SBC Pastors Sign Letter Calling for Exclusion of Women Pastors

At least 805 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) officials and pastors have signed a Northern Virginia pastor’s letter urging for a change in the convention’s constitution to explicitly prohibit women from holding the title of pastor.

Details of the Letter

Based on a report by The Washington Times, Arlington Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Mike Law, Jr. has issued a letter titled “A Call to Keep Our Unity,” which urges the SBC Executive Committee to amend the SBC constitution.

The letter specifically calls for the SBC Executive Committee to require churches under it not to appoint women as pastors in any capacity.

“I felt the need to offer this amendment because five Southern Baptist churches, roughly within a five-mile radius of my own congregation, are employing women as pastors of various kinds, , including women serving as ‘Sr. Pastor,'” Reverend Law said in his letter’s preamble.

Law explained that he calls on the SBC leadership to approve an amendment, which would state that all member churches within the denomination not to “affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”

The pastor explained further that the proposed amendment would help ‘clarify the ongoing confusion’ within SBC, which states that only men should be appointed as pastors.

Additionally, Reverend Law contends that appointing women as pastors in different churches within the SBC undermines its unity.

“Abiding women in the pastoral office materially harms the work of the Convention because it cultivates disunity where we have long been united,” the pastor argued.

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SBC-affiliated Churches With Female Pastors

Pastor Law identified at least congregations affiliated with SBC with women holding pastor positions.

These member churches include the Greenbriar Baptist Church, Memorial Baptist Church, Convergence at Fair-Park Baptist, the Church at Clarendon, First Baptist Church of Alexandria, and Columbia Baptist Church.

Some of the churches Reverend Law mentioned denied they are under the Southern Baptist Convention.

Memorial Baptist Church Pastor Rev. Drew Hill said they had not been linked with SBC for many years. He added that he had informed Reverend Law about it.

Meanwhile, Convergence at Fair-Park Baptist’s Rev. Lisa Smith told The Washington Times via email that their church is “not affiliated with a national organization.” A routine check, however, revealed that the church is listed as among the SBC’s local congregations.

Reactions to the Letter

Alexandria’s First Baptist Church Interim Pastor Rev. Wayne Jenkins explained that their congregation “has been an outstanding supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) since the Convention’s organization in 1845.”

Their website incidentally has two women listed as pastors – Senior and Contemporary Adults Pastor Carolyn Jenkins and Children and Women Pastor Kim Eskridge. 

Meanwhile, Reverend Hill said he ‘grieves the most’ about SBC’s “failure to connect their patriarchal and patronizing theological view of women with the gross mishandling of widespread sexual abuse among SBC churches and institutions.”

SBC, which has 13.7 million members, told through its spokesperson that the Executive Committee will hear Pastor Law’s proposed amendment on February 2023.

The proposed constitutional amendment must secure at least a two-thirds vote from delegates for two successive yearly meetings for it to pass.

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