Are Churches with Female Pastors Southern Baptist?

You do not have to be Southern Baptist to be a Baptist.  You do not have to be Baptist to be a Christian.  But there are some things you have to believe and do to be Southern Baptist. The seemingly eternal question is what that is.  What is a Southern Baptist?  I asked that question once in a blog post and basically no one knew the answer.

The simple, legal answer is found in our bylaws.  A church in friendly cooperation with the SBC is defined as one that gives a certain amount to the SBC and doesn’t approve of homosexuality.  But I think we all know that it goes a little deeper than that.

The question reared its head again when the Surry Baptist Association removed fellowship from the Flat Rock Baptist Church of Mt. Airy, NC. Two of our regular contributors here have published similar posts calling into question the action of the association.  Both of them, men who believe that the role of pastor in the church is biblically restricted to men, nonetheless called into question the actions of the association.  Both also recognized the autonomy of the Surry Association and its right to act as it feels is right.

Howell Scott, in his article, “Female Pastors and Graceless Responses in Mayberry,” primarily calls the association to task for the lack of grace they demonstrated.  Within a week of Bailey Edwards Nelson beginning her ministry, the process was in motion and was completed without even meeting with the church (though the association did try to schedule a meeting).

The SBC Plodder has also weighed in on this one.  He went a step farther than Howell, who did not (at least in my reading) make it clear whether he would be comfortable remaining in fellowship in an association with a church that has a woman pastor.  William left no doubt.  His post is titled, “No, I wouldn’t vote to kick a church with a woman pastor out.”  He disagrees with having women in ministry but does not see it as an issue worth taking the action Surry Association took.

I have never met Howell or William, but I consider both of them as friends through blogging and I respect their opinions.  I think they’ve made reasonable cases in their posts.  However, I have a slightly different perspective, at least from William’s.  I do not really know how much grace was put into this process.  Howell may very well be right that a lack of grace was demonstrated in the process by Surry Association.  I simply do not have the information I need to determine whether grace was displayed or not. Perhaps, as William argues, time could have been taken to make the process more smooth.

But, my blogging Plodding friend, I may have to disagree with your position that you would not vote to disfellowship over this.  I opened with a statement I believe.  There are a lot of Baptist churches that are not Southern.  And there are a lot of good Christian churches that are not Baptist (apologies to my BI brethren).  But there are some things that we as Southern Baptists believe that set us apart.  We have pretty much determined that we are a denomination that holds to the biblical teaching on roles for men and women at home and in the church (now, apologies to my egalitarian brethren and sistren).  When a church a church hires a woman pastor, they are pretty much saying that they are not a part of who we are, aren’t they?  I would classify this as a picket fence issue – we can bless each other but ministry fellowship is probably not going to happen here.

If you are going to have a woman pastor in your church, why would you even want to be Southern Baptist?  We do not believe that is biblical.  We think it is wrong.  Your pastor will have a hard time fellowshipping with the pastors of the denomination (apologies to those who don’t like that term).  I would ask a church why it wants to remain part of the SBC or the SBC (Surrey Baptist Association).  I would guess that hiring a woman as pastor would be only one of many differences of doctrine and approach between Flat Rock and the other churches of that association.

So, here’s what I think:

1)  Howell is absolutely right that anything like this should be handled with grace.  It probably didn’t need to be done as quickly as it was.  Everything we should do should be seasoned with grace.

2)  There may well be more to this than meets the eye.  I am guessing this was not a card-carrying CR church that suddenly decided to hire a Bailey Nelson out of the blue.  I’m guessing no one in the association had a heart attack from surprise when this happened.  This may be the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Just a conjecture here.

3)  The statement written by Dr. Joel Stephens of Westfield Baptist Church and his associate Rev. Jim Richland on behalf of the association is a well written and in this pastor’s opinion, clearly biblical defense of not permitting women in the pastorate.  William called it sterile, and it is not emotional or passionate, but it is clear and in my opinion, well-stated.  I would encourage you to read it.  It explains the process pretty well and  gives the association’s side of things.

4)  I do think this may be an issue that necessitates friendly division.  We do not have to consign churches with female pastors to the flaming pits of hell, or even call them unfaithful.  But if we really believe that the Bible teaches that pastors should be male, if that is official SBC doctrine (as the BF&M seems to state), then this is probably a picket fence issue.  I think some have gone way too far in condemning those with women pastors.  This is a disagreement like baptism.  People who see this issue differently may well be good Christians (with what I believe is a doctrinal error), but they may not be Southern Baptist.

5)  I raised this issue above.  Someone explain to me why a church that hires a woman pastor would WANT to be Southern Baptist.

You do not have to be Southern Baptist to be a Baptist.  You do not have to be Baptist to be a Christian.  But there are some things you have to believe and do to be Southern Baptist.  I think that maybe one of those things you might have to do is NOT hire a woman as a pastor.




  1. Dave Miller says

    I’m headed out to celebrate the birth of my first granddaughter. So, you can roast me over the coals as much as you want and I will still be happy today.

  2. says

    You can be a conservative theologically and be an egalitarian. I could affiirm someone as a Christian if they believed in women pastors. Churches that want chick preachers, however, should go join the CBF–it doesn’t matter what you believe there. The SBC has made it clear that any church that doesn’t have a man as the pastor is out of bounds. I’m glad to see these churches and this association stand up for what they believe in.

      • says

        Now, Dave, when have you ever known me to be inflamatory? I’m still very pleased that they moved as quickly as they did to show that church the door. I’m sure they’ll be MORE than welcome in the CBF. Of course, so would churches like Broadway Baptist and churches that believe that muslims will go to heaven if they’re faithful muslims on account of Christ’s death even if they don’t consciously believe in Christ, so that’s not saying much, but still.

      • Debbie Kaufman says

        Yep, better duck. This term angers me beyond words, and the fact that it is tolerated here or anywhere angers me more. It is so disrespectful and is sin pure and simple. It’s degrading to women and I could go on but it’s why I hate the internet. Anybody can say anything inflammatory, and some things Dave deletes and others he let’s stand. It’s ridiculous and wrong. Sin. It’s why I pay no attention to what Joe says. It means nothing.

        • Debbie Kaufman says

          One thing Christ did was to stand against people like you Joe. He stood up for women and treated them with dignity. I question anyone’s spiritual health that says this or allows this. Disagree, but do it with respect. There was not one woman, including those who committed adultery that Christ did not treat with kindness and dignity at a time when women were thought of as less than they are thought of today, except in the SB church. The one place we should feel safe and valued is the one who degrades us the most. It’s shameful.

          • says


            I am certainly not going to defend Joe, because I think he meant to offend by using the word “chick”, but I don’t think it is fair to make this a Biblical issue. I know a number of women (including my 72 year old mother) who use the term “chick”. It may be offensive to you and others you know, but let’s not forget that your view is subjective and certainly not reflective of all women. And bringing Christ to bear on a subjective opinion is almost never a good idea. Neither is taking cheap shots at the entire SBC. If you want Joe to be fair, then you must apply that standard to yourself as well.

          • Debbie Kaufman says

            I’ve not taken cheap shots at the SBC. They were true and needed to be changed. They have. And believe me it hasn’t been cheap. It cost a heavy price. I also have never called men degrading cheap names. I do apply it to myself. Get a grip on reality DR.

        • Dave Miller says

          Either Joe or Debbie, if you want to make any more comments on this stream, make them germane to the topic and in a proper collegial spirit, please.

    • bapticus hereticus says

      Joe: Churches that want chick preachers, however, should go join the CBF ….

      bapticus hereticus: … and leave misogynism to other religious groups, instead. Or something like that?

        • bapticus hereticus says

          Joe: Nothing misogynistic about following the clear, unmistakable direction revealed in God’s inerrant word.

          bapticus hereticus: Sorry, Joe, but that is not the point. Do you suppose female Sunday School teachers in your church would appreciate a marginalization of their role and being by being referred to as chick teachers? Do you have daughters? A wife? Sister? Mother? How about others comment on them in a degrading manner?

          • says

            I used the intentionally inflamitory term to offend people who would take up for this church or any church that hired a pastor who was not male. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology. On second thought, please, do hold your breath. :-)

            BTW, off topic, but you teach at a Baptist school, right? Do they receive Cooperative program funding? Are you “out” in your extremely liberal beliefs to your employer? If the answers were “yes”, “yes”, and “no” then let’s just say I wish I knew where you taught so I could inform them of your stances.

          • bapticus hereticus says

            Joe: I used the intentionally inflamitory term to offend people who would take up for this church or any church that hired a pastor who was not male.

            bapticus hereticus: Joe, do you suppose there is a better way you could make your point?

  3. Adam Pace says

    Randy Stinson will have a baby before this gets over in the SBC. There is no way the majority of our churches assembled would agree to cooperate with a church pastored by a woman. Rightfully so.

    • says

      Except that there are no official grounds for the SBC to terminate fellowship with a church pastored by a lady. The SBC Constitution and By-laws does not require adherence to the BF&M2K by cooperating churches. Entities are required to work, hire, and teach according to it, but it is not explicit that to be a cooperating church you have to agree with that statement of faith.

      Or have I missed an article in there?

        • says

          Chris: that’s right. Associations have different rules and structures. I was referring to the statement about the majority of SBC churches cooperating with a church with a female pastor. No structure exists to stop that.

          States and associations set their own rules—and those rules are often more stringent. I seem to recall an association booting a church for being too “charismatic” back in the 90s, but can’t find a link to that story.

          • says

            As it is, the SBC entities, trustees, president, etc, couldn’t act unilaterally to bar recognition of a church, but the SBC as a convention is well within its rights to bar a church should sufficient support come from the floor. Such is the way the SBC works.

  4. says

    I was wrestling with the same thoughts. Grace needs to be shown for certain, but I’m grateful that this particular Baptist Association hasn’t fallen for the nonsense that grace means never losing fellowship.

    I believe it was Machen that wrote, “the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.”

    • Dave Miller says

      That’s kinda my point. I don’t think this church should be treated like its Mormon or has denied the faith. But by the same token, it may not be at home in the SBC.

      I’d wager my spleen that my point 2 up there is true – that there is more to this relationship than we know.

  5. says

    I am not sure exactly what I would do were this to happen in my association. I can say that I would want to have a dialogue with the Church. But here it sounds like the Church didn’t want to dialogue with the Association. So what do you do? I certainly don’t buy Tony Cartledge’s take that “Knowing a lost cause when they saw it, the Flat Rock folk declined to participate in a formal discussion with a foregone conclusion…” To stifle discussion before knowing what it might bring is at best cynical and at worst demonstrative of an unwillingness to listen to dissenting opinions. And I agree with Dave Miller that this move by the Church to bring in a female pastor is probably symptomatic of greater theological differences.

    So again, I don’t know what I would do based on the limited information, but certainly this situation is tragic any way you slice it.

  6. RA says

    Can you be a Christian and go to a church that has a woman for a preacher? If so, why can’t you have a Southern Baptist preacher that is a woman? Tradition? Seems like a pretty stupid tradition to me. And that’s why Southern Baptist are not the brightest bulbs in the box.

