Yet another clickbait title today.
One specific question that seemed to percolate out of #SBC18 was: “Can a woman be elected as SBC president?”
Former president James Merritt says, “yes.”
Dwight McKissick says “yes” and makes the case for Beth Moore.
Jason Allen, president of Midwestern Seminary was asked and, although I can’t find the quote right off, had a “yes, but” sort of reply.
The SBC controlling documents are clear, though knowledgable SBC leaders usually answer the question with a negative cast, “There’s no constitutional reason that would prevent…”.
Unfortunately, there’s usually some shibboleth-talk appended when many Southern Baptists answer the question. Seems we can’t celebrate women doing much of anything without inserting “in biblically appropriate ways.” The confusing, muddled, and undefined business of complementarianism and egalitarianism (two manufactured terms that don’t answer much of anything) is difficult for many Southern Baptists. Well, lots of stuff is difficult for Southern Baptists, like just getting along as fellow followers of Christ.
Some things to consider on the question of a woman SBC president:
- The Baptist Faith and Message merely states that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
- The SBC President may almost always be a senior pastor but the office is not the biblical office of pastor/overseer/elder. It is SBC president.
- The duties are not pastoral.
- The president is always scheduled for an “address.” Steve Gaines, and most all of the presidents I recall, preached sermons. So what?
- Critics try the back door, trump card approach to prohibiting by claiming that the woman president would exercise authority over men. Not a valid point in my view.
- The SBC president appoints a few committees and people. Other than that, that’s it.
- Critics may define the annual meeting sessions as “worship” with the president presiding or preaching; thus, women need not apply. Another weak point.
- Critics decry the situation where the SBC woman president would speak at seminary chapels. The president is invited but if seminaries think a woman addressing students and faculty would traumatize the budding theologs then they need not invite her.
In short, there’s no reason a woman cannot be SBC president but I recognize that a considerable number of the brethren will object. Fine, I have no great issue with those who have concluded that such is not a good idea. Don’t vote for her if the situation materializes. But, please, don’t embarrass the rest of us with silly reasoning and loud talk.
As a settled troublemaker, I like the idea of a woman as SBC president for a few reasons. First, I’m weary of the parade of megapastors (yeah, I’ve voted for every one of them). Second, I’m a bit weary of pastors as SBC president, which is all we’ve had as long as I’ve been active in SBC life. Third, post-CR, none of the mega pastors have accomplished much as president and maybe a woman president would actually move the needle positively in some ways, thought probably not. Fourth, the SBC president gets to appoint the important Committee on Committees and convention doesn’t get a vote on this. It would be interesting to see an all-female group here, if only to watch the reaction of all the male pastor-denominational climbers who want to be on the committee.
I’d offer the conjecture that we will see at least a nomination of a woman to be SBC president in the short term future. Even odds that a woman will be nominated for one of the VP slots next year.
There are some women I’d vote for in a heartbeat. There are some I wouldn’t vote for in a millenium. Same for men.