Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Divine Authority Is Never Office or Gender Based

The unbiblical Southern Baptist thinking in some quarters regarding 'authority,' 'ordination,' and 'women in ministry' is both profound and dangerous in terms of the advancement of God's Kingdom.

Rather than acknowledging that authority flows from Christ and that the power of Christ to minister and serve is dispensed through the Spirit gifting believers as God sees fit, the Southern Baptist Convention is looking remarkably more and more like the Roman Catholic Church.

 In Roman Catholicism, the church possesses all authority on earth, the Pope decrees authoritative bulls, and a hierarchy of authority flows down from the Pope to the parish priests who are the sole authority in their respective congregations. This teaching is absolutely contrary to the Bible.

According to Scripture, there is only One head of the Church or local churches and all authority is His, given to Him by God the Father. For a man or woman in the church to possess any authority, it must come from Christ directly. Christ's authority is not dispensed by the church's bestowal of any office, but by the Spirit who dispenses spiritual gifts that empower the believer to serve others in the power of Christ. In short, the authority of Christ in the world is always evidenced by service, for He said:
"The greatest among you shall be your servant." (Matthew 23:11)
When the church recognizes the gifts of the Spirit in a person that enables and compels them to serve the body of Christ or the world in general, then the church sets that person aside for particular service by the laying on of hands. This setting aside for the purpose of service or ministry within the church (teaching, shepherding, serving), or sometimes in the world (evangelizing, missions, etc . . . ) is simply the Body's recognition that Christ's power has already been bestowed through the dispensing of unique spiritual gifts.

Unfortunately, many in the evangelical church have succumbed to the error of the Roman Catholic Church by calling this setting aside of God's servants 'ordination' and assume that 'ordination' bestows some magical power or authority. This so-called power, according to those Southern Baptists who hold to this belief, is always assigned to an 'office' that has been reached via the ordination. Accordingly, only those set aside by the church to this office have the authority they need to minister or serve others.

So, according to this very unbiblical and narrow ecclesiological thinking of some in the Southern Baptist Convention, only ordained pastors have the authority to do pastoral ministry. To me, the problem in the Southern Baptist Convention is not the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message prohibition that women cannot hold the 'office' of Senior Pastor, but rather, the underlying problem in our Convention is that those who pushed for the prohibition have the belief that the only people who have 'authority' to minister in the church are those who have been given an 'office' of authority by the church.

Thus, any woman who even begins to even approach ministry that looks like the ministry of one who holds 'the office of pastor' is being personally shamed, or publicly removed from positions of service.

Flowing from this fraudulent authority that has infected the thinking of Southern Baptists are some very strange practices:
No missionary has the 'authority' to baptize except those who occupy an 'office' of spiritual authority via ordination.
No believer has the 'authority' to dispense the Lord's Supper except those who occupy an "office" of spriitual authority via ordination.
Nobody has the 'authority' to teach the Bible to men in the church or at seminary except for those who occupy an 'office' of spiritual authority via ordination.
No chaplain has the 'authority' to minister to people but those who occupy an 'office' of spiritual authority via ordination. 
We've created artificial offices of spiritual authority that are anti-New Testament, pagan in origin, and detrimental to the church.

Nowhere in Scripture is this idea of a mystical 'office' of authority taught.

Let me repeat. Nowhere in the inspired, infallible, sufficient Word of God is the idea taught that the power or authority to minister or serve is associated with an office that is received through ordination. 

The prerogative to bestow authority is Christ's alone; the Church's responsibility is to recognize that authority which Christ has bestowed by observing the unique gifts, service and calling to the minister that is being exhibited in the believer.

The Biblical Teaching Regarding Authority and Service

If a man or woman within a local church were to ever assume authority because of his or her position granted by the church then Christ's authority is being usurped (Ephesians 4:5,15).

 A believer should concern himself with serving, and never be concerned with 'authority.'

Likewise, if a church or convention were to ever begin believing that a person automatically possessed authority because of a position that the church bestowed, then there is the danger of missing out on thrills and joys of seeing God's kingdom expanded on earth because we begin to exclude or discount the ministries of God-called and Spirit-gifted women from serving or ministering to people because they don't hold 'the office' (i.e. 'they haven't been ordained'). L

et me show you how the New Testament never put an emphasis on any mystical 'office,' but called the church to recognize the gifts, callings, and ministries of people that God had added to the church.

The New Covenant people of God are particularly bound to the New Covenant (Testament) writings since the Old Covenant has been fulfilled by Christ and done away with (Hebrews 1:2, Acts 18:28).

For those who struggle with the phrase 'done away with,' the New Testament uses even sharper language like 'abolished.' This is why we do not offer sacrifices, celebrate the seven Jewish festivals, follow the Jewish dietary laws, etc.

Whereas in the Old Covenant you had it made if you were an old, Jewish male holding the office of priest or king (which was a legitimate office), in the New Covenant, all believers in Christ - both male and female, young and old, rich and poor, Greek and Jew - are priests and kings (co-heirs with Christ). Christ, our Head, is the King of kings; we are His Body.

New Covenant believers are responsible to the Head individually, but we also have a responsibility to fulfill in terms of each other (Rom. 14:4, Eph. 5:21). All believers, not just men, are priests and servants of God. All believers, not just men, are gifted by God. All believers, not just men, are under the authority of the Head of the Body, Jesus Christ. Therefore we must all take our place among the Body to minister according to the gifts He has given us for the good of us all (1 Corinthians 12-14). It is God who gives us believers spiritual gifts to minister, and it is Christ the Head to whom we answer in the use of those gifts.