    • Dave Miller says

      You can be a Christian and go to a church that baptizes infants by sprinkling. But you aren’t Baptist if you do. You call it tradition. I call it biblical conviction. You ridicule the SBC and call us stupid. I call it being faithful to biblical conviction.

      Frankly, your comment in condescending.

  7. BDW says

    My pastor is a female.

    My previous pastor is a female (this pastor is in Georgia now)

    My current pastor is involved in the local association and supports the ministries of the state convention (and – since I’ve been a member – has attended the annual state convention meeting).

    Same was true about my former pastor.

    There are quite a few Baptist churches still involved in associations and state conventions that would never affirm the latest revision of the BFM.

    Just because a church wants to stay tied to the local association and state convention doesn’t mean that they necessarily want to be “Southern Baptist” as your #5 assumes.

    • Dave Miller says

      I think there would be a difference between a BGCT or BGAV church or association and the one we are talking about. As you say, many in those conventions would not really view themselves as in friendly cooperation with the SBC. But I’ll bet Surrey BA does.

      • BDW says

        The overwhelming majority of churches that belong to the Waco Regional Association do not support CBF.

        I’m sure that’s true of perhaps every Association. I doubt there is any associational region where CBF-affiliated churches would not be in the minority.

        As to the BGCT, approximately 8 million Cooperative Program dollars go to support SBC causes in 2011 (

        • Dave Miller says

          Okay, another question if you don’t mind. Are there a lot of BGCT churches that still consider themselves SBC that also have women as pastors or is that more of a CBF thing?

          Up here in Iowa, SBC churches pretty much ascribe to BF&M. It’s a different world and I’ve lived up here for 20 years. I came from Virginia, but that was before the conservative conventioin was established.

          • BDW says

            Those churches with a strong, explicitly “Southern Baptist” identity tend to be affiliated uniquely or dually with the SBTC.

            With the BGCT, the identity that is promoted and has always been promoted is that of “Texas Baptist” identity.

            Churches with female pastors are, more often than not, going to be affiliated with CBF in some sense.

            The BFM2000 isn’t exactly wildly popular with many Texas Baptists including those with no ties to the CBF.

            Bottom line is, there aren’t that many churches with a female senior pastor. I think North Carolina probably has the most female senior pastors. North Carolina does have the strongest state CBF organization.

            Back to BGCT, 8 million bucks is still a chunk of change. The BGCT might not be “typical” so to speak compared to Florida or Alabama but it’s still one of the larger conventions in terms of dollars given to SBC ministries.

            I think bloggers probably tend to be much more pro-BFM2000 than the average Southern Baptist. Many state conventions have not adopted the 2000 edition, correct?

          • Dave Miller says

            I would tend to think that bloggers represent the extreme in general more than the middle.

            Iowa is a different Baptist world than Texas.

          • says

            BDW, from my own experience, just about every Baptist church I’m familiar with would affirm the BF&M 2000, with a hearty endorsement on the statements regarding men and women, even if the churches have not officially adopted it. My own church affirms the 1963 in the constitution. The only reason it doesn’t read 2000 is we’ve never bothered to change our constitution to update to the 2000. I suspect many churches are the same.

  8. BDW says

    And just to add, the BGCT – which is still one of the larger state conventions in the SBC – sponsors an annual women-in-ministry conference where women preach, etc.

    • Dave Miller says

      What is the BGCT’s relationship with the SBC? I’m asking because its been a long time since I’ve been in Texas. I know there is a conservative convention and I know things haven’t always been good out there.

      What’s the state of the BGCT/SBC relationship?

    • says


      And just like you, the BGCT leadership is liberal. Liberals accept women pastors no matter what the scriptures say and conservatives try to abide by the scriptures.


  9. says

    I appreciate your reasoned response, Dave. A couple of points:

    The association’s response was sterile to the point of being almost lifeless. It was as boilerplate as seminary classroom notes. Bailey Edwards Nelson is mentioned only in the third person, as “the lady. ” No church I know of that has had homosexual clergy or which have approved of homosexuality been more quickly dispatched from an association or state convention than this church for their female pastor. This isn’t right. The whole thing has a pungency about it even if you agree with the doctrinal standard for associational membership.

    And I have to ask, what do you see as “friendly” about this. You must have access to material I haven’t seen. It looks rather harsh to me.

    This can be discussed at greater length if you choose to use my piece here, but I’m not sure that “we” have decided that this is the route “we” want to take. And when you say that “When a church a church hires a woman pastor, they are pretty much saying that they are not a part of who we are, aren’t they?” I don’t believe a “yes” answer is to be always presumed.

    There has to be a better way. This is a loser in the long run.

    • Dave Miller says

      i just published your piece.

      I did not mean to say that this was friendly. I meant to say that we could maintain a friendly relationship with a church even if we determine that such a church is not SBC.

      This is a discussion we need to have, because whether I agree with it or not, the issue of women in ministry is not going away.

      • Tom Parker says

        David Miller:

        You said:”This is a discussion we need to have, because whether I agree with it or not, the issue of women in ministry is not going away.”

        100% agree and I’m just not sure the 2000 BF&M was designed to be used this way or maybe it was.

  10. says

    This is definitely a touchy subject. At the heart of it is ultimately who you have a problem with. Most SBC leaders are going to state that God calls qualified MEN to the pastorate. Therefore, the ultimate problem is potentially with God himself. One of two possibilities exist:

    (1) God did not call this woman to the pastorate even though this particular church called her to the position. By looking to the passage in the Bible where we highlight the qualifications of pastors we interpret it to mean that God only appoints men as shepherds of his congregations. If this is the result, then it is possible that this church is out of God’s will.

    (2) God did call this woman to the pastorate and this particular church recognized that and called her to this position. In this case, we have perhaps made some grevious error in our interpretation of God’s qualifications for pastoral leadership. If this is indeed the case, then it is possible by disqualifying a whole group of people from the pastorate we are out of God’s will.

    That a simplification of the subject boiled down into two possible scenarios. The point I’m wishing to illustrate is that it is a subject that becomes extremely emotional very quickly.

    Why is it that we are part of a denomination that reveres strong female leadership in the mission field (Lottie Moon, Annie Armstrong and Dixie Jackson) but denegrate anybody that would appoint a woman to the pulpit?

    Ultimately I believe we draw our SBC tradition of male pastors from God’s word and what it teaches. I have to make my decision based on how God has chosen to pass it along to me. The funny thing is, I’m a little more liberal about female leadership in the church than my wife who is a staunch traditionalist on this.

    I am sure Satan has had a good laugh at this development and the resulting collateral damage from it.


    • says


      You make an important point here – either those who believe the Bible teaches that the office of Pastor is restricted to men are right or those who believe that God calls women to the pastor are correct. They can’t both be right.

      This isn’t an issue of preference or opinion – it’s a Biblical issue. And I don’t think God has been ambiguous about it. For me the major problem comes with the hermeneutical process one needs to take to explain away clear passages like 1 Timothy 2, Ephesians 5 and others. As several scholars have demonstrated, this type of hermeneutic can be a slippery slope to other, more problematic interpretations of other passages.

      While we must be careful to show grace when we disagree, even on important topics like this, we must nonetheless act in accordance with the Word of God. Ultimately, I don’t see how this association could have avoided at least confronting the problem, even if they ultimately chose not to disfellowship.

      • says

        “For me the major problem comes with the hermeneutical process one needs to take to explain away clear passages…”

        And this is why I think the issue of women in ministry is a much greater issue than some other matters of disagreement. It requires much greater damage to and disregard of Scripture to argue for the ordination of women than to argue, say, the baptism of babies.

  11. Rick says

    Well, here’s a thought on the whole “graceless approach” thing. Suppose associations proactively declared in advance that all member churches had to be led by male pastors as qualified by Scripture. Then, any church that called a female pastor would be removing themselves from the association with that act. The “graceless speed” would be determined by the church that was departing from the previously understood doctrinal position.

      • says

        On your point above about the church possibly having other issues. That makes the action look even worse, the association not being found to be fully truthful in the matter.

        You speculated on that. I speculate that the association will make it worse if they choose to make further comment on the matter. I have confidence in the brethren having sufficient capacity to mess up more what is already messed up.

  12. Smuschany says

    Formerathiest mentioned something I want to bring to the forefront. And that is the, at times, hypocrisy that the SBC as a whole, as well as associations and even churches exhibit in regards to females in the church. FA mentioned the reverence to LM and AA, but I could bring it a lot closer to home. How many churches have females on staff and call them “Director of Children’s Ministry” and that is perfectly fine, yet if a male were to take that very same position in the very same church, he would be “Associate Pastor of Children’s Ministry”. I have a problem with that.

    To me scripture is clear. Women should not be the teaching pastor of a church. However I do not see any where in scripture that the modern title of “pastor” is to be withheld from women. I firmly believe that most youth groups need to be split into male and females with a PAID female YOUTH PASTOR to lead the young ladies. I have no problem calling a lady “pastor” if she is the pastor of children’s ministries. I think any church that is in or above the 500+ range in attendance should have a PAID “Pastor of Women’s Ministries” position.

    One of the greatest dangers of the complementarian position is that people take it too far, and make it seem like women are NOT welcome in the church. When godly ladies like Beth Moore are lumped in with dangerous people like Joyce Meyers, it goes too far. When students at a school refuse to take ANY class from a female at a Baptist school only because she is female, that my friends is a problem.

    What this church did, electing a female to serve as the Senior Pastor, may be wrong. But the way and manner in which the association responded, is not right as well. Again, as others have said, maybe there is more to this story than has been told. But if the election of a female pastor is the ONLY reason for the actions taken, then one must wonder why there was no attempt to discuss this, and maybe to try and mentor and advice this church that such an action is not in line with scripture. The quick booting from the association will do nothing to heal and bring unity, and only serve to divide. Yes maybe disfellowship would be inevitable, but it should always be a last step, not a first reaction.

  13. says


    I have been busy with church and ministry most of the day, but I must say you love to stir things up, sir! :-) I have had the opportunity now to read the letter from the men who serve as the Moderator and the Vice-Moderator of the Surry Baptist Association. Their names are Dr. Joel Stephens and Rev. Jim Richland. Now, that wasn’t so hard was it. William beat me to the punch, but that these two pastors didn’t have the decency to refer to Bailey Nelson by name, but instead urged the churches to “pray for the lady elected as Flat Rock’s pastor” speaks more volumes about a graceless/loveless response than I ever could write!

    Oh, and if the goal of SBA was really “reconciliation” with Flat Rock, the church missed their ONE chance. “Flat Rock refused their (the Membership Committee’s) invitation and thereby closed the door on any reconciliation with the Association. Would you want the same process and procedure applied to you or to your church as was applied to Flat Rock? I can’t convince anyone that the process and procedure that was used in this case was graceless, but if that’s your definition of grace and love and it meets your standard of “do unto others as you would have done unto you,”then by all means keep letting the ends justify the means!

