We, in the SBC, have a problem with women. We are a complementarian convention and that will always anger many. I believe the Bible teaches that men and women are different and that men have certain leadership roles granted to them by the Creator. This offends egalitarians but I do not apologize for what I believe God’s word teaches. I also believe that some are seeking to take us beyond what the Bible teaches.
Some, though, are seeking to use scare tactics, using the loud voices of men like Rick Warren and a minuscule few female pastors among us, to get us to overreact and accept their control over our denomination. Since the Conservative Resurgence, there has been a small number of churches in the SBC with women senior pastors. That number is NOT rising, despite what the fearmongers are saying. There have always been a slightly larger number of churches that hired women in staff positions other than senior pastor – youth, music, and children’s ministry positions. Most avoided the term pastor for these positions, but a very small number called these secondary positions pastors. Again, these numbers are not growing.
We have been a confessionally consistent complementarian convention for decades with this tiny number of female pastors in our midst and this slightly larger, but still small number of women serving as youth and music and children’s ministers in our midst.
Yet, suddenly, we have a crisis among us with egalitarianism! We have the Law amendment seeking to put women in their place. There are Southern Baptist Churches that are no longer allowing women to vote in their business meetings (I have confirmed this with pastor friends). We are acting like women are the problem in our churches. The number of women in pastoral roles has not changed dramatically. Egalitarianism is not on the rise.
Why is this suddenly a huge problem? Why do we suddenly have to deal with this in the draconic way the Law Amendment demands?
There are several factors I see.
- The rise of groups in the SBC who demand conformity on all issues. The SBC has historically been unity on essentials and on Baptist distinctives and allowed its people the ability to disagree on secondary issues. Some groups have arisen that want to enforce conformity on political issues and on many other issues. This is true here. Those who hold to CBMW/Danvers views believe that they are the only true complementarians. They want to encode their views as the only acceptable views in the SBC and force all churches to acquiesce or leave the SBC.
- A loss of respect for Baptist history and distictives. Two key passions in SBC history have been church autonomy and the idea that we are confessional, not creedal. These groups that want to enforce top-down conformity seek to use the Baptist Faith & Message as a de facto SBC Creed. Supporters of the Law Amendment have stated that churches that do not conform should be put out of the convention, even churches that have women as children’s or women’s pastors. Law says his view of complementarianism is the ONLY biblical view and disagreement with him is disagreement with the Bible. We are transitioning from local autonomy to top-down control.
There is another unfortunate “coincidence” about the timing of this rising movement. It came to the surface just as the SBC was called to seriously address its history of abuse against women and the failure of its leaders to deal with that problem. J.D. Greear led us to deal with the problem, the Houston Chronicle articles exposed the severity of the problem, and in annual meeting after annual meeting, the SBC voted to take necessary and responsible steps to say we have to do the right thing for the first time.
Suddenly, voices everywhere were trumpeting the problem of egalitarianism. It is undeniably true that many of the survivors of abuse are egalitarian – perhaps the abuse they received from SBC pastors and leaders and the fact that they pounded their heads against the wall for decades trying to be heard led them in that direction affected that.
Is it just a coincidence that when the movement to deal with the shameful disgusting abuse in the SBC that has taken place for decades, suddenly, we are told that the real problem is EGALITARIANISM?
Are we saying that the problem isn’t pastors and church leaders who have been abusing women (and men, and children) and systematically refusing to deal with that abuse, and gaslighting the abused and blaming them for their abuse, but it’s the fact that a women is called the Children’s Pastor?
Are we saying that the problem isn’t that our leaders have covered up for their friends and helped abusers get new jobs, but it’s the fact that a guy doesn’t agree with my views of complementarianism.
We need to get our heads out of the sand!
The future of the SBC is at stake. I have quite a few younger SBC friends who are ready to throw in the towel because the SBC seems more ready to cover over abuse than deal with it.
Our key leaders will address transgenderism (as they should) and every other liberal wickedness in our culture, but when the architect of the CR is exposed as an abuser, they swallow their tongues. No one says a word. Can you imagine if a leader of the Methodist church was exposed in the same way? Words would flow.
We are losing credibility and younger pastors and churches with integrity.
Our hypocrisy is driving women away from the truth. Abuse drives people from the truth. Hypocrisy drives people from the truth. When we live in hypocrisy we drive people from the truth.
We need to get our heads out of the sand. Our biggest problem as a convention is not a minuscule number of female pastors or a few women in staff positions. Our credibility is on the line because we are failing to deal well with the issue of abuse. God will not bless until we deal righteously with our sinful past in this issue. Once, we repented of our racism and we must do the same here. The evidence is clear and it is time to stop deflecting, stop denying, and stop trying to raise false flags.
We need to deal with our issue with women. The real one.