Southern Baptists reject formal ban on churches with female pastors and are against artificial insemination

Southern Baptists reject formal ban on churches with female pastors and are against artificial insemination

In one of the most eagerly awaited votes at their annual convention on Wednesday, Southern Baptist delegates rejected a bill that would have enshrined a ban on churches with female pastors in the convention's constitution.

“It did not reach the required two-thirds majority to make it an amendment,” Dr. Ed Stetzer, dean of theology at Biola University, told CBN News.

On Tuesday, the SBC disfellowshipped First Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA. The church has a female pastor for children and women, but also believes women can serve as senior pastor.

“Women have played a prominent role in church ministry and pastoral positions within First Alexandria’s leadership for over 44 years,” said Pastor Robert Stephens of First Baptist Church Alexandria at the meeting.

The SBC believed that the church's stance was contrary to the Baptist faith and message.

Stetzer said the narrow rejection of the measure, described as a change in the law, sent a message.

“The fact that the amendment is rejected does not mean that there is a new rule that prohibits, for example, the use of the word pastor in a position in which a woman might appear, such as that of children's pastor,” he explained.

Stetzer added, “This shows that the vast majority of Southern Baptists want to hold on to a complementarian view.”

“It just shows that Southern Baptists are committed to adhering to what the Scriptures say about the office of pastor,” said Lawrence Smith, one of the convention delegates known as “messengers” in the SBC and communications director for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The SBC also addressed the ethics of in vitro fertilization. Delegates expressed concerns about the procedure, particularly the issue of surplus embryos.

In a resolution, Baptists were called upon to “affirm the unconditional value and right to life of every human being – including those in the embryonic stage. And to use only those reproductive technologies that are compatible with this affirmation, especially with regard to the number of embryos created in the IVF process.”

The Convention also adopted reforms in the area of ​​sexual abuse.

Two years ago, a task force was created to create resources for churches, including a database of pastors accused of abuse.

The denomination’s board has now been tasked with implementing these recommendations.

“For the sake of the survivors, for the sake of the rightness and goodness of the followers of Jesus doing what they are supposed to do, there has to be ways to take this seriously,” Stetzer said. “And I would say it's not going to be easy, and it may be one of the more controversial things they lead, but that's what leaders do.”

Meanwhile, the SBC also elected Clint Pressley of North Carolina as its new president from a field of six candidates.

Pressley, who leads the Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, is known for his conservative leadership style.

“It actually took two or three ballots to elect someone,” Smith said. “But I think Clint will do a great job, he's a great man of God, and he'll do a lot to heal any rifts that still exist among the ambassadors, in our congregation.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *