Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blogs, Baptists, and Dr.Paige Patterson

There is something that has bothered me for a couple of years, and I think it's time I vented about it.

There is much about Dr. Patterson with which I disagree:
  • After spending several hours visiting with Dr. Klouda in her home, last summer, hearing her entire story first- hand, seeing in person the toll that her dismissal has taken on her and her family, and searching the scriptures and my own heart, I think what happened to her was beyond an outrage and I have had to fight the effects that has had on my thinking about Dr. Patterson.
  • I listened to his dissertation on why he is not a Dortian Calvinist ... that was the first SBC function I ever attended .. the "debate" with Dr. Mohler in Greensboro, 2006. Sure wish I could've debated him; he said some things that really upset me.
  • I've talked personally with Dr. Ken Hemphill, and I've heard enough about the events surrounding Dr. Dilday's dismissal at SWBTS, to have formed opinions about the things Wade Burleson outlined in his book as attributable to forces led by Dr. Patterson.
  • I see the "Conservative Resurgence" as a military/political (not to say subversive) solution to Spiritual problems, and from the perspective of years, it's not difficult to see the collateral damage that was done.
So, let's just say I might not be personally fond of Dr. Patterson. But Dr. Patterson is who he is, and he has done what he has done .. good and bad, as is the case with all of us. Every one. As far as I know, he earned that doctorate and he has earned the respect of the position, and he should be referred to as Dr. Patterson.

We're told to love one another. We're told one of the real external evidences of our relationship with Jesus is the love we SHOW for one another. Yet week after week, I see people referring to Dr. Patterson as "Paige", "Patterson", "PP", or perhaps other non-specific but highly pejorative terms.

He is DR. PATTERSON and he should be referred to as such, and certainly, most particularly, by those who are not personal friends of his.

We claim to be Christians and followers of Jesus and yet we show disrespect, which certainly reflects a lack of love, to those with whom we disagree. Are we to love, and show respect for, only those with whom we agree; those of whose actions we approve?

It'd be a pretty poor church if that were the case.

I'm not for giving objectionable behavior a "free pass" .. but holding people accountable for their actions should be done by those in a position to do so; Trustees, Elders, Officers and the like. Me sitting at my keyboard is not one of them, and the difficulties in the system which have generated much of the content of, and the need for, HARDBALL RELIGION may never be changed. But God, in His wisdom, prescribes for us the means we are to use. The ends, those are beyond our control and we get into trouble when we depart from His means to try to cause the "end" we want to see.

Paul speaks of crucifying the flesh. To me, that means rejecting the tendencies of our nature, toward sin and self-centeredness, and treating others they way Jesus would have us to do. And that includes all the references to loving others and showing it, as well as Romans 14:4: "Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." (NIV)

This isn't just about Dr. Patterson. It's about the lost world ... hellooo ... the ones you and I are supposed to be reaching ... and what that lost world sees as being the church. And that, friends, is you and me!

Wondering why all the problems in the SBC? Let's all start by looking in the mirror. It might just take a while to work our way up to "Leadership".

11 Comments:

At 2:07 PM, March 27, 2009, Blogger Paul Burleson said...

Bob,

It is a pleasure to call you a brother and count you as a friend.

Well said. Please hear my "Amen."

 
At 9:12 PM, March 27, 2009, Blogger David Samples said...

Bob, You hit this one out of the park. Thank you for reminding all of us to practice love in much larger doses.

 
At 1:16 PM, March 28, 2009, Anonymous Jerald said...

The lost world has much to talk about when asked why not hear the message of the gospel. I see many of them talk about the church being hateful and self-serving.
Thanks for bring this up Bob. And you've used a really good example.

 
At 8:31 PM, March 28, 2009, Blogger Rex Ray said...

Bob,
I've respected and admired many of your comments. My father taught me to never call any other man 'Father' or 'Doctor' (except a real one) His reasoning was the teachings of Jesus in showing respect to none in their names except God.

I believe some seek the recogninition of 'Dr.' to offset their lack of common sense.

My mother and father had Masters, but he said all a degree did was put a little more curl in the pig's tail.

