When Southern Baptists get together for their annual meeting June 12 in Dallas, J.D. Greear and Ken Hemphill are on the ballot to become the denomination’s next president. But now a third name is being floated—Beth Moore.
Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, suggested on Saturday that electing a woman to the presidency would send a well-needed message to Southern Baptist women.
“To elect Beth Moore would do more to heal our Convention, seal women within our convention who have lost hope and right historic patterns of wrong toward women, without compromising qualifications, integrity, competency or Scripture. The questions are, ‘Are we there yet?’ or do we have to wait 100 more years and experience more of God’s judgment? SEBTS recently elected a woman as chairman of their Trustee Board. Progress is being made. Serving as an ex-officio officer of SBC entity trustee boards is one of the duties of an SBC president. By already permitting women trustees and a woman chairperson, the precedence is already set,” McKissic wrote in a recent blog post.
McKissic has already publicly endorsed J.D. Greear for the presidency this year but said he would reconsider “if I thought Beth Moore would accept the nomination or be agreeable to being nominated, because of her qualifications and the current context the SBC finds herself in…I would nominate her for SBC president.”
Since the SBC was constituted in 1845, SBC presidents have all been men but not all have been pastors. Past presidents have also been denominational workers, laymen, educational institution heads and political leaders. Although the president’s official duties have not changed much since 1845, each presidential term has been shaped by current events and the president’s personality and vision.
Moore is not a pastor but the founder of Living Proof Ministries, an author and speaker—and a woman. A fact that some in the SBC might consider disqualifying. McKissic does not.
“The SBC is a parachurch organization—not a church. Therefore, there is absolutely not one Bible verse, or SBC constitutional bylaws prohibitions, nor any BF&M [Baptist Faith and Message] 2000 prohibitions, against a woman serving as SBC president. Tradition, sexism, fear and other non-biblical factors would probably prevent any woman, including Deborah, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia, Junia or Priscilla or Lottie Moon from being elected president of the SBC; but, I repeat…there is not one Bible verse or SBC constitutional prohibition,” he explained.
Many in the SBC hold to completarianism, a view that men and women have different but complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family life, religious leadership and elsewhere.
McKissic holds to that view but doesn’t believe it applies in the case of a female president of the SBC.
“Complementarianism teaches that there are roles, distinct roles that God gives to men and women in the home and in the church and that is biblical, and we need to honor that and we need to be faithful to that. But at the same time recognize that God has gifted women with spiritual gifts and [leadership] in positions of honor and we need to be as committed to raising them up in leadership and ministry as we are to our sons,” he said.
“Our failure to listen to and honor women and racial minorities and our failure to include them in proportionate measures at top leadership roles have hindered our ability to see sin and injustice and call it out.
“We have been neglectful and lax and have guarded our institutions and our positions of leadership at our detriment and I think God is showing us that we need to repent for that posture and include our brothers and sisters of color and women in leadership and that culture needs to change,” he added.