Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching

"In the beginning, Genesis teaches us, God not only made matter, he made order. In creating the cosmos ex nihilo, he ordered it–that is, he gave form and structure and coherence and beauty and symmetry to it." -  Owen Strachen

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WallyMorris's picture

Strachen makes many good points in his article. I am surprised, however, that he is surprised that current leaders in the SBC endorse female preachers. Anyone who has paid attention to developments in the SBC should be aware of this. It's been developing for quite some time. The SBC is now facing division over major issues. But the SBC has long favored denominational priority over theological issues. Those in the SBC who teach the Biblical mandates for male-female roles are becoming a minority and the next generation of SBC leaders will (are) embrace nonBiblical views, influenced by the culture in order to stay "relevant". SBC leaders such as Mohler are probably not happy with current developments.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Mike Harding's picture

Wally, 

Below is the relevant section of the "Baptist Faith and Message 2000" SBC doctrinal statement which has to be signed and annually affirmed by every officer, professor, professional staffer in the national SBC eleven ministries.  The churches in the SBC are to be in essential agreement with this doctrinal statement or they will be asked to withdraw.  I called two officers on the National Executive Committee to confirm this.  The churches are autonomous and independent and so they vary a lot in their practices. The SBC owns no church properties nor has any authority over their cooperating churches.  I would never endorse the SBC.  Nevertheless, the leadership has put in print their position and they will tell churches to withdraw if they are in violation of the clear affirmations in their doctrinal statement.  Approximately 800 churches per year leave the SBC.  Frankly, it is way too large a national fellowship to adequately police (50,000 cooperating churches).  There are only 28 total employees in the National HQ in Nashville.

 

VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42,47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23,27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 3:16; 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11,21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; 1 Timothy 2:9-14; 3:1-15; 4:14; Hebrews 11:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3.

Pastor Mike Harding

Bert Perry's picture

I remember talking with a Southern Baptist missionary in Colorado about 20 years back regarding the significance of the conservative resurgence, and was frankly shocked to hear him say that he didn't see what the big deal was.  I inferred he was a moderate who stuck around because it was his grand-daddy's church, and the votes at the annual convention no more impacted his theology than did the votes we hold every other November.  It shouldn't be a surprise when you think about it.

And ever since, my take has been that there are a tremendous number of people who are not on board with the theological fundamentals still in the SBC, biding their time until such time as people like Paige Patterson have been shown the door.

Oh.  No?  Reality here is that just as in our churches, real transformation is not a matter of votes, but of prayer and persuasion.  

Another way I read the matter described; Anthony Bradley relates a story of brothers from Africa not cluing in to the dynamics of Southern life, and "getting it" when someone said it was ancestor worship.  Not precisely true, but truer than it ought to be.  Lots of work to be done here.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

Mike & Bert: Thanks for your comments. Having grown up in SBC churches (and appreciative of that in many ways), the Conservative Resurgence was a welcome & needed change. The term "convention" technically refers to the annual meeting of the individual (autonomous) churches. Although many of the national leaders are theologically conservative (Greear isn't as conservative as many think - i.e., giving endorsement to Beth Moore), the problem is that individual SBC churches are not nearly as conservative as the national leadership. The largest SBC churches are not that theologically conservative. The Conservative Resurgence was basically a top-down transformation initiated by motivated individuals and churches using the SBC rules to slowly change the national organizations. The Baptist Faith and Message certainly helps but depends largely on self-regulation and the local SBC associations, showing the strengths and weaknesses of congregational polity. Sometimes the SBC is unfairly criticized for churches over which they do not have real control. Yet if those churches choose to remain in their local associations and be labeled "SBC" (and keep giving to the Cooperative Program), they will still send messengers to the annual meeting and have a voice in future debates/decisions, including choosing the SBC President, who will select people for national committees and thus affect the national organization (just as the Conservative Resurgence did). We are seeing a slow shift in the beliefs of the national leadership as they swing to a younger generation strongly influenced by our culture. Fundamentalists are seeing the same process.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Mike Harding's picture

Wally,

The state and local organizations are both autonomous and independent too.  Each has to be examined individually.  The ones in Virginia and Texas are very problematic.  Scott Aniol's church, Mark Dever's church, and Al Mohler's church all pulled out of their respective State Associations.  I am no fan of the SBC and would never join or endorse it. I would be opposed to most of the churches in the SBC.  The CFO for the SBC told me on the phone that 10,000 or more cooperating churches contribute zero dollars to the cooperative program and many others designate their gifts to a particular school or ministry.  Scott Aniol told me today that all their profs have to sign, in addition to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and Dancer's statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Pastor Mike Harding

WallyMorris's picture

Mike: Thanks for the followup. About the 3 churches you mentioned which do not belong to their state Associations - an interesting question is: At what point is an SBC church no longer an SBC church? The state Associations are composed of the individual local Associations. If a state Association is so bad that major churches leave that Association, I guess that means that there aren't enough good local Associations to change the state Association. So if an SBC church leaves its state Association, then what is that church associated with, other than the name "SBC"? Fascinating (to me).

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Mike Harding's picture

Danver's statement on Bib. manhood and womanhood.  

Pastor Mike Harding

Joeb's picture

What Wally has said about the SBC matches pretty much what my brother has shared with me.  My brother was a Pastor in the SBC for 10 years and even now is a member of an SBC church plant.  

My brother commented that the National Leadership runs the Seminaries and a lot of SBC churches have closer ties with a particular Seminary than the State associations.  My brother further commented that some of the State Associations lean liberal and run the SBC colleges in their respective states.  My brother said that due to this many parents from SBC Churches send their children to Cedarville Liberty and BJU for an undergraduate education.   So the SBC’s loss is these schools gain. 

M. Osborne's picture

It's a place name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danvers,_Massachusetts

I don't know for sure why they met there; Danvers is a town away from where Gordon Conwell is located.

Although if there were a Dancer's Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, I would definitely want to check it out. Smile

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

M. Osborne's picture

I belong to an SBC church. I think it's a pretty low bar for belonging to the SBC. Some kind of contribution to the SBC funds. Our church gives the vast majority of its contribution to the Lottie Moon offering which goes straight to frontline missions. The SBC at large is simply not much on my radar in daily church life.

As far as local associations, as I recall, in both the GARBC and the SBC, belonging to the state association and /or to the national association are completely independent decisions from each other, so churches could belong to one but not the other.

 

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA