Seth Udinski, FISM News
As the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) marches forward amidst a tumultuous season of abuse allegations, reports of growing CRT popularity, and attacks on core theological doctrines, a trio of SBC leaders doubled down on the denomination’s firm commitment to uphold biblical complementarianism.
The trio includes Drs. Chuck Lelley, Richard Land, and R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of numerous theological works. Mohler tweeted the trio’s statement on Friday, which looks to strengthen the denomination’s historic affirmation of complementarianism.
Chuck Kelley, Richard Land, and I offer this statement about the Baptist Faith & Message in hope it will be both clarifying and helpful to Southern Baptists. @rdland @chuckkelleyjr pic.twitter.com/nNiD3LePoF
— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) July 29, 2022
Biblical complementarianism espouses that men and women, while equal in value before God, possess distinct and God-ordained roles in the family and the church, with the role of headship solely reserved for men.
In the church, this is exemplified by the office of pastor/elder being held exclusively by godly men, based on the Apostle Paul’s discourse on the matter in 1 Timothy 2, Titus 1, and other places in the New Testament. This stands against the doctrine of egalitarianism, which seeks to expand the office of pastor/elder to include women.
The statement from these men looks specifically at the definition of “pastor” in one of the denomination’s chief non-biblical governing documents, the Baptist Faith and Message. The leaders argue that the core tenant of being labeled “pastor” is the ability to preach and teach from the pulpit, as well as provide spiritual leadership and shepherding for the congregation. They argue there is no difference between the “function” of teaching from the pulpit and the office of pastor/elder.
Therefore, citing the Bible’s teaching that this role is reserved for men, the trio argues that the denomination cannot in good conscience allow women to be pastors and remain faithful to the teachings of scripture. Many outsiders and insiders both have urged it to allow for an egalitarian position, including author, former SBC public figure, and current SBC critic Beth Moore.
The document highlights the history of this argument and its confirmation under former Baptist Faith and Message Study Committee Chairman, Dr. Adrian Rodgers.
Dr. Rodgers was an instrumental theologian and pastor in the 20th century, and his work impacted thousands of up-and-coming spiritual leaders at the turn of the century, including FISM founder and president Dan Celia.