Church led by woman pastor forced out of Georgia Baptist Convention

Church led by woman pastor forced out of Georgia Baptist Convention

Julie Pennington-Russell on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

On November 11, 2009 the Georgia Baptist Convention adopted a policy that ended its 148 year relationship with First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia.  According to the Associated Baptist News,

Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell read a letter at the end of both worship services Nov. 15 from Robert White, executive director of the 1.3 million-member state convention. It informed her that messengers to the group’s recent annual meeting took action to declare them “not a cooperating church,” because “a woman is serving as senior pastor.”

The policy that declared the First Baptist Church in Decatur as officially disfellowshipped, resulted from a strict enforcement of the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message (BFM 2000) which made the issues of women pastors as a cause for dividing the church.  No longer is there room for personal conscience as far as women leaders in the church.  Wade Burleson writes that it is dangerous thinking to make the Baptist Faith & Message tier 1 primary doctrine so that “if a Southern Baptist expresses any disagreement with any portion of the BFM 2000, he is not a true Southern Baptist and is not worthy of leadership in the SBC. ”

Burleson goes on to explain why this thinking is so dangerous.

It is more ‘cultic’ than it is Baptist. If a Southern Baptist cannot point out where he/she believes the BFM 2000 is in contradiction with Scripture we are in trouble. In fact, if a Southern Baptist voices a disagreement with some of the interpretations of tertiary doctrines found within the BFM 2000, and we then begin to ‘question’ that Southern Baptist’s conservative credentials, we have prostituted our heritage as Baptists. Why? We will have placed ourselves in the very bizarre place of having people in the SBC being called ‘liberal’ when they champion their belief of the authority of the Bible over a man-made confession. Think about it — in 2007 it is possible for Southern Baptists to call ‘a liberal’ someone within the convention whose conscience is bound to the Word of God, and not the BFM 2000!

Burleson warned that the BFM 2000 used as a tool to force creedal interpretations of secondary doctrines beyond the intention of the BFM 2000 could tear about the Southern Baptist Convention.  Burleson writes:

Even worse, we now have people in the SBC who are attempting to move the entire convention to an acceptance of interpretations of tertiary doctrines that go far BEYOND those contained in the BFM 2000. Those who are demanding conformity to policies and guidelines that are based upon specific interpretations of tertiary doctrines, without giving room for disagreement, will ultimately destroy our cooperating convention.

The ABP reports Julie Pennington-Russell’s reaction to the disfellowshipping of her church.

“Obviously the severing of relationship after so many years is unfortunate and gives the world-at-large another reason to conclude that Baptists care more about putting people out than gathering them in,” Pennington-Russell said in an e-mail Nov. 16. “At the same time, I don’t think this came as a surprise to many in our congregation and to be honest, having a Southern Baptist affiliation has not been especially helpful when it comes to connecting with our largely unchurched community.”

The Southern Baptist Convention amended their doctrinal statement in 2000 to include the following statement about women pastors:

While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

Some who have taken this statement as a means to break fellowship with fellow Christians and sister Churches have also seen fit to remove women from teaching in Bible Colleges.  Apparently women’s gifts are not welcome in the area of Biblical languages either as the policy of restricting women’s gifts spreads to the seminaries and beyond.  Dr. Sheri Klouda found out that her credentials in Hebrew and her exemplary work as a teacher were not enough to stop her from being removed from Southwestern Theological Seminary for being a woman teacher.  In a turn-about after Paige Patterson became president of Southwestern, the issue of women teachers was made a doctrinal issue even though the BFM 2000 did not forbid women from teaching nor was Southwestern Seminary considered a Church.

 

Paige Patterson Profile on Women in Ministry by Cheryl Schatz

Paige Patterson apparently is one who believes that the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 is far too weak to be effective on the issue of women in ministry.  Recently he adopted a new policy at Southwestern Theological Seminary making the Danver’s statement mandatory in the hiring and evaluation processes of the seminary.  It appears that women need no longer apply for teaching jobs at Southwestern unless they are willing to teach cooking, cleaning, sewing or dining etiquette.

Is the Holy Spirit no longer allowed to do His work in churches, seminaries, homes and marriages?   Apparently there is a groundswell movement to restrict women to certain “roles” and there is even a teaching that unless women stay in their God-ordained “roles” as wives and mothers and refrain from teaching men, God will remove His hand of protection from them and allow them to be deceived by satan.