    I agree with William that SBA’s letter was sterile. In my former profession, we call these letters — written under these types of situations — as CYA letters. The letter, sadly for SBA, will not provide even a fig leaf of cover for them in the days ahead. Thanks and God bless,


    • Dave Miller says

      By the way, I did not disagree with your analysis of the process being graceless. I only said I hadn’t really investigated it enough.

      I thought the letter was a good statement of doctrine on male-female issues, but I didn’t really opine on the relational aspect of it.

      Was this statement directed at something I said or more general?

      I can’t convince anyone that the process and procedure that was used in this case was graceless, but if that’s your definition of grace and love and it meets your standard of “do unto others as you would have done unto you,”then by all means keep letting the ends justify the means!

      I’m a little confused there.

      • says


        Sorry for the confusion. I get so used to typing your name, that it’s second nature. :-) I did not mean to imply that I was addressing the above comment to YOU — Dave Miller. It was meant as a general use of the word “you.” If you would like to delete the Dave greeting from the top of my previous post, that would make it clearer and I would be much obliged. I am not confused about your position. Thanks for pointing out my error :-) God bless,


  14. Tom Parker says

    Dave Miller:

    You said:”I am guessing this was not a card-carrying CR church that suddenly decided to hire a Bailey Nelson out of the blue. I’m guessing no one in the association had a heart attack from surprise when this happened. This may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Just a conjecture here.”

    I did not know that churches had to be CR card carriers, maybe that will be the next thing that happens in SBC life.
    I’m very positive that this church was not anything other than a good member in standing in the Surry Baptist Association for years with no big event leading them to calling a woman as a pastor.

    I’m thinking at least some in the association did have a heart attack at this surprise decision.

    I’m not trying to be contentious but I think your point #2 guessing is wrong on all of your points.

    BTW, why does everything like this have to go back to the CR?

    • Dave Miller says

      Tom, I think you know the point I was trying to make. There are a lot of CBF churches in NC, which are not supportive of the current direction of the SBC – ie. the CR. That was the point I was making and I think you probably know it.

  15. Tom Parker says


    Come on now–you say there are a lot of CBF churches in NC?

    And you’re maybe thinking Flat Rock was one of them?

    I’m still saying your point #2 conjecture is very likely wrong on all accounts.

    BTW are you ok with the term chick preachers? Is that a term you would use to describe women preachers?

    • Dave Miller says

      Yes, Tom, I am assuming that Flat Rock is likely not a conservative church (using the popular SBC definition). Actually, they are listed as a CBF partner church, though that is not always accurate.

      You seem to want a fight, Tom. You aren’t going to get it here.

      • Tom Parker says


        I’m not trying to fight with you. You do not have the facts in this situation and conjecture away you go.

        I will just bow out of this one as I’m sure I’m just wrong about all these issues as it relates to this church. I’m sure you know more about it than I do. I will continue to watch as CR is carried to its final resolution with more and more churches expelled for a myriad of “reasons.” It breaks my heart that the SBC convention that I once knew was taken over by you guys.

        One last thought and then I guess I will have to put myself back on probation for this site–Are you ok with Joe calling women preachers–chick preachers?

        • says

          I called them that because I knew it would offend you and The Debbie. There are some e-gals (i.e. Lydia) who are conservatives that I don’t want to hurt. The rest of you, well, how I treat you is pretty intentional. Glad to see the mission was accomplished.

      • Dave Miller says

        Tom, I have done a little research about Mt. Airy – just a little. It is my impression (open to correction if you actually have information to the contrary) that it is likely a CBF-ish (to coin a term) type church.

  16. Blake says


    I disagree that Southern Baptist churches with women pastors should be disfellowshipped. Whatever the priority of our confessional complementarianism I’ve always been under the impression that we hold local church autonomy higher. Furthermore, it’s also been my impression that we claim we are not (if not also against) creedalist. If these impressions are correct then the bylaws should be allowed to stand as the deciding factor in who is and is not Southern Baptist. If we’re going to kick people out for being egalitarian and since NAMB already requires church planters to sign off on the BFM2K and other extras why not be forthright and honest about it and admit we’re creedalist?

    • Dave Miller says

      Blake, you have to remember that autonomy extends to every Baptist organization. Flat Rock church is free to hire a woman pastor if they wish, but the Surry Association is also free not to extend fellowship to them if they do.

      Actually, by refusing the association the right to disfellowship them, you are the one denying them autonomy. Both entities maintain their autonomy in Baptist work. The church hires whom it wishes and the association associates with whom it wishes.

      That is the way autonomy works.

      • says


        I am a strong proponent of autonomy (at all levels). Do you think that there is a difference between extending fellowship to a church that is not presently part of the Association and voting to disfellowship a church that has been a member of the Association? Flat Rock was not being extended fellowship; they were being disfellowshipped from an Association that they were already a member of. I know that some will argue that since Flat Rocks “obviously sinned” by calling a female pastor that the Association, “under the leadership of the Holy Spirit,” could do what it did, regardless of whatever By-Laws or procedures were in place. Do you believe that churches should only be disfellowshipped in accordance with the policies and procedures that have been agree to by the Association?

        Also, as regards autonomy and credalism, when does the BF&M2000 stop being a confession and start being a creed? Would there ever be a point where the use of the BF&M2000 could be said to be more credal than confessional? Thanks and God bless,


        • Dave Miller says

          Don’t ask hard questions on a Sunday night. I’ve preached 3 times today and I’m brain dead. The easy answers:

          Yes, there is probably a difference between admitting to fellowship and disfellowshipping. I think you are probably right that the process was done with some lack of grace as you have suggested.

          I would fall short of calling this “sin” – though we had a discussion this week about whether doctrinal disagreements constitute sin.

          Yes, the church’s fellowship should be based on the doctrinal parameters that association has determined.

          And creedalism would be (wouldn’t it?) if the SBC tried to impose the BF&M on the churches.

          • Blake says

            “And creedalism would be (wouldn’t it?) if the SBC tried to impose the BF&M on the churches.”

            That’s what NAMB does doesn’t it? They impose it (and more) on the church planters. By imposing it on church planters they are imposing it on the churches that are being planted. How many opportunities are we missing to plant and grow thriving faith communities because of all the hoops we make people jump through to get funding? Not that anyone should be allowed to plant a church, but NAMB has gone well beyond the Bible in their requirements (IMB too).

        • Dave Miller says

          Now, Howell, a question for you. If a church in your association hired a woman as pastor, and a process began in your association to question their credentials (assuming the process was gracious and proper – let’s leave that part out) what would you do?

          Just wondering.

          • says


            Sorry for taxing your brain late on a Sunday night! :-) Our students who went to Falls Creek Youth Camp and our student pastor led the two morning worship services today, so I did not preach my normal load. I’ll forgive you for being tired! I can’t say for 100% certainty since I have not actually been faced with that situation, but I would say that if the Association’s By-Laws did not specifically call for the disfellowshipping of a sister church who called a woman pastor, I would be inclined not to vote to disfellowship. That assumes that there are no other doctrinal issues that the pastor and/or church holds which would put them at odds with the Association.

            And, to cut some off at the pass, I don’t think that every doctrinal variance which would necessitate disfellowship must be spelled out explicitly. But, if it’s not, the Association should be deliberate and grace-filled in its decision to sever a long-standing relationship with a church in the Association. And, they should at least follow whatever procedures that the churches have mutually agreed upon to disfellowship a sister church. I probably find myself closer to William’s position today than I did three days ago. Hope that helps answer where I am with all this. Thanks and God bless,


      • Blake says

        That goes two ways, Dave. A church hiring a woman is an internal decision to the church and only affects the church. Association requires at least two groups working together. The association by disfellowshipping the church violates the autonomy of the church by blockading its ability to cooperate with whom it will. The church obviously wants to remain SBC or it would have left by now and so they want to cooperate with other area SBC churches. The association has effectively made the ability to cooperate impossible.

        I care for the concept of autonomy in our various entities (however much it gets abused), so I wouldn’t dare to suggest they can’t disfellowship the church. I doubt that this has all been thought through that well about what the purpose of an association is, what it does, how it relates to the churches and how decisions by churches or associations affect all relationships involved. The same can be said of state conventions, the national SBC and our other entities. Basically, I often here autonomy thrown around and decisions to disfellowship or do some other thing made, but I fail to see any consistency in logic or practice between all of these things. The SBC needs to have an SBC-wide sit down to nail down our ecclesiastical polity with greater precision.

    • Tom Parker says


      If the truth would be told the SBC is creedalist. I hope that I am wrong but all of this signing off on the BFM2k sure seems to extending itself into many areas.

      I think there is a hardcore element that will attempt to use the 2000BF&M to “purify” the denomination. The CR will never be over for them.

      It will lead to more divsions and disunity.

      • Dave Miller says

        We are confessional, not creedal.

        Each church has the right to set the doctrinal parameters of its fellowship.

        The association, state convention and national convention have the right to do the same. To set some doctrinal and practical parameters of fellowship is not creedal.

        Not all Christians are Baptists and not all Baptists are Southern Baptists. We are just one part of God’s kingdom, but there are parameters that define who we are.

        Should women pastors be one? That is the question. But we as Southern Baptists, as local associations, or as local churches are each free to decide what those parameters will be.

        • Blake says

          Maybe it would help if the terms were defined. Dave, what do you see is the difference between being confessional and being creedal?

  17. volfan007 says

    This Association did the right thing. I applaud their courage to do whats Biblical, even though the world will try to crucify them for it. Thank God that we have Churches and Pastors that still have backbone and guts…who have a passion for obeying the Bible.

    Women are equal with men in the eyes of God. Women are important and valuable. There are many things they can do…to serve the Lord in His Church. But, according to the Bible, they cannot be Elders(Pastors).


  18. Bill Mac says

    The document looked fairly straightforward to me. All the “men only” prooftexts were unnecessary. This wasn’t a bible study. The only statement I really have a problem with is “doctrinal purity”. That phrase is a little chilling. It is easy to let it pass by when you are on the right side of the purity divide, but what happens when they come after churches with women deacons? Or open communion? Or those who speak in tongues.

    I wouldn’t have voted for disfellowship, but I don’t see too much wrong with the way they handled this. But I don’t think it was particularly courageous.

  19. John says

    I have a question on how things are determined in the SBC. For example, I assume that when the BFM is changed, it is just voted on at the convention, and only those churches who are able or interested send mesengers. Is anything every sent to the entire membership to be voted on? My point is that everything that concerns SBC identity seems to come from a small sample of membership. In todays technological enviroment, it seems that the entire SBC membership could vote, yet it seems that the folks at the top want to steer the ship without seeing what the entire body believes. I’m not saying that things would be different in things like women pastors, but it seems in Baptist life, which is usually congregational in nature, we could do a better job. Maybe then churches would know what the majority of us believe and others could find other like minded associations.

    • Dave Miller says

      Decisions in the SBC are made at the Annual Meeting or by the Executive Committee ad interim. A BF&M change would require a vote at the Annual Meeting.

