• 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…

  • SBC

    The SBC in the Big Easy: What Happened?

    The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is now in the books, and this one was pretty epic. The reason we exist as a denomination is to partner together for the purposes of the Great Commission. Which is just another way of saying that we believe that like-minded believers can reach more people for the gospel and train more ministers for the work if we pool our resources together. That is what we have been doing for over a century and a half, and that is what we are doing now. That’s why the sending ceremony for our missionaries encapsulates for everyone every year why we do what…

  • SBC

    Evaluating a New Proposal for Restructuring SBC Cooperation

    Yesterday, Colin Smothers and I released a podcast previewing some of the items that will be coming before the SBC next week. Because it is the CBMW podcast, we focused entirely on issues related to gender and sexuality, and we spent the bulk of our time talking about Saddleback, Rick Warren, and female pastors. We spoke a little bit about the various proposals for structural change that have been circulating, and I reiterated my support for the Law amendment. But by far, I do believe that the most important matter before messengers on the question of female pastors is how the convention deals with Saddleback. It’s very important that the…

  • SBC

    Warren at War with the BF&M

    Liberalism and pragmatism aren’t the same thing, but they often lead to the same destination. Liberalism guts the authority of Scripture by assaulting the Bible’s integrity. Pragmatism guts the authority of scripture by pitting “what works” against “what’s true.” The latter approach is on full display in a recent mass email that Rick Warren has sent to as many Southern Baptist pastors as he could find. If you haven’t read it yet, you can do so here. There are a number of howlers in this thing, but the gist of Warren’s message is that Southern Baptists have to make a choice between following a confession or doing the Great Commission.…