Did God really create a threat that He will open women up to deception if they don’t accept that there is a God-ordained office in the church that can make pope-like decisions on what a woman is or isn’t allowed to do that will qualify as staying within her “role”?  CBMW has made a black, white and grey list of things that may or may not be restricted to woman.  It appeared necessary to them since no such list could be found in the Bible.  The one thing that we do find in the Scriptures in regard to spiritual gifts and the authorized use of these gifts is found in 1 Peter 4:10, 11.

1 Peter 4:10  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter4:11  Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The Holy Spirit who gifts us as members of the church also authorizes our use of the gifts for the common good of the body of Christ. What God has authorized and gifted let no man call unnecessary or restricted from common use  (1 Cor. 12:21).

It is time to wake up and see what is happening to the body of Christ.   When men interpret the Scriptures out of its context in order to restrict God’s Holy Spirit when He is working within women, it is time to speak up.  It is not necessary to divide over this issue or to disfellowship Christians and churches for allowing the Holy Spirit to use godly Christian women in the gifts and authority to use those gifts that He has given them.  If we fight against our sisters in Christ, we are fighting the Holy Spirit and grieving Him.  We are not restricting our sisters in Christ half as much as we are restricting the Holy Spirit who desires to work in and through these women.

35 thoughts on “Church led by woman pastor forced out of Georgia Baptist Convention

  1. When I was a contractor, and needed to sub out part of a job, if I had not used a particular sub before, I would chat with them awhile about their work and we’d discuss how to do certain things in their area of specialty. If they knew what they were talking about, and everything else about them seemed acceptable, they got the job. If their explanations were just plain wrong, then I would not use them because I figured I couldn’t rely on anything they might say or do.

    Similarly, if the people you’re talking about here are this far off center on these issues, I personally would not trust anything they have to say on any topic in their supposed areas of specialty (the church/theology/Bible interpretation). I think we could be certain that some/many of their other ideas are also off base. We should avoid such groups and not support them with our involvement, attention or money. They only get away with this baloney because people continue to support it.

  2. “Similarly, if the people you’re talking about here are this far off center on these issues, I personally would not trust anything they have to say on any topic in their supposed areas of specialty (the church/theology/Bible interpretation). I think we could be certain that some/many of their other ideas are also off base”

    For me Sam, this is a general rule of thumb, excluding motive…I suspect the same thing.

  3. PP is so looked up to in SBC circles and it seems no one dares question this man. My question is where did he get all of this POWER? The damage this one man has done to the SBC is beyond repair. The downfall of a once great denomination continues. I keep wondering when women in the SBC say enough is enough.

  4. “to be honest, having a Southern Baptist affiliation has not been especially helpful when it comes to connecting with our largely unchurched community.”

    Pastor Pennington-Russell’s attitude is fabulous. The import (my anti-spam word, lol!) of her statement is exactly right. The church is there to reach the community and draw people in, not push them away. I wonder how many good, intelligent, capable women AND men in her unchurched community have given up on Jesus and faith because of lies told in God’s name?

    I hope that Pastor Pennington-Russell’s church will EXPLODE with new growth as they love people and preach Jesus! I might just go pay them a visit myself 🙂

  5. Your choice of scripture to promote women pastors is interesting. In 2 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, “Paul” (depending on who you believe wrote these passages) clearly states that women should not speak in church, much less teach or lead. There is also the issue of women keeping there heads covered in both these passages, but I see very few women in churches with hats or prayer shawls anymore.

    I am not saying that point above is correct, but remember that a good Biblical scholar (which I am not) can cherry-pick verses to counter your point as well as you have cherry-picked verses in support of your point. Unfortunately this article won’t sway anyone who doesn’t already agree with you.

  6. Jay, welcome to my blog.

    I think you mean 1 Cor. 14 and yes I do believe that Paul wrote Corinthians and 1 & 2 Timothy. You will find the answers to these verses here on my blog and also on my DVD set. We don’t believe in cherry-picking verses as context, context, context is key.

    As far as women covering their heads, Paul gave them permission to cover because the strong cultural mandate to cover would have brought severe repercussions to some who may have had non-Christian husbands. However the normal and natural Christian position was no headcoverings which can be clearly seen in 1 Timothy 2:9 where the women’s hair were uncovered and their elaborate braids were seen. Paul did not tell them to cover their hair but to show off their godly character through their good works rather than through expensive jewelery, elaborate hair styles and costly garments. There is no doubt that the women in Ephesus did not wear head coverings.

