NPR recently posted how the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) plans to discuss the sexual abuse scandal and the role of women in the church. NPR reports “The women rallying outside the SBC meeting in Birmingham are linking the failure of Southern Baptist church leaders to move more forcefully against abusers in their ranks to what they call ‘the low view of women’ in the church, saying it has contributed to “a culture that is friendly to abusers.”

In a previous blog post, I discussed how Fundagelical patriarchies perceive women and children as the property of men and how this promotes abuse. As long as Fundagelicals see the cultural context of the Bible, ancient patriarchies, as God’s plan for humanity, women, and children will continue to be labeled as subservient and open to oppression and abuse.

What is the point of having the SBC discuss the role of women in church when the answer is a foregone conclusion? The men of the SBC will gather and reaffirm that women are to be subservient to men. The men of the SBC will gather and use Bible verses, as a sacred weapon, to continue the oppression of women.

Already influential writers and speakers in the SBC are building the defensive lines to maintain the power of men. Owen Strachan, Senior Fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood and Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article called Divine Order in a Chaotic Age: On Women Preaching.  

He argues that God not only created the physical matter but also order. Since Adam was created first and Eve second, that’s the divine order. He further uses the creation story to emphasize it was Eve who was fooled by the serpent, not Adam. Strachan changes Paul’s advice on how to run an orderly church, in a patriarchal society, into a divine command. He says, “If we take the Bible at its word, then we recognize that there is no way for a woman to instruct the gathered church, whether in an authoritative or “non-authoritative” way. This argument, of course, needs to be corrected; it should read, “If you interpret the Bible in the same way I do then . . .” It requires both a literal reading of the creation stories and the removal of context from the Pauline epistles to “take the Bible at its word.” as Strachan would like us to do.  

Josh Buice, the pastor of Pray’s Mill Baptist Church in Georgia, has written a series of articles denouncing women teachers, and in particular Beth Moore.

Buice not only agrees with Strachan but in his self-proclaimed “not-a-hit-piece” article claims he’s only concerned about the doctrinal fidelity of Beth Moore. Buice argues that Beth Moore associated herself with (Shudder) Charismatics! He points out how she has spoken at a Charismatic convention, appeared with Joyce Meyer and even worshipped at Joel Osteen’s church! In his own words, he says, “Beth Moore chooses to partner with heretics, which is a problem the SBC should avoid.” In one quick, broad stroke, Buice condemns almost 28% of all Christians to the realm of heretics. There can be little hope for women if SBC pastors in the name of doctrinal fidelity so easily condemn anyone who varies from their doctrinal statement. Buice also condemns Beth Moore for ecumenism. She is condemned for having a vision of a unified Church that includes both Charismatics and (Double shudder) Catholics! Buice refights the Protestant Reformation by demanding Sola Fide as a defining point of who is a true Christian and who is not. The last charge he brings against Moore is by allowing women preachers; it upsets the natural order of men leading the church. If a little Baptist boy sees a female preacher, he may wonder if boys are allowed to preach. Buice concludes his article by saying, “The SBC is not charismatic. The SBC is not egalitarian. To say so is not divisive nor is it misogynistic. It’s time for the SBC to say ‘no more’ to Beth Moore.” For Buice, keeping women in their place is not misogynistic, it’s God ordained.

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Seminary, in a YouTube, Ask Me Anything video, defending the complementarianism view. (9:00 minute mark into the video)

Mohler points out that men and women have different status based on the complementarian viewpoint. He also claims, “If you look at the denominations where women do the preaching, they are also the denominations where people do the leaving. I think there’s just something about the order of creation that means that God intends for the preaching voice to be a male voice.” As I always say, Fundagelicals never let facts get in the way of their narrative. In the book, UnChristian, Kinnaman, and Lyons present the Barna Group’s research on why Americans have been leaving the church. Of the six reasons listed in the book, female clergy isn’t one of them.

Sorry ladies, when the SBC goes to discuss your role, they will be discussing how you all are second class citizens ever since Eve was created second. They will discuss how you as second class citizens complement, or complete, the male’s role. After all, men can’t lead unless they have inferiors who must follow. How can a man fulfill his role as superior if women aren’t inferior?

So, what will happen at the SBC convention to discuss the clergy abuse scandal and the role of women? A bunch of guys will get together and figure out how to maintain the “old boys club.” They will issue a statement with pretty language and tack on a few Bible verses “proving” their point that women are the complement to men. Then, they will go back to their churches and try not to get caught again abusing women and children. Let’s be clear, as long as men are taught that they are to dominate women and children; they will abuse women and children. You can claim that they are to love their wives like Christ loves the Church, but when you also preach an angry Jesus who smites the disobedient, out of love, men will “lovingly” smite their wives and children.

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