The Southern Baptist Convention is at a crossroads once again this year as it faces multiple attacks from several progressive angles ranging from women pastors to woke ideology to homosexuality. Among the biggest challenges it faces this year is whether or not to allow churches that ordain women to the pastorate to remain in fellowship. At the forefront of this controversy is Saddleback Church, formerly pastored by Rick Warren, which has ordained several women to the pastorate over the last two years.
After Warren’s retirement, Andy Wood took over as lead pastor and Saddleback immediately ordained Andy’s wife, Stacie, and named her “teaching pastor.” Shortly after, The Dissenter uncovered a video where Wood and his wife, Stacie, pondered the question of whether or not homosexuals who “come to Christ” should stay married or not, to which they both answered, “I have no idea.” Their reasoning was that “God hates divorce.”
Rightfully, that video sparked the ire of several Southern Baptist leaders and prominent pastors and has led to the denunciation of Saddleback by many of these leaders. We should be grateful for their voice, albeit possibly too late since much of the damage has been done.
All that being said, a woman who teaches and preaches the exact same thing will be a featured speaker at the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors’ Wives conference in New Orleans this summer. On June 12, Rachel Gilson, a former practicing lesbian who holds extremely compromised and even heretical views on sexuality, will be the lead speaker during the annual conference.
So who is Rachel Gilson? In 2019, during a student conference (see video below), Gilson remarked during a sermon that gay married couples who come to Christ can stay together because God hates divorce. Speaking on the topic of homosexuals coming to Christ, after a bit of build-up, Gilson said, “It’s not like if someone in a same-sex marriage comes to know the Lord, it’s like, ‘Okay, what we’ve got to deal with first is your same-sex marriage’…”
“I’ve known some couples where one person came to Christ and to honor the Lord, he needed to be celibate [remaining married] and his husband decided to leave him. Paul talks about this reality in 1 Corinthians 7, sometimes if a spouse comes to know the Lord, the other spouse can’t abide it leaves and that person is free,” Gilson continued.
Gilson then went on to lament the “divorce” of gay couples who are “married” saying, “God hates divorce, he does. It breaks that image of marriage just as surely as anything else.” Here’s the clip:
Gilson has also been closely associated with Grant Hartley, another former Cru leader who converted to Roman Catholicism a few years ago. Just last year, Hartley boasted about his experience of dancing at a gay bar, stating that it felt like “heaven” to him. In 2019, Hartley quote-tweeted a message from Rachel Gilson while she was preaching a sermon at Cru:
Needless to say, Gilson’s advice led Hartley to the following just three years later:
In 2022, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is presided over by Danny Akin, is highlighting Rachel Gilson’s paper on marriage. According to a press release on Southeastern’s website,
Several of Southeastern’s current advanced degree students are presenting papers at this year’s annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) in Denver, CO, on November 15-17. As an institution committed to rigorous scholarship and a robust Great Commission vision, Southeastern celebrates the academic contributions of its advanced degree students who are participating in the 2022 ETS meeting.
After scrolling down, you can see Gilson, who self-describes as a “same-sex attracted disciple of Christ,” says that she “cast[s] a positive vision for why Christian marriage is male and female and not any other arrangement of gender” and that she is “concerned that the Church’s default response to same-sex marriages is mostly to look at the ways in which the Bible says “no.” It is a needed reminder that God is saying “yes” to something and not just “no” to something.”
This represents the usual attempt to downplay the sinfulness of same-sex marriage by redefining it as a Christian ordinance rather than a Creation ordinance. It suggests that God’s teachings on marriage are only applicable within the realm of Christianity. While Gilson does acknowledge that marriage is intended for a man and a woman, her viewpoint implies a similarity to Christopher Yuan’s belief that God is primarily concerned with one’s holiness rather than their sexuality, as if the two concepts are not connected. This is how Gilson describes her own motivation for conducting research on this topic when questioned:
As a same-sex-attracted disciple of Christ, the questions were first personal and then ministerial as I became a campus worker for Cru. I realized we need better — more biblical — answers not only for same-sex-attracted people who are trying to be faithful but also for straight people who need to be reminded of God’s design concerning marriage.
So will the same Southern Baptist leaders who denounced Andy Wood for identical views on homosexuality, gay marriage, and divorce still be allowed to lead the women’s conference at the annual meeting? Or will she be given a pass because she’s “woke,” and progressive, just like the status quo of the SBC is?