  7. Hi Jay,

    There have been numerous posts with massive discussion here on Cheryl’s blog related to 1 Timothy 2:11-15. The conclusion of Cheryl and those like minded here is that this passage isn’t even addressing the church setting, let alone “clearly state[ing] that women should not speak in church, much less teach or lead”. If you look carefully at the Greek and keep in mind Paul’s overall theme, which is false teaching, you will see that the last half of 1 Timothy 2 is about a specific woman in Ephesus who was engaged in false teaching and bullying of her husband at home. I invite you to check the topical index here and look into some of these discussions regarding 1 Timothy 2. I think you will find them fascinating and hopefully enlightening.

  8. “Your choice of scripture to promote women pastors is interesting. In 2 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2, “Paul” (depending on who you believe wrote these passages) clearly states that women should not speak in church, much less teach or lead. “

    Jay, if one does not know how to read a chapter in context, and lifts out sentences and pieces of sentences, one can indeed make them say anything they want. BTW I think you meant 1 Cor. 14. But if you read 1 Timothy chapter one as a whole, you will not find any new ‘law’ that forbids women from teaching or leading. Same thing with 1 Cor. 14.

  9. Incidentally, 1 Tim 2:11-15 is one of the passages I will be discussing in my “Show Stoppers” series of posts. If one depends strickly on a parsed reading of the (mostly horrible) English translations of this passage, one will definately come to the same conclusion that Jay has and it is almost impossible to have any valuable discussion about women in ministry. I believe a main focus of the egalitarian movement should be to clear up the confusion and mis-interpretation of this very important text. If clarity and concensus can not be achieved regarding 1 Timothy 2, it is a “show stopper” in the wider discussion of gender and authority.

  10. gengwell, knowing what we know about 1 Timothy 2 and a whole false doctrine built around the word, authenteo, how would you translate that word in that passage? I would be interested in hearing from others, too, who have studied this in depth.

    But folks like Jay believe what they believe mainly because Gen 1-3 has been taught so very wrong…which means they get 1 Corin 11, 1 Corin 14 and 1 Tim 2-3 wrong, too!

    Jay, do you believe women are saved by staying in their ‘role’ by bearing children? Many think 1 Tim 2 is teaching that, too.

  11. Lin – Interestingly, I have been thinking about authenteo a lot lately. The ASV reads “have dominion over” and a few versions refer to “rule”, which, if tied back to a proper understanding of Genesis 3 (which is certainly relevant in this passage), can have the proper negative connotation. That is close, but not exactly on the nose IMO. I would rather see “dominate”, for I think that, while only subtly different than “have dominion over”, still leaves the proper bitter taste in one’s mouth for the type of behavior this woman was exhibiting. And it is a little colloquial, and maybe seems somewhat androcentric a term, but “bullying” has a nice ring to it IMO.

  12. “I was thinking of ‘lording it over’?”

    Well, that certainly would tie the behavior back to Jesus’ teaching to the church on how we are to relate to each other within the body, especially Matt 20:25/Mark 10:42/Luke 22:25. I’m sure you were thinking specifically of those verses when you came up with that definition.

  13. Jay’s comment about cherry-picking is precisely the problem with the proponents of gender hierarchy. It’s really the only way they have to try and prove their point. I was reminded of the Apostle Paul talking about teaching “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27, in his talk with the Ephesian elders about the problems in store for them.) That seems to me to be the complete opposite of “cherry picking.” It’s much more what Cheryl and the rest do here in looking at the whole context.

    Hunting through Logos to find the verse, since I couldn’t remember exactly where it was, I found this fascinating comment written in 1937:
    “The student who is not prepared to lay aside all prejudice and has not become possessed with a desire to know “the whole counsel of God” is ever in danger of being led into controversy over the mere captions of theological systems, sharing in all the misunderstandings that result therefrom. Theological captions are words with which prejudiced writers often conjure.”
    Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 94 (94:216-217) DTS

    Is there any way to persuade our hierarchy brothers to lay aside prejudice and become possessed with a desire to know the whole counsel of God?

  14. It’s a slow day, so….

    We have covered this ground countless times but it is worth going over again for Jay’s benefit.

