Baptists and Women Pastors

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by FriendofSpurgeon, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. FriendofSpurgeon

    FriendofSpurgeon
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    I was in the Atlanta area this past week and passed a large Baptist church (1st Baptist). The sign out front indicated that they have a woman pastor. I was a little surprised at this. Is this becoming common within Baptist denominations?
     
  2. Allan

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    Since Baptist Churches are completely autonomous we have always had a few Baptist churches with women pastors. But to answer your question, no they are not becoming more common but they are getting more publicity than before.

    You can find women pastors in Baptist churches rather sporatically, here and there but you will find them easier or more common in certain associations (for example - The American Baptist Churches or ABC).

    However you will also find that most Baptist groups do not agree nor advocate women in the pastorate .(examples - the Independant First Baptists or IFB, and Southern Baptists or SBC). While groups like the SBC that is only a grouping/gathering of individual and independant churches who choose to work together in partnership, while holding to like views and faith (such as the Baptist Faith, and Message or BFm), yet each church is still autonomous to govern itself as it sees fit independant of the whole.
     
    #2 Allan, Oct 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2009
  3. Joseph M. Smith

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    It has been interesting to watch this phenomenon develop.

    American Baptists are calling more and more women to the pastorate, and the supply of women graduating from seminary is substantial now.

    Southern Baptists have been resistant, and officially deny the pastorate to women, but because of autonomy, there are a number of SBC churches that do have women as pastors. I preached as supply in three of them this past summer!

    I think CBF is struggling with this, having been affirmative of women in pastorates, but the old ways persist in many of their churches.

    The most interesting evolution, to me, has been among African-American Baptists, particularly here in the Washington area. Thirty or more years ago the attitude was completely negative toward women in ministry; in fact, one of my friends was ejected from the African-American Baptist ministers' conference because he did organize the ordination of a woman. Today, however, there are a huge number of ordained women among Washington area African-Americans, and a significant number are pastors. I teach a Baptist Polity course at Wesley Theological Seminary, and have noticed that about 3/4 of the students I have taught are African-American and female. They do not all become pastors, of course, but that's the trend.
     
  4. Johnv

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    I don't think it's any more common that it has been, but I think it's more easily noticed. Since the issue of pastors and gender is not a Baptist Distinctives, it falls under the Distinctives of liberty and autonomy.
     
  5. matt wade

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    There are Baptists and then there are liberal Baptists. You passd by a liberal Baptist church. It's good they have a woman pastor, it makes it easy to avoid them and the other liberal views they likely have.

    As a side note, I don't think it was First Baptist Church Atlanta. That's where Dr. Charles Stanley is.
     
  6. FriendofSpurgeon

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    You are correct, it was not First Baptist of Atlanta. I was in the Atlanta area, it was a First Baptist of ______ (a large metro (unnamed) city close by).

    Question: does female pastors automatically mean liberal from a theological standpoint??
     
  7. Marcia

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    Decatur? Marietta? Just guessing. There are lots of areas it could be.


    I think so, but that's my view. It means the woman pastor tends to be liberal, and therefore, the church has that tendency at least.
     
  8. Joseph M. Smith

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    It would likely be First Baptist of Decatur, where Julie Pennington-Russell is pastor. I have not heard her preach, but anyone who is interested in her theology could listen to sermons on the church website.

    Women in ministry, in my experience, run the gamut theologically. Those who asked me to supply their pulpits this past summer are quite evangelical. One of them sends me her sermons for critique each Saturday; the other worked with me in a church where I was interim pastor, and I heard her preach several times. Not a whisper of liberalism ... i.e., no diminution of the person of Christ, no denial of human sin and need.
     
  9. Jerome

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    Not if her name is Paige.
     
  10. billwald

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    (Still say that) Paul's early (real) letters taught total equality and his early churches were organized bottom up. His late (written after his death) letters were written in a time when churches were organized top down (bishop, priest) and stifled women. Of course, the church has always been pleased to let the women do the dirty work.
     
