The end for this paper is to reason that the Southern Baptist Convention ‘s exclusion of adult females from the dais is doctrinally sound and is non an effort to suppress or marginalise adult females. In making this end, it is necessary to give a brief overview of the historical events within the Christian church in general and specifically the SBC in past four decennaries. During this period, the Christian church has undergone a paradigm displacement. However, the conservative cabal within the SBC have continually resisted the paradigm displacement towards liberalism in which gender equality, pluralism, ecumenism and scriptural unfavorable judgment have become points of tenseness. Bible has taken a back place to a type of “ neo-liberation divinity ” that places the content of divinity within the model of what is emancipating, curative and tolerant.

The mainline denominations seem to be following a way towards a secularized church that is dependent on matter-of-fact consequences. The philosophies of such a church are dynamic and susceptible to popular sentiment. Surely, it is popular to allow adult females to function as curates and to be inclusive to all. Nonetheless, is this doctrinally sound? The reply is no it is non.

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Although this paper addresses many immaterial issues related to the liberalisation of the Christian church, the chief end for this paper is to reason that the SBC is justified in forbiding adult females from certain ministries.

Throughout this paper, the footings broad and moderate are used interchangeably to specify those who hold a critical position of the Bible and by and large do non see Scripture as important. So excessively, are the footings fundamentalist and conservative used interchangeably.


There is no uncertainty that in the past adult females where marginalized in all domains of their lives, including the historical church. However, there are specific Scriptural prohibitions against adult females functioning as curates.

In recent old ages, there has been a neglect for the scriptural instructions refering the function of adult females within a community of trusters. Equality and tolerance is the premier concern for progressives and the authorization of the Scripture is regulated to the subservient function of being merely a usher in which the reading and application depends on matter-of-fact and curative public-service corporation. In other words, progressives disregard sound exegesis and topographic point more value on the reader ‘s response to the text. This in consequence, leads to the pattern of accepting Biblical text that is ductile to a certain doctrinal place ( societal docket ) and so ignoring Biblical text that is non in mesh with a peculiar worldview or societal docket. This is kindred to making a “ theological gulyas ” in which the content is capable to societal currents and dockets. One of the ingredients of this “ theological gulyas ” is the issue of gender equality.This is where the issue of adult females ordination has received its platform.

In the past century or so feminist groups, broad theologists, and secular post-modernists have set an docket to feminise all societal, cultural, military, and spiritual systems. Their attempts have been fruitful, as several mainline Protestant denominations have acquiesced and have liberalized their doctrinal place.


To this twenty-four hours, the SBC conservativists are the watchers for the Southern Baptist Convention. These conservativists have resisted the Christian women’s rightist, who is purpose on feminising the church, the secularist who is purpose on taking God, and the broad Christian who is purpose on re-explaining Scripture and making a “ theological gulyas. ”

The controversial issue related to gender equality in the SBC churches will ne’er discontinue. The issue of adult females functioning in the pastoral ministry is non new. Quite surprisingly, there are adult females curates within the SBC, nevertheless, since 2000 there has been no farther female ordinations.

In 1964, a Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary alumnus named Adie Davis became the first adult female ordained within the SBC. Davis ne’er served a SBC church. However, she did pastor several American Baptist and oecumenic churches.

There are about 1200 adult females curates and chaplains within the SBC. However, all had been ordained prior to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, which prohibits adult females from being ordained within the SBC. The ground for this anomalousness is that the moderate leading within the SBC during the 1960 ‘s and the 1970 ‘s allowed the SBC to gyrate downward with the cultural paradigm displacement that took topographic point in America. Thus, some SBC churches allowed cultural influence to keep sway over Scripture. Whereby, several adult females were ordained adult females within the SBC.

However, there was a group of argus-eyed conservativists ready to repossess the SBC. Adrian Rogers, and Paige Patterson, et Al. cognize that the SBC was undergoing a liberalisation and feminisation procedure. Harmonizing to Jackson W. Carroll during the 1970 ‘s there was a important rise in the figure of adult females go toing seminary and throughout the 1980 ‘s the figure had rose dramatically.

The interior battle between the centrists and the conservative leaders within the SBC had the potency of traveling either manner. Harmonizing to Beth Jones the moderate leading within the SBC during the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s “ was out of measure with the church members in the church benchs on Lord’s daies ” While the centrists where susceptible to cultural alter the conservative motion resisted cultural alteration. The conservativists were deriving influence and beef uping their voice within the SBC and significantly the seminaries. The conservativists did non desire to follow the flight of the United Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations. It seems that one time a denomination is overtaken by a moderate cabal there is a progressive eroding of philosophy. Finally the denomination becomes increasingly broad. Harmonizing to Patterson, non merely did the conservative revival stop the Southern Baptist ‘s progressive slide towards the left, but besides in recent old ages, it has moved to the right.