    Here is an edited 1 Timothy 2:11-15 using phrases from different translations that come closest to the true Greek meaning. I have inserted the bible version in parenthesis when a specific translation was used, or “common” if all translations carry the same meaning with only slight word variations.

    11 Let a woman learn in peace (Complete Jewish Bible) and all humility (Good News Translation) 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach (common) or to rule a husband (Young’s Literal Translation); she is to remain at peace (CJB). 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve (common) 14 And Adam was not deceived (common), but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience (Hebrew Names Version). And she shall be saved through the child-bearing (YLT) if she and her husband (Weymouth NT) continue in faith, love, and holiness with self control (common).

    I have italicized three important phrases that are almost universally incorrectly translated.

    The first is in verses 11 and 12 and is usually translated “silence” (utterly wrong) or “quietness” (right if you take it the right way). This Greek word hesychia actually deals with your demeanor in a situation, of which verbal expression may or may not be an element. The word is what we might use wishfully when talking about people with ADD and refers to a calm or quiet disposition. The Complete Jewish Bible is the only one that captures the meaning of this Greek word unequivocally correctly with their translation of “in/at peace”. What is important to learn from this specific issue is that the passage has nothing directly (and maybe nothing at all) to do with women speaking (or speaking out/up) in formal church services. Put simply, it does not at all mean verbal “silence”.

    The second key translation is of the Greek verb ginomai (“to become”) in verse 14. The verb is in the perfect tense but is almost always translated as if it were English past tense (typically, “became” in bible versions). But the perfect tense in Greek conveys past action with continuing results. The transgression that is spoken of regarding “the woman” is current and ongoing. Therefore, the woman in view in this verse can not be Eve (although her deception and its result mirror Eve’s). Note also that in the Greek the definite article is present with “woman”, dictating that it is a specific individual, not a generic representative of all women. This passage is speaking about a specific Ephesian woman, not Eve and definitely not all women. Only three versions get the correct tense of the verb in this phrase – The Hebrew Names Version as listed, the American Standard Version, and the World English Bible.

    The third and final key translation is regarding the “child bearing” spoken of in verse 15. Every translation except 2 translate this as the child bearing activity of the woman, or even worse, all women. Only Young’s Literal Translation and God’s Word Translation correctly note the use of the definite article and translate it “the child-bearing” (although the GWD mysteriously pulls all women into the translation through a parenthetical addition). So, the salvation spoken of in this verse is not some works based salvation for the woman (or all women) but comes through the birth of The Child – Jesus. Another note is that the salvation is yet to come, confirming that “the woman” can not be Eve.

    There are, of course, other translational problems with this passage depending on the version being reviewed, but these are the main three. I also have taken some liberty with the few translations that refer specifically to husband and wife because, although it is not literally stated (and can not be in Greek where there were no separate words for husband and wife), there are plenty of hints that a husband and wife are in view (as opposed to the completely unsupported idea that all women and all men are the object of this teaching).

    If I were to single out one of these translational issues to focus on, it is the fact that verses 14 and 15 refer to an individual woman, it is a specific woman, and it can not possibly be Eve because it is a living woman who is still in transgression and whose salvation (or restoration) is in the future. That leaves only one possible choice: a specific living woman in Ephesus. Since it is universally accepted that verses 11-15 are all tied together, the only logical conclusion is that this woman was engaged in false teaching and domineering behavior toward a man (most likely her husband) and it was that specific circumstance, not some global “church” problem, that Paul’s instruction to Timothy is regarding.

  15. Thanks, gengwall. This is actually the first time I’ve seen it all in one place.
    BTW I visited your blog but couldn’t get the link in your ShowStoppers article to take me back to the previous posts. Don’t know if it’s just me or the link is broken . . .

  16. Thanks Imb. The link is supposed to go to the first post in the former series and then you can leap frog from there. I will check it out. I’m sure I forgot a quote mark or something somewhere.

  17. Hey, gengwall. Though I am a missionary I’m definitely NOT with the IMB!! ROTFLOL I’m lmb (as in a “lamb” belonging to Jesus). See, now all your greek grammar is rubbing off on me because I can’t say “lamb of Jesus” because that could be construed to mean something else . . . And I suppose if we think of Hebrew grammar, since I didn’t point my letters, you might think I was a “limb.” Limb of Jesus, reaching out to the uttermost part of the earth.
    Oh, no, I really need to get serious and get back to work!
    I’ll try your page again later. I really liked installment one, though!

