On Tuesday (June 13), Georgia pastor Mike Stone will accept a nomination for president of the Southern Baptist Convention for the second time in three years, but not before offering a sermon that touched on issues he believes are plaguing the denomination.
The Sunday before the annual meeting of the SBC in New Orleans, Louisiana, Stone preached at Woodlawn Baptist Church in nearby Baton Rouge. In that sermon, he accused those who advocate for women serving as pastors of supporting “theological transgenderism.”
Stone noted that he was “bringing a message that I would not normally or typically bring as a guest preacher,” but he was doing so at the request of Woodlawn’s pastor.
Stone then indicated that his sermon would focus on 1 Timothy 2, in which the Apostle Paul bars women from exercising or abusing authority. The proper interpretation of the Scripture passage has long been disputed by theologians and exegetes.
Mike Stone on ‘Theological Transgenderism’
“I’ll label the message, ‘Women in Ministry and the Authority of Scripture,’” Stone said. “We live in a day that blurs the lines of distinction…between men and women. And in the larger cultural context, American evangelicalism is not left unscathed. Many deny that such distinctions even exist.”
Stone went on to reference various gender identity issues that have become culture war battlegrounds, including public restrooms and trans athletes.
“As sad as these trends are, there’s a growing trend in the American church that I might call ‘theological transgenderism,’” Stone said. “By that, I mean a trend to blur the lines of gender distinctions and in some cases to deny that those distinctions exist at all.”
Stone continued, “Like its cultural and physiological counterpart, theological transgenderism seeks to ignore the God-given assignment and role responsibility that God gave at birth.”
“Specifically, in this theological movement, women say, ‘I don’t care what assignment God has given to me in the creation and in the Scripture. I want to do what God has called a man to do. And no one will tell me otherwise,’” Stone argued, adding that while trans activists “take a scalpel to and thereby mutilate the physical body, their theological counterparts take a scalpel to and mutilate the Word of God, turning it into Swiss cheese, slicing and dicing it, cutting away anything that doesn’t match their self-assigned, self-affirming, self-appointed role.”
“Now this broader debate within our culture and American evangelicalism has not left our own denomination of churches untouched,” Stone said. Stating his belief that the SBC is “overwhelmingly” complementarian, Stone nevertheless said that “there is still a raging debate within our convention of churches as to exactly how that is to be fleshed out.”