I can already hear the clarion call from the progressive feminist wing of the Southern Baptist Convention to scream “slander slander slander” after this article is published, but no matter the attempt is made to spin this, it is nothing more than a concession to Egalitarians. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) has announced a “first-of-its-kind class” to train women for the pastorate.
Now, here’s where they’re going to yell “slander.”
“But SBTS says they affirm only men in the pastorate.”
“But SBTS says the course is only to teach women how to be doctrinally sound.”
“But SBTS says that it’s only so women will be thoroughly prepared to teach in the roles that God has for them.”
Yes, SBTS says all of that–but that’s the problem. With the exception of limited teaching roles for older women to teach younger women–and to teach and take care of children–there is no actual teaching role that God has for them.
I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. –1 Timothy 2:12
Assuredly, I will be accused of misusing this verse to hold on to “male power structures” or the “patriarchy.” But those who have a problem with this verse being used this way don’t have a problem with me; they have a problem with God–who actually said it.
Hershael York, the Dean of Theology at SBTS, told Kentucky Today “I usually teach preaching and pastoral ministry.” He continued, “Only men can enroll in those classes, but we want the women who graduate from Southern to be thoroughly prepared to teach.”
York said Al Mohler, president of the Seminary, encouraged him to add this class to the curriculum for women.
Here’s the problem: With limited exceptions, women are not meant to hold teaching roles in the Church. The train women in seminary–for them to graduate with a degree–is training women for a vocational role in teaching within the Church. Nothing is a more clear violation of not only the Scriptures but the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
While we should all certainly agree that women should be doctrinally sound, to assume that a seminary course is necessary for this is to undermine the biblical role of the Church. Of course, women should be doctrinally sound–it’s vital to all Christians’ role in evangelism, for one thing. But it is the role and function of the Church to train and prepare its people for this mission.
The Southern Baptist Convention has been embroiled with debate and division over the role of women preaching and teaching in the Church. Many progressives–including Russell Moore and Beth Moore–have left the denomination over their staunch progressive stances. Caving to the motivations of these Egalitarians and feminists is not what this denomination needs right now to survive; and labeling these concessions as something other than what they are–compromise–is dangerous and should be called out.