    • Jeremy Parks says

      I can only add one thing in response to your question:

      For convention entities (IMB, NAMB, Lifeway, Seminaries), the convention gets to mandate things. I, as an IMB employee, had to sign a statement affirming the BF&M. That is compulsory these days.

      Churches, on the other hand, are not obligatory signers of the BF&M.

      I believe sometimes there is some confusion when an association makes decisions related to the BF&M. People see the mandatory signing by convention employees and assume the association is similarly constrained.

      And in case anyone out there is wondering, I signed the BF&M using real non-disappearing ink several years ago.

  20. Bart Barber says

    How does the blogging code of ethics relate to the Baptist Identity drive-by in this post? Just wondering.

    • Dave Miller says

      Not completely sure what you mean by that.

      If you are talking about my comment in the post, it was meant as a joke. Note the series of the three apologies. I thought it was cute, but evidently you did not.

      • Bart Barber says

        No, I knew it was a joke, and I thought it was cute. It’s just the sort of thing I might have done. But, unlike the other “apologies” you made a straw-man out of BI (which happens a lot over here). Egalitarians actually do disagree with the idea that the complementarian position is the biblical position. Those who don’t like the term “denomination” genuinely don’t like the term “denomination” (tautological, that).

        But Baptist Identity folks do not deny that there are good Christian churches that are not Baptist.

        I’m not mad. I like you. I suspect that you don’t see that you treat BI this way a lot. I thought maybe I could help you to see that.

        • Dave Miller says

          You are certainly taking that way more seriously than I intended it. I wrote the sentence (about there being good churches that weren’t Baptist) then just added the tweak on it. There was no intent to straw man anyone.

          I’ve worked pretty hard through the years to understand BI and to present it carefully when I was dealing seriously with it as a movement. If I presented it as a straw man, it was not intentional.

          I certainly wish now I had just left the joke off. It was a momentary and fleeting joke which I’ve devoted way more time to explaining than I put thought into in the first place.

          Sometimes, joking on blogs is just more trouble than it is worth.

          • says

            Honestly, Bart, I knew this was a caricature. It was meant to be – in jest.

            But I would really love for you to point it out when you think that I am caricaturing BI when I am more serious on the issue. It is my intent to accurately present it, so if you think I am not doing so, please inform me.

  21. says

    Well, I had my sights set on getting to comment on this blog, and the computer ate my page. I guess, it must know that I will shoot a hole in my row boat. Nevertheless, Surry Baptist Association needs to excommunicate and exclude itself as it very likely owes much (along with a huge number of the Southern Baptist churches in practically every state) to the Sandy Creek Baptist Church and Association along with Elder Shubal Stearns, Elder Daniel Marshall and Eldress Martha Stearns Marshall. Yup, they are the ones really to blame for such noisome practices (look at Joe’s remarks for confirmation). And we do wonder, if the BFM 2000 folks who adopted that work were responding to radical feminism? I remember one of those dear souls in seminary calling me, “a male chauvinist pig.” Another one did the same to a friend who was in the moderate camp. Only he did not appreciate it, and, having been a sargeant in the Air Force use to dealing with recalcitrant recruits, he roared in his best sargeant’s voice, “Lady, if you ever again call me that, i will knock your teeth down your throat.” Whereupon the dear soul turned a deadly white, almost passed out, then turned and ran from the building. When I heard it, I almost died laughing, knowing that my friend was actually on her side and would not dream of hurting her.

    Years later, when I was wrestling with the issue of how Shubal Stearns and Daniel Marshall could have eldresses in Sandy Creek Association, I did not let the radical feminist baloney barrage bother me. The records are gone, burnt up in a fire in the early 1800s. Nevertheless, I went back and tried to reconstruct the case and stumbled across a Puritan, Matthew Poole, who allowed for an exception to the rule about women teaching men in I Tim.2:12ff.”If she be specially called, gifted, and endowed.” That provided me with enough ammo to see that it was conceivable among Bible believers in a day, when they would not question the word of God. Later I would find another Puritan who took the same approach.

    A friend about that time told me, if I could find one example where a woman was identified as a leader in the Bible, he would ate. He got a case of indigestion and refused the meal, when I showed him Micah 6:4, “I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Mirian.” My address on the issue was entitled, “The Genius of Orthodoxy: Eldresses.” The moderates in power then totally ignored the matter, simply reporting the title of the address in the Biblical Recorder. Evidently, they were for the radical feminists and did not care for any biblical approach…or so I felt after being totally ignored. Naturally, my conservative friends let me know they disagreed. One read the paper and returned it with the note, “I disagree,” but he never wanted to discuss it.

    More yeas later, I would learn that the reference to desiring the office of bishop is neutral. Why didn’t Paul use the masculine reference, leaving no doubt as to males. And what about I Tim.5:1 referring to an Elder and then 5:2 referring to “Eldresses”?

    John Robinson, the pastor of the Pilgrims before they came to America (he died before he was to leave Europe), stated, “Who knows what new light is getting ready to break forth from God’s word?” I can appreciate that remark as I discovered that Sovereign Grace and the TULIP doctrines were really far more intensely evangelistic and missionary than we can imagine; they are therapeutic paradoxes; they are Divine paradoxical interventions designed to humble and ennoble fallen sinners, to excite, and restore responsibility to helpless people. These teachings will make one balanced, flexible, creative, enduring, and magnetic.

    If we carry out this idea of excluding on the issue of female ministers, we will undo Southern Baptists, violate our doctrine of the priesthood of the believer, establish male paternalism like they had in Germany which played right into the hands of the Nazis. Egalitarianism has its problems, but so does paternalism. Authority of a healthy nature is authoritative, but authoritarianism is a sickly mess of arbitrary misrule.

    • volfan007 says

      Dr. Willingham,

      Your last paragraph is an extreme overstatement, which I believe is wrong….on many levels. I mean, “violate the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer?” “Nazi Germany?” “misrule?”
      Brother, wow!

      Also, I’d rather believe the Bible than hold to what someone did in the past. People in history committed many errors. We should learn from them. So, I’ll gladly take the Scriptures teachings about who qualifies as an Elder(Pastor) over what someone did in history.

      I see a church ordaining a woman to be a Pastor, or calling a woman to be a Pastor, as a direct violation of Scripture.


    • says

      If we carry out this idea of excluding on the issue of female ministers, we will be obedient to what God has clearly revealed in scripture.

      Sorry, you had a typo in that sentence in your paragraph above. Just thought I’d help you out.

      BTW, comparing complimentarians to Nazis? Why don’t you go rent a clue just so you’ll know what it’s like to have one.

    • Dave Miller says

      Jim, it is your argument that denies priesthood and autonomy. Conservatives are not going into churches and telling them that they have to accept women in ministry contrary to our convictions.

      The SBC has the right to set the parameters of its fellowship.
      The association has the same right.
      And the local church has the same right.

      No one’s autonomy is violated when an association follows its convictions. But that autonomy is negated by your imperial denial of their right to determine what they believe that scripture mandates.

      No one is going in to Flat Rock church and telling them what they have to do. Their rights are intact. What is happening is that the autonomous association is following what it believes the Bible teaches.

      And the Nazi thing, Jim. WAY over the line.

      • Dave Miller says

        You are essentially demanding that they follow YOUR convictions, not their own. That is a violation of Baptist principles.

    • says

      Dr. Willingham,

      Nazi’s? Really? Since we’re walking down the slippery slope of history how about them liberal Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists and Lutherans who ordained women for the pastorate?

  22. says

    The thinking that churches that have female senior pastors cease to be Southern Baptists is flawed.

    I would ask, ‘Sez who?’

    Each level of SBC life – national, state, and associational – may insist that such churches not be a part of their voluntary fellowship but that doesn’t define the ‘offending’ churches as not being Southern Baptist. None of those groupings has an absolute lock on the term.

    Someone refresh my memory: Has the SBC in annual session ever kicked out churches for having women pastors? I don’t recall it.

  23. says

    Dear David, Volvan (?), Joe, and etc.: Note the issue of authoritative vs authoritarian. There is a healthy kind of authority and a sick kind, a pathological kind, that knows no boundaries to its demands for subservience. Germany had a strong paternalistic mind-set; it was this that Hitler and his ilk took advangtage of to the destruction of a whole nation and millions and millions of deaths. Americans, being biblically based have always had (for the most part) a balanced view, a checks and balance view that allowed for exceptions, for corrections. When we failed to have it as in times of slavery, we paid a terrible price. I recently heard on some video of John Macarthur attention given to the fact that the Bible in the NT mentions slavery and does not condemn it. There was no mention of the fact that a slave and a master being brothers cuts the very heart out of slavery.

    I repeat, gentlemen, our Book is inspired by omniscience, and it reflects that fact with a depth of profundity of wisdom that is utterly inconceivable to human minds without the help of the Holy Spirit. When the Bible allows for exceptions, then you had better look sharp for a kind of principle and interpretation and understanding that acknowledges God’s right as Sovereign to do as He pleases…to make exceptions to His own laws. After all, my salvation and yours depends on the exception to law and rule in the exception of mercy and grace.

    Pathological and degrading views of women can be hidden by the drive to put women in their place. Normally, I would not expect a woman to be pastor, but God has the right to make exceptions to his rule. Besides, He is dealing with His children who are equals. The old superior/inferior dichotomy does not apply except to Divine/human relations. In that case, God is absolutely superior. In reference to human vis-a-vis human the dichotomy is relative, functional, not absolute, not doctrinaire rigidity. Interestingly enough, though the Divine/human aspects are permanent, yet God has chosen to come down to our level, to come to us in the form of human weakness, even willing to make a change in the Godhead wherein Jesus shall have His earthly body forever, if I understand the implications and hints about His body in eternity.

    David: shall we throw out our own history, condemn our ancestors and predecessors, because they did not have the infallibility of our 2000 BFM committee? I think not.

    Everything in the depths of the word of God works toward making believers balanced, flexible, creative, enduring, and magnetic. Functional authority fits the teaching scriptural teaching better than anything else, when it applies to humans have authority over others. I suspect that the checks and balances of our federal government originated in the biblical ethos of the 1600s and 1700s. If we want to have a civilization that is decent, we must have a return to and appreciation for the nature and application of biblical ideas, that they are given to a health-inducing nature.

    Consider that about 2 miles down the road from where I live there is a tombstone. On it is inscribed the message that the person interred had been excommunicated from Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church (the church from which came our first Southern Baptist missionary to China, Matthew T. Yates), evidently for objecting to the treatment of the African slaver members as equals in the church. I was not aware of that until a few months ago. Now I hope to find out more.

    My disagreements with folks on the issue of women in ministry is founded squarely on the fact that it was done, if only for a brief period, by our predecessors and, in some cases, ancestors. We don’t have to kick out someone over this issue. After all, women can be faithful ministers as well as men. I know of one who founded a church and gave it to Southern Baptists, and the ones of the association let her know that she would never be acknowledged or recognized as the founder of that church. Funny part about the whole thing is she preached Sovereign Grace, had been a visitor for another church, probably presented the claims of Christ to more souls than all of us in this blog so-far combined. She was a soul-winner par excellence, and she told me she really like Arthur Pink’s work, The Sovereignty of God.

