LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A theology educator for a Southern Baptist seminary has found himself the center of controversy.
Paige Patterson prematurely retired from President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after allegedly making negative comments towards a woman who said she had been sexually abused.
Mark Newton, a graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a pastor, said that his time as a student couldn't have been better. However, he added Patterson's involvement at the seminary has caused him so much disgust that he hangs his diploma upside down.
"My whole ministry has been in opposition to Paige Patterson," Newton said.
In April, an audio recording was released alleging that the man speaking and advising wives to forgive and forget domestic abuse was made of Patterson.
Patterson has since confirmed this to be true.
"When men abuse women either verbally, or sexually, or by innuendo, it's just wrong," Newton said. "It's a sin."
But, to Pastor Randy Brown, Patterson was a man he respected until he realized the example Patterson was setting.
"Having a 24-year-old daughter and seeing how his comments about domestic violence affect her helped me really get a clear picture of how it impacts millennials, who're really the people we're trying to reach with the gospel," Brown said.
Brown said he feels like it also poses a threat to the image of the church.
"To know that women would think that the church isn't a safe place, to me, would be a sad situation because the church should be a place where women, children, anybody should come and feel like they're safe," Brown said.
The board of trustees announced that Patterson would be moving to the position as "President Emeritus."
"He should have been fired and let go, period," Newton said.
The board spent 13 hours in a closed-door meeting yesterday before announcing their decision.