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.
On this episode of the new CR:V Podcast contributor Nate Schlomann sits down with Jeff Wright to talk about the presence of women pastors in SBC churches.
Reminder: Article V of The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 reads, in part:
“[The church’s] scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture” (relevant point emphasized).
Find it on Apple Podcasts or by clicking here.
In this article, Southern Baptist Texan interviews R. Albert Mohler, Jr., who says, “I think we’re at an interesting and strategic moment for Southern Baptists, and I would define success as helping Southern Baptists to move in unity and in theological health towards a future that will be even more faithful, even more evangelistic, even more committed to missions. At this particular moment I think there’s a tremendous need for the affirmation of Southern Baptists and for affirmation by Southern Baptists of the convictions that shape us, and I think this is a moment of generational transition in the SBC where we’re in a season of enormous cultural challenge and I think Southern Baptists need to think and talk very openly and honestly about these issues, and to do so in the right spirit.”
In this podcast episode, “Tom Ascol and Jared Longshore discuss what it means to be a Southern Baptist. What is involved? How does the Southern Baptist Convention work?”
As in all the churches of the saints, the [complementarians] should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their [entity heads] at home. For it is shameful for a [complementarian] to speak in church. (1 Corinthians 14:33-35)
This brief post addresses five objections to complementarians speaking up about their position on such topics as women teaching men in the church.
Mary Kassian wrote a fine essay recently in which she poses the question, “Where can women teach?” She lays out eight principles to guide our answers to that question in various situations. The principles flow from her central conviction with regard to the question, which she states in the beginning of her essay as follows:
As a complementarian, I believe that God wants us to honor his design for men and women by following the principle of male headship in our homes and church families. The church is God’s family and household (1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6; Galatians 6:10). The family part is key. The Bible teaches that in the nuclear family unit, as well as in our corporate church families, the father — or multiple fathers in the case of the church — has the responsibility to lovingly lead and humbly govern the family unit.
Kassian’s argument here goes deeper than exegetical observations on a handful of Pauline commands (as important as those are). By tying her conception of gender roles in the ministry of the church to the concept of fatherhood, Kassian advocates for a broad, rather than a narrow, complementarianism. Or, in my preferred terminology, a “thick,” rather than a “thin,” complementarianism.
The Conservative Resurgence (CR) of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organized movement among grassroots churches to reclaim their institutions from a liberal drift, left us with a convention that is conservative in theology. The revisions to The Baptist Faith and Message from 1998 and 2000 testify to that reality.
But conservatism is about more than theology. It is also about a mindset, or even a “spirit,” that guides our perception of the world. As a teacher, I make a distinction between the ability to memorize information and the ability to synthesize that same information and apply it to new, unforeseen questions. Most students can memorize a list of facts from a study guide and repeat them on a test, but those who truly learn what they have studied can also apply their knowledge to questions that weren’t on the study guide.
Did the CR leave us with a conservative denomination only in the sense that we know how to check all the right theological boxes? Or did it leave us with a denomination that knows how to address new challenges from a posture of conservatism, i.e., in a manner consistent with a deep understanding of our theological confession? The former would be a hollow shell of a short-lived denominational reformation, but the latter would leave us with lasting generations of faithfulness. Which one we will ultimately become remains to be seen.
In this thread, Denny Burk explains, “In the year 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) made complementarianism a part of its foundation for cooperation by including the doctrine in The Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Two additions to the BF&M are worth noting.”