  11. JohnDeereFan

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    Show me a church with a woman "pastor" and I guarantee you that if we scratch the surface, we'll find serious problems with their doctrine.
     
  12. Marcia

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    The Bible does not teach stifling women. On the contrary, women were treated much better in Christianity than women were treated in the NT Greek culture.

    And God gives 2 reasons for women not having authority over men:
    Paul wrote these words but they are inspired by the Holy Spirit; these are God's word written by Paul.
     
  13. Jerome

    Jerome
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    ...on which we pile a number of caveats to make it compatible with our own modern ministry practices:thumbs:
     
    #13 Jerome, Oct 15, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 15, 2009
  14. Amy.G

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    How were Paul's letters written after his death?
     
  15. Joseph M. Smith

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    I think what billwald is alluding to is the suspicion, on the part of some NT scholars, that the Pastoral Epistles are not genuinely Pauline. There are several components to that argument, among them the perception that the ecclesiology of the Pastorals is more advanced (i.e., more developed, more complex) than that implied in the letters which are acknowledged to be Pauline. That argument really needs some other evidence to corroborate it; what other evidence do we have to show the development of ecclesiastical structure?

    Of course, those who are inerrantists not only do not think that conclusion is true, simply because the Pastorals purport to be from Paul; but also argue that the writer is merely the transmitter of God's words anyway.
     
  16. nodak

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    Marcia--some denoms and independents do not hold with the idea of the pastor being in authority over the church, but rather being the servant of the church.

    So because of that, they believe the scripture you quoted does not mean women cannot be pastors.

    When the old King James used the words "usurp authority" it may have been pretty accurate. Some folks hold that women were not to suddenly come in and wrench the authority out of the hands of the males. That could (perhaps) have been happening as women left the temples to goddesses, where they were in charge, and came to the church upon conversion.

    Contrary to popular belief, I wasn't around back then, so I don't know. My calling is to be a Sunday School teaching grandma, so I don't have a dog in the race. My pastor is male.

    Just thought I would toss in these thoughts since some assume those in support of female pastors either don't know the Bible or don't obey it. Truth is, some of them at least are very knowledgable about it and determined to obey it, but understand it differently. Maybe they are right. Maybe they are wrong. But it is more a matter of understanding what scripture means than ignoring it.
     
  17. Johnv

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    It's not necessarily mutually exclusive. Jesus had authority, yet he is the epitome of the servant model. Peter likewise was the head of the early church, and engaged in servitude. Even today, you have in the secular worls people such as police officers and forefighters, who are committed to service, but whose roles also carry a level of authority.
     
  18. Marcia

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    I do not think they are right. I have heard this argument before but it does not hold up since God gives the 2 reasons women are not to teach or hold authority over a man: Adam was created first, and Eve was deceived.

    One could say that teaching (which biblically is teaching God's word, which is what a pastor does) and having authority are one and the same, or that teaching involves authority.

    My pastor has given excellent sermons on this issue and shows how the Bible supports the view that women should not be pastors. I happen to agree. Looking at scripture and having been in numerous discussions/debates on the topic, both on the BB and in real life (LOL!), I have yet to be convinced that a woman being a pastor is supported by scripture.

    Just to clarify, I do not believe in dividing over this issue.
     
  19. nodak

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    Marcia--I think we agree more than disagree. On an internet forum it is easy to give a slam dunk proof text and think we have ended any argument about any issue. I probably misread you, for that it what it sounded like you are doing. I just wanted to point out that there are serious Bible believing folks, and some scholars, that do not see the pastor or teacher as in authority. IF that is the case, then women not being in authority over men would not apply.
     
  20. Marcia

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    Yes, I do know about these people. However, the passages I cited and others still give larger weight against women pastors rather than for, imo. I see zero evidence in the Bible for women pastors. I know the arguments the pro-women pastors use but these arguments are full of holes.

    However much I disagree with their view, I don't think it is as serious as other issues.
     

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