a chance encounter with a woman I barely knew. We had both dated a student employed at Southwestern as a security guard. He was studying for his M.Div. with an intent to go into youth ministry. That evening, she and I had both been overcome by an irresistible impulse to go to the pond, despite trying to stay home and focus on other things.

Today, I would characterize my own experiences in the dating relationship as transgressions of boundaries, sexually inappropriate comments, and dishonesty that had resulted in my ultimate refusal to continue to see him. She brought the subject up to me and we exchanged stories. I had come to have serious concerns about him as a sexual predator and so had she. She lacked vocabulary for some of her experience. So did I. She told me about experiences far more serious and alarming than my own, which frightened me as they suggested what he might be capable of doing. I recognized patterns in his conduct toward both of us.

There were some other concerns. He had made unsettling comments to me, including one that stands out in my mind now as if it was yesterday: “You don’t understand. I can go anywhere I want on campus. I have access to every building. I have keys to every door. And I know where you live.” In context, this was about why I shouldn’t necessarily trust the the security guards, particularly another one who showed interest in me, and he used his own power as the reason, but given all that had transpired it made me especially fearful of him. He had also spoken of soon being allowed to carry a gun on patrol. He would call me when he didn’t notice my car in the parking lot outside Barnard Hall and demand to know where I’d been, or he’d call me if he saw me talking to another man to express his displeasure (and my peers were, after all, mostly men; despite programs that attracted many women to study at SWBTS, my classes in the School of Theology sometimes had me outnumbered by a 25-to-1 male to female ratio), or he’d call just to tell me he’d seen me on campus a few minutes ago. It made me feel I was being stalked. The other woman also had stories of behavior that had left her feeling threatened and unsafe.

While she and I talked in the gazebo, we were startled when he approached us in uniform and told us casually that he had intentionally bumped a pedestrian with the squad car when he was on patrol because he was annoyed with the person. I don’t remember anything else he said that night. But after he left us, sitting there together late at night in the gazebo, I turned to this woman I barely knew and asked her to come with me to meet with the chief of security. She agreed. The next morning, we spoke with a woman we knew had also been involved with the predator, but she declined to join us.

This is the part where I should pause to say that not everything about Southwestern was against me in that moment. I had previously had a few chats with the Chief because I had gone out with one of his security guards, and knew he was a kindly older man who’d retired from active duty on a police force some time ago. I felt comfortable, for some reason, starting there, in part because many of my concerns were related to the predatory man’s job—he should not, I thought, have access to every building, keys to every door, and access to a gun. That seemed like it was the most pressing thing. She agreed to go with me. And so we went, a day or so later, to talk to Southwestern’s chief of security.

It was an encouraging meeting. He reassured me that the predator did not actually have official access to a gun and would not be allowed to carry one. I had hope at that point and was naïve enough to think the ethics we were meant to uphold, our shared commitment to righteousness, would win the day. The Chief very clearly believed us, but said he would need to talk to the security guard in question. He then asked us if we would like to pursue disciplinary action to address his place on campus as a student as well; we said we did want to do that. He said he would approach the administration on our behalf.

The Chief then met with the predator. The Chief later told us that the predator’s initial response was to lie about everything, even to the point of claiming he’d never dated either one of us—a claim that the Chief knew was false because he’d already known me as someone who had dated the predator. But the Chief said he was used to this sort of thing and being a trained interrogator he had managed to extract a confession.

As quickly as he legally could, the Chief said, he’d fired the predator. I always felt he was on our side, that it seemed he actually believed in the duty he had as a Christian as well as the chief of security to protect us from harm. So at first, I felt safer.

Toward the end of October, we were summoned to an ethics hearing. The Chief also testified about his opinions of all of us as an interrogator—he was inclined to believe the accusers. The predator was never in the same room with us. But nonetheless, that was a traumatizing meeting. Before we spoke at all, a high level administrator told us that he wasn’t sure who should be subject to disciplinary action—the predator or us (for trying to harm the man). We were undeterred. We told our stories and demanded that they consider what a degree from Southwestern would mean—did SWBTS want to endorse such behavior in a youth minister?

The administrator said he would talk to the predator but that we would not be informed of the result. He warned us further that he knew we’d spoken to people “on and off campus” about our experiences and that we should stop immediately or else we would face disciplinary action.

