Home Christian News Since the 1880S, Southern Baptists Have Argued Over the Role of Women

Since the 1880S, Southern Baptists Have Argued Over the Role of Women

“I don’t know if God is that concerned about titles,” he said.

One of the current debates in the SBC is whether the denomination’s doctrinal requirement of male pastors applies only to senior pastors or to any pastoral role.

When the church was first founded, Booker said, he and his his wife — who runs a discipleship school for the church but does not preach on Sundays — and other leaders studied biblical passages about the roles of men and women. As Baptists, they wanted to do everything according to the Bible.

“We came to the conclusion that the Bible does not prohibit women in church leadership,” he said. “I can totally get how people feel different.”

According to the current SBC constitution and bylaws, a church must have a “faith and practice which closely identifies with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith.”

Booker said Acts church fits that description. The church is committed to the Bible and to what’s known as the Great Commission, Jesus’ command to make disciples around the world.

RELATED: Saddleback Church Kicked out of SBC Over Female Pastors

David Schrock, pastor of preaching at Occoquan Bible Church in Virginia, which joined the SBC, said that having a shared set of beliefs makes it possible for churches in the convention to work together on missions and starting new churches. Without those shared beliefs, he said, that cooperation falls apart.

Schrock, who said Law is a friend, supports the amendment.

“If we cannot agree on who a pastor can be, when Scripture clearly speaks to the matter, we cannot cooperate in planting churches,” said Schrock.

Several pastors on Law’s list declined to comment or said their church was no longer affiliated with the SBC. One did say her church stopped giving to the SBC a number of years ago — though some congregation members still give directly to SBC missions.

Law is not the first to propose an amendment to bar churches with women pastors. In 1993, a messenger named Michael Barley from Kentucky proposed an amendment to bar “churches which have ordained women.” The Executive Committee rejected that amendment the following year.

Things have changed since then, said Law. In 2000, the denomination’s official doctrinal statement, known as the Baptist Faith & Message, was revised to state that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

“With the confessional basis for this amendment now in place, it is time the SBC took this step,” he said.

This article originally appeared here.