Many SBC church members did non recognize the danger the SBC faced during the old ages 1960-1985. The danger was from non merely the cultural paradigm displacement, but besides the internal battle between the moderate and conservative cabals within the SBC. The SBC conservatives knew that the SBC ‘s moderate leading would let the convention to fracture, or worse yet, go liberalized as several of the other Protestant denominations had become.

In 1976, Donald W. Dayton professor at the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary published his article entitled, The Battle for the Bible: Regenerating the Inerrancy Debate, concluded his article with the followers:

Such tensenesss and forces toward realignment will be felt throughout evangelicalism in the close hereafter. What will emerge can non yet be predicted, but the result will surely hold significance for the whole American church universe. Major splits would farther insulate a faithful fundamentalist minority. A drawing off on the left by big sections of the evangelical universe would probably ensue in a meeting of those sections with a conservative Protestant mainstream in a manner that would hold a major impact on the form and internal political relations of a figure of church bodies.________ may announce the outgrowth of new theoretical accounts of scriptural genuineness and new realignments within American Protestantism that may really function to get the better of the chasms opened up by the fundamentalist/ modernist contention of two coevalss ago. ”

Dayton surely had his finger on the pulsation of the pulse of American Christianity.

For old ages, the centrists and progressives have been inoculating that the traditional Baptist philosophy is antediluvian and should set to societal currents of the times. Many centrists and progressives proclaimed that the clip had come for a new hermeneutic to replace the burdensome and compressing hermeneutic. Several interpretive issues, including the ordination of adult females within the SBC, were being worked through. The convention polarized with the centrists on the left and the conservativists on the right. Up through the 1970 ‘s the moderate leading had marginalized the conservativists. Unusually, that was shortly to alter. The SBC conservativists under the leading of Adrian Rogers, and Jerry Vines, et Al. set out on the unlikely undertaking of reforming the SBC. The undertaking was to repossess the SBC and its seminaries from the left propensity centrists.

Since the Moderate and Conservative contention of the 1970 ‘s there has been breaks. For illustration the 173-year-old Baptist General Association of Virginia ( BGAV ) left the SBC and organize its ain province convention. It is deserving observing that the BGAV allows adult females ordinations. It appears that ordination of adult females is common to all broad denominations. This is important in the sense that “ gender equality ” or better yet, the neglect for the Biblical instructions against adult females functioning as curates seems to be prognostic downward spiral of the denomination ‘s philosophies. Surely, there is a correlativity, which can be seen in the Episcopalian and Anglican Church. These two denominations present a chronological patterned advance from female ordination to the ordination of active homophiles.

Conservative RESURGENCE

During the late 1970 ‘s through the early 1990 ‘s the overpowering bulk of the church members within the SBC and other conservative churches were ready for the return to their conservative roots ; they were palling of the broad experiment. A conservative revival was a underway in America and within the SBC. Conservatism was nil new whereas many of the older church members were old southern Democrats and remembered the pre 1950 ‘s conservative SBC. In consequence, the “ new democratic party ” was excessively broad and these older church members were exchanging to the Republican Party.

Further, it is likely that the SBC fundamentalists looked back to the calamity of the 1920 ‘s Presbyterian Church and Princeton Theological Seminary ( PTS ) the last old school theological seminary to defy the broad coup d’etat. In merely a affair of a few decennaries, the progressives had to the full liberalized the Presbyterian Church and a celebrated conservative reformed theological seminary. In all equity, Princeton has continued to bring forth competent theologists and curates but the conservative spirit is all but losing. Even so, in 1929 Princeton Theological Seminary had ceased to be the firm title-holder of conservativism that it had been for over 117 old ages.

Surely the events refering the Presbyterian Church is a warning to conservative Christiansaˆ¦ if a organic structure every bit big as the Presbyterian Church can be liberalized in a affair of a few decennaries, so no conservative organic structure is immune from the insidiousness of liberalism. The SBC conservativists and many independent conservativists such as Jerry Falwell knew this.

One of the conservative revival designers Paige Patterson writes the following refering the urgency the SBC conservativists felt during the decennaries of the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s: “ Most believed that if they did non move instantly, all hope to deliver the denomination [ SBC ] from its slow and apparently inevitable impetus to the left would be lost. ” Patterson further provinces that the SBC was being “ swept along by the white H2O currents that propelled American Baptists, British Baptist churchs and United Methodistsaˆ¦to a moorage far removed from the oasiss of their laminitiss. ” This urgency and ensuing action from the conservativists is the ground the SBC has continued to keep to the inerrancy and authorization of the Bible. It is possibly suiting to impute the conservative revival to God ‘s will and action.

