Christian denominationalism is easily dismissed as anything but Christian. True, Christians should be unified, not at each others’ throats. Yet, in a fallen world where sinners abound, denominationalism may be the best way of preventing more significant division within the universal body of Christ.
Like R. Albert Mohler, Jr., I’m not a moderate, or an egalitarian, or an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist.
I’m a conservative, complementarian, Southern Baptist.
I agree with the Bible when it says, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet” in 1 Timothy 2:12.
I agree with the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 when it says, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”
I agree with Dr. Mohler when he says, “So what did ‘pastor’ mean here? It basically means the same thing as ‘elder.'”
That last claim is significant. The BFM2000 posits only two offices in the church, “Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons,” such that Southern Baptists view pastors, elders, and overseers (bishops) as different descriptors for the one office of pastor, distinct from the only other office of deacon.
Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors, Youth Pastors, Children’s Pastors, and the like aren’t separate offices from the office of pastor. The Bible doesn’t recognize such a distinction, the BFM2000 doesn’t recognize such a distinction, and Dr. Mohler doesn’t recognize such a distinction. I don’t either.
That’s why a tweet from Denny Burk that does appear to recognize such a distinction caught my attention:
A survey says that a majority of Southern Baptists and evangelicals favor women pastors. @AlbertMohler says "not so fast" as far as Southern Baptists are concerned.
The SBC has about 40,000 churches and zero female senior pastors. Read or listen here: https://t.co/AjRG2gs0VH
— Denny Burk (@DennyBurk) August 14, 2020
Dr. Burk qualifies his claim with “senior.” Burk leaves open the possibility women are serving as “pastors” in the Southern Baptist Convention, they just aren’t senior pastors. But the Bible and BFM2000 know of no such distinction.
And Burk is wrong anyway.
Video Description: “The culmination of the Conservative Resurgence came with the adoption of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 at the Orlando SBC. Near the end of the discussion came a comment from a messenger that stunned the crowd and vividly illustrated why the Conservative Resurgence and this statement of faith was so necessary for Southern Baptists. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of that Convention moment, watch and listen to history!”
The office of pastor is limited to men. Some people disagree. Those who do sometimes complain that we are more focused on pastors being men than we are on pastors being qualified. But this argument appears to commit some form of the fallacy of false equivalence. The Scriptural definition of pastors is distinct from the discussion of whether or not particular men are qualified for the office of pastor.
In this article, the Texan addresses concerns over the 2020 SBC Pastors’ Conference, reporting that, “Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, and current chairman of the SBC Executive Committee, told the TEXAN, ‘Southern Baptists have spoken clearly through the BF&M about female pastors. The inclusion of a female pastor is in direct contradiction to our own doctrinal statement and has been officially for 20 years. There are other concerns but this one garnered the most attention.'”
The Southern Baptist Convention has establish a webpage that “exists to provide individuals an opportunity to address concerns about whether a church that is currently identified as a cooperating church with the Southern Baptist Convention continues to meet our standards of faith and practice.”
In this video, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. answers a question about whether or not women should preach in church.