Patterson's attorney: SBC leader victim of 'misrepresentation, misinformation'

Wednesday, June 6, 2018
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

Paige Patterson 2An attorney for the former president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary wants to set the record straight in the ongoing controversy that resulted in Dr. Paige Paterson's complete termination from the school.

Stating he has come forward publicly on his own behalf and not that of his client, Shelby Sharpe has issued a media release in response to a June 1 media release issued by the chairman of the SWBTS board of trustees explaining why Patterson was terminated late last month.

"He identified me by name – that's what opened the door for me to step in," Sharpe says when asked why he has come forward. "You put me in here – so I'm now going to speak to this issue."

The media release from board chairman Kevin Ueckert accuses Patterson – the 75-year-old leader of the "Conservative Resurgence" in the Southern Baptist Convention – of making a contradictory statement and taking documents from his former employer (Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) that didn't belong to him.

"He's not lying; he's not stolen documents – and I know that for a fact," says the attorney.

Sharpe also refuted an accusation by Ueckert that Patterson wanted to meet with a female student at Southwestern who said she was assaulted so he could "break her down." That email, says Sharpe, was taken out of context. "[It was] over a month later and had nothing to do with the report of the rape. It had to do with another meeting involving another matter," he tells OneNewsNow.

Sharpe argues that when the truth comes out, Patterson does not look like how he is being portrayed. "I detest misappropriation of truth attacking a man who has served as effectively and well as he has," he adds.

According to Sharpe, there has been "widespread misrepresentation and misinformation regarding Dr. Patterson." Other comments from the attorney:

  • On a response from Patterson: "Dr. Patterson is not going to get into the media on what has taken place. That is just not the way it is because it involves him personally and he will leave that in the Lord's hands. He's not going to get in the media."
  • On the document controversy with Southeastern Seminary: "I'm convinced that the document situation is going to get resolved without any problem. Everybody's working together on that. I don't see any problems concerning those documents, not in the least."
  • On the report that Patterson said it was "good thing" the SWBTS female student was raped in 2015: "There is no way that Dr. Patterson would ever make that statement, period. And for somebody to say he did, that's not truthful. Now, would he possibly have said God might bring something good out of that bad situation? Yes, he might have said something like that – and that's a truthful statement: God often does bring something good out of a tragedy to a person. But is the thing that occurred good?  No. I've never heard him says something like that and because that's not biblical, he would not have said something like that."
  • On the original accusation that started this fiasco when it was said that Patterson gave counsel to a woman many decades ago to stay in a physically abusive marriage: "When the lady in Dr. Patterson's church came to him, she had never been physically abused, never. The only thing that had happened was her husband had expressed vocally he didn't like her going to church and tithing. She didn't indicate that she was concerned about any physical abuse; she just said he was pretty strong verbally about that. So, he [Patterson] suggested we'll pray for him – and the next day [the husband] physically abuses her for the first time in their whole married life and he's so convicted by what he did, the following Sunday he comes to church with her and accepts the Lord as his Savior. Now, unless Dr. Patterson is omniscient – and there's only one that's ever walked this earth that was – he couldn't know that. Even the lady didn't expect she would be physically abused. So how is that an encouragement to go back into a physically abusive situation that has never existed?"
  • On when Patterson told the woman her husband may get a little more violent: "That had to do with vocal, not physical. There's a huge difference."

'Whipping up the crowd' against Patterson, says pastor

As more information comes in about the firing and total removal of Dr. Paige Patterson at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a Southern Baptist pastor in Texas explains that it's becoming clear to him what's really taking place.

Arnold

Grady Arnold, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Cuero, Texas, agrees there's been "misrepresentation and misinformation," stating "that's what we've been saying all along" – that the things that were being spoken of were mainly put out on Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson's blog and by Baptist author and speaker Ed Stetzer "who was dropping news to Washington Post and other places."

"It's kind of a typical thing that people in the social justice movement do where they basically find someone they don't like – it's always a conservative – then they create a narrative of why they don't like that person, especially something they think is a weakness of that person," says Arnold.

"And then they find data to support that; and then they go out and try to whip up the crowd to be against this individual and basically destroy this individual, which that's what we've seen."

Arnold's concluding question in all of this is: "What has he [Patterson] truly done wrong?" He admits being concerned about the future of SWBTS and what direction the seminary will take in the selection of a new president.

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