The other woman was put on probation after the hearing, she later told me. Someone close to the proceedings later told me that the ethics committee then met with the predator and said they voted to expel him from SWBTS on the basis of dishonesty. I was troubled that it had not been on the basis of predatory behavior toward women.

My nightmare wasn’t over, however. My roommate and I were sitting a few rows back from the front in chapel that week when the predator and a group of men I didn’t know sat in the row behind me. It felt like an effort to intimidate me. He said, loudly and in my direction, that he had met with Paige Patterson and he’d been vindicated, because Dr. Patterson had exercised his authority to unilaterally reverse the decision of the ethics committee. He said, “Dr. Patterson said, ‘It’s not like you’re on drugs or anything. It’s just girls.’” He was not expelled, he said. He would continue his pursuit of a Master of Divinity degree. I wondered if the other men knew who I was.

I looked up at Paige Patterson, sitting less than 100 feet away from me on the chapel stage. He surely could see this, I thought, and must know who I was. I felt sure he could see that in addition to everything else, the predator was wholly unrepentant. It apparently did not matter. Some time later I discussed my disappointment with the situation with a professor whose response was that I was sinning by not accepting the decision of “those in authority over you.”

I believe a lay person rather than a minister or seminary professor did the more righteous thing in response to this turn of events. The Chief told me he’d told his entire squad to look out for me. They patrolled 24/7. It seemed as though wherever I went in that short span of time that the predator remained a student, a uniformed officer would walk up and say hello to me, just a friendly greeting, but it felt like more than that—a public warning, in a subtle way, that I was being watched over. It didn’t make me feel altogether safe at SWBTS—I never really did after that—but it mitigated a tiny bit of the harm, and reminded me that someone had believed me.

The predator left SWBTS not long after that, having been expelled again, a source close to the matter told me, because he refused to comply with the rules imposed by seminary housing. He was gone but my feeling of unease never left me, because after that I felt sure that no one was going to stand up for a woman at Southwestern.

Indeed, it felt like no one did. I was there when the last woman was fired as a professor in the School of Theology (Sheri Klouda, my Hebrew professor) on the stated basis that she was a woman; when Paige Patterson approached the pulpit after a female student in chapel had sung a solo and said it was good she’d worn a skirt down to her ankles or else nobody would have been able to think about anything but her body; when a member of the faculty told me he agreed that women weren’t being treated well at SWBTS but “I’m only a few years away from retirement and I don’t want to die on this hill;” when a man in one of my classes joked that sophia, the Greek word for wisdom, shouldn’t be in the feminine because “no woman is wise” and the instructor just shrugged and looked at me, the only woman in the room, with a kind of embarrassment but didn’t tell the student not to make such comments, or the rest of the class not to laugh at them; when a man laughed in my face because I was angry that another male student had sought me out to tell me that women and men are not equal in value; when a close friend was supposed to give a sermon in expository preaching class and the instructor told all the (male) students not to show up to hear it and sent his wife to take notes so he wouldn’t hear it either and graded her from that; I was there to experience three years of unrelenting misogyny that it seemed no one was willing to stop, because speaking out against it would realistically have drawn down the wrath of Paige Patterson, who could make or break your career, and I supposed these men had more fear of him than they did of the God they claimed to serve, or else they had sympathies with his misogyny and just weren’t as comfortable being quite as open about it to my face.

The best thing SWBTS did for me in those three years was to inspire a fierce, intensifying righteous anger. With that anger, I dedicated my masters thesis to a woman who’d been fired just before I got there, Karen Bullock, whom I’d initially hoped would supervise me, I saved up enough money to apply to graduate schools so far away from SWBTS that I’d practically have to fall in the ocean to put more distance between it and me, and I studied hard for the GRE, ensured I had the highest grades possible, and received generous offers of fellowships at multiple Ivy League institutions. I chose Princeton University, packed my things, moved to New Jersey, and thought I was free.

But I wasn’t really, because now I keep reading about the same sort of thing seemingly every day.