  18. Hi everybody.

    Couldn’t hang around earlier, as I was off to a business dinner. Just made it back.

    Just to be clear, the comments I presented in my original post are not my beliefs. I was merely pointing to the fact that this original article was discussing the role of women in the church without refuting the (typical) arguments made by the other party in the debate. Hence, pulling a couple of short passages can easily make any argument sound Biblical on the face.

    I agree that the most likely real intent of 1 Timothy 2 was to teach instruct with respect to societal concerns. To believe that Christianity would enforce the silence of all women and in essence place the men before women have missed a large part of the teachings of Jesus. (Of course, the Christians still supported slavery for centuries after Christ, so …).

    Gengwall, the translation to “in peace” is an interesting one for me. I had not seen that passage presented in that way. Thank you for continuing my education. 🙂

    Y’all have a great evening. I’m off to bed (in Germany, so it is late).

    JAy.

  19. Hey Jay – thanks for the clarification. Could you see the storm clouds rising? Playing devil’s advocate (maybe quite literally in this case – oh no!) can ne risky business around here. But we are all square now.

    I highlight the translation of hesychia for good reason as I’m sure you can see. One of the main pillars of complimentarian doctrine regarding 1 Timothy 2 is the demand for the literal silence of women. It is absolutely crucial that Christians understand that silence isn’t even in view in the Greek text. The bible versions with “quietness” make a small step toward the correct meaning of the verse (“quietness” can mean either silence or calmness) but they aren’t clear enough about the proper meaning to even make someone take notice (nor am I sure they intend to be clear). Only one obscure version makes a clear and accurate translation. Kind of got our work cut out for us to spread the word.

  20. ”The damage this one man has done to the SBC is beyond repair. The downfall of a once great denomination continues. I keep wondering when women in the SBC say enough is enough.”

    Personally Tom? I think it would be more highly effective if more men stood up, and said ‘enough is enough’.

    ”Apparently there is a groundswell movement to restrict women to certain “roles” and there is even a teaching that unless women stay in their God-ordained “roles” as wives and mothers and refrain from teaching men, God will remove His hand of protection from them and allow them to be deceived by satan.”

    It amazing to me that they worry about the women so much that they completely miss the fact that the bible normally speaks from both sides of the equation.

    I will never forget the day that Uncle – a Baptist missionary – saw the split of the SBC over the roles of women with such disgust. He looked at us and told us, “If I had known they were going down this road with their attitudes towards women? I wouldn’t have chosen to be a Baptist when I decided to do my work for the Lord.”

    It seems that statement from Adam keeps resurfacing! If they feel when they can’t get people to ‘do church right’ its that ‘woman you gave me! She won’t let me ‘rule over her’ they way you had in mind!”

    Its such a blessing to see men like my Uncle here, and in other places in my life. I know there are others within the Baptist church that don’t have this view of scripture, and I hope they rise up against this teaching. lol We know they will use the women to help them as well! Heck they will support them as well when the woman wants to lead in some fashion as well. Its okay to see gifts and not just gender.

    I seriously have to wonder if this is all based within insecurity at its very core. They are being deceived that their version of roles that has allowed them to Lord it over people is good.

  21. Pastor Julie Pennington-Russell. She is blessed.
    Doesn’t it say – all things work together for good for
    those who love God and are called according to His purpose?
    Sounds like God is having mercy on Julie?

    Pastors? Hmmm?

    What is truth is not always popular.
    What is popular is not always truth.

    Does anyone have the “Title” pastor in the Bible?
    Is anyone called “Pastor” in the Bible?

    Do Titles become idols?
    Do Pastors become masters?

    Didn’t Jesus tell “His Disciples” Not to be called master?
    Mat 23:10

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about, and exhort us to,
    “hew down “the graven images” of their (our) gods?”
    Deut 12:3

    Don’t we make the “Title“ Pastor a “graven image?”
    “Engraven” on office doors for everyone to see.
    “Engraven” on dipomas, that are hung on office walls,
    “Engraven” on business cards, that are handed out,
    on the Sunday morning bulletin, on the street sign,
    and anyone who reads them knows who “the Pastor” is. Yes?

    Is that “self-honoring” and “seeking glory?”
    Seems Jesus warned “His disciples” about those things. Yes?

