Answers to My Critics on Why I Didn’t Sign the Paige Patterson Letter by Carmen Fowler Laberge

When I shared why, as a Christian, woman and member of a church in the Southern Baptist Convention, I’m not signing the letter calling for the resignation of Paige Patterson, the reaction of some was predictable contempt. Here I will attempt to publicly answer the questions being privately asked:

1) Why not sign the petition vs Patterson? Do you think he should remain in leadership?

2) What’s the bigger context of Christian mutual submission and marriage that makes “wives submit to your husbands” a tenable teaching even in 2018?

3) How can justice be served in this #MeToo moment in the SBC and evangelical Christianity in America writ large?

I’m not signing the letter for many reasons. Among them: I recognize my own complicity, I am not willing to concede a systemic problem can be reduced to the sin of an individual, I know that removing one leader does not change a culture, and I don’t want to see the conversation end in the boardroom of one seminary.

Each of the examples being lifted up to bring Paige Patterson down were statements made in the context of very public events. He was not alone in his sin. Every Christian present was in a position to raise a voice of opposition and follow the Matthew 18 model of confrontation. Apparently no one, over many years, did so. We laughed along while the Word of God was mishandled and submission in marriage was misrepresented. This is a moment of truth and the sin we face is systemic and substantial. The sin is also personal and dispersed throughout a system of thinking, cultural practices, and generational behavior, both public and private. The change in leadership we need not confined to one office holder. We need a change of every heart in the Body of believers.

That brings us to the bigger context of the conversation we’re having in America in 2018 at this #MeToo moment. Specifically, is the Christian vision of marriage and mutual submission to Christ in marriage still tenable? Short answer: yes. The challenge Christians face in every generation is to receive the Word of God for what it really is and then allow God to bring us into conformity with His will. That’s hard when what God has said does not align with what the world is telling us about ourselves, our relationships or our purpose.

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Source: Christian Post