When I graduated from SWBTS in 2007, the faculty of the School of Theology voted for me as that year’s recipient of the Albert K. Venting, Jr. Memorial Award, given to the graduating student who demonstrates the highest levels of academic achievement, leadership, and potential for future ministry. I remember that at the time a member of the faculty explained, “You’ve been up for every award the seminary offers all along, but we weren’t allowed to give you any of them because you’re a woman.” I never won awards for Greek, Hebrew, church history, theology, or anything else, even though I had a 4.19 GPA. Another faculty member said, however, that Dr. Patterson, not wanting the faculty to award the institution’s highest honor to a woman even though he couldn’t stop them from giving this one to me because it was by majority vote, had created a new award (the President’s Award) which would supersede the Venting Award in prestige. The recipient, a man, had been hand selected by Patterson himself. I was unsure whether this was something Dr. Patterson had expressed to him or if it was speculation. It certainly fit my impressions of Dr. Patterson by that point, and there was such an award given in 2007. At the award ceremony, the only other woman to receive an award of any kind was the recipient of an award for women’s ministry. I don’t recall Dr. Patterson ever directly congratulating me on the award I won, though he was present at the ceremony.

Paige Patterson did sign the certificate for the Venting Award, but it had been printed without reference to leadership or ministry potential. Thus, I had a certificate signed by Dr. Patterson that congratulated me on my academic achievement alone, rather than all the award was supposed to be for. People told me, although I didn’t fully believe them, that I was all of those things, whether or not the certificate acknowledged them. I didn’t believe them because it is hard to believe much that is good about yourself after three years of spiritual battering.

I never sought to have a local church ministry; I pursued an academic course with the intent to work in higher education. I still consider that my primary calling. Nonetheless, I did lead and minister as well as earn my Princeton Ph.D. after I left Southwestern. I was an officer in a student ministry organization at Princeton. I led worship in church and on campus. I sang in a choir. I collected and distributed prayer lists. I managed the budgets. I organized events. I brought snacks. I celebrated birthdays. I founded a women’s prayer group. I hosted a commissioning event for a fellow student. I counseled younger women. I drove people to religious retreats in the mountains. I taught Sunday School. I took the Lord’s Supper (which you may know as Communion) to elderly shut ins. I gave presentations on religious history all over the U.S. I facilitated classroom discussions of quandaries in Christian ethics for Princeton undergraduates (both male and female), and at the end of my last semester received a rare honor from my preceptorial students—a round of applause that brought tears to my eyes as I thought of all Southwestern hadn’t thought I should do or be. I led Bible studies—with and without men in them—and preached sermons practically against my will, always turning down more invitations than I received and fleeing one church when I began to fear they were going to attempt to make me their pastor via surprise ordination. In all of this I felt wholly and painfully disconnected from my seminary; I feel very confident I will never turn up in Southwestern News.

But lately with all the news that has come out nationally, I have found myself mentally returning to Southwestern, to those angry and fearful times, and to that award at graduation in 2007. If you who were and are at Southwestern, who were and are affiliated with Southern Baptist life, do consider me a leader, then I implore you to follow me in calling for Paige Patterson’s full and actual removal from Southwestern’s campus and payroll and an eradication of the abusive culture that is so harmful to women in Southern Baptist seminaries. Follow the example of your own former chief of security. Believe the women. Take action against their abusers.

They can’t threaten me with disciplinary action to ensure my silence anymore. There is nothing Southwestern can do to me now. I would like to publicly apologize to any women who have suffered because I have kept this to myself for more than a decade. I do not blame myself, although I have had to learn to forgive myself. Forgiving a few of my seminary professors is a continual process that may take the rest of my natural life, but I am working on it; I can imagine, better than I could at the time, how much they felt they had at stake, especially the younger ones. In a way, I consider them victims of this culture, too, as they sought ways to avoid being put in situations that would violate their consciences while they also sought to protect their jobs and families in a very precarious industry. As I have reflected on this, I have also considered how silence harmed my relationships with a few of my seminary professors who, in retrospect, I believe would have done more if I’d talked with them about this. Many of my professors are likely to be shocked and alarmed by this story and will likely grieve with me over what has been lost. In my opinion, we have all been spiritually abused at SWBTS.

If you hold the faith that I would hope you would that it is better to stand for what is right even when it costs you something, please don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied into silence. Now is the time to tell the Board of Trustees and the Southern Baptist Convention that their action on May 23 was too little, too late. We await their repentance.


