The annual assembly of the Southern Baptist Conference (SBC) witnessed a serious shift on the expense of theological conservatives.
Pastors and congregants assembled in Anaheim, California, final week to function messengers for his or her church buildings to elect new management and debate key points. This 12 months, scorching matters for America’s largest Protestant denomination included a transfer from a number of church buildings to ordain feminine pastors, in addition to a report from investigative agency Guidepost Options — which garnered controversy for lauding Pride Month on social media — outlining cases of sexual abuse throughout the denomination.
A conservative coalition of pastors and theologians endorsed Florida pastor Tom Ascol as president of the SBC, African Christian College Dean Voddie Baucham as president of the pastors’ convention, and Georgia pastor Javier Chavez as recording secretary. All three candidates misplaced, with Texas pastor Bart Barber taking the mantle as SBC president.
Many pastors view these traits as signs of a broader progressive drift within the SBC, which has a status for sustaining agency convictions on the fallen nature of man, salvation by way of Jesus Christ alone and the inerrancy of Scripture.
What Is a Pastor?
Article VI of the “Baptist Faith and Message,” a press release of religion adopted by the SBC in 2000, makes plain that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” Because of this, messengers proposed a movement to disfellowship Saddleback Church — a California-based, multi-site megachurch led by pastor Rick Warren — over its determination to set up three females into pastoral roles final 12 months. Warren and his spouse, Kay, additionally tapped Andy and Stacie Wooden as “God’s couple” to steer the congregation after Warren’s upcoming retirement.
“The church has maintained meaningful, albeit not uniform, consensus on what a pastor is for approximately 2,000 years,” Jeff Wright, pastor of Halfway Baptist Church in Cookeville, Tennessee, defined to The Day by day Wire. “Now, at the same time the broader culture has found a way to become confused on what a woman is, the SBC has become confused on what a pastor is.”
In response to the disfellowship movement, the SBC’s credentials committee really useful finding out the difficulty of feminine pastors additional — a suggestion that was withdrawn after Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler denounced the transfer.
Tom Buck, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, identified to The Day by day Wire that 1 Timothy 2:12 and different passages quoted by the “Baptist Faith and Message” are in no way unclear. “A pastor is someone who teaches and exercises authority in the church, and Scripture prohibits women from holding that office and performing the function of that office,” Buck stated. “The fact that the members of the credentials committee are unable to discern this from Article VI only demonstrates how woefully unqualified they are to serve the SBC in this capacity.”
Mike Harding, pastor of Regeneration Church in Millersburg, Ohio, famous to The Day by day Wire that “Christians are textualists and not deconstructionists.”
“There is irrefutably no wiggle room in our confession for calling women ‘pastors’ or giving them the office of pastor,” Harding stated. “This unfortunately, in my humble opinion, demonstrates that we are in fact in a theologically liberal drift.”
Final 12 months, the SBC commissioned Guidepost Options to chronicle and examine cases of sexual abuse from pastors and different denominational associates. This week, the SBC greenlit really useful resolutions from its sexual abuse process pressure to create a separate “Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force” in addition to a “Ministry Check” web site to centralize vetted details about alleged abusers.
But many pastors argue that the web site violates biblical requirements of justice resembling due course of and two or three strains of impartial witness — as communicated by passages resembling Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 19:15, and Matthew 18:16.
“Putting someone on a database simply because they have been accused is presuming guilt rather than innocence,” Buck stated. “The SBC has as much a responsibility to protect the potentially falsely accused as they do the potential victim… We must take every accusation seriously and take great care to discover the facts and act accordingly. But putting someone on a list simply because they were accused is not biblical justice — it’s actually injustice.”
Certainly, a new report from The Day by day Wire’s Megan Basham detailed how the topic of sexual abuse within the SBC has morphed into “a political football that various factions have been leveraging to settle bitter scores and sway the direction of the denomination.” Basham discovered that Guidepost investigators did not ask necessary witnesses for statements or proof, nonetheless referring to 1 accusee as an “abuser” slightly than an “alleged abuser.”
Harding concurred that “naming a person a sex abuser outside legal conviction runs ahead of Scripture and the legal process in our country for establishing guilt.”
“It slanders the individual and robs both parties of biblical justice,” he added. “We do well to train our church members and the churches in the SBC to recognize grooming behavior, do thorough background checks and reference checks. … Because each church is autonomous, the kind of vetting I mention has to be done by the local church.”
Wright likewise expressed concern that given cultural forces in america, a web site itemizing accusations might result in the “weaponization of abuse” whereas serving as a redundancy in gentle of the federal authorities’s Nationwide Intercourse Offender Registry.
“Think about names like Kavanaugh and Depp. Clearly these allegations can be used to destroy a man’s reputation,” Wright famous. “Justice would dictate a corresponding database of false allegations. However, I cannot believe those pushing this database forward would even countenance such a thing.”
No Approach Ahead
All three pastors interviewed by The Day by day Wire stated their church buildings at the moment are extra prone to go away the SBC.
“Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and congregationally governed, as expressed in our confession,” Wright stated. “Congregations that are clear-eyed on the theological and ethical drift are going to increasingly find it hard to partner with the SBC insiders driving that drift.” He famous that members of his church will doubtless not “see a way to stay in partnership” by way of normal cooperative program giving, by which the SBC gathers funds from native church buildings for world missions and different endeavors.
In the meantime, Buck’s congregation established a process pressure “to discuss these matters and come back to the church in our August members’ meeting to make recommendations.”
Harding stated that though his church “would like to see the SBC turn back from its trajectory of theological compromise and rejection of Scripture’s sufficiency for pragmatism,” it will show troublesome “to have a clean conscience before God and support such godless actions by those that claim to be followers of Christ.”
“I know there are many solid churches in the SBC,” stated Harding, “but as of right now, it’s hard to conceive a reason to stay in the convention.”
The views expressed on this piece are these of the writer and don’t essentially signify these of The Day by day Wire.
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