Paige Patterson, the Southern Baptist leader under fire for his past comments regarding women, issued an apology today.
“I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity,” said Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).
“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.”
His statement—which appears in full at the bottom of this post—comes a day after Southern Baptist men released an open letter calling out Patterson’s controversial remarks. An initial petition launched by Southern Baptist women on Sunday now has nearly 3,000 signatures.
“We are likewise grieved by the comments—heartbroken over the effect they have on our sisters in the faith, concerned about the wrong message they send to the world about the value and dignity of women, and aggrieved by the poor gospel witness,” the men’s letter read.
“We should have noticed this long ago, and we were at fault for ignoring it until our sisters pointed it out.”
Patterson has called for a special meeting of the SWBTS board of trustees on May 22. His full apology, posted on the seminary website, reads:
Pastoral ministry that occurred 54 years ago, repeated as an illustration in sermons on more than one occasion, as well as another sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Gen. 2:22) have obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways. 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.
I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that 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. The Spirit of Christ is one of comfort, kindness, encouragement, truth, and grace; and that is what I desire my voice always to be.
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.