Ethics: Female Pastor Presented to Preach Sunday Morning

What would you do Wednesday!

The inspiration for this week’s post comes from a real issue that happened in a local Southern Baptist association. Surry Baptist Association in North Carolina disfellowshipped Rocks Baptist Church for calling Bailey Edwards Nelson, a female, a their pastor. Then, Dave at SBCVoices asked – Are Churches with Female Pastors Southern Baptist? (I’ve even offered my own take on the issue.)

In light of Dave’s post a similar scenario will be presented. The scenario takes place in a conservative Southern Baptist church. The church uses the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as its official statement of faith. Non-Baptists are more than welcome to answer.

Here we go.

The church is looking for a new associate pastor. Church practice is to have the associate pastor preach about once or twice per quarter on Sunday morning. The pastor has been working with the search committee seeking a new associate pastor. The pastor convinces the search committee to let him the new associate candidate preach without a prior meeting just this one time. He asks the committee to trust him and explains that he wants the candidate to be somewhat of a surprise. He thinks it will better this way.

I comes time for the sermon during the Sunday service. The pastor introduces Pastor Priscilla as the new associate pastor candidate stating that she will be preaching the morning message.

Immediately you think of the BFM2K where it states:

While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.1

Pastor Priscilla walks up to the pulpit to begin.

What would you do?

  • Walk out immediately?
  • Stay and listen reluctantly?
  • Stay and listen joyfully?
  • Or…?

Whether you stayed and listened or walked out you find out that she presented a very clear and direct gospel that one must repent and believe in Jesus or die in their sin and spend eternity in hell.

Does this change your opinion? Why or why not?


tagged as , in Culture,morality

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Joe Blackmon August 10, 2011 at 11:06 am

I walk out. Scripture is clear. There is no question as to whether women can serve as pastor or not. They can’t.

Now, if I found out that she proclaimed the gospel rightly, it wouldn’t change my opinion on whether she can serve as a pastor or preach from the pulpit. I can be thankful that she gets the gospel right, however.

2 Bryan Morgette August 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

I echo what Joe said.

3 Casey August 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm

The bigger issue is why the pastor thought it was appropriate for the woman to preach let alone be a candidate for that for the associate pastor position. Perhaps the church should be searching for both an associate pastor and lead pastor.

4 Andrew Wencl August 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

I’m not sure if I would go straight for the pastor or the pulpit, but I’m pretty sure that I would attempt to draw attention to our statement of faith and maybe even try to call an emergency business meeting.

5 Howell Scott August 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm


Notwithstanding the fact that this pastor appears so unwise (as to border on arrogantly unwise) by circumventing the Search Committee and somehow “convincing them” to bring in an Associate Pastor candidate to preach on a Sunday morning, sight unseen (and apparently without anyone on the Committee having reviewed even so much as a resume), I’ll take a stab at your hypothetical nonetheless. 🙂

I don’t think I would have walked out at any point. I would like to say that I would listen joyfully as I tried to hear what God was saying to me through His Word. However, I would probably have listened reluctantly at first, if not the entire sermon. I would not be comfortable, particularly if I was not aware that this was coming. If I were a member of the Search Committee, who probably already discussed qualifications — including gender — I would not be happy camper. I think Scripture is clear that the pastoral office is limited to men.

I do not think that Scripture forbids women to preach or share the Gospel. One of the best sermons that I have ever heard in person was a few years ago at an Evangelism Conference in Albuquerque. Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham, delivered a powerful exposition of God’s Word that hit me (and anyone who was listening) right between the eyes. Look foward to reading how others will answer this hypothetical. Thanks and God bless,


6 Tom Parker August 10, 2011 at 3:07 pm


Your hypothetical aint going to happen in the SBC world. It is down right silly.

You say you got your inspiration from the SBA situation. I do not see how.

Your scenario is not even in the ball park of what happened at Flatrock.

Seems to me you are just trying to quickly move away from what has happened to Flatrock or to continue to paint the church as some sort of radical church.

Remember the Dom’s wife worked for Flatrock before Ms. Nelson came.

But as I said yesterday you are good at spinning.

7 Mark August 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Tom, I’m on vacation. I almost moderated your comment. I created this post before I contacted SBA or had all of the info I had Monday on the Flat Rock situation. Most of my ethics questions are created to make us think regardless of whether or not they would fully play out.

If your MO is to stop by and judge my motives and accuse me if spinning things then please don’t stop by. My assessment of the FRBC situation has nothing to do with spinning. I simply gave my perspective.

8 Steve Martin August 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Yeah! And we should get them to cover their heads again, too!

And no more women Sunday school teachers, either.

The Bible is CLEAR!

Those verses about us now being (in Christ) neither “slave nor free, Jew nor gentile, male nor female”…that doesn’t apply to some things as important as God’s Word. And God will NOT use a woman’s preaching and teaching inside a church…NO WAY!

9 Andrew Wencl August 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

Not sure if this is a Proverbs 26:4 or a 26:5 moment…

10 Tom Parker August 11, 2011 at 7:43 am


Some of these folks just want to use the Bible to keep women in their places in their lives and churches. We do not use the Bible to support slavery anymore and surely some day the current SBC approach towards women will be changed.

Let’s follow the Bible if we are going to follow it and a woman is to be silent in the church–so that eliminates all speaking functions.

Let’s just see what happens to our SBC churches then.

Women are the backbone of our churches any how.

11 Andrew Wencl August 11, 2011 at 10:10 am


Why do you insist on misinterpreting the passage to argue against complementarianism?

12 Tom Parker August 11, 2011 at 9:49 pm


What about 1 Timothy 2:15? Do you take this verse literally? Why or why not? And if yes what do you say for the ladies that can not have a baby?

13 Andrew Wencl August 11, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I try to take it as the author intends. I don’t want to be overly literal if it isn’t called for, but I also don’t want to turn it into a figurative idiomatic expression. I was recently pointed to an article by Andreas Köstenberger that makes sense to me. I think that if we approach the verse asking the question “saved from what?” we will have a much better time grasping the solution. Here’s the article if you’re interested:

14 Joe Blackmon August 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Lutheran layman, huh? Don’t tell me, let me guess, not only is our stance on chick preachers wrong but also our stance that homosexuality is always a sin? Yeah, that’s about what I figured.

15 Tom Parker August 12, 2011 at 2:06 pm


I hope it does not take you to long to see that it is best for all just to ban Joe Blackmon at your Website. I have never seen anyone abuse others on these blogs like this man.

He has already been banned from many places.

Just a word to the wise.

16 Joe Blackmon August 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm
17 Joe Blackmon August 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Sorry, this one actually works.

18 Andrew August 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm

This is more of a heads-up. I linked to this series in my own post about religious liberty: “Controversy: Can Baptists still tolerate sacrifice?”

Glad that you post these questions to get us thinking!


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