    John 8:54
    If I honour myself, my honour is nothing:
    it is my Father that honoureth me…

    John 7:18
    He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory:

    Has the “Title Pastor” become a “graven image?”

    Micah 1:7
    And all the “graven images” shall be beaten to pieces…

    Isa 42:8
    I am the LORD: that is my name:
    and my glory will I not give to another,
    neither my praise to “graven images.”

    Jer 50:38
    A drought is upon her waters;
    and they shall be dried up:
    for it is the land of “graven images,”
    and they are mad upon their idols.

    A land of “Titles and idols” in the heart. Ezek 14:3-7
    Senior Pastors, Associate Pastors, Youth Pastors,
    Single Pastors, Reverands, Right Reverends,
    Most Right Reverands, Fathers, Priests, Clergy,
    and the list goes on…
    Are any of those “Titles/idols” in the Bible?

    Didn’t Jesus make Himself of no reputation,
    take on the form of a servant,
    and humble Himself? Phl 2:7”

    SBC Hmmm?

    Religion is the system, NOT the relationship.

    Praise God for all things.

  22. “I will never forget the day that Uncle – a Baptist missionary – saw the split of the SBC over the roles of women with such disgust. He looked at us and told us, “If I had known they were going down this road with their attitudes towards women? I wouldn’t have chosen to be a Baptist when I decided to do my work for the Lord.””

    It hurt many because they eventually required missionaries to sign a document saying that women should not teach men. Now think if you are in in Africa and your husband is out in the bush for days working with planted churches…. Yes, you are going to teach men who show up at your straw hut church.

    But because they refused to lie and sign the document, they had to leave. Some are my family members who had been in Africa 18 years. They offered to sign their bible but that was not good enough for the PP’s and Al Mohlers of the SBC.

  23. Lin,
    That is such a sad story and it is a shame to the church. Sometimes I really wonder why God allows these men such control in His church. I guess we just do not always see His wisdom and why He is being so long-suffering to those whom we would probably give a shoulder check to if we could. But God is Sovereign and He will call people to account one day. At the very least, many of those who are first today will be last in eternity.

  24. Cheryl

    “Sometimes I really wonder why God allows these men such control in His church.”

    What makes you think that “control and minipulation” is going on in “His Church?”

    Isn’t there a big difference between – the church of man and “The Church of God?”

    1-“The Church of God,” (the ekklesia, us,) is purchased with His blood.

    1-“The Church of Baptist” (or what ever name) (Church of Man, Lutheran, etc)
    purchases us with things that are of the world. Fear, flattery, security, friends,
    sense of belonging, building the kingdom of God, etc. Those things that feed the flesh.
    Power, profit, prestige, salary, retirement, flattery, invitations to speak, titles, etc.

    2-“The Church of God” is built and added to by Jesus. It’s His body.
    I will build my church… Matthew 16:18
    And the Lord added to the church daily those who should be saved. Acts 2:47

    2-“The Church of Baptist” is built by man.
    With programs, seminaries, conventions, crusades, tithes and offerings sermons,
    guilt and commitment sermons, bring your neighbor to church sermons,
    submission to authority sermons, etc.

    3-“The kingdom of God” comes not with observation, it is “within” hidden.
    It is the rule, the “reign,” the dominion, the goverment of God in one’s heart.
    This government shall be upon Jesus’ shoulders.

    3- “The kingdom of Baptist” is “without,” names on church buildings,
    schools, credentials, diplomas, business cards, phone books,
    written “I believes,” rules and regulations, how to dress, how to speak,
    where it can be “seen.”

    “…let us build us a city and a tower,
    whose top may reach unto heaven;
    and let us make us a name…” Gen 11:9

    It is the rule, the “reign,” the dominion, the goverment of Baptists.
    This government shall be upon Southern Baptists Conventions shoulders.

    4- In “The Church of God” you serve one master, Jesus, and we are “one,” brethren.
    The Lord is our shephered and we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
    None call themselves leader or shepherd. All are one in Christ, brethren.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
    John 10:16

    There is, One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd.

    4- In “The Church of Baptist” you serve many masters,
    some more equal than others.
    You have hierarchy, local leaders, youth leaders, church leaders,
    board leaders, district leaders, denominational leaders.
    You have, leaders – followers, clergy – laity, shepherds – sheep,
    And you have separation. You have some lording it over others.
    You have the beginning of spiritual abuse.

