Home Christian News SBC Disfellowships Historic Baptist Church for Position on Ordaining Women as Pastors

SBC Disfellowships Historic Baptist Church for Position on Ordaining Women as Pastors

First Baptist Church of Alexandria
Pastor Robert Stephens addresses Southern Baptist messengers on the floor of the convention. Photo credit: ChurchLeaders

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) ended its cooperative relationship with First Baptist Church of Alexandria, Virginia, on Tuesday (June 11) for ordaining women as pastors. 

The decision was upheld by SBC delegates, called messengers, at the annual meeting of the convention after First Baptist Alexandria appealed the recommendation of the SBC’s Credentials Committee. 

Founded more than two centuries ago, First Baptist Alexandria had been one of the oldest churches in the SBC, predating the denomination itself. In an appeal given on the floor of the convention Tuesday, Pastor Robert Stephens said that ordaining women was “not a recent development” for First Baptist Alexandria. 

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“It’s not a cultural concession or a change to accommodate or sacrifice biblical authority,” Stephens added. 

According to its website, First Baptist Alexandria adheres to the 1963 version of the Baptist Faith & Message, a previous iteration of the SBC’s statement of faith that did not prohibit women from serving as pastors.

“In 1980, we ordained our first female pastor,” Stephens said. “Women have had a prominent role within the ministry and pastoral positions within the leadership of first Alexandria for over 44 years.”

Nevertheless, Stephens expressed his desire for his church to remain in the SBC. 

“Alexandria stands before you today as a testament that we can maintain a fruitful partnership with churches that take a different stance on women and ministry,” Stephens said. “For 44 years, we have continued our partnership with this convention, engaging in kingdom work while having females as pastor.”

He added, “Our presence clearly demonstrates our shared commitment to prioritizing cooperation for the work of the kingdom and the glory of God, which has been successful.”

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“We are at a time in human history when the opportunity is at hand for us to make great strides in fulfilling the commission of the Lord Jesus. Let’s keep working together,” Stephens said. “We at First Baptist are advancing the gospel, and we hope that we will continue to work alongside you. All glory and honor unto the Lord Jesus Christ.”