Southern Baptist Double-Standard?

David Waters post Southern Baptists and their Gender Double-Standard over at On Faith claims that Southern Baptists have a double-standard when it comes to the new republican VP pick.  His claim is basically that Southern Baptists shouldn’t promote and vote for Sarah Palin, a woman, since we wouldn’t let her pastor a church.  So what’s his argument and objection?

Now that Southern Baptist leaders are embracing the idea of a woman leading this nation, will they rethink their rejection of the idea of a woman leading their congregations?

Probably not.

Since Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states the position that women are not to be pastors there’s really no probably about it.

…the SBC’s Richard Land — who said he is “ecstatic” about the selection of Sarah Palin as Republican candidate for vice president — threw holy water on any notion that a woman he considers qualified to lead the free world can lead him in prayer and worship.

The funny thing is that this is not what Land said.  There are women in SBC churches that lead in prayer and that lead in worship, if by worship the connotation is singing hymns and spiritual songs.  If by worship he means pastor then the statement is correct, however, for some churches simply leading worship doesn’t mean the pastor is the one always doing it.  What Land actually said here in reference to Waters’ above statement is actually quoted by Waters in the next paragraph.

“The only restrictions we find in Scripture are, that for whatever reason women are not to be in charge of a marriage and women are not to be in charge of a church,” explained Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “That has nothing to do with governor, or senator or the House of Representatives, or president, or vice president.”

So here Land lays out his position with qualifications yet he’s charged with holding to a double-standard?  Since when is a church and a home the same as political office?  Some politicians may think they’re reverends and such, but that’s a different topic.  Waters then attempts to build his case.

It has a lot to do with the men who took control of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1980s. Previous Southern Baptist faith statements set no gender limits on the office of pastor. In fact, it wasn’t until 2000…

And?  The 1925 statement has the least amount of text so should it never have been changed or do we just change what outsiders deem appropriate?  Different issues need to be addressed so they were added and some of those additions were simply putting into words what was already practiced and believed.  Slavery was not part of any historic confession as I recall yet the Convention has been frowned upon for its relationship to slavery in the past.  Waters continues his case.

Of course, there are countless Christians (men and women) who believe these biblical ‘restrictions’ have been misinterpreted, and are no more applicable than biblical ‘restrictions’ on eating pork, selling your daughter into slavery or resisting evil.

And there are, of course, countless who believe that the Old Testament Sundry Laws aren’t as applicable as the restrictions of men for the pastoral office.  In fact, since we are talking about the SBC, of their 40,000 plus churches a vast majority agree with my statement.  I raise Waters one assertion for another, but in context.  I know people try to draw parallel’s to the OT laws in comparison to NT restrictions concerning woman, however, I have to wonder who argues for comparative applicability.  And resisting evil?  I’d like to know how that fits in this context.  We certainly resist evil in the church age.

The SBC’s current gender restriction was based on short verses from I Corinthians and Timothy, including this line in I Cor. 14:34: “The women should keep silence in the churches.

Short verses?  So what?  We don’t build our theological positions based on how short a verse is.  The verse “Jesus wept” has been very powerfully preached to the edification of the church.  But maybe we should just not pay attention to the implications of this verse because it’s too “short.”

Waters goes on to quote Russell Dilday on the word “silent” in 1 Corinithians on how there are different interpretations.  Then goes on to quote the BFM2000’s addition of the wife submitting to her husband.  Which spurs this question by Waters.

What’s a governor and married mother of five to do?

I think she should go on being governor.  Isn’t that what she’s been doing?  Besides, Palin is not Southern Baptist and we are not voting on a position within the Southern Baptist Convention.

It always has amused me that there seems to be only one fundamental on which the male leaders of conservative Roman Catholic, evangelical and pentecostal Protestant, Mormon, Orthodox Jewish and Muslim denominations all agree: A woman cannot lead their congregations or denominations.

So?  What do these other organization have to do with trying to apply claim Southern Baptists are operating on a double-standard?  Let them answer for themselves.  Besides, there were women on the BF&M2000 committee helping decide the current theological positions.

How do these guys keep a straight face? How do they explain this to their American daughters: “Honey, in America you can grow up to be anything you want, except the pastor of our church.”

This has already been explain by Richard Land whom Waters quoted as well as others he mentioned.  My daughter and wife both understand this and I didn’t have to convince them.  There was nothing to explain away.  And if it meant that much to them they could always leave the SBC and go try and pastor a churhc in another demonination that would except them.

After Palin’s selection, it will be interesting to see how they explain this double-standard to American voters.

In this final statement we see just another assertion without proof.  Waters has not shown a double-standard.  Just because he is convinced in his own mind doesn’t make it so.  Why pick on Southern Baptists?  We’re hardly alone in this as Waters admitted.  Why the bias?  And even IF there was a double-standard who says anyone is owed an explanation for it, especially, those outside the SBC?  Our votes are going to count regardless.  Maybe that’s what Waters is really concerned about.

For what it’s worth…

Mark

(HT: Denny Burk)

Tags: , , ; Categories: Culture,Southern Baptist,theology
The above article was posted on September 6, 2008 by Mark Lamprecht.
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