Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson issued an apology on Thursday, several days after previous troubling comments he made resurfaced. Along with telling women to stay with their physically abusive husbands, Patterson made some creepy comments about a 16-year-old girl when he was the president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2014, speaking to a large crowd. 

In a strange apology, he says his gross comments that sexualized a teenager girl and talked about her body were part of a sermon illustration to explain a Hebrew word.

From our previous report:

The point of the story was to show how sexualizing a 16-year-old girl could be biblical. In the story, two teenage boys were together in church and “a very attractive young co-ed walked by. And she wasn’t more than about 16, but mmmmmm. Let me just say, she was nice.”

He continued: “As she walked by, they didn’t think that momma was paying any attention to them, and one young man turned to the other one and he said, ‘Man, is she built.’ In the middle of the synod, she stopped, wheeled around, slapped a hand over his mouth, loosened his teeth, said, ‘Young man, don’t you ever say anything like that again. If you do, I’ll mop up the face of the Earth with you!’”

He ended the story by saying this, “I saw my opportunity. I said, ‘Ma’am, leave him alone. He is just being biblical. That’s exactly what the Bible said.’ Lord God brought her, He built her and brought her unto the man!”

He now says he was trying to explain the Hebrew meaning of the word “build”: “Pastoral ministry that occurred 54 years ago, repeated as an illustration in sermons on more than one occasion, as well as another sermon illustration used to try to explain a Hebrew word (Heb. banah “build or construct,” Genesis 2:22) have obviously been hurtful to women in several possible ways. I wish to apologize to every woman who has been wounded by anything I have said that was inappropriate or that lacked clarity.”

In the written apology, he also said, “I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts.” In his original comments, he encouraged a woman who was regularly being beaten by her husband to not leave, and instead, kneel beside the bed and pray for him—even if it makes him angry. The woman later showed up to church with black eyes, but Patterson said the story had a happy ending, because eventually, the man came to church and asked for forgiveness.

Thousands of people and several high-profile leaders are calling for Patterson to step down.