The issue related to gender functions is a controversial subject that brings the progressives attending. However, for the male broad, the issue of gender functions within the church is non the cause celebre. Even so, they espouse the “ gender equality ” rhetoric as an reconsideration. Actually, their end is to derive control of the seminaries, churches, and spread their stripped down, if non wholly dissident philosophies. This is in contrast to the broad female who has an invested involvement in gender equality this is their cause celebre. Even so, invested involvement or non, the fact is Scripture does non back up the claims those groups make refering the issue of ordination of adult females.

There are similarities between the release divinity motion and women’s rightist motions both are theological focused on societal place and position where equality is the premier component straight tied to the societal and functional nature of their experience.

The Virginia Women ‘s Missionary Union ( WMU ) made the undermentioned declaration:

“ Our declaration is that adult females are leaders in the church, called by God, commissioned by Christ, led by the Holy Spirit, with a strong, baronial heritage. Empowered by our mission, values, and heritage, we pledge to back up all people, particularly adult females and misss, as they live out their diverse and limitless careers. Through the survey and expounding of Bible, public protagonism, mentorship, networking, inclusive linguistic communication, careful duologue, proactive address, seminary scholarships, and influence on pastoral hunt commissions and nominating boards, we will promote and go on to develop the leading of adult females and misss in all domains and at all degrees of church lifeaˆ¦ mortifying insults to the self-respect of Christian womenaˆ¦ We draw the strength to declare, with prophetic strong belief: That we reject all cover favoritism against adult females in the work of Christian ministry, in peculiar, as elaborated in the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message ; That we reject the findings and policy of the North American Mission Board with respect to the non-endorsement of adult females to chaplaincy places. That we reject any devaluation of adult females worldwide. ”

It would look that the WMU has dismissed the scriptural text and is utilizing a new women’s rightist hermeneutic to re-explain the prohibition against certain female leading.

Dr. Dorothy Patterson, the celebrated innovator in adult females ‘s surveies in Southern Baptist theological instruction published the undermentioned response to the VWMU ‘s feminist rhetoric:

“ The inquiry has ne’er been whether or non adult females are valued in the Kingdom of Christ, nor has it been whether or non adult females are to be involved in ministry. Both are affirmed in Bible ; both have been acknowledged in confessional statements ; both are clear in the many chances offered to adult females for service to Christaˆ¦Throughout Scripture God states clearly the demands for those who serve in places of leading in Kingdom ministries, and some of those demands are gender-based ( 1 Timothy 2:8-15 ) … .In the argument motivating the Virginia WMU declaration visualizing for adult females ‘diverse and limitless ‘ Christian careers, adult females dare non be emotionally stirred up to ignore clear directives in the recognized canon of Holy Scripture, aˆ¦Rather, they must be determined to look to Scripture as the ultimate criterion supplying a worthy authorization over life and pattern every bit good as a certain and certain step against which 1 may prove personal feelings and desires ( 2 Timothy 3:14-17 ) . ”

Many conservative Christian adult females oppose female ordinations. However, it seems that their voice is drowned out by the raillery and propaganda of the feminist motion. Therefore, the menace is existent, the women’s rightists and progressives have an docket and mission to get rid of all systems including faith systems that does non suit into their programs for a feminized universe.


The women’s rightist and broad motions argue that Bible does non forbid female ordination and that the conservativists are utilizing the issue philosophy of inerrancy of Scripture as a agency to protect the patriarchal and male dominated church civil order. They believe that conservativists are adopting an archaic and oppressive philosophy that has marginalized adult females from the dais and the chaplainship. In the book of Acts, Priscilla and Aquila are recognized as faithful retainers to Christ and Priscilla ‘s name is mentioned foremost ( Acts 18 ) . Moderates claim this is an indicant that she was more senior in ministry than Aquilla. However, Priscilla is non described as take parting in a ministry activity that contradicts Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:11-14 1. Another claim is because Paul sends salutations to Nympha the host of place church. The Christian women’s rightists claim this is grounds that she was tantamount to a curate. It is ill-defined if she is the pastoral leader of the church. When taken in context with other transitions it would look she was non. ( Colossians 4:15 ) Further, the centrists use this transition from the book of Luke, “ ___there was a prophetess, Anna the girl of Phanuel, of the folk of Asher. She was advanced in old ages, holding lived with a hubby seven old ages after her matrimony ” ( Luke 2:36 ) . However, Anna was a prophetess was born before Jesus Christ and before the Holy Spirit was given to all trusters. So she is an Israelite prophetess. The apostle Paul states, “ adult females should larn in silence and all humbleness ” ( 1Timothy 2:11 ) farther, harmonizing to Paul “ he does non let them to learn or hold authorization over work forces ” ( 1Timothy 2:12 ) . Paul ‘s nowadayss his Theology of why this is soaˆ¦ “ Adam was created foremost and it was adult female who was deceived and broke God ‘s jurisprudence. ” ( 1 Timothy 2:13-15 ) . Besides if we read Paul ‘s missive to the Corinthians ‘ he writes, “ But I would hold you know, that the caput of every adult male is Christ ; and the caput of the adult female is the adult male ; and the caput of Christ is God ” . ( 1 Corinthians11:3 ) Then in the missive to the Colossians Paul admonishes married womans to subject to their hubbies ( Colossians 4: 18 ) . Finally, one of the most misinterpreted Bible transitions is, “ But in Christ there is neither male nor female — in Christ we are free! ” ( Galatians 3:28 ) This transition does non touch to anything refering prophesying but is intending to state all are kids of God and equal in His eyes. How can the centrists misinterpret these statements? It is unmistakable in its message.

