This is important as the amendment zealots well know. To wit:
- The SBC constitution specifies what churches must do or not do to be considered “in friendly cooperation”, or, an SBC church. The Convention will only deem a church to be in friendly cooperation with the Convention, and sympathetic with its purposes and work (i.e., a “cooperating” church as that term is used in the Convention’s governing documents)… This is followed by five sub-paragraphs that enumerate things like the Cooperative Program, sex abuse, racial discrimination. The Amendment adds a sixth sub-paragraph.
- The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is our common confession of belief. No church has to adopt the BFM to be a member church, rather, churches must “closely identify” with it. “Closely identify” is deliberately not defined. The BFM can be amended by messengers on a whim, without discussion or deliberation. A simple majority vote does the trick. We did that last year: no discussion, no deliberation, no committee, no task force. Boom! It’s done. The outcome of that fiasco was to make our statement of faith into a joke. These are supposed to be serious documents. So long to that. The SBC Constitution takes a two-thirds majority, in two consecutive conventions.
- The amendment adds a one sentence requirement for churches to be considered SBC : Affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture. None of the money words are defined. “Affirms” and “pastor” are the most important of these. While the Amendment zealots define pastor, the legal documents do not. It’s basically an English word the usage of which would disqualify a church.
- The EC would have no option to NOT recommend churches for expulsion. It’s specified in the legal document, the constitution. They may delay. They may use a languid process and slow-walk expulsions. They may set a deadline in the future for all churches to change job titles or fire women, but unless they want to disobey the SBC messengers, it’s a done deal.
- The anonymous police force that searches church websites to find female names associated with “pastor” has compiled, and extrapolated, a list of over one thousand. Almost all of these are sub-senior pastors, associates, assistants, music, children, or preschool ministers and the like.
- Your humble hacker and plodder blogger has no problem cooperating with churches that have female staff. There has been general agreement among us that the senior pastor, and I don’t know many churches that don’t have a top dog pastor, is male. This should continue to be our approach. I don’t care what a church calls it’s staff members.
- We will have the convention we want. That’s our system. If we want a convention where female staff are searched out, hounded, and degraded, we will have that convention. The amendment sponsor stated that he considered female pastors to be “his sisters in Christ” but believes them to be “sisters living in disobedience.” One might ruminate on that. The preschool pastor, a woman, who labors tirelessly in a church – wiping noses, changing diapers, enlisting volunteers, dealing with demanding parents – is a sister living in disobedience if her church applies the job title “preschool pastor” to her position. Nuts.
Well, let’s get the facts straight, anyway. With the EC in disarray, leaderless, the SBC is a mess already. Generally, there is no leadership at all across the SBC. There are loud voices, There are shrill voices. There are strident voices.There are self-important grandees jockeying for positions and influence. There are partisan tribal leaders. But there is no real leadership.
Maybe a few will arise.
Old dudes may have less testosterone and more pessimism. This old dude thinks the SBC will be finding out that churches can easily function without dealing with the SBCEC.
It’s Groundhog Day. The sun is shining in Dawgland. The flowers are blooming. The birds are singing. I’m a happy guy, off to play some pickleball and wait for the Dawgs to crush more opponents. 65-7 and 63-3 look very pleasing. But congratulations to the frozen noses in Michigan. You earned it. Sorry about your peripatetic coach, though. Georgia is 2-1 vs Michigan; 2-0 vs Ohio State; 3-0 vs Notre Dame. SEC records of the Dawgs may be deleted if you try and post those.
And who will be the first SBC employee to tell us exactly where we stand with insurance? I’m reading public comments from people who claim to know.