ATLANTA (BP)–Paige Patterson and the apostle Paul have at least one thing in common, both are wrong about women. So asserted a teenage girl to the applause of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship members gathered June 28 at the Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM) meeting at the CBF annual General Assembly.
The girl identified herself as a member of Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., where she said Randall Lolley, former president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, had served as interim pastor. As part of a project for her sixth grade class, the girl was assigned to write letters to prominent Americans on an issue of importance. She said that she chose the issue of women in the pastorate, sending letters opposing the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message to SBC conservative Paige Patterson, Lolley’s successor as president of Southeastern Seminary, and to Raye Nell Dyer, BWIM’s president.
“I believe women should listen to what God says and not Paul,” the girl said to a wave of laughter from the crowd. She said that she had asserted this point to Patterson and Dyer in their respective letters. The Baptist Faith and Message was simply wrong, she contended, since “a woman can do almost anything a man can.”
The girl said she received a kind letter from Dyer and “a kind of weird” letter from Patterson.
Baptist Press has obtained a copy of Patterson’s letter to the youngster. In it he assures her that the confessional document’s stance on church officers is not a doctrinal innovation, but simply states “the conviction that is held by most Southern Baptists that women should not serve as pastors of the church.”
“In your letter you say that we should follow what God says and not what Paul says,” Patterson continues in the letter. “What Paul says and what God says are both regarded in the Bible as the word of God. As a matter of fact, Paul says that he is only saying what God said. That being the case, how do you know what is stated by Paul and what is stated by God?”
Patterson concluded the letter by wishing “God’s blessings on you as you study His Word and seek to know what Jesus would have you to do.”