46 thoughts on “Why the “Removal” of Paige Patterson Isn’t Enough

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sorry you and other women have had to put up with being treated differently and openly abused because you were born a woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your story! You are VERY brave. I wanted to share with you a letter I sent to the Washington Post. You are SO not alone! Keep up the good work, my sister:

    Dear Ms. Bailey,

    I was deeply encouraged by your recent piece on Dr. Paige Patterson. I have long-awaited this type of abuse to be uncovered. I was married to an abusive man when he attended Southeastern Seminary, when Paige Patterson was the president. While I was there, I had a friend, whose husband also attended seminary. They have five children and they were abused regularly, in every way. Since I was “only” suffering from emotional, financial, mental and spiritual abuse, I went to security and reported the abuse of my friend. The security officer said that he “hears about this type of thing all the time”. He did nothing. I then went to the counseling department (Dr. Frank Catanzaro, who is now working under Patterson in Texas), and told him about the abuse of my friend. I had obtained permission from this woman to speak on her behalf. He was so scared. Her child had recently suffered a broken hand at the hands of her father. Dr. Catanzaro said, “This happens all the time. There’s nothing we can do.” I argued, “But, this man is here to be a PASTOR. You can’t let him go through with it!” Dr. Catanzaro also remarked, “There is nothing we can do.” His casual demeanor was shocking. I also called upon Dr. Catanzaro many times for my own abuse. He told me things such as, “Be more active in bed. Submit more. Pray for him.” He never once gave me the option to leave.

    When things began to get physically abusive, I finally took our four children and left (seminaries, then, were big on their beliefs against birth control, which left us women very vulnerable). By the time I left, we had moved overseas to be with my ex husband’s family. A friend noticed bruises on the children and myself and she and her husband paid for tickets for us to escape. We found no comfort from our previous Southern Baptist churches. Further, they harassed us for a good year for my “sin” of leaving my ex. I was told that I am a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and that God is no longer with me. I was so spiritually brainwashed that I really thought I was going to hell — but I wanted to give my children a better chance. During that time, the children and I were in near-poverty.

    Slowly, I climbed my way out and I have been remarried for almost 6 years. I won sole custody of my children. My husband now (wonderful man) put a stop to the harassment we were experiencing. Six years ago, I started a non-profit ministry called Give Her Wings, Inc. to try to help the women who, like me, were shunned by their community, families and in-laws for the “sin” of leaving abuse. We regularly pay bills for these brave women to get on their feet and they do! We have helped close to 100 women become free. We are small, but mighty!

    Paige Patterson’s teaching and support of the good ole’ boy system has hurt so many more women than I could count. Please don’t stop reporting these things. Please keep on digging.

    Warmly, Megan Cox — http://www.giveherwings.com

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Megan, I’m a fan of your ministry but I didn’t know this part of your story. Thank you for advocating for abused women. A fellow former pastor’s wife who survived abuse, left, and now also advocates for abused women.


    2. This is astonishing and terrible. Bad beyond words. I’m so glad you had the strength to get out and help others. Hugs.


  3. Most people do not understand the hold that Paige P has on the convention. Strangely, He was Pope, and the personification of evil.

    He had far reaching tentacles down to the Associational level and always theatened anyone that disagreed with some type of retributive action. His cult status and heavy handidness led to his own downfall (God is not mocked).

    The Trustees at SWBTS have now demonstrated that they are now no better than PP, and care nothing about the institution, personal integrity, the Gospel, Christ, nor His Church.

    May God have mercy on their souls


    Eph 1:7

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PP has lead a path of destruction for almost 40 years–all in the name of god and I meant to lowercase god, because what he and others like have done is not of God. His minions are everywhere in the SBC, Sadly, his retiring IMO changes little to nothing.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh wow. I graduated from SWBTS in 2004. The climate in campus for me was much different that last year, but it was nothing compared to what you experienced. I’m so sorry. Thank you for speaking out. Praying for change. (I found your post from your comment on Wade Burleson’s blog).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. April – I was not his wife but his administrative assistant who sat in on your sermon. I was also profoundly embarrassed at having to do so but was ordered to do it.

    I left SWBTS and earned my PhD at another institution as well. One that was welcoming and glad to have a woman’s perspective.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for your comment. But it was my friend’s sermon, not mine; I never took preaching (and had never planned to do it, actually–I just ended up doing it after I graduated). She has since told me that a handful of women experienced that treatment. I’m glad we both found other places to thrive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Misread the story but the account is the same. Apologize to her for me. I was embarrassed as well.


  6. Hi SBCtoo, thanks so much for sharing your story.

    Paige Patterson must be expelled from the SBC. He must be put out of the church. That’s what is commanded in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13.