    And David will you cast me out, when I was going to vote for the Bible, when you were probably in knee pants? I don’t know your age, but in 1963 I went to the Southern Baptist Convention in Kansas City to vote for the Bible. I shared a room with an elderly pastor from northern New Mexico. His church had voted to send him to the convention to save it from unbelief. We thought we were voting to save the convention from the skeptical (we called it liberal then) view of the Bible. We were fooled of course by the fact that moderates had slide one by us. Later, the chairman of that committee would aid in saving the SBC, because he spoke out for verbal inspiration. I refer to Hershel H. Hobbs who was not at that time one of my heroes.

    I was sneered at and called ignorant for believing in the virgin birth in the 60s which I now think of as ironic as I had been an atheist who said there was no God at all and laughed at miracles. One of my ancestors, Elder Holland Middleton, is mentioned in Henry Holcombe’s History of Alabama Baptists in 1840. He might have been the same Holand Middleton mentioned in the court records as one of two men appointed to execute the Last Will and Testament of Elder Daniel Marshall. So will you kick us out David, though of us who have connections to the roots (and Holland Middleton is just one…I have others but just not as clear) of the SBC, especially when it is not a major issue like the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the sustitutionary and satisfactory nature of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ, and etc.? Is there none of this “charity toward all”?

    • says

      A convention, association, or church following it’s conscience on what the Bible teaches is in no way a sick kind, a pathological kind, that knows no boundaries to its demands for subservience.

      For the record, I think the church had every right to call who they wanted to call as their pastor. Then, they also earned the right to be disfellowshipped. Their rights were not violated. I haven’t read that they have a new pastor so I assume they have the same pastor they had when they were disfellowshpped.

  24. says

    Do you really understand what you men are doing? Many of you are preachers who preach the Word of God, but when you get to these websites you speak about women as if we are some alien creature that God created for you to mate with, someone who is to act out a role that you have designed for her. Look to Jesus. Look at the role he gave women. When he told the woman at the well he was the Messiah, he knew she would go tell. And she did. When he told Mary at the tomb that he had risen, he told her to go and tell. Since you believe that the Bible is true, you believe this. To find any scripture that says that women are not to preach the gospel, is to deny Christ, and is a misunderstanding of the Gospel. They didn’t church buildings then, that is something that men have invented, and cannot be used against women. Look to Jesus.

    • volfan007 says


      The very reason that we believe women should not be Pastors, is because the Bible teaches it. It is not a denial of Christ. It is absolutely not a misunderstanding of the Gospel. And, we are definitely not against women.

      Your reasoning is very, very flawed, and you misunderstand the Bible greatly.

      We applaud women. We think women are wonderful creatures, which God made in His image. We appreciate all that women do in the Church. We hold women up on the highest plane possible. BUT, God has made us different. Men and women are made different…wonderfully different, I might add. And, God has given us different roles in life.

      Women have babies…men can’t. Men can be Pastors….women cant.

      That’s according to the Word of God…the Bible. So, you see, it’s simply a matter of obedience to what God says for us.


      • BDW says

        bWe wrote: “Many of you are preachers who preach the Word of God, but when you get to these websites you speak about women as if we are some alien creature that God created for you to mate with”

        Volfan replied: “We think women are wonderful creatures”

        LOL. I’m gonna go home and tell my very very pregnant wife tonight that she is indeed a wonderful creature!

        • volfan007 says

          Women are wonderful creatures…as in “a wonderful creation of God.” It’s a compliment.

          Good grief.


          • Dave Miller says

            Yeah, I didn’t get that one. I’m not sure why William designates that statement as an insult.

    • says


      I’m with Volfan on this. The rhetoric you bring to these comments is most certainly unhelpful. On the one hand you believe women are being treated badly, but you don’t actually address what was said. Instead, you don’t even give the courtesy, the grace, that you are demanding from others from the other side of the fence.

      You said:

      …when you get to these websites you speak about women as if we are some alien creature that God created for you to mate with, someone who is to act out a role that you have designed for her.

      Who in this thread as treated women as such? Point it out to us and I’m sure myself, Volfan, Dave and others will rebuke the person. My wife is a complementarian and she doesn’t feel as if she’s treated like an alien. I would never treat her the way either.

      You also said:

      To find any scripture that says that women are not to preach the gospel, is to deny Christ, and is a misunderstanding of the Gospel.

      Again, who in this thread stated that women are not to preach the gospel? The issue at hand is about women being pastors. It is not about women being in ministry in general.

    • Dave Miller says

      bWe demonstrates the problem here. Faulty hermeneutics. An unwillingness to deal forthrightly with the arguments that we are making. An attempt to paint those who disagree with you as somehow enemies of the gospel. Harsh and shrill tone.

      I would hope you would choose to engage in dialog more than accusations.

      • BDW says


        You have to admit, it has to be extremely difficult for a woman to “dialogue” in any meaningful way with someone who believes that she has misheard God’s call to full-time ministry as pastor. Most ministers aren’t really interesting in debating with random folks whether their “call’ is biblical or legitimate, etc.

        I don’t blame Bailey Nelson for declining the meeting (although according to her husband via SBCVoices last night, she didn’t even receive an invitation to the meeting). Who would subject themselves to such a meeting?

        • volfan007 says

          I would go to such a meeting….I would subject myself to something such as this…if I thought I was in the right.


  25. Bill Mac says

    That there are Southern Baptists who are chauvinist or misogynists I have no doubt. But it is unfair to label complementarianism as chauvinistic or misogynistic. It is my guess that a great many are reluctant complementarians like myself. If I were making the rules, I would be egalitarian and so would everyone else. I am in fact more egalitarian than many in the SBC, since I believe women can be deacons. I don’t consider women preachers to be a very serious error, and I can see the scriptural arguments for egalitarianism, although ultimately I disagree with them. But the fact remains that I don’t get to make the rules. And so for now, until I am convinced otherwise by good exegesis, I don’t think the bible allows for women pastors.

    And to complementarians. I think you need to stop telling egalitarians that they don’t believe the bible. They interpret it differently and you are free to disagree, and try to convince them otherwise, but disagreeing with your interpretation is not the same as “not believing the bible”.

    • volfan007 says

      The Bible is too plain and clear to believe otherwise. There is no room for any other interpretation. Men are to be the leaders of their homes. Men are to be the leaders of the Church.

      I pity the man, who does not lead his home. And, I really pity the “man,” who has to follow his wife, or some woman, in the church. How sad and pitiful it is that there arent any men, who are man enough to lead.


      • Tom Parker says


        So all verses of the Bible are to be taken literally, huh?

        Well then help me and others by telling us is 1 Timothy 2:15 to be taken literally? Don’t try and explain the verse just a simple yes or no for taking it literally or not.

        Should we also as SB go back to the supporting of slavery because the NT sure seems to support slavery.

        You really ought not to be pitying people.

        BTW, if I remember correctly you weigh in the 300’s but yet everyone’s encouragement to you about your weight you’ve tried to make a funny of it as if it is not an issue for you as a minister.

        Is the Bible not clear on such things.

        • volfan007 says

          The Greek word for “saved” in child bearing, simply means to be preserved. It can mean to rescue, or to be preserved safe and unharmed. To say that it means spiritual salvation is to ignore the context of the rest of the Bible. This verse simply means that the woman will be rescued from the stigma of being the one, who took down the human race by being decieved by Satan…by that glorious thing that a woman does so well….bearing children.

          The context of the verses dealing with women not being Pastors is very clearly that men should be the leaders of their homes and of the church.

          And, it is true that the Bible does not condemn slavery. It also does not advocate slavery. It was just simply the way things were back then. It was simply the way the world was….and, Paul encouraged slave owners to treat their slaves well..and he encouraged slaves to work hard for thier masters….kind of like the relationship between a boss and a worker today…aint it?


          PS. I weigh 350 lbs. I’m 6′ 1″…and a lot of the men in my family are big fellas….so what? Have I ever committed the sin of gluttony….yes. I’ve repented of it. I didnt lose 100 lbs after repenting….so????? what’s your point?

  26. says

    To be sure, God has a right to call who He will to pastor a church. I believe scripture indicates that women are not called to be pastor. By the same hermeneutic, I also conclude that most men (including myself) are not called to be pastors. (I believe all parents are called to “pastor” their children, but that’s a different definition of the word.) But the same hermeneutic that leads me to complimentarian conclusions also leads me to hold my sisters in Christ in high esteem, particularly my wife. To whit:

    A) It is my duty as her husband to sacrificially provide for her spiritual development as a fellow servant of Christ.
    B) It is her duty as my wife to assist me in the work that God gives me to do.

    I can’t expect (B) without being successful at (A), for the fulfillment of (A) is included in (B).

    Discussion of Complementarianism therefore must entail more than merely whether or not a woman should serve as the pastor of a church. I do work with people from non-SBC churches including some paedobaptists as well as some Egalitarians. (Thank you, Dave, for your discussion of picket-fence issues.) I’m also soteriologically Reformed and work closely with many non-Reformed people. If the SBC is to be Complementarian, then we should be Complementarian. If not, then my question would be, “Where could I go to a Complementarian church and not be falsely seen as bigoted?” There seem to be plenty of people willing to give up the hermeneutic that provides for men to sacrificially support their wives in favor of Egalitarianism, although they may practice it for a time. Without the Biblical foundation, men seeing women as God does may falter.

  27. bill says

    The question asked is: Are church with female pastors Southern Baptist?

    The answer is: No, they are not because the Southern Baptist Convention has codified a set of boundaries by which churches agree to abide by whenever they come into fellowship with other Southern Baptist Churches. Churches are free to come and go as they please and are allowed autonomy in a lot of their decisions provided that they remain within the loose boundaries of agreed upon regulations (I use regulations because it’s an apt word, not derogatory meaning is applied). If a church decides that they wish to step outside of these agreed upon boundaries, then the honorable thing to do is to gracefully step away from the convention rather than make the convention (or association) remove them from fellowship.

    If egalitarians honestly feel that women in pastoral positions is okay, then make your arguments and your position. Be aware that many can and will make arguments for the complimentarian position. Both sides claim biblical support for their positions so it’s on either side to gracefully share their positions while maintaining a love for the other side.

    Right now, complimentarian positions are the prevailing position within the Southern Baptist Convention and therefore, churches must abide by the wishes of the Southern Baptist Convention. There may come a day that an egalitarian view may become the prevailing view but that day is not today.

    But, rather than pursuing more rabbits the short answer is this again: A church with a female pastor cannot be a Southern Baptist church because it violates one of the standards by which all Southern Baptist churches agree to abide by when they come into the convention.

    • says

      No. You are dead wrong and woefully uninformed.

      Consider that,
      1. The SBC in session may define their parameters. They cannot define what it means to be “Southern Baptist.”

      2. The SBC in session has not, cannot demand that all of its ‘member’ churches adopt their codified boundaries. Most have not. They are still a part of the Convention. Neither has the SBC chosen to review all churches to exclude those that violate their rules, nor has the SBC chosen to decline contributions from such churches.

