November 1981

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The fascinations of history compelled our momentary breach of your weekend reprieve from our little blog, dear reader(s). But perhaps the benefit of Christian charity will accompany this interlude.

Things that happened in November 1981:

  • Buckingham Palace announced that Princess Diana had conceived her first son and the future King of England.
  • Will Durant, famed American historian and author of The Story of Civilization, died at age 96.
  • Slavery in Mauritania was legally abolished.
  • The space shuttle Columbia was launched as the second shuttle mission in the history of NASA.
  • Enid Market, the original “Jane” in the 1918 silent film “Tarzan of the Apes” died at age 87.
  • C. Everett Koop was confirmed as the Surgeon General of the United States.
  • President Ronald Reagan made the decision in a meeting of the National Security Council to support the Nicaraguan Contras.
  • Pope John Paul II issued his apostolic exhortation, “On the role of the Christian family in the modern world.”
  • The New Jersey State Police files on the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh’s 18-month-old son were opened to the public.
  • Cardinal Josef Ratzinger was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.
  • Bear Bryant scored his 315th victory as Alabama beat Auburn 28-17.
  • Natalie Wood drowned.
  • “Private Eyes” by Daryl Hall and John Oates started out the month at the top of the charts. The chorus includes the words: “They see your every move. They’re watching you.”

And then this:

Texas Monthly magazine published an investigative report by John Bloom entitled “The Fundamentalist.”  The subheadline read: “He is coming after you to get you to join his army. If you don’t want to join, he’s coming after you anyway.” The article contains some fairly interesting stuff, including:

  • “On the day I met Paige Patterson, he was dressed in a baby-blue Ultra Suede jacket, shiny synthetic-fiber pants, and pointy-toed boots. A thicket of red hair stood out menacingly from his broad forehead, as though it had been combed straight out from the scalp. His greeting was loud and hearty (‘Come right on in here!’), but what I took to be bluster later turned out to be the defense mechanism of a man who, despite years of practice, has never become quite comfortable in social situations … Here is a man, I suspected at once, whose theological worries about human weakness rarely extend to himself.”
  • “A charge that Patterson makes consistently, in fact, is that the Southern Baptist seminaries have concealed what’s really going on within their classrooms. There are six such seminaries — funded cooperatively by the 36,000 churches of the convention — but there are only two of supreme importance. One is Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, which is simply the world’s largest seminary. The other is Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, which is the denomination’s oldest school and, according to Patterson, the most liberal. The seminary where Patterson studied, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, is much smaller than these two schools and is somewhat less important.”
  • “The Pattersons have three children, including a daughter adopted during their pastorate in New Orleans after her natural mother had harmed her.”
  • “I sat down with Patterson for a final time to go over the nuances of the inerrancy movement. It turned out that it means much more to him that a few seminary professors who may be saying things he doesn’t agree with. (Pressed on this matter, he denied supporting the removal of any specific professors, even those who have publicly doubted the authority of certain Scriptures. He even admitted that ‘there is really no way to eliminate liberalism without become some kind of gestapo, but there are ways to limit it.'”