Will our grandchildren have to apologize for this?
    May 3 2018 by Sara Beth Fentress

    Paige Patterson told a story at a conference nearly two decades ago about counseling a woman to remain in a dangerous household, despite the black eyes she endured, for the sake of her husband. The audio clip of that account recently sparked a great deal of controversy when it surfaced online.
     
    Patterson responded to critics by releasing a statement to clear up “misrepresentations,” denying he had ever suggested women should stay in abusive environments. He then further defended himself in an interview with Baptist Press, and then altered his statements even more in a revision to his interview with Baptist Press.

    Sara Beth Fentress


    Despite the unclear clarifications, it appears the president of one of our beloved seminaries – my alma mater – has not retracted his dangerous advice to a victim of domestic violence.
     
    So, I ask my fellow Southern Baptists, will our grandchildren have to apologize for this?
     
    Historically, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has been slow to action and repentance on key issues where our voice needed to be loud and clear. It took us nearly 150 years to apologize for our shameful stance on slavery.
     
    As a single, female, non-profit ministry leader who was born-and-raised Southern Baptist, I’m respectfully calling SBC leaders to consider the following thoughts:
      

    Delayed obedience is disobedience.

    Inaction and indifference to important issues significantly hinder our public witness and effectiveness in Great Commission advancement. May we be a people who are known for being quick to confess and repent.
     

    We cannot sweep this under the rug.

    There is a palpable quietness at a time when silence is not an option. Some leaders have spoken out on social media, but tweets are not sufficient. God has given us the Holy Spirit to embolden us to do hard things. This is a difficult issue, but we need a firm stance. Our integrity demands it.
     

    Your followers eagerly look for leaders to rally behind.

    People are watching and waiting to see what will happen. May our words be loud and our actions courageous to support the biblical truths we proclaim. As a convention, we stand at risk of losing more young men and women from a generation that is begging to see authenticity and vulnerability. Lead us.
     

    We must value and honor women, especially the vulnerable.

    Females, made in the imago Dei (Genesis 1:27), enhance the advancement of the gospel in ways that men cannot. Challenge men in your church to love, encourage, serve, honor and protect the women in their lives. Encourage women in your churches to be courageous and flourish in the gifts that God has given. Be a safe place for hurting people to seek refuge.
     

    We must beg for God to intervene.

    Our El Roi who sees us (Genesis 16:13) will be our teacher (Psalm 32:8) and protector (Psalm 121). By His Spirit and with our humble submission, the Lord can use imperfect people to point others toward the gospel of grace and truth.
     
    I implore our leaders, let’s not give our descendants any reason to apologize for our silence and inaction on the significance and treatment of women. Please act quickly on this one.
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Sara Beth Fentress is the founder and executive director of 127 Worldwide, a non-profit ministry dedicated to helping people care for orphans and widows around the globe. She is a graduate of Carson Newman University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and currently a member of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C.)
     

    5/3/2018 11:23:38 AM by Sara Beth Fentress | with 2 comments




Comments
Micki Ray
Wow! Well said!
5/5/2018 1:33:18 PM

Kathy Vestal
Thank you, Sara Beth Fentress. Indeed thousands of us are watching for courageous leadership to emerge.
5/3/2018 1:07:57 PM