05 March, 2007

Paige Patterson's High Life

The Baptist Blogger has some serious issues with Paige and Dorothy Patterson. He writes all about it over at his blog. I doubt the Baptist Blogger and I would totally agree on doctrine but we do agree on some of the ridiculous lifestyles of the rich and famous ministers of the Word.

I have written about this before. We are seeing ministry becoming a path to wealth, fame, power and the good life. Perhaps this would not be such a big problem if this good life were not financed with tithe dollars, donations and tuition to a Seminary. While no one suggests ministers should be dirt poor, we have to wonder if living so far above the lifestyle of most of their congregation or students puts them at a severe disadvantage in ministry. Can they relate at all? Makes you wonder why God sent Jesus as a poor Nazarene peasant instead of someone more influential. He didn't for a reason and these people have forgotten why.

The picture above is the tombstone of the Patterson family 'granddog'. Nice, huh? Probably just a few thousand bills. No biggie. Doesn't everyone purchase a real tombstone for the family pet that only lived 6 years? By the way, how much do they charge by engraved letter?
The Baptist blogger points out that right after he was hired as President of Southwestern Theological Seminary, Patterson, known for his big game hunting, had SWTS billed $2500 smackeroos for taxidermy services. So now, the students are paying for the stuffing of his big game catch. Probably office decorating expenses.

Here are a few more items from the high life of Paige and Dorothy paid for by student tuition and donations:
Paige and Dorothy Patterson have nearly quadrupled the value of Pecan Manor, the Southwestern presidential home, and increased the square footage to 8,757 sq.ft. In the meantime, houses on the same street have increased in value by 1.88%.

Cost of dinner plates for presidential home — $7,775.00

Cost of commissioning a presidential portrait — $69,270.00
There is much more, but you get the picture....

Whenever I read about our nouveau riche ministers and leaders living the high life, I think of this verse:
Matthew 8:19-21
And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."


Scott said...

The really sad part of all this is the total absorbtion by your blogger friend into Paige Patterson. Dr. Patterson is eccentric, yes. I assume he is also a good investor and seems to know how to make his income grow. Dr. Patterson has conflicting theological and doctrinal viewpoints than my own. But Dr. Patterson should not hold my attention. Nor should anyone. To do so clearly takes our focus away from Jesus Christ and, in my estimation of the Biblical data, violates several precepts from the OT and NT in the process (make no idols, have no other gods, judge not lest you be judged, gossiping, etc.).

I have to wonder if there is a stirring up that causes division. (see Titus 3:10-11). Sometimes its best, after having pointing something out, to just move on.

Lin said...

I can relate to Baptist blogger. However, I just recently found his blog and do not even know who he is.

It is excrutiatingly hard to be in a situation where you see the crass and willful abuse of position, power, tithes and donations. It is hard to see people you respected take advantage of their position for worldly gain. Even to the point of ethical abuses.

What to do? What is our responsibility?

However, those who are not new to my blog will know that I do point out the high life of ministers and leaders in Christendom. Ministry is the new path to wealth and fame. They love the world too much and the desparity between their lives and the lives of their sheep is so vast, they can no longer relate. And, they no longer have to depend on God for any material need. And, it shows.

I have to disagree with the "judge not lest you be judged, idols, etc. We are not to judge the world or to judge anything we ourselves are guilty of. We must examine ourselves first.

But judgement does begin at the house of the Lord.

If they want the high life, they should go into business.. not expect tithes and donations to fund it.

1 Thess 2

9For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers.

2 Corinthians 12

14Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children.

I am trying to figure out why God chose to send Jesus as a baby, growing up as a poor peasant with no where to lay His head as an adult.

Why do many of our Shepherds think they should live in the top 10% of income earners in this country?

Scott said...

The difference is Baptist Blogger keeps harping on one individual. I have seen you talk about general overall circumstances that are best illustrated by the reference to one or two individuals. There is a huge difference.

While Dr. Patterson may indeed have a bit more in his accounts than many, it is not doing the body of Christ to insinuate he is fleecing the flock. As I said before, I do not agree with him on many theological and doctrinal points (though we share many commonalities as well). But it is just flat wrong to put him in the same category as the TBN crowd who have gold plated fixtures in their dog houses.

Whats worse, a seminary president that has earned his stripes and come up through the ranks and is a good investor? Or a youth pastor pulling down $50k's without a finished seminary degree? Both work hard. Both touch lives. Neither would, I say, purposely fleece anyone.

Well, time for me to Titus 3:10-11 myself.

See ya on the next post.

Lin said...

Scott, you won't cause a 'division' with me. :o)

Would it surprise you to learn that Paul Crouch's salary is about 50,000 less than Billy Graham's?

(Public knowledge from 990's)

I know that does not include the whole Crouch family but it certainly surprised me!