In a previous post, I noted that Dwight McKissic’s letter to the trustees of Southwestestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) included a call for “a more inclusive role of women in public worship.” Specifically, McKissic has in mind a role for women in “public proclamation” in the church. He cites as examples many prominent women who do just that and who are regarded widely by Southern Baptists to be exercising a faithful ministry. Among those he lists are Beth Moore, Betty Criswell, Ann Graham Lotz, and Dorothy Patterson.
Brother McKissic raises an important issue in this section of his letter, even though the trustees ultimately did not adopt the statement on women in ministry that was in the original draft of their statement. Complementarians do agree that the Bible teaches a principle of headship that must be observed within the church and within the home (e.g., 1 Cor 11:3; Ephesians 5:21ff). For most, the practical implications of this principle are twofold: (1) the office of pastor/elder is only to be held by qualified male believers, and (2) the husband is the leader in his home.
Nevertheless, as McKissic points out, many Complementarians continue to disagree concerning how this principle of â€œheadshipâ€ should be observed within the church. While there is agreement that pastors/elders should be male, there is disagreement concerning what the Bible says about women teaching mixed audiences. Some Complementarian churches do not allow women to teach mixed adult audiences, while other Complementarian churches do allow it. On this particular point, there is agreement in principle (observing headship), but disagreement in practice (teaching mixed audiences).
Sadly, this is one area in which Complementarians have yet to reach consensus. That McKissic brings it up shows that there is still some room for Complementarians to clarify their belief and praxis when it comes to explicating Paul’s meaning in 1 Timothy 2:12 (and I assume that McKissic is a Complementarian if he affirms BF&M 2000).
For this reason, I direct you to my essay on 1 Timothy 2:12 , which explains why I think Paul only allows qualified Christian men to teach Christian doctrine to public assemblies of Christians in which men are present. Also, take a look at another post that affirms the valuable contributions of women in Christian ministry.