 
At 9:59 PM, March 28, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Rex,

I think your second paragraph is a self-defeating argument. And there is certainly no reason to throw an insinuation like that out, here.

When your mother and father achieved a Master's Degree, that's something worthy of respect; certainly by me, who flunked out of college.

And a Doctorate is no basis for any sort of denigration.

All: thanks for commenting. I appreciate it.

 
At 8:45 AM, March 29, 2009, Blogger Rex Ray said...

Bob,
I'm afraid I didn't make my point clear. I didn't mean to do any "denigration' (had to look that word up even though I've passed six years of college) of a man's education in getting a Doctor's degree.

Should we give 'praises' to 'Master Joe Smith', 'College Graduate Joe Smith', or 'High School Graduate Joe Smith'?

I believe I received some good advice from a professor that told his class to put our graduation rings in a box. I believe he said that like Jesus said 'they broden the hem of their garments to be seen of men'.

I think puttin Dr. in front of a man's name is the same thing.

Hey! Should I get something in front of my name that says when I was 65, I swam four miles across the Sea of Galliee without walking?

 
At 1:35 AM, April 01, 2009, Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

I called Bush Bush and I call Obama Obama. I'm consistent.

Not using the title of "Dr" is not an expression of denigration but a recognition of equality.

You and Patterson are equals.

 
At 6:18 AM, April 01, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

OSO,

Thanks for reading and commenting.

I don't doubt your consistency. I also do not doubt that the tendency for the younger unchurched, to be unwilling to even talk to church people, is caused by what they consistently see from church people.

And it certainly is not about equality, either. It is about respect for others, and showing it, including showing respect for what they have accomplished.

 
At 9:17 AM, April 02, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob-
"He" asks to be called "Paige" by others including me (back in the day). When I wrote, I usually wrote "Dr. Patterson" to avoid the accusation of lack of respect. I do not, however, see that using a non-preferred title demonstrates any actual respect.

I see no evidence that losing the "Dr" in front of his (or anyone else's) name is problematic and I really can't see it making any difference to lost people in any way whatsoever.

In the brilliantly insightful book UnChristian, a number of unbelievers are interviewed as to the problems they see in the church as a whole. Lack of titular respect didn't make the list.

I do appreciate the fact that you believe respect is important, but I think the content of an entire comment or post is more indicative than the specific way a person is addressed. The secular press commonly uses "The Obamas" rather than "President and Mrs Obama" without sacrificing protocol or respect.

Marty

 
At 10:06 AM, April 02, 2009, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Marty,

I don't think we disagree. But the vast bulk of the comments I see, which refer to Dr. Patterson, are negative in tone and show disrespect.

And neither was I referring to how he is addressed when speaking to him as a friend, or an acquaintance. But he is neither to me, and I will refer to him as Dr. Patterson, similarly to the way I do Dr. Klouda.

My Pastor is Dr. Michael E, Shaw. I call him Mike, occasionally Brother Mike, but I'm going to speak differently of him than I would to him.

Something's got the world thinking poorly of the church. My take on one contributing factor is expressed in the post.

Thanks for the comment.

 
At 4:33 PM, January 12, 2010, Blogger Gene S said...

I think you have seen the man to his core. He was unliked and an advasary to Mrs. W.A. Criswell, it that tell you anything (reported in "Too Great a Temptation" by Joel Gregory).

He was not allowed into Wake Forest Baptist Church on the corner of the campus because of the disruption guaranteed by his presence. Instead, he joined the Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, his mega church model of fundamentalist bigness.

He smiles and seems jovial, but God help the soul of the man who crosses him. Through his influence and the constant graduating number of ministers into NC pulpits, we no longer have Autonomy in the Constitution and By-laws (now called Document of Incorporation). NCBSC rejects the gifts of any church showing any kindness to homosexuals.

"It is a wicked we weave when first we practice to deceive."

His only real motto is: "The end justifies the means to that end."

I tell you this from personal observation and taking many pictures of his fancy SEBTS office. It is all about a big show and running that show with smile on face and the bite of an alligator for anyone opposing him.

 

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