Misinterpretation is common for those who do non accept the Bible as important and inerrable and who selectively choose Scripture that facilitates their ain peculiar docket. Any philosophy that is contrary to their worldview is considered in mistake.

Does Scripture warn against leting cultural tendencies and societal issues to act upon philosophy? Clearly, it does. These inquiries are at the bosom of the issue of adult females ordinations. In fact, this is the job confronting the church today it seems that Satan is at work to compromise the unity of Scripture. Satan is the great prevaricator and ultimate operator.

There are few issues every bit charged as the issue of gender equality within the church. It is certain that in modern-day American society equalitarianism, ecumenism and pragmatics undergirds the societal docket, whereas, conservative Christianity is devalued and considered to be anachronic. This is a symptom of a civilization that is fueled by secular values and matter-of-fact consequences. If a philosophy does non suit into the paradigm displacement so it deemed disused. David F. Wells believes that this is a symptom of the displacement from a transcendent God to an at hand God. Wells makes the undermentioned compendious statement refering the societal gospel motion:

____social hurt of the twenty-four hours of their twenty-four hours caused by the aˆ¦expanding industrial societyaˆ¦ended up recasting the whole significance of Christianity in ethical terms.____Christianity was all about the advancement of the human race ”

David F. Wells need non insulate this tendency to the early 20th century societal evangelists ; this tendency is a big component of the paradigm displacement towards a secularized church that places pragmatics as the clincher of philosophy. It follows that the feminisation of the dais is a byproduct of comprehensive system of a socialised and matter-of-fact docket.


This paper has taken a roundabout way to indicate out that the SBC does non O.K. of adult females functioning as instructors and curates of work forces, non for the incorrect grounds i.e. antediluvian philosophy, misogynism, or patriarchal leading collusions, but for the simple fact that the Scripture Teachs against adult females functioning as instructors and preaches to work forces. The Bible is inerrable and as such, people are called to accept its authorization wholly. To “ pick and take ” or re-explain Bible to suit a certain cultural or societal docket is unbiblical. The inquiry is how does the church interpret and use the followers:

“ A adult female should larn in soundlessness and full entry. I do non allow a adult female to learn or to hold authorization over work forces ; she must be soundless. For Adam was created foremost, so Eve and Adam was non the one deceived ; it was the adult female who was deceived and became a evildoer. However, adult females will be kept safe through childbearing, if they continue in religion, love, and sanctity with properness. ” ( 1Titus 2:11-15 )

Paul is clear in his message. Is the church answerable to the instructions of Scripture and the apostles? Alternatively, should the church follow the currents of civilization? Is the Bible unfastened to a dynamic reinterpretation as the prevalent civilization demands? The reply is no.

The Bible and its instructions are important and can non be “ piece milled. ” It is non easy to defy the cultural influence of the universe. The Church has to be on guard for incorrect instructions. The conservative seminaries must go on to works seed in good dirt ; the conservative church must defy doctrinal alteration for the interest of deriving or maintaining members, and rebuke those whom seek to pervert the church ( Colossians 3:16 ) . Bible prohibits adult females from being the religious instruction authorization in the church. This is non because work forces are better instructors, or because adult females are inferior to work forces. It is how God structured the church. Further, the Bible does non forbid adult females from functioning as curates to adult female and kids ( Titus 2:3-5 ) .

Therefore, the SBC does non forbid adult females ordinations because of misogynic or patriarchal motivations, but does so, out of its credence that the Bible is important and its instructions are to be soundly applied. 2 Timothy 2:15 Teachs us the value of proper reading of Bible. Truly, the SBC conservativists continue to “ stand on the watchtower all dayaˆ¦andaˆ¦all dark ” ( Isaiah 21:8 ) . Jesus Christ said, “ The seed that fell among irritants bases for those who hear, but as they go on their manner they are choked by life ‘s concerns, wealths and pleasances, and they do non maturate ” ( Luke 8:14 ) . If we let the universe dictate God ‘s philosophies so we are the seeds that fell among thorn shrubs.

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