    All churches that wittingly allow abusers and the powerful enablers of abusers to remain in the visible church need are disobeying 1 Cor 5:11-13.

    The SBC has obviously wittingly allowed abusers to remain in the SBC.
    The SBC has obviously wittingly allowed powerful enablers of abusers to remain in the SBC.

    The SBC is not the only protestant denomination doing this.

    If anyone wants to find good resources for responding to domestic abuse in a Christian context, allow me to suggest you look at the A Cry For Justice blog. Click on my gravatar to find it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. PP is a serial spiritual abuser. That he either agreed to retire early or was forced to do so is a travesty.

    LEB Jer 23:1  “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture,” declares Yahweh. 
    Jer 23:2  Therefore thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people, “You yourselves have scattered my flock, and you have driven them away, and you do not attend to them. Look, I will punish you for the evil of your deeds,” declares Yahweh. 


  8. April – I too am so sorry for your experiences at SWBTS. I have known of PP since I was a child at First Baptist Church and his experiences with Criswell College. My own sweet husband came to know the Lord in high school and later left the Catholic Church for the Baptist faith partly because of the churches stand on inerrancy of scripture. PP was later a great influence with my husband, Shawn, who admired him and looked to him for guidance. When he was finishing his PhD he was called to be the librarian at SEBTS and we were thrilled to get that job…let me say that as long as a person is valued by PP or his minions – look to those he has suggested for positions in other schools, churches, mission boards etc. – who will be able to work and be welcomed BUT once you are not valued then you are cast aside and driftless b/c those that still want his approval, which means his followers, will not dare to speak with you, fellowship or speak with you needless to say give you a job. Your courage is AMAZING and I thank you for stepping forward and confirming the testimonies of us all. I worry for the school and it’s recovery and we must all pray for the interim president and incoming president b/c they will be left to clean this mess up. God grant them strength! Cathy Madden

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I applied to, and was interviewing for, a position in a PhD program at SWBTS but formally withdrew when the Patterson stories came to light. The stories I’ve heard since, including yours, keep affirming that decision for me. I firmly believe there are many worthy institutions out there that are more deserving of my time and money. Thank you again for your bravery and please keep sharing!


    1. Many good ones won’t take your money; they’ll fund you. If you want a seminary degree and not a university degree like mine, I suggest looking into a Presbyterian seminary. There are LOTS of Baptists at Princeton Theological Seminary, for example, and funding is very generous.


  10. April, thank you for speaking up! I am very sorry you endured such awful treatment at SWBTS during your time there. It’s good to know that you have good support around you now at Princeton. May the current groundswell of calls for accountability like yours result in genuine repentance and change in SBC leaders and attitudes toward women. It is way overdue. Again, thanks for being courageous and telling your story.

    My wife (MA RE ’86) and I (MDiv ’86) were on campus 1983-89 and then again in 1994 for me to finish my dissertation. It was a tumultuous time. Russell Dilday was fired and locked out of his office in ’94, and Karen Bullock started teaching that year. We left the US in ’98 to serve the Lord abroad and have stayed overseas since then, not as Southern Baptists but as mere Christians. I could not and cannot stomach the power politics and fundamentalism of the regime that took control of the SBC. (We can’t stand the current politics of Washington DC, either.)

    God bless you, sister, and keep you strong.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you for this. I encourage you to sign your name to it.

    When I started applying to graduate programs in religion in 1990, it was clear to me that a Southern Baptist institution was not an option. Having grown up in Kentucky, I would love to have been able to attend Southern. And, had I been born 5-10 years earlier, I probably would have done. But, by 1990, the handwriting already was on the wall. In fact, I spent a day at Southern as I was making my rounds to have conversations with professors at a number of schools — including Princeton Seminary, where New Testament professor and Southern Baptist dissenter Alan Neely had landed after fleeing the purge at Southeastern. At Southern, I had wonderful meetings with Molly Marshall, Bill Leonard and others. But, they were forthright in saying that, given how things were going, they could not guarantee that they would be able to stay for the duration of my 3-year degree. I wound up going to Duke Divinity, which had a nascent Baptist House of Studies and — in the wake of Randall Lolley’s 1987 resignation of conscience from Southeastern, just down the road — had become a haven for liberal Baptists in that part of the country.

    I agree with you that Southwestern’s “solution” re Paige Patterson sends a mixed message. He needs to be removed completely — and not given the parachute of an office and an Emeritus title that will make it easier for him to continue to exert influence on the lecture / writing / talking head circuit.

