Fort Worth

Supporters of embattled Baptist leader plan meeting to combat 'public attacks'

Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is shown in a 2011 file photo.
Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is shown in a 2011 file photo. Star-Telegram

Supporters of Baptist leader Paige Patterson scheduled a surprise prayer meeting for him at his school to combat "very public attacks and false accusations" amid fallout from a recording of Patterson saying he counseled abused women not to seek divorce.

Patterson, a leader among Southern Baptists and the president of Fort Worth's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is under fire after comments he made urging abused women to submit to their husbands and pray rather than seek divorce resurfaced.

"Dr. and Mrs. Patterson are trusting with full confidence in the Lord that He will be glorified in all things," wrote Z. Scott Colter, Patterson's chief of staff, in the email. The prayer meeting was expected to take place at 5 p.m. in the school, open to students, faculty, staff and their spouses, according to the email. Colter did not immediately return a message seeking comment left on his cell phone.

The email did not specify which specific accusations about Patterson are false.

Patterson himself responded to the tape with a statement released on the school's website on April 29, saying he did not condone abuse. He later gave an interview with the Baptist Press in which he said that people experiencing "minor," "non-injurious abuse" might make a woman pray rather than leave.

However, the Baptist Press altered Patterson's interview to take out "non-injurious." After being called out, the site attached an editor's note, claiming the story was updated to reflect Patterson's "intent."

Anyone with more information should contact reporter Sarah Smith at ssmith@star-telegram.com

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