I wrote a post a few days ago in which I argued that the path forward in the SBC on the “complementarianism brouhaha” was fairly simple.
- We adhere to our common confession, the BF&M 2000 which details that the pastoral role be reserved for men and that there is a differentiation of roles in marriage.
- We adhere to our long-held principle of local church autonomy for the rest. As long as a church is faithful to the BF&M 2000, we allow the local church to decide precisely what role women can have in their local church.
- One church can fence the pulpit from women completely and another can allow the occasional exception, for reasons it deems fitting.
- One church can have women completely silent in all aspects of worship and another can allow women full participation up to the limit of the pastoral role.
- Women (and men) can decide what churches they want to be part of, based on their beliefs.
- We can continue our discussions of the topic expositionally and exegetically, while allowing freedom to others to hold different views.
Dr. Tom Schreiner of Southern Seminary posted a thread that dealt with this topic deftly – stating his views forcefully and showing respect for those who disagree.
I am going to do a thread relating to women in ministry with some random thoughts. Let me say in advance that I wish I had time to engage on twitter with comments and responses. But I don’t have time to do that. Sorry!
— Tom Schreiner (@DrTomSchreiner) June 3, 2019
Denny Burk has written an article that puts the Schreiner thread together into essay form and interacts with it. It carries that same irenic spirit. He asks whether “broad and narrow complementarians” can coexist in the SBC.
That is my question.
I am in an odd position. My convictions on the issue of women in ministry lean to the right but I also think this is not a fundamental issue, not something we should divide over and certainly not something over which we should question the biblical fidelity of others. The epithets of egalitarian, liberal, and misogynist have been thrown around with far too great a frequency. In general, Southern Baptists should be ashamed of our conduct on this issue – on all sides of the conflict.
The reaction here to my post was somewhat predictable. There were kind comments of agreement but there were others who logged on to say that “if complementarianism means anything, it has to mean this or that.” Once commenter insisted that even though the BF&M does not preclude a woman speaking from a pulpit periodically, his interpretation of 1 Timothy 2 is so authoritative that his version of complementarianism was the only acceptable one under our confession. As the discussion wore on, I began to ponder what Denny Burk asked.
So, here’s my question:
What do you who hold “hard” positions on complementarianism want to happen in the SBC?
- Are you willing to coexist in the SBC with those who hold softer positions?
- Are you demanding that the SBC encode the harder view as its official position?
- Will you coexist with softer views as long as those people do not occupy positions of power?
I get that you think your view is correct. I think my view is correct. Beth Moore thinks her view is biblical as does Dwight McKissic and the rest of us. The question is simple. What do you want the SBC to do with those who hold other views?
Because if you are willing to coexist with them, then a lot of this discussion seems like it is unnecessary.
I am not interested here in another discussion of which view is right. All I am interested in is this question: what do you want the SBC to do about it? And I recognize that a similar question could be asked of some of the more strident members of the “soft complementarian” contingent, who seem to cast anyone who advocates stronger positions as misogynistic woman-haters. Are they willing to coexist? But let’s leave that for another time.
- What do you want to do, those of you who believe a woman should never stand behind a pulpit, with churches who had a woman preach?
- What do you want to do with churches that allow women to teach mixed Sunday School classes?
Due to my schedule, I do not intend to engage much on this post. I will, however, delete comments that are not on point. Stick to the topic!