    Too, as some already have noted, any successor will not be effective in leading Southwestern in a new direction if Patterson is right there — and with Emeritus rank — looking over his (no doubt, it will be “his”) shoulder. Anyone who doubts that this is a recipe for disaster need look no further than the example of Joel Gregory, who in the late 1980s was brought on as the “co-pastor” of First Baptist Dallas, while W.A. Criswell remained as “senior pastor.” Even when Criswell became “Pastor Emeritus,” he kept his seat — literally, sat in a big chair on the platform on Sunday mornings, while Gregory was preaching from the pulpit. Things went downhill fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, John. I’m not anonymous; you can find me having posted this in my own name in several places. I’ve also had contact with journalists in my own name.


      1. Cheers. I did eventually find your name via Google search. Just thought you might have intended to include your name with the statement itself.


  12. I was told that I would never appear in Southwestern News as long as Patterson was prez and/or over his dead body. Why? Female and I expressed concerns to him privately over decisions he made that had nothing to do with the issue of women in ministry.

    Bottom line – You are not alone.


  13. I graduated from SWBTS in 82. While there, I was harassed by a guy and also treated roughly by him. I reported him and also found others who had experienced the same. He was expelled. And THAT was 1982. Russell Dilday was president. How in God’s name could things have gone so far backwards 36 years later??
    My father, who was first Vice President of the SBC a couple years before the big “takeover” and was for several years the chairman of the executive committee, had warned me about Patterson. He knew it was a HUGE mistake.
    The man needs to be GONE.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This makes me incredibly sad. I graduated from SWBTS in 1978 and my 3 years there were the best years of my life. I was treated with respect and as an equal by faculty and students alike. I visited the campus in 2011 for the first time since my graduation and it was not the school I graduated from. The atmosphere on campus made me sad. What happened to the school I loved so much! The spirit of Christ simply was not there. And why is the student center inundated with dead, stuffed animals? What in the world? The campus is now a monument to Paige Patterson, not a place where the Spirit of Christ dwells and students are inspired to learn more about and grow in their relationship with Him. I left campus with a heavy heart. Reading your experience makes me sad and angry. I am so sorry you did not have the wonderful experience I had. I miss my school and I miss the denomination I grew up in. I pray that God will restore what the locusts have eaten. But I leave you with the words of wisdom my wise father shared when I went into ministry. “You must always keep your eyes on Jesus because people are going to disappoint you.”


  15. Thank you for being bold enough to share this account publicly. It contributes to the building pressure for a reformation in the Southern Baptist Convention which must erupt if we are to see real recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Not one little bit of surprise in this sad essay. Very sorry that you had to endure this and I know there are many more out there. At 76 years old I was raised as a Southern Baptist. In the last 20 or so years I have shied away from that title. Southern Baptist has come to mean something very different from what it was when I was a child and young person. I decline to even attend a church that claims affiliation with the convention. It is all about money and the love of Our Lord is not even discussed. I am a born again, saved by grace, follower of Christ Jesus. Thankful for my upbringing but Satan has taken over and it is not the same. After 55 yeas of marriage to the same man I have divorced him 2 years ago. Abuse of every order and I could stand it no longer. The Southern Baptist church condemns me for that decision and I am still trying to convince myself it was the only thing to do. God loves me and knows my heart. I don’t need the approval of “the deacons”, and that’s another story.


    1. Christi, I applaude your courage
      and your continued persistence
      to stand firm in the face of the SBC and their beliefs about marriage. Like you I have become very aware that the SBC is not what I thought it was. Just know you are not alone! JC


  17. I can assure you that God has used all those experiences … of which you have written … to make you into the very person you are today. He takes no pleasure in those things, but He knows the end before the beginning, and you can rest assured it was worth it.

    You may not have been blessed IN it, but you are surely blessed THROUGH it.