      3. You don’t have to be formally affiliated with the ‘national ‘ SBC to be Southern Baptist.

      I like short answers to but not if they are short, and dead wrong.

      • Tom Parker says


        It is almost as if there needs to be a National Course on what is truly a Southern Baptist Church and then once this is defined disfellowship all of the others immediately who do not qualify.

        Right now let’s see 16 million Baptists on the rolls, generously 8 million show up on an average Sunday.

        Disfellowshipping these non-Baptist churches should get us down to 8 million Baptists on the rolls and maybe 4 million showing up on an average Sunday.

        Somebody better wake up and realize this purging once it gets started will not stop.

    • says


      Ditto what William wrote. The BF&M2000, which the church I pastor voluntarily recognizes it as “a brief statement of the doctrines and principles that we believe the Scriptures teach.” We are in no way bound to adhere to the BF&M2000 to be considered Southern Baptist. Nor is any other church that considers themselves SBC. Just ask some of the churches in Texas and Virginia who have yet to adopt the lastest confession of faith as their own, but who still contribute millions of dollars combined to CP, Lottie, and Annie. Ask some of our more Calvinistic brethren whose churches have adopted more Reformed confessions of faith in place of the BF&M2000. Thus far, a church who calls a female pastor is not automatically considered to not be “in friendly cooperation” with the Convention, unlike churches who approve, endorse, or otherwise sanction homosexuality. That may change, but it is not the reality yet. Thanks and God bless,


      • Tom Parker says


        Some in the SBC have practically placed the 2000 BF&M on the same level as the Holy Bible.

        Also they can not understand that word voluntarily–they have confused it with compulsory.

        What a mess we have in the SB world.

        • Dave Miller says

          That is simply a false accusation. There is not a single person I know who believes that the BF&M is on par with the Bible. Tom, that is a ridiculous charge.

          Whatever mess we have in the SBC will not be changed by false accusations and insults. Discussing our differences in a reasonable way would go a long way toward making a difference.

          Show me one person who has ever advocated that the BF&M is on par with the Bible? We regard it as a statement of our common doctrine, but NO ONE thinks of it as perfect or inerrant or any of that.

          Please, deal with reality not fantasy.

          • Tom Parker says


            It is not a false accusation. The 2000 BF&M is being treated as if it is a Biblical item.

            I never mentioned the 2000 BF&M as it being inerrant.

            As we are seeing in the SBA situation you will follow it or get the boot.

            No fantasy, just reality. Just ask Flatrock,

          • Dave Miller says

            Tom, can you show me one person who has ever said that the BF&M is on a biblical level? No one believes that, Tom.

            We have decided, however, that the BF&M defines what a SOUTHERN BAPTIST is, not what a Christian is. By putting someone out of the SBC, or the SBA, or some state convention or whatever, we are not acting as if they are not saved, but they do not adhere to our beliefs.

            You are confusing apples and oranges and then trying to make lemonade from it.

  28. says

    Reply to Jim Pemberton who says: “It is my duty as her husband to sacrificially provide for her spiritual development as a fellow servant of Christ. B) It is her duty as my wife to assist me in the work that God gives me to do.”

    I was chatised for not sticking to the subject of can a church be SBC and have a woman pastor, but here I go again.

    I would be ashamed to say such things as Jim P did. If she is a fellow servant of Christ, she doesn’t need your “sacrificial sacrifice” . Besides that, you can’t sacrificially provide for her spiritual development. Just what do you have in mind? To sacrifice means to give up something. What are you giving up?

    What hogwash! She is a grown adult woman and can make decisions of her own. Do you read the Bible to her? Did you marry a child or did you marry a woman?

    If she is so spiritually immature, how can she assist you in the work God has called “you” to do?

    • Dave Miller says

      Shirley, it is clear you are dismissive of those who do not see things your way. We have formed convictions from the study of the Bible which you are free not to agree with. But insults are not discussion and we would appreciate if you discussed the issue instead of insulting others.

  29. bill says

    I took the question to mean “Can a church with a female pastor be a member of the Southern Baptist Convention?” Well, if we’re holding every church to the fire on this, then the short answer is no, they cannot be.

    You apparently are interpreting the question as “Can a church with a female pastor have Southern Baptist qualities or distinctives (I’ve seen this word used in the past)?” This is a no-brainer and you’d find that I’d agree with your viewpoint.

    Two very different different interpretations of the question which have resulted in two very different answers.

    I was trying to steer conversation back to the point of the post rather than the needless back and forth by others. Thank you, William and Howell, for your replies.

    • Dave Miller says

      Unfortunately, Bill, your answer got put down here and I’m not sure where it was supposed to be. But for clarity, you asked a good question and I thought treated it fairly. Exactly the kind of debate and discussion we want here.

      I just don’t know to whom it was meant to apply.

    • says

      Well, no Bill. Such churches are not merely “churches with Southern Baptist qualities or distinctives.” They are Southern Baptist churches. What I am trying to say is that you cannot claim that the BFM defines the term “Southern Baptist” nor what is a SB church.

      Some have argued here that a church that has a woman pastor ipso facto ceases to be a SB church and any formal determination occurrs necessarily ex post facto. The issue of women pastors is not the doctrinal sine qua non in the SBC. (tip of my hat to my lawyer friend Howell)

      • bill says


        Not just any church can apply to join the Southern Baptist Convention can they?

        Otherwise, why the dust up with Acts 29?

        Could a diehard Assemblies of God church change denominations without changing any of its practices or beliefs?

        Obviously there are parameters in place somewhere down the line.

        To be honest, I wasn’t even making this a BFM2K issue because I assumed that the Southern Baptist Convention had something in place when the convention was formed. If my history is correct, the first BFM came into existence after the Convention was already established. Doesn’t the Convention have rules and procedures in place for parliamentary proceedings and membership of churches?

        • says

          I think that, in theory, any church that sends support through the CP or to Nashville can send messengers to the SBC. The responsibility would be on someone to challenge the seating of those messengers and demonstrate why they shouldn’t be allowed rather than a church having to show why they should be allowed.

          Most associations and state conventions run differently than that. I think the SBC structure is based on an assumption that you’re not going to just participate with the national level (though you can) but that you’ll participate in all, and that a closer body, like the association or state, is a better place to examine a church. That and the assumption that a church that disagreed with expressed doctrines of the SBC (best contained in the BFM) wouldn’t really want to come and join.

  30. says

    To Dave Miller.
    The question is can a church be SBC and have a woman pastor?

    Obviously it can because some do. I don’t want to insult anybody but I would like to remind everyone that Southern Baptists have been on the wrong side of the Bible before. The SBC was formed because they wanted slavery and had the scriptures to back it up. Somehow or the other, the SBC has now re-read those scriptures and decided that the Bible doesn’t give people the right to own other people.

    Someday, we will re-read the scriptures that we think gives a husband authority over his wife, the very same scriptures that SBC thinks also tells us that a woman cannot be a pastor of a church.

    Women are insulted in many of these posts. Whenever you tell a woman that God can’t call her because she was born female, that is an insult.

    When men truly love women – and their wives – they will get on their knees and beg God to allow their women equality before the God they love. That is what sacrificial love would be.

    Remember, the farthest thing from Saul’s mind as he walked down the dusty road to Damascus, was that he might be wrong.

      • BDW says

        Hopefully we’ve all stopped from time to time to consider whether we’re right or wrong.

        To be honest with you, on this issue, if I’m wrong, I don’t want to be right.

        I’ve been wrong before and changed my mind. My experience chatting with Southern Baptists in the blogosphere has, without a doubt, made me more conservative in some areas. In others, interaction has simply reaffirmed that which I’ve long known to be Truth. It’s not a Truth that I feel the need to impose on anyone else. But it’s my own personal, private creed. That is my confession.

        • Dave Miller says

          I hope no one sees this, but I would gladly become an egalitarian if I could only justify it biblically. Its kinda like my view on capital punishment. I would be an opponent of capital punishment if not for the fact that I am convinced it is a clear teaching of scripture.

          Since I believe in the supernatural nature of the scripture, I would not substitute my judgment for that of the Word’s. Capital punishment seems to be God’s will whether I like it or not.

          I’m not looking for a discussion of that topic. I just used it as an illustration. I’m not complementarian because I want to keep women in their place. I would gladly embrace egalitarianism if I was certain it was not contrary to God’s will as revealed in Scripture.

          So, I do not substitute my wisdom for God’s

          I know that won’t satisfy the opponents of my position, but frankly I grow tired of the constant refrain that I am what I am out of a desire to repress women.

          In my case, I can tell you it is not so. It is born out of a conviction that God’s Word is true and God’s word clearly and without question teaches complementarian doctrine. I cannot embrace egalitarianism without embracing bad hermeneutics and denying what I know of the Word.

          That’s my journey, for what it is worth.

    • Dave Miller says

      I have not seen women being insulted in this post (with a couple of exceptions, which were challenged) – unless you define having different biblical convictions than you do about an issue insulting.

      You consistently make false assumptions and accusations against the desires and intent of people who are complementarian (many of whom, by the way, are women). You assume that our desire is to denigrate, control or oppress women.

      My desire is none of those, but to be faithful to the Word which seems to me to clearly give different roles to men and women. I’d probably BE egalitarian if it was up to me. I’m not complementarian because of some deep dark wish to oppress, as you consistently accuse, but because of what the Bible commands.

      If you can get the Bible changed, i will gladly change my view.

  31. Tom Parker says


    You asked me:”Have you stopped to consider that you might be wrong?” Absolutely, I could be, what about you, could you be wrong?

  32. says

    Dave, you ask if I could be wrong. Absolutely. But the kingdom will not suffer if I am wrong. Women will be allowed to preach, to speak and to spread the gospel like Jesus gave her authority to do.

    But if you are wrong – and do not get it right – one-half of the Christian (Baptist and others) population will continue to have no voice. The kingdom will suffer. As it already suffers. Jesus said to look to the harvest – but there were too few workers in the field.

    • Dave Miller says

      That is utterly false, Shirley. The women of my church have a voice. The idea that they have no voice is a fairy tale. They work. They serve. They witness. They even lead.

      Yes, they do not preach on Sunday morning – but neither do most of the men either.

      You are overstating that by a large margin.

      • says

        Dave, great answer brother. The world is the one who would have women believe that they are diminished, not Scripture. It is a high calling to minister outside the pulpit; just as it is a high calling to minister from the pulpit as well.

        No one is questioning the capability of women. It’s about the role of women in the local church according to Scripture. No one is being diminished. It’s a theology/biblical issue.

        • says

          Jared, suppose a woman feels diminished. Do you believe that your statement, common to all these discussion, that she is not being diminished overrules that?

          • says

            William, I question why she feels diminished. If she is indeed being diminished by a type of male chauvinism, I understand; but, if she feels diminished simply because her role in the church is different than men, then her feeling diminished is evil if Scripture indeed teaches that her role in the church is different.