    There are many voices – many shepherds – many leaders.

    5- When “the Church of God” comes together, meets,
    everyone can participate. And is expected to participate.
    Everyone is needed to participate for the building up of the body.

    How is it then, brethren? when ye come together,
    every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine,
    hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation.
    Let all things be done unto edifying.
    1 Corinthians 14:26

    5- When “The Church of Baptist” meets,
    only a few participate. Pastors, elders, “so called” leaders,
    choirs, ushers, sunday school teachers, etc.
    Most in this meeting are spectators, pew sitters,
    expected to pay, pray and obey.

    What makes you think that “control and minipulation” is going on in “His Church?”

  25. That’s the problem, Amos Love.

    I think it’s part of our fallen nature to get attached to status and titles, forgetting that the leader’s role is truly to serve, not to be power-hungry, manipulative, bossy, or what have you. And we’re toast when we do.

    The fact is, Jesus told us that whoever wants to lead must be a servant, and that the last will be first, and the first will be last. This runs counter to our fallen, me-first way of being. We get so attached to titles because we think they make us “something”, forgetting that the Word of God already tells us who we most truly are: treasured children of the Most High God (to borrow a phrase that’s been used around my church). If we spent more time in the Word and let GOD speak that truth into us, we’d be much better off.

  26. Alison

    “If we spent more time in the Word and let GOD speak that truth into us, we’d be much better off.”

    Much agreement.

    Deuteronomy 4:36
    Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice,
    that he might instruct thee.

    John 18:37
    To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,
    that I should bear witness unto the truth.
    Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

    When Jesus Himself tells you…
    Alison, you are MY treasured Child.
    And I love you just the way you are…

    It’s priceless…

    Peace…

  27. Thanks Fritz for posting the link, and welcome to my blog!

    I know that NT Wright has been a very strong supporter of women in ministry and for that I am grateful. I haven’t read through the entire article yet, but I do have a problem with a couple of things that I did read. Wright says:

    And that salvation is promised to those who contribute to God’s creation through childbearing, just as it is to everyone else.

    This view doesn’t fit the grammar which makes “childbearing” a noun and not a verb and it is a definite childbearing since it is a definite noun.

    Secondly Paul advocated singleness as the best way to serve God if one is able to bear this and for him to say that salvation comes through bearing children doesn’t fit the gospel message.

    Also Wright said:

    15She will, however, be kept safe through the process of childbirth, if she continues in faith, love and holiness with prudence.

    This is one of the views of verse 15, but it fails the test of truth since many godly Christian women are not kept safe through the process of childbirth so it appears to be a false promise (or false prophecy). We can better understand the verse if we keep in mind that it is “THE childbirth” (noun) which quite easily fits to the One who came through the woman – the Messiah Himself.

  28. I’m thinking of joining the Baptist church in San Diego that my friend George is trying to revive.
    Maybe it’s my Methodist upbringing, but I was totally astounded that the church’s constitution (which I understand I am to believe without disagreement). It read that I shall uphold (in this order): 1. The Bible, 2. God, 3. Jesus Christ, and 4. The Holy Spirit.
    I would think that the Bible should be pushed down to a very weak fourth place. My understanding is that the book, valuable as it is, is a biography of God’s commands and of His relationships with His people but it is NOT God.
    So I find it hard to read further and accept this church’s constitution stating that “Women shall not be leaders int he church”. (I guess it is considered an unapproachable subject in a Baptist church…although of the 5 people remaining in the church George has chosen to lead, FOUR are women.)
    I was watching an older, very conservative TV pastor speak the other day and he said this: “For all those in an uproar on one side or the other, I went to the original Greek wording and it says, not “Women should not speak in church” but “Women shall not CHATTER in church”. A big difference there.
    I would think anyone who says that he speaks with authority on this issue should have done the research that this pastor did. Otherwise all this noise about women not being allowed to be leaders is pettiness (see Jesus speaking about burdens in Matthew 23:4 or Luke 11:46) or a defense of a wordly position.
    Perhaps read Baptist theologian Albert Mohler’s thoughts on Hanna Ronin’s article “The End of Men? A Hard Look at the Future” in the Atlantic. If men cannot/will not do the work and the learning needed to become leaders in today’s world, then how can they be counted on to do the work and learning needed to become leaders in today’s churches?

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