• Complementarianism,  SBC

    Another Argument against the Law Amendment and in Favor of Female Pastors

    Executive Committee member Russ Barksdale published an article this morning explaining why he intends to vote against the Law Amendment next month at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). He argues that the New Testament allows women to serve as pastors in local churches. He contends that female pastors rightly function as shepherds over the men in the church and even over male leaders in the church. He writes: Does a woman who is leading a children’s ministry “pastor” (verb poimaino) the children? Absolutely! Does she shepherd (verb poimaino) the parents, including the fathers? Absolutely! Does she pastor/shepherd (verb poimaino) the leaders, including the adult males, for…

  • SBC

    SBC Messengers Should Retain Their Right To End Debate

    The President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Bart Barber, has just announced that the platform will be recommending a new rule for the annual meeting this summer in Indianapolis (see below). They are recommending that messengers relinquish their right to end debate before at least 12 minutes of debate have taken place. If messengers were to approve such a rule, every single matter of business that comes up for a vote would require at least 12 minutes of deliberation. I could be wrong, but I suspect that the platform would not be offering such a rule were the Law Amendment not on the agenda. [UPDATE 5/23/24: It turns out that…

  • Complementarianism,  SBC

    Responding to Three Concerns about the Law Amendment

    The leader of Tennessee Baptists, Randy Davis, just released an article opposing the Law amendment. He gives three reasons for opposing it. First, he says that it is not necessary because Southern Baptists demonstrated last summer that they can remove churches that violate our confessional parameters. Second, the amendment legalistically imposes a confession on SBC churches and violates principles of “soul competency” and “priesthood of believers.” Third, passing the amendment will set a precedent of going beyond the BF&M to establish the parameters for our cooperation (e.g., Millennial views, Reformed theology, etc.). What are we to make of these arguments? I don’t know Mr. Davis personally, but I am grateful…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  SBC

    Responding to Opposition to the Law Amendment

    Pastor Steven Bezner has published an article arguing “Against the Law Amendment” in which he urges messengers to to vote against the measure at the upcoming SBC meeting in Indianapolis. Interestingly, Bezner doesn’t really argue against what the amendment actually says but against what he perceives as ulterior motives on the part of those who support the amendment. He writes: The Law Amendment seeks to clarify the extent of complementarian commitments within the SBC, answering this question: can a church remain in good standing with the Southern Baptist Convention if they have women staff members holding the title of pastor? If the question stopped there, the conversation around the Law…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  SBC

    Can’t we all just get along in the SBC?

    I just read a helpful thread by Bart Barber, the President of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), about cooperation and non-connectionalism in Southern Baptist life. Among other things, he writes: This local-church non-connectionalism simply says that two churches can do something together without taking on any responsibility before God for the other church… This idea is woven into Article XIV (“Cooperation”) and Article XV (“The Christian and the Social Order”) of The Baptist Faith & Message. Those articles remind churches that it does not compromise a church’s faith to cooperate with other churches who differ theologically. Quoting from the Baptist Faith & Message, he elaborates: “Christian unity in the New…

  • Christianity,  Complementarianism,  SBC

    The Baptist Press Features Opponents of the Law Amendment

    The Baptist Press (BP) is the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and in the last two days BP has run three different news items airing the perspectives of opponents to the Law Amendment. The first focuses on remarks from James Merritt who proposed a task force that some people hope will offer an alternative to the Law Amendment.† The second is a video interview with J. D. Greear who makes the case against the Law Amendment. And the third is a news report with an ominous headline about the Law Amendment, “Greear foresees ‘nationwide hunt’ if SBC amendment passes.” BP published one article featuring comments from…

  • Complementarianism,  Egalitarianism,  SBC

    Texas Baptists Offer Lessons to Southern Baptists on Female Pastors

    Here is an interesting development in the debate over female pastors among Baptists. At last week’s annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), messengers considered a motion that calls the BGCT to… Affirm women in all ministry and pastoral roles, and that the BGCT Executive Board be instructed to have staff create programs, resources and advocacy initiatives to assist churches in affirming appointing and employing women in ministerial and pastoral roles. This motion is no surprise in the context of the BGCT. While the BGCT still has theologically conservative churches in its ranks, it also has a good number of progressive churches as well. It is the…

  • SBC

    Embracing Our Acts 15 Moment: The SBC and Female Pastors

    Some of you know that the SBC has been having an important internal discussion about churches with female pastors. Our doctrinal statement is clear that while both men and women are gifted for ministry, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by scripture. That view was hard-won through the conservative resurgence of the 1980’s and 1990’s and was decisively inscribed in our confessional standard in the year 2000. That view was also overwhelmingly reaffirmed in our annual meeting last month in New Orleans as the convention voted to remove two churches with female pastors—one church with female pastors in associate positions and another with a female senior…

  • SBC

    The “Narrative” vs. the Reality of SBC ‘23

    It’s been nearly a week since the SBC annual meeting finished up in New Orleans. I have been fascinated to read all of the “reports” and commentary that have come out over the last seven days. One thing that has become very clear. Even some of the “straight news” reporting has been beholden to a narrative that distorts what actually happened. According to the narrative, abuse reforms “slowed down” while Southern Baptists reasserted the “patriarchy” by excluding female pastors. The New York Times published a “report” that amounts to little more than thinly veiled contempt. The article frets about an “ultraconservative” take-over and reduces the SBC’s relevance to being “a…

  • SBC

    Amending the Baptist Faith & Message Shouldn’t Be This Easy

    In yesterday’s post about what happened at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), I mentioned that messengers voted to amend our doctrinal statement, The Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M). For me, this was perhaps the most stunning and slightly terrifying things that happened at our annual meeting. What do I mean by that? I agree with the changes theologically but I don’t agree with what we did procedurally. All it takes is a motion and a simple majority vote to amend the BF&M. There is no way that it should be that easy to change our entire denomination’s doctrinal basis. Our SBC seminaries and mission boards already must subscribe to the…