            I rarely see a doctrinal/scriptural argument from egalitarians at the laity level; however, I hear much of “what can men do that a woman can’t?”

          • says

            Jared, you deny out of hand any woman who feels diminished? The reality and validity of her feelings are subject to your determination?

            If you recognized the problem here you could fix it by saying, “I don’t believe a woman should feel diminished…” rather than the declarative, “No woman is diminished…”

          • says

            William, you’ve been nitpicking my comments here lately. Not sure what bone you’re trying to pick with me.

            My declarative statement: “No one is diminished” was contextually written like this: “No one is questioning the capability of women. It’s about the role of women in the local church according to Scripture. No one is being diminished. It’s a theology/biblical issue.”

            “No one is being diminished” should be understood as “no one is being diminished by the Scriptural roles.” I thought I was clear? If I say that women cannot pastor due to Scripture, I’m not automatically diminishing women. It’s a biblical issue, not a capability issue.

  33. says

    It’s not fair! I want to give birth to a baby! I should be able to do all things that women do or I’m being diminished. One day, technology will set me from complementarianism and the so-called creation order.

    • Debbie Kaufman says

      Jared: I agree with William. He has said well what many women in the church are feeling. Thankfully not in my church, but I do not want my children going to most churches because they treat people(both sexes) equally, like human beings and I don’t want the church to ruin that. True.

    • says

      You say well that you are not sure what I’m saying.

      You make a statement that denies a woman her viewpoint. She is not entitled to her viewpoint because you summarily judge it invalid.

      She cannot be diminished because you don’t believe she is diminished. She may feel diminished. She may conclude that she is diminished by the fact that she is denied the role of pastor in a church yet your statement blithely rejects that.

      A woman is not allowed to feel diminished because you impose your view of what it is to be diminished. This is grossly paternalistic.
      The woman is a child, not capable of independent thought or valid feelings. Your statement about babies is an effort to make the point by an absurdity and confirms the paternalism.

      You think this to be nitpicking?

      • says

        William, Yes, I think you’re nitpicking, big time. If the Scriptures teach that the pastoral office is reserved for men, then women are not being diminished. If the Scriptures say it, they should not “feel” diminished by a church that is simply speaking what God has said. This has nothing to do with paternalistic thinking; you’re adding all this to my comments.

        A woman is not allowed to feel diminished by God, period. They should be satisfied with the role(s) He has given them in His church and world. That’s my argument. If women are not allowed by God to pastor, this does not automatically give them the right to feel diminished; just as I don’t have a right to feel diminished because I have not been created by God to birth a baby.

        Virtually your entire comment is invented from your own mind. Prove it from the words I’ve written. Where do I deny a woman her viewpoint? I’m just saying that different roles does not give the person who is unsatisfied with his/her role the right to feel diminished.

        • says

          Great points, Jared. If a woman “feels” diminished because God’s word clearly teaches that only men are allowed to be pastors (and it does–there is no question about it), then she is the one with the problem. There is no need to placate her or soothe her bruised ego. God’s word says it. Get over it. I am very glad this association stood up for what was right.

  34. says

    Jared and Dave, the church is what diminishes women, not scripture. Scripture tells us that Jesus gave women the gospel to spread. There was no pulpit for men to get behind. Read what Jesus said to women. Paul, who loved Christ more than life itself, could and would not say anything that would contradict Jesus, and yet you think he does. Jesus told women to go out and preach. You are the ones who tell women that God cannot call her to preach. When Jesus was on this earth, he called women to preach.

    • says

      bWe, the problem is that you think you know what Jesus meant more than Paul did. I agree that Paul wouldn’t contradict Christ; so, what are we to gather from his masculine qualifications of pastors since he was lead into all truth by God the Holy Spirit?

      It amazes me when people appeal to Jesus as if Jesus’ words carry more authority than the Scripture written by Paul. Whether Paul said it or Jesus said it, God said it. Whether God the Son said it or a divinely inspired human carried along by God the Holy Spirit said it, God said it.

      • says

        Jesus’ words cannot carry more authority than other Scripture writers because we have nothing written by Jesus’ hand. We only have the words of Jesus as recorded by other Scripture writers. So, if other Scripture writers do not carry as much authority as Jesus, then Jesus’ words carry the same diminished authority since they were recorded by other Scripture writers.

    • Dave Miller says

      I have studied the Scriptures and do not think they say what you say. You make pronouncements but I’d need to see some exegesis more convincing than I have seen.

  35. bill says

    Could a contributing factor to women feeling diminished is the fact that some (read: NOT ALL) churches do discriminate in their hiring and payscales?

    I know of several churches (I worked for two of them) who have had men and women in the same positions at different times. When our church had a female in the position, the title was Director of Children’s Ministries or Director of Student Ministries. When our church had a male in the same exact role, the title was Pastor of Children’s Ministries and Pastor of Student Ministries. The responsibilities given to either gender were identical.

    The church paid substantially (in excess of almost six to eight thousand per year) more for the males in those roles despite the experience and education levels clearly falling into the women’s favor (in both cases, the women had completed their MDivs and one also held a MA whereas neither male completed their MDivs until a year or so after being hired).

    Women pay attention to this. Men ought to be paying more attention to this.

    I’m not saying that it happens everywhere.

  36. bapticus hereticus says

    If ‘dismissive ‘is the controlling idea, then for women desiring ministry in the SBC, ‘dismissed’ is exactly what they are experiencing and it is helpful for leaders in the SBC to know exactly the depth of their feelings on the matter, assuming empathy has any value for said leaders. One cannot say to another that the thing which is at the core of his or her self-understanding is illegitimate and not expect a degree of passion to emerge. To ask people to be, then, less than what it means to be human is to deny the very being that God has gone to great lengths to redeem. Ministers in the SBC, weekly, preach that passion among the people is lacking, and in the next breath criticize those where it is. Men, the Spirit leads where it will, we cannot control it, even if we can impede it. But in time, in spite of our certainty in theological formulations, the Spirit will prevail and move for a season unhindered among us, transforming us, until, of course, we, collectively, men and women, find new ways to be an impediment to its movement. But, as demonstrated in history, opposing God has no lasting currency. These women, notwithstanding a differing theological perspective, are just as SBC as those with a competing perspective, BFM2K also notwithstanding. For a vibrant life within the SBC, it would be a good idea to come to that understanding. This is not to suggest that immediately in SBC, in general, will accept female ministers, but if God is one that is known for turning things upside down to move the people forward, what do you suppose might be a divine initiative that would get the attention of SBCers?

  37. says

    When one woman is denied her calling from God simply because she was born a woman, all women are denied.

    I don’t want to be a deacon, and I have never been called to preach, but I know women who have been.

    Women want to be able to walk into their church and not feel that their church holds it against them that they are women.

    You don’t know how this feels to be told that you are denied by the very God that gave you new life, saved you, but WOULDN’T give you equality with a another human being. A human being who is not perfect, who even Paul recognizes that might be saved because of the leading to Christ from his wife, a woman. 1 Peter 3:1. A human being who can be accepted with all his sins simply because he was born male.

    What if the shoe were on the other foot?

    • Dave Miller says

      I would hope that I would do what the Bible tells me to do, even if it was not what I wanted to do.

      • volfan007 says


        Amen. If the Bible said that women were to be Pastors, then I would accept it as Gods plan. I wouldnt feel diminished. I wouldnt walk around sulking about it. I would just obey.


  38. says

    Yeah, but I bet you would be looking for a loop hole!

    Well, we have found a bunch of loop holes. Some of your readers may blithely discount what Jesus did when he commissioned women to preach, but to do so is to deny Christ Himself.

    • says

      bWe, Paul didn’t interpret Jesus as commissioning women to preach as pastors. Shouldn’t you agree with Paul instead of silently claiming you understand Jesus better than Paul did?

    • Dave Miller says

      Deny Christ? Really? Wow.

      Those who do not see your position on this deny Christ?

      There seems little point in continuing a conversation on that basis.

  39. volfan007 says

    Wow, this room sounds like the SBC before the CR took it over. This all sounds eeerily familiar…..

    The big question is….are we going to obey the clear teachings of Scripture, or not. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

    I choose to follow the teachings of the Bible.


      • volfan007 says


        Let me encourage you to read my comment again. I said that it’s sounding a lot like the SBC BEFORE the CR….did you read that?

    • bapticus hereticus says

      David: Wow, this room sounds like the SBC before the CR took it over.

      bapticus hereticus: But this time, most of the voices that you apparently are in disagreement with are among the conservatives that align with the CR.

      They shot him.

      Wasn’t he the enemy?

      Well, no, but they thought he was.


      Because he was just a bit too far ahead of them. Surely, they thought, he wasn’t one of them given the distsnce; but they were wrong.

      • volfan007 says

        The CR was very right. Thank God for the CR. And, some of the voices in this room show why it was very much needed.


        • Tom Parker says


          Please, please we have heard all of this before. It has become a trite saying.

          Let me say again the CR is over and those that are in power shall do whatever they want to a great degree. If that is what you wanted the CR to accomplish–rest easy.

        • says

          And they give further evidence as to why conservatives that were hurt in the CR got what they deserve. Here’s the deal–all moderates (who are even worse than liberals) need is someone who will agree to disagree with them. “Yes, I believe in inerrancy and you don’t, but we can still cooperate together. Let’s shake hands and be buddies.” So, people like Russel Dilday who got hurt in the CR got what they deserved because they were willing to cooperate with moderats.

          You see the same thing in this thread–people who are probably theologically conservative about a lot of things (inerrancy, the virgin birth, etc) who would be willing to cooperate with an OBVIOUSLY moderate church or would not be willing to kick a church out if they called a woman.

          Thank God for the CR.

  40. says

    Nobody was commissioned as a pastor in the Bible, either by Paul or by Jesus. An overseer, a deacon, an elder, but no pastors. Certainly no pastors standing behind a pulpit claiming that over one-half of their congregation is not good enough before God to stand in that hallowed spot.

    I love Paul. I find his words to women liberating. He told them that they stood equally with the men in Galations. I am not sure how I silently claimed I understand Paul better than Jesus.

    • says

      bWe, what I’m saying is that you must prove from the pastoral epistles that women are qualified to pastor, bishop, elder, overseer (they’re all the same office). You quote Jesus, but Paul knew Jesus’ words better than you; and yet, he wrote the pastoral epistles that clearly argue for masculine qualifications for elders.

      And, to be fair, no one is claiming that “women aren’t good enough to be pastors.” If I take your logic to its consistent end, then you believe that men aren’t good enough to birth babies. I realize that men cannot birth babies… but, the reason they can’t is because God did not create them to do this; and based on Scripture, God did not create women to be elders either.

  41. says

    wolfvan007, please understand that if the scriptures were as clear as you think, we wouldn’t any of us be sitting here at a computer discussing this subject. I would be out preaching the gospel to men, and you would be washing the dishes and vacuumng.

    • volfan007 says

      It is that clear. Us sitting here at the computer discussing it has nothing to do with whether its clear, or not. It’s just not clear to those people, who dont want it to be clear. There are many people in our world, who dont like what the Bible clearly teaches….because it doesnt go along with what they belief and want.


      PS. the Bible is very clear on this issue…there is no wiggle room. Pastors are to be “one woman men;” they are to lead their homes well…men are supposed to lead the family, not the women; and women are told to not teach a man doctrine, nor to usurp authority over the man…in the church and in the home. It’s just too clear to be seen any other way.

  42. bill says


    Everyone back away from their keyboards.

    Go in the living room. Go watch Mike Holmes on HGTV or White Collar or read a book, maybe some Tolkien or something.

    I would encourage everyone to get up and go do something else for the next twelve or so hours. Let’s all get a good night’s sleep and revisit all of these threads tomorrow.

    Tempers are simmering and we’re no longer doing any good discussing this tonight.

    I’ll see you all in the morning.

    Good night.

      • bill says

        It was pretty good. As soon as I get off from work (in about fifteen minutes), I’m headed home to a sleeping wife and kids which means I’ll get to wade a few more chapters through Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I recently decided to reread this series because I’ve always enjoyed them.

        At some point I’ve got to read Martin’s new book, Dance with Dragons

      • volfan007 says

        White collar wad? whats that, Dave? lol or, are you like that Bishop on that movie….you know, with the lisp….lol

  43. says

    Read the Bible in a strict way, and none of us will be saved. After every sinner deserves, earns, merits JUSTICE, AND JUSTICE SAYS THE SOUL THAT SINNETH SHALL DIE…AND ETERNAL DEATH IS DESERVED. AND YET THERE IS THE EXCEPTION WHICH MERCY AND GRACE MAKE TO THE LAW BY SATISFYING ITS JUST DEMANDS. Now, brethre, if you can understand that, why can’t you understand that there might, just might be exceptions to the rule on women? If women are not to be treated as equals and to be treated only as contemporary complementarian inferior partners who have second class citizenship and membership, why in the world did God name Mirian as one of the three He sent before Israel in Miccah 6:4? And why are women named as Prophetesses? And why did God raise up Deborah as a judge, and why are the women in I Tim.5:2 mentioned as eldresses? And why did the Lord appear to the women first and make them messengers to the Apostles? And why are women praying in I Cors. 11 , apparently in church? and why is the reference to keep silence in I Cors. 14 is the same as the reference to the fellow speaking in tongues? and why did Paul not use the masculine gender ference terms only, when he wrote, “whoever desires the office of a bishop…..?” I have known many complementarians across the years and was one myself for many of those years, but why do so many use it as an excuse to manifest the superior/inferior attitude? Could it be because complementarianism with out a corresponding emphasis on egalitarianism (that is spiritual egalitarianism) is out of balance? A balanced position would consist of a both/and proposition. Joe is so sure of his position and yet ahe used the demeaning reference to women as “chicks.” Sometimes the woman has to step up and taken full responsibility and act in the place of the man, if her husband is disabled, sick, or deceased. Paternalism is an ugly thing, allowing for men to steal the livelihoods of widows and children which has been done in the days when our society was very paternalistic.

    If God would not raise any woman to a position of leadership, why would He leave examples of cases where He did? Pathologies can hide under any number of masks…even that of believing the Bible is the word of God. Just consider the instance of the Pharisees who believed the Bible, the resurrection of the dead, and yet rejected the Messiah. Whited Sepulchers, white-washed tomb areas, so our Lord called them.

    But an equal, one whom a man must respect just as he respects another man? This is not to say there are not bad women. There are. But treating a person as an equal, as one who is supposed to be treated, with dignity and respect, as a full-fledge contributor to society, etc., leaving God as Sovereign over the whole issue of whom He might call. Normally, I would not expect that He would call a woman, but He has that right. Just as He told Peter about the fact that it was His decision as to who lived and who died and how. And how do we explain the oneness of male and female in Gal.3:28?

    • Josh M. says

      Dr. Willingham,

      I don’t agree with your initial premise, unless you are using the word “strict” differently than you seem to be. If we read the Bible in a “strict” way, we find that, though we are all sinners, God gives mercy and grace. This is the clear teaching of Scripture for those who believe. I don’t see how this compares at all to an exception to the rule on women. It might be grace for us to do so, but it is a grace that we are unauthorized to give from Scripture. If the biblical argument for the complimentarian view is legitimate, the comparison is terrible. Scripture leads us to believe that there is salvation from Christ and Scripture leads complimentarians to believe that a woman should not be a pastor.

      No one that I’ve read on here is arguing that the ability of a woman to understand and preach the Word is less than that of a man. Maybe some do, but a belief in lesser ability is not the reason why those who do not support women as pastors form their position. The OT examples of women translate into an argument for the importance and ability of women. The women to which Jesus appeared were certainly important to him and important to the pre-Christian community as a whole. Women should have a voice in the church. They don’t need to sit quietly by themselves. I believe women can hold positions of leadership. They should participate in church ministries and lead. What about any of what you have argued, though, should lead us to override explicit passages of the Bible? You are arguing that Scripture supports female leadership, which I agree with, but what about that means that a woman should be a pastor in a New Testament church in conflict with the most direct reading of our central text?

  44. John Wylie says

    I personally have no problem with the church being disfellowshipped. The church and the lady both knew very well that their actions would provoke such a response. All the expectations of grace on the part of the association should also be expected of the church and their decisions. The church’s action were antagonistic to the association and the convention. Affilations are voluntary and as such are based on certain qualifications. If the majority of an association vote to remove a church from fellowship, it’s their right to do so.

    • Tom Parker says

      John Wylie:

      Do you have any problems at all with the process the SBA went through to expel this church?

      And for you to say “the Lady”


    • says

      Excellent points. The lady didn’t even have the decency to know that she had no right to submit herself as a candidate for the position of pastor. I mean, a quick perusal of I Timothy and Titus should have been sufficient if the lady had bothered to read them. Unfortunantly, the lady decided what she “felt called to do” was more important than God’s inerrant word.

        • says


          Why, whatever are you talking about? You act like I was just looking for an excuse to call the lady “the lady”. Egad, I would never try to intentionally offend someone like that.

      • Tom Parker says


        The disrespect that some have had on this blog of referring to Rev. Bailey Nelson as “The Lady” is incredible.

        Do you believe she should be referred to in this manner?

        • John Wylie says


          Believe it or not I meant no disrespect to her, where I come from calling a female a lady is respectful. Further, to me it was the most respectful thing I could come up with seeing I personally cannot refer to her as pastor.

          As far as the process, I think as soon as the church voted to call Mrs. Nelson they should have been dismissed. There was nothing to discuss with the church or Mrs. Nelson, they had made their choice as a church knowing full well what the association would do.

          • says

            Exactly, Since the lady is not a pastor, even though she’s been called as such by that church, she can’t be called “Reverand” or “Pastor”. The lady may be called such by her congregation, but those who recognize that God’s word forbids the lady from serving in that capacity cannot call the lady “Pastor”.

  45. Bill Mac says

    I think it is time (in the opinion of someone who has no say over the blog) to put this post to bed. We’ve had a fairly decent discussion but the schoolyard bullies have taken over and we’re pretty much past constructive discussion.

  46. says

    It is sad, but the truth is that the whole process with reference to the Rev. Bailey Edwards Nelson smacks of the evil in our past with reference to African Americans. The denigration of a person with whom we do not agree or of whom we do not approve is a miserable and grievous affair. I might not approve of Rev. Nelson as I do believe there are some beliefs truly vital to the Christian Faith. Even so I am not required to act with discourtesy…as I Cors.13:5 says, “Love does not behave itself unseemly,” or to put it more contemporary terms, “Love is not discourteous.” In more positive terms, “Love is courteous.” In fqact, history does seem to suggest that courtesy grew out of the Christian Faith.

    The justification for slavery and for war in defense of it and the terrible cost that flowed there from tells us that denigrating a people has consequences, disastrous consequences. People could not seem to realize that the very essence of the Christain Faith which makes Masters and Slaves brothers guts the whole slavery scene. Sooner or later, the chickens come home to roost. Having witnessed the denigration of females by so many in this generation and knowing that there is another way, one that is biblical as anything advocated otherwise, I remember all those who gave of themselves sacrificially to advance the cause of Christ.

    If you gentlemen had known of the pathologies so often covered over with the paper thin excuses of blind understandings of biblical authority, views not cognizant of the reality of healthy and sick authorities and how never the twain shall meet, you might give some attention to the real premises and problems involved. How many are really aware of the problems of errant paternalism? A car out of control is a frightening thing, and so is it with people who have authority and abuse it. Where are the checks and balances? I still maintain that we have more of them in American than perhaps in any other nation. The same holds true with reference to the biblical revelation. There is no such thing a unlimited authority for a husband, father, pastor, church, association, governor, president, etc., not in this nation, not in our church life. And just because the SBC adopted a BFM 2000 that specifies no women pastors, that does not mean that those pastors who voted for the Bible are now excluded along with the Moderates just because they think that there might be exceptions?

    Shucks! Even one of Adrian Rogers’ sons does not buy all that BFM2000 demands, and we note he is not being hounded out….So why pick on others….? Maybe all the descendants and successors of Sandy Creek and Martha Stearns Marshall , etc. and et. al., ought to stand up and say, “Baloney! We are just as much a part of Southern Baptists as you are and perhaps more so. After all, if we feel we are being faithful to the biblical truth and to our own past of predecessors and ancestors, are you gonna argue that a majority vote of a SBC is going to bind the conscience of 16,000,000 others?”

    • says

      It is sad, but the truth is that the whole process with reference to the Rev. Bailey Edwards Nelson smacks of the evil in our past with reference to African Americans.

      Oh, give me a stinkin’ break. So, we’re Nazi’s and racists if we recognize that God’s word clearly teaches that a woman cannot serve as a pastor?

  47. Tom Parker says

    John Wylie:

    You said:”Further, to me it was the most respectful thing I could come up with seeing I personally cannot refer to her as pastor. ”

    Wow! Your FUNDAMENTALISM is showing for the world to see.

    • says


      You make a great point. She isn’t a pastor. She is biblically prohibited from serving in that role. Therefore, as you rightly noted, you can’t and shouldn’t refer to her as pastor. Spot on.

  48. Dave Miller says

    Bill had a good suggestion. I’ve been away from my computer and the blog for a couple of days. I’ve done a little work on my Droid, but my fingers are too fat.

    I am disappointed in the ability of some of you to show some self-control and just demonstrate basic Christian discussion here. I do not know why anyone thinks that being a jerk, name calling and insults is acceptable in Christian blogging.

    Bill, you have been a voice of reason in this discussion and I think you are right. This one is shutting down. If the discussion reappears on any of the other posts, those will be shut down.

    When I get around to it, I may go back and delete about 20 comments.


  1. […] “Are Southern Baptist Churches with Female Pastors Southern Baptist?” by David Miller at the SBC Voices blog, with his commentary on Surry Baptist Association withdrawing fellowship from Flat Rock Baptist Church in Mount Airy, North Carolina because of their calling a female pastor. Miller affirms the association’s decision. […]