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Albert Mohler Reiterates Support for Ban on Women Pastors in SBC, Says Churches That Disagree Are ‘Free’ To Leave Denomination

Albert Mohler
Screengrab via X (formerly Twitter) / @albertmohler

In a video statement released on Thursday (May 23), Dr. Albert Mohler reiterated his support for an amendment to the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) bylaws that would enshrine a ban on women serving in the office or function of pastor. 

Mohler, who is the longtime president of the SBC’s flagship school, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that passing the amendment is “an issue of biblical obedience.”

“This is not just a question of biblical interpretation,” he added. “And the moment we begin defining some issues as just matters of biblical interpretation, the question becomes, ‘Well, which are those?’”

Mohler’s statement came less than three weeks before the SBC is set to convene in Indianapolis for its annual meeting. Among the issues to be decided at the meeting is the fate of the Law Amendment, named for Mike Law, the pastor who proposed it. 

At the 2023 meeting of the SBC, Law proposed that the denomination’s bylaws be updated to include the statement that SBC churches do “not affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”

While the Baptist Faith & Message, which serves as the SBC’s statement of faith, already states that “the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,” some within the denomination have grown concerned that the SBC is beginning to drift on the issue. 

In order for the amendment to be added to the SBC’s bylaws, it must be affirmed by Southern Baptist delegates, called messengers, at two consecutive annual meetings. Messengers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the amendment in 2023 and are set to reaffirm or reverse the decision on Wednesday, June 12. 

Some disagreement exists among Southern Baptist leaders about whether the amendment is necessary or beneficial. For example, current SBC President Bart Barber has expressed his opinion against it. Jeff Iorg, the newly appointed president and CEO of the SBC’s Executive Committee, said the amendment could lead to “efforts to enforce conformity on other doctrinal issues.”

Conversely, influential SBC pastors such as Mark Dever and Heath Lambert have been vocal in their support of the amendment. 

In his statement, Mohler indicated his belief that the vote regarding the amendment represents a pivotal moment for Southern Baptists. 

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“From time to time, it’s pretty clear that an impending Southern Baptist Convention meeting comes with a little more importance and urgency than is sometimes the norm,” Mohler said. “And history tends to turn on such years as Southern Baptists meet together.”