  18. If anyone in leadership knew of abuse and did not report it immediately, then they are culpable and should be removed from their position. These posts show a corporate culture of misogyny and abuse that has been accepted and condoned at the highest levels. The current leader should be fired without any opportunities of continued influence. What a disgrace for this institution. Surely the trustees see how damaging this is to the academic standing and prestige (now absent) of the seminary.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for telling your story, for so many years I thought I was alone. I was in an abusive relationship my first few years at swbts but I had no idea it was abusive because the general culture at the school was- if a man is tempted to touch you, it was your fault as a woman for not being more modest. I always wondered where that culture came from because my professors were always so wonderful, gracious, and encouraging. Now it’s so obvious.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow. I’m so sorry you went through this. I loved having Dr. Bullock as one of my professors, back in 1990-1994. She made the class sooo interesting. As I recall, it was an evening class. I suppose she wasn’t allowed to teach during the day. However, I’m fortunate to have attended SWBTS when I did—under Dr. Dilday. Back then, I, as a woman, was treated well. There was freedom of thought. I had many moderate professors who were the best! All my professors at that time, treated everyone with dignity and respect. One day in class I even heard a professor saying that “one of you women may one day be president of the SBC.” This gave me great hope that a woman could actually be used by God. I did not come from a Christian background growing up and knew next to nothing about the Bible. I still thought that only priests could interpret the Bible, until my Hermeneutics class! SWBTS was such a wonderful institution back then. I received an M. Div. Women could even preach in the preaching lab. There was freedom in pursuing your God given calling. However, the last semester I was there, Dr. Dilday was fired. It crushed me. I knew then, that SWBTS would never be the same. And I was right. Because of this and the never ending battle between “conservatives” and moderates, I left the SBC and now attend a non-denominational church — where only Christ is preached, and not “man’s made-up doctrine.”

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Paige Patterson sits on the board of trustees at Cedarville University and the president there was/is a protege PP. A lot of alumni are calling for his ouster but with PPs boy Thomas White as president, I doubt it will happen.


  22. So sad to read your story, but just confirms many other stories I’ve heard over the years. My husband and I were there during blessed golden years, but again later when Dr. Dilday was fired and the Fundamentalists took over. So sad, that wonderful SWBTS has become a place of indoctrination and intimidation rather than education.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow. I find myself, more and more, so glad I went to an institution with no religious affiliation. I cannot even imagine how horrible this must have been, or goodness and decency seem to have fled utterly amongst people who would claim to be Christians. It is disgusting.

    ” The Chief told me he’d told his entire squad to look out for me. They patrolled 24/7. ”

    God bless this man, and the other security guards, who showed true love and concern for you. The behavior of the security was deeply troubling and Patterson’s disgusting.


  24. Thank you for sharing.
    I am hoping that the truth coming out will shatter the culture that is based on hate and control
    You are in my prayers
    I am in Australia but am interested in this issue. I am dis trustful of the church institutions where there is a resistance for change
    There is an unspeakable rage that us women have been carrying for a long time that us now being spoken .
    Its like a Lion’s roar. This is the time we will be heard


  25. My late Daddy used to talk about people who could strut sitting down. A photo of PP would be a good illustration of this. Thanks for sharing your story, and for hanging in there for the subsequent victories you’ve won.


  26. To begin I am glad you posted your experience and story. Sad you experienced.
    God knows the truth in all that has taken place at SWBTS, SEBTS, SBC as well as all the accusations against Paige Patterson and others.
    As with any Trustee Board they are charged with ensuring the Seminary operates within the established Biblical teachings and other guidelines. If all the published accusations against PP whether it be incorrect abuse counsel, using inappropriate sermon illustrations, incorrect teachings, viewpoints and etc went on as long as it did then the Trustees are responsible. It IS their job. They should have stepped in long ago to take care of the matter long before 15 years passed. I am sure some Trustee heard chapel sermons, where contacted regarding incorrect abuse counsel and etc during these last 15 years.
    Yes they did in May 2018 address the published concerns/accusations against Dr. Patterson. However this seems much to late and really appears as result of the pressure of current culture.
    Therefore, It is my opinion the Trustees of SWBTS did not perform the job which they were placed on the board to perform. Thus the Trustees should consider resigning and or being removed for failure to perform their duties. Not sure if a higher level in the SBC can remove them. As an SBC church member I call for them to examine their performance.
    Though I have not served on boards, my father did and he made it a point to find out what was going on in the daily activities of the organization which he served being on the Board of Directors. In meetings he questioned the Executives regarding questionable decisions.
    Not “knowing” about the beliefs, counsel, teachings of the SWBTS President is no excuse. As a Trustee you should get on campus, interact, and find out what is going within the school.
    Just my opinion- but I believe the SWBTS Trustees should consider resigning or being removed.


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