Earlier today, Albert Mohler delivered a timely and needed chapel message on complementarianism. It is a message that is timely not only for our seminary community but also for our entire denomination—the Southern Baptist Convention.
In the last half of the message, Mohler offers ten points on complementarianism in our denominational life. I have the video above cued up to begin at those ten points. Below you can read my notes on the ten points. I have some quotes sprinkled in here and there, but my notes are no substitute for listening to the entire message. I hope you will.
Mohler’s Ten Points on Complementarianism in the Southern Baptist Convention:
1. The biblical pattern is clear that men and women are the same and different. They are the same in that they are equally created in the image of God. They are different in that they have important biological and vocational differences.
2. This biblical teaching is not about male superiority and female inferiority. It violates the Bible’s teaching on the imago dei to suggest that male is superior and that female is inferior.
3. The biblical pattern is not about all men being in authority over all women. There are defined roles in the home and in the church, but all men are not in authority over all women.
4. The biblical teaching about women in ministry is not about ordination because Southern Baptists do not believe in ordination or a clerical class. There is an argument that says, “A woman can do everything a non-ordained man can do.” The problem with that is that we are Baptists and have no theology of ordination whatsoever. For that reason, we have to understand that the pastoral office and pastoral function are the same thing.
5. This is an issue of biblical hermeneutics, and it can be an issue of biblical authority. We believe that the egalitarian hermeneutic is not as faithful as it should be. “I think long-term it is very difficult for anyone who holds to an egalitarian position to hold to a consistent affirmation of biblical authority.”
6. Southern Baptists have specified that affirming the complementarian position is a part of the confessional basis for our cooperation as a convention of church. In particular, this commitment includes an affirmation that only qualified men may serve as pastors. On the BF&M 2000’s complementarian articles: “I believe that it is one of the most important clarifications that Southern Baptists made, especially over the course of the last generation.”
7. The biblical teaching about men and women is clear with respect to the home and the church but less clear with respect to the larger society. In other words, the Bible’s explicit instructions are about how to order the home and the church. There is much less specificity about how to order the culture. Nevertheless, the creation order implies that men will be leaders.
8. It is the responsibility of the church to call out the gifts of all believers in biblical order. Where you find a healthy church, you should find the gifts of all men and of all women called out in biblical order. The giftedness of both men and women in biblical order is a display of the glory of God in the church. “Can or ought a woman to preach on Sunday? . . . The answer is. . . no. I don’t think that is consistent. I think that is a confusion because the teaching office is inseparable from the function.”
9. Women deserve the deepest theological and biblical education. That is why Southern Seminary gladly accepts women into its degree programs, including the Ph.D. program. SBTS does not have a women’s studies program because he doesn’t want women to be separated out in order to study women. “I want to encourage women to study God and the Bible and theology. . . And that means that every male student in this seminary owes every female student in this seminary the utmost respect—and seeing them as those who are also called to the glory of God to the important role in the church and an important role in the classroom here.”
10. Do I believe that complementarianism leads to the abuse of women? “It can and it has, but that’s not the source of the problem. The source of the problem is human sinfulness—pride and arrogance. And yes there are patterns of male pride and male arrogance and male terror that haunt us. But I believe the embrace of the fulness of what God has revealed in scripture is actually the only way to find healing and hope and accountability in gospel churches that are rightly ordered and [where] women are rightly honored and in gospel homes where husbands love their wives as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her.”