6/19/22 - Note from Pastor

At the Southern Baptist Convention this week in Anaheim, CA, the issue on whether women can be pastors resurfaced.  I want to be clear on where First Baptist Enterprise and Southern Baptists stand on this issue.  To put it simply, we stand on the Word of God.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul said, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” (1 Timothy 2:12).  Speaking in the context of a local church, Paul grounds this statement by pointing to the created order, and immediately unpacks the qualifications for pastors/elders (these words are used interchangeably in the New Testament), indicating that he’s referring to the office of pastor.  Tom Schreiner comments, “In this passage, Paul forbids women from engaging in two activities that characterize the elders’ ministry: teaching and exercising authority. We see this in the qualifications for the office, among other places: elders must have the ability to teach (1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; Tit. 1:9; cf. Acts 20:17-34) and to lead the church (1 Tim. 3:4-5; 5:17). Women are prohibited from teaching men and from exercising authority over them, and therefore it follows that they must not serve as elders.”

First Baptist’s constitution, which consists mostly of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, states the following:  While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture (Article VI, Baptist Faith & Message 2000).  Flannery O Connor once said, “You need to push against the age as hard as the age pushes against you.” It is clear that our age is pushing against the beliefs of the church.  We must be resolved to not compromise our beliefs.  We’re not cruel or harsh over this issue, nor any other issue.  We simply seek to be consistent. To do otherwise would be hypocritical.  When we say we believe the Bible and stand on the Bible, we want to practice what we preach.

This teaching is not rooted in male superiority or female inferiority.  Men and women are equal in dignity, value, and worth.  However, God created men and women with different, but complementary roles in the home and church.  Therefore, when we say that only men should be pastors, that’s not because women are incapable of doing the things that pastors do (preach, teach, lead, etc.).  In fact, I know many women, my wife included, who are better than I am at these things.  Our stance on this issue is not about competence, but rather about calling.  God, not us, designates the boundaries of who He calls to lead His church.

Let us continue to lean upon the Word of God, not just the easy and convenient parts, but all it.  And let us never forget what we’re doing when we look deeply into God’s Word and believe it.  We’re not stoically embracing a list of rules, but rather we’re colliding with something that is both true and beautiful.  Refusing to believe and live in light of God’s Word is like rejecting a sunset.  Sunsets are beautiful, and so are gender distinctions.  Let us embrace them as beautiful and in so doing, practice what we preach. - Pastor Ben Bowden

No Comments