Despite SBC Opposition To Women Pastors, Texas Baptists Celebrate Them

By Anne Stych
women preach pulpit sermon
Reflecting how Baptist women are increasingly being welcomed in church pulpits, Annie Deaton preached at First Baptist Church of Shelby, NC on April 18, 2021. (Photo: FBC Shelby / Twitter)

The Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of few Southern Baptist groups that has not specifically excluded women from church leadership roles, passed a resolution at its 2021 General Convention earlier this month to “affirm and celebrate” the contributions of women in “advancing God’s kingdom.”

“Be it resolved that the messengers of the 2021 Texas Baptists annual meeting affirm the ongoing efforts of Texas Baptists following Christ’s example of engaging, empowering, and entrusting women with the gospel,” the resolution said, acknowledging that women have served and continue to serve the denomination in “numerous and complex ways,” including being elected to church offices, serving on committees, doing local and foreign mission work, holding positions in higher education and working within local churches.

The move distinguishes BGCT from the overall Southern Baptist Convention, which does not affirm pastoral roles for women. Conservatives within the SBC — complementarians — believe God created men and women for different roles, designating men to have authority in churches and at home, Baptist News Global reported.

A brochure written by the staff of the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention noted that just two of 5,000 Southern Baptist churches in Texas — and about 30 of the 40,000 SBC churches overall — currently have women leading their congregations.

Titled “Southern Baptists and Women Pastors,” the brochure, copyrighted in 2021, outlined the denomination’s position on women pastors, saying, “The question at hand is not whether women are of equal value to men, nor is it whether they can minister effectively.” Rather, the issue is that “the Scripture assigns the role of pastor to males.”

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“Critics argue that Baptists are merely behind the times or have been unduly influenced by a ‘patriarchal’ society,” it said. “However, we think Baptist churches have male pastors because they believe they are so instructed by the New Testament.”

“Even a cursory reading” of pertinent texts in the New Testament leads to the conclusion that “women cannot have a pastoral position, or perform the pastoral function, for that puts them in authority over men in the life of the church,” the brochure went on to say, quoting verses from Timothy and Titus.

This story originally appeared at MinistryWatch.

Anne Stych is a freelance writer, copy editor, proofreader and content manager covering science, technology, retail, and nonprofits. She writes for American City Business Journals’ BizWomen and MinistryWatch.

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15 thoughts on “Despite SBC Opposition To Women Pastors, Texas Baptists Celebrate Them”

  1. I read the resolution in the first link- it does specifically name roles women fulfill, but I didn’t see a mention of women in the pastorate. Am I missing something?

    1. I think I’m missing something, too. Did you notice that the photo in the article is of a woman in the pulpit of a North Carolina church, but the article is about the Texas General convention, whose resolution to celebrate women workers in their churches does not mention women in the pulpit?

    1. “ The move distinguishes BGCT from the overall Southern Baptist Convention, which does not affirm pastoral roles for women.”

      1. The SBC will not allow woman to do anything that puts them in authority above men. They can certainly work in the nursery. What did Jesus have to say about women preachers-NOTHING!

  2. A woman in the pulpit is equivalent to Eve in the Garden. She, too, usurped her authority, and her husband was with her, standing silent.
    I wil not be silent – women cannot be pastor or preach/teach men.

    1. Keith: Eve is Old Testament. Jesus is New Testament. I will not be silent either-God can use anyone he wants to to Preach. Has your wife ever taught you anything?

      1. In response, this matter was addressed regarding New Testament church leadership in 1 Timothy and Titus. After Paul mentions in 1 Timothy 2:12 about not permitting a woman to teach or have authority over man (the context being church leadership in that passage), he explains the reason for this in the next two verses. In 1 Timothy 2:13-14, he says, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” In making this point, he refers back to the time of creation and the fall. He doesn’t say that one sex is better than the other. Rather, he’s pointing back to earlier times to refer to order. By the way, that supersedes any argument that someone might make that what Paul said was strictly referring to a local situation at his time or a cultural situation at his time. By pointing to creation, that argument is superseded. It’s like in marriage when instructions are given to both the husbands and wives in Ephesians 5. It’s not an issue of one sex being better than the other; it’s an issue of order in the marriage relationship. What Paul says here in 1 Timothy 2 leads straight into 1 Timothy 3 and lines up with it when he refers to the qualifications of a bishop or overseer, and one of those qualifications is being the husband of one wife (a qualification that a woman is unable to meet). That same qualification is also mentioned in Titus 1:6.

        1. Jeff, you make a good argument, but Jesus said nothing about women preaching. In most SBC churches women are allowed to do very little in leadership because IMO they misuse Paul’s writings.

          BTW, the SBC has much bigger problems than women pastors.

          1. Tom, I think what you’re missing here is that Jesus authorized the apostles to speak on his behalf and the claim that women cannot pastor or preach is based on their writings, which are understood to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and to speak with his authority. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if Jesus himself addressed the matter directly in the gospels.

        2. Paul’s argument, to me, seems more rooted in nature than morality. Paul personally didn’t allow it because it went against nature, like planting a garden in soil full of weeds. Because of the fall in Genesis 3, we have to deal with weeds as well as subjugation, with men historically not having much respect for women. As a matter of practical wisdom, having women in authority would typically be fighting an uphill battle against fallen nature.

          Paul frequently addresses immorality in his letters, but he doesn’t address immoralities simply as something he personally doesn’t allow. It would seem strange for Paul to write “I don’t allow men to have sex with other men”. Around such issues we see wording that reflects strong, universal, divine condemnation. But Paul’s directives about women being subjugated in the church don’t convey the same divine judgement (unless you want to count being saved through childbirth). To me, that conveys his directives as more a matter of practical wisdom than a moral issue rooted in Divine ordinances.

      2. Without the OT we can’t have the NT. Everything still holds. Read your NT:
        1 Timothy 2:13 – 14; 1 Timothy 3:1 – 13; Titus 1:6 – 9; Ephesians 5: 22 – 33.
        Women CANNOT be pastor according to GOD. If we would get things in order the chaos in the church would diminish! Again, read your NT!
        And yes, my wife submissively teaches me a great deal because we have a beautiful, godly marriage. I pray you do as well, brother. Now go read…

    2. “I wil not be silent – women cannot be pastor or preach/teach men.”

      Keith there are several reasonable interpretations to the apparent tension between Paul’s teaching on gender within the church and the prominent roles of several New Testament women (who taught, hosted churches, corrected an apostle on his understanding of the gospel, and one of whom seems to have been an apostle herself).

      I think the complementarian interpretation is the most convincing resolution to this tension. I also have to acknowledge that churches and ministries that put restrictive gender roles in the foreground are inherently more authoritarian and more often result in tolerance of abuse of women and children.

  3. You Christian men need to sort yourselves out. Lambasting your own godly women for laying down their lives to speak the word of God and boldly carrying out Mark 16.

    I urge you to stand before God and ask him what punishment he plans to enact on a Christian woman who through her preaching brought many men to Christ – some now in pastor roles themselves.

    You cannot answer that!
    No one knows the mysteries of God. God can use the mouth of a donkey if he likes.

    You would base the rich gospel from Genesis to Revelation from reaching the unsaved because of 1 verse in Timothy 2.

    That’s a shame. No wonder your churches are empty.

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