RELIGION
10/03/2018 01:10 pm ET

Evangelical Leader To Teach Christian Ethics Course After Dramatic Fall From Grace

Paige Patterson, a Southern Baptist leader fired for his handling of student rape cases, will teach how to apply Christian principles to current moral issues.
Paige Patterson was once a towering figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest Protestant denomination.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram via Getty Images
Paige Patterson was once a towering figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, America's largest Protestant denomination.

A prominent Southern Baptist leader fired in May over his handling of seminary students’ rape allegations has found a new gig ― teaching Christian ethics.

Paige Patterson, former president of Texas’ Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, will co-teach a one-week course called “Christian Ethics: The Bible and Moral Issues” at North Carolina’s Southern Evangelical Seminary this month, Religion News Service reports. 

The course promises to teach seminary students how to apply the “timeless truths of God’s Word to the moral issues of our day,” according to the school’s president, Richard Land, who will be co-teaching.

“I am more than honored to team-teach the class with my friend and colleague Dr. Paige Patterson,” Land said in a statement. “SES is delighted to be able to offer Christians both here and overseas this unique opportunity to be taught by one of the most significant Evangelical leaders of the past half-century.”

Patterson’s fall from grace came after the recirculation of comments he’d made in the past that appeared to objectify a teenage girl’s body and advise women to remain in abusive marriages. After weeks of criticism from evangelical women over the disturbing comments, Patterson was fired from his seminary job in May over his handling of rape allegations brought to him by two female seminary students in 2003 and 2015. 

Patterson, through a lawyer, has denied that he mishandled the students’ cases.

The controversy around Patterson sent shockwaves through the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination. Patterson had been a towering figure in the group. He served as president of the SBC for two terms and is credited with helping to steer Southern Baptists toward greater conservatism. 

Patterson hasn’t avoided the spotlight since his ouster from the Texas seminary. He’s been invited to numerous speaking engagements, according to RNS. 

In September, he was invited to speak at a revival meeting in Alabama, where The Washington Post reported he spent time at the pulpit body shaming an unnamed woman for being overweight and denouncing women who falsely accuse men of sexual misconduct. Studies have shown that the rate of false allegations of sexual assault is as low as 2 percent. 

Southern Evangelical Seminary, which is not affiliated with the SBC, praised Patterson in its statement as the “architect of the Conservative Resurgence among Southern Baptists with 60 years of ministry experience.”

The statement added: “Patterson brings a lifetime of leadership and pastoral expertise to his ministry as evangelist, educator and theologian.” 

The Christian ethics course begins on Oct. 15, on Southern Evangelical Seminary’s Charlotte campus.

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