Egalitarians base their argument for indifference with respect to gender in society, the home, and the pulpit on the idea that men and women are created equally. This post series has argued that when it comes to creation order and its implication for ‘gender roles’ in the church, Southern Baptists do not all differ from the world or from egalitarians. Recent rhetoric regarding women teaching, and even preaching, to men in the SBC, is of some concern. It seems like everywhere we turn, we find ourselves covered up in egalitarian patterns of thought.
There’s a common misconception going around in some circles that anyone who professes Christ yet believes women can be called to the pastorate or preach to men cannot be a true Christian. This is demonstrably untrue. When people believe that women can be preachers called by God it doesn’t necessarily mean those people aren’t Christian, it just means they’re wrong.
But what do the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention think? Southern Baptists reached an agreement about this issue a long time ago and they believe it’s not only theologically incorrect to have women preach, but sinful for women to take up the role of preaching as it goes against explicit commands given in God’s word. This is why women preaching in the Southern Baptist Convention is such an obviously divisive issue.
In this second part of my critique of Jen Wilkin’s talk given at the Acts29 Regional Conference, I will focus on the feminist agenda behind much of Wilkin’s words. Wilkin starts off by listing:
“What do we need from women as a church?”
- We need women’s unique perspective.
- We need women’s relational capital.
- We need women in visible leadership. (Here Wilkin qualifies her statement to say as visible as your church’s complementarianism will allow.)
I’m not going to cover the first two points of this question because I think it’s fairly obvious that what Wilkin has to say about women in these is not only true, but helpful. We do need female perspective in the Church and we do very much need their relational capital. Women tend to have very special relational skills which are evident if you’ve spent any amount of time around groups of women. Instead, I’m going to focus on her third and most hyperbolic statement so far.
Our culture hates humility and femininity, so you can imagine what the culture thinks of humble and feminine women. I personally have suffered from the consequences of my own sinful desires to be in control of my marriage, and to be constantly thought strong and proud. I gave into the desire to see myself as the head of the family, I bought cultural lies about feminism and shed many tears over the constant tug-a-war my heart and spirit played concerning my longing to sin versus personal conviction about that sin. In eight years of marriage, my husband and I have fought endlessly over this struggle. Looking back, I am thankful God created him with a gentle and calm spirit, that our warring was mostly me in sin, with him graciously and mercifully standing in the way to keep me from further sin and leading me back to truth. In those years, I wore myself down spiritually and emotionally day after day engaging in things that wreaked havoc on me as a Christian and as a woman. It was only in the last year that I realized God was using all of those moments to painfully strip layer after layer of pride, resentment, and doubt surrounding my heart. The good news is God sanctifies His people despite our depravity. He will not allow any of His children to remain in sin, and He will use our faithlessness to point us back to His perfect faithfulness.
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.
In this article, SBC author Bart Barber makes plain the contours of the complementarian discussion in relation to the issues of Scripture and abuse, writing, “Beth Moore asserted in her remarks that certain corruptions of complementarianism lead to or exacerbate the abuse problem that the Southern Baptist Convention faces. I think that perhaps I agree in part and that I disagree in part.”
In this article, Denny Burk writes in response to Sam Storms, “to defend the Baptist Faith & Message 2000—in particular, its teaching about the pastorate.”
In this video, Stephen Michael Feinstein explains how his California Southern Baptist Convention failed to guard against the threat of Critical Theory.
In this article, non-SBC author Steven Wedgeworth reviews Beyond Authority and Submission: Woman and Men in Marriage, Church, and Society by Rachel Green Miller, which he claims, “represents a growing new voice in what might be called post-complementarian literature. In it, Miller affirms the biblical teaching of male-only ordination in the church and the husband’s leadership in the family, but she seeks to correct what she considers an intrusion of unbiblical and even pagan assumptions into the traditional Reformed and Evangelical discourse.”
In the video explained through this article, “Mohler offers ten points on complementarianism in our denominational life.”