More than 800 pastors are calling on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to prohibit women from serving “as a pastor of any kind” in its churches.
They co-signed a letter by Pastor Mike Law demanding an amendment to the SBC constitution.
He conceded the Convention already affirms that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
However, he believes the amendment would bring clarity to what he claimed was ‘confusion’ in the Church.
Pastor Law claims ‘many’ of the more than 41,000 Southern Baptist churches were appointing women pastors.
The Christian Post reports there’s little recent data available on the number of women serving in pastoral roles in SBC churches.
A study from the year 2000 found fewer than 0.01% had a woman as a senior pastor.
It’s likely his letter was triggered by appointments at the SBC’s largest cooperating church.
It ordained three women to associate pastor positions last year, igniting debate within the Convention.
The wife of the new lead pastor is identified as a teaching pastor.
Professor Denny Burk from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary claimed the Bible and the SBC’s statement of faith necessitated removing the megachurch from the Convention.
Pastor Dwight McKissic from the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, noted that the SBC didn’t kick out churches for supporting slavery but now wants to remove churches for allowing women to serve as a youth or children’s pastor.
He tweeted that the proposed amendment would alienate “thousands of SBC women and churches.”
Historian and author Beth Allison Barr told The Roys Report that the letter’s message was no surprise, but she doesn’t believe it’s healthy, or even Biblical.
Barr who teaches at Baylor University which was once affiliated with SBC says pastoring in the modern church doesn’t directly correlate to how early churches were led.
“The word pastor, in the way we use it today, is something that we made up,” she explained.
The Church’s Theological Seminary continues to train both men and women, “but with men alone reserved for the office, function, and title of pastor.”
The next SBC Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for February but it’s unclear whether it will even consider the issue.
However, it will be discussed at the SBC Annual Meeting in June 2023.