There are certain members of the body, both men and women, who become a gift to the body of Christ in unique ways. God has gifted and given these people to the body for the purpose of equipping all the members of the church for ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). When the New Testament describes these individuals, no emphasis is placed on any "authority" they possess that is derived from any "office" they hold. Rather, the people of God in the church have observed the Kingdom advanced through the servant leadership of those gifted individuals. It is not the 'office' that bestows any power, but Christ who empowers the servant leadership.

Part of the confusion in the minds of some Southern Baptists over this issue may arise from the King James Version translating the word 'diakonia' in Romans 11:13 with the word 'office.' Unfortunately, the KJV translation is a poor one, simply because 'diakonia' means "service or ministry."

This is important. So, let me show you again the difference between a service and an office, and why authority arises from service and not an office. When Paul, a Jew, desired for the Gentiles to listen to his teaching, he reminds them of his ministry or service to them - not any imagined office of authority. The King James Version of Romans 11:13 reads:
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office
Some Southern Baptists read this and think that there is something about this mystical office Paul holds that gives him authority - and they ought to listen. For this reason, many Southern Baptist pastors put the emphasis on the 'office' of a pastor, and tell their congregations that they must listen to them because of the office their pastor, which gives him 'authority' over them.

But that is NOT what Paul is saying in the text. Paul is reminding the Gentiles that his message ought to be heeded because of his ministry and service among them. Under great persecution, with nothing to personally gain, this Jewish man named Paul put his life on the line at the hands of his own people (the Jews) in order to serve and minister to the Gentiles. The English Standard Version translates Romans 11:13 this way:
I am speaking to you Gentiles, inasmuch as (I have been sent) to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry (to you).
While it is true that in the Old Covenant, the concept of 'the office' of the priest is a position of authority, in the New Covenant Scriptures, the words that would imply some kind of official "office" are never used. For instance, in Romans 12:4 the King James poorly translates the Greek word "praxis" this way:
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office.
The Greek word praxis nowhere means 'office,' but rather speaks of or one's action or function. The English Standard Version correctly translates this same verse, Romans 12:4, this way: "For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function." In other words, we do not all minister in the same way. We do not all serve in the same manner. It has nothing to do with an office.

In 1 Timothy 3:1 the word office is nowhere in the text at all. Let me say that again. The word 'office' in the following verse is not in the original:
If anyone aspires to the (office) of overseer, he desires a noble task.
The original literally says, "if anyone aspires to oversight (epikope), he desires a noble task" The sacred text speaks of a task or a ministry of service - not any mystical 'office.'

Authority is to be experienced in the assembly because of the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit obvious in the believers. In one sense, the entire body shares authority (Ephesians 5:21, 1 Peter 5:5), but in another sense, there are times when we recognize one another's gifts, knowledge, or experiences in the Lord and we choose to serve under or submit to another believer's servant leadership because the Holy Spirit has empowered them with special gifts and has anointed their ministry or service through the functioning of those gifts. My father, Paul Burleson, clearly articulates that this is the key to understanding the authority of anyone who ministers in the local church or is sent by the church to minister to others. He writes:
No one has authority BECAUSE they have a stronger personality, knows more Bible, or they hold an office. That is foreign to the New Testament. Paul the Apostle had to defend his Apostleship by virtue of it being the work of the Spirit setting him aside for it. 1 Timothy 5:17 speaks of those elders that "give oversight well" and "are worthy of double honor." It is that "giving (of)oversight well" that is the source of their authority. They defined it as Holy Spirit anointing. In other words, the anointing of the Spirit makes clear the authority that rests on a ministry done well, not the office holder.

An Illustration of Female Ministry Through Anointing

Servanthood is the badge of genuine Christian living and is to be the overriding characteristic of whether or not someone is a true minister. Josephine Scaggs was a female missionary to Africa working under the auspices of the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

She was the first white woman to actually go to the jungles of Nigeria and establish a Christian church. She also founded a pastors school and a medical clinic. Jo had to get permission from both the British government and the Foreign Mission Board to go to Nigeria. When the Foreign Mission Board initially refused, she said she was going to resign and go anyway because her ultimate authority, Jesus Christ, had told her to go. The Board relented, and it was a good thing.

This Southern Baptist woman led thousands of people to Christ, baptized them, and then taught and trained them herself. All told, Josephine Skaggs led 1700 of her converts to become Christian pastors.

During one of our Southern Baptist Conventions in the 1950s, Josephine stood before the Convention during the Foreign Mission Board report and preached to the messengers on their sin of racism. She asked why they would send her and other missionaries to Africa to share the Good News with black men and women but Southern Baptist Pastors would not allow them in their churches. This was the same year that W.A. Criswell, who occupied the 'office' of pastor at First Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas, delivered a message praising segregation and calling anyone who proposed desegregation 'heretics.' Dr. Criswell later repented and confessed his sin by saying "Never have I been so blind."

This anecdote illustrates the difference between the authority of ministry and the authority of an office.

Besides Josephine Skaggs, Southern Baptists have had women like Lottie Moon and Bertha Smith, women whom leaders of the Conservative Resurgence claim as some of their heroes. These women constantly ministered among men, taught men in seminary classes, preached behind the pulpits of some of our greatest Southern Baptist Churches, and led thousands of people to faith in Christ. These women, were they alive today, would be faced with the horrible possibility of not even being recognized as true, gifted and powerful servants of God.

Could it be that the Southern Baptist Convention is in danger of losing sight of real Christianity and the ministry of God-called, Spirit-gifted, Christ-honoring women because we have fallen into the trap of believing there is something sacred and authoritative about an 'office?' Have we lost sight of the teaching of the infallible Word of God that real authority in the church comes from service as the people of God, both men and women, are empowered by Jesus Christ?

Let me be both emphatic and clear. I was not personally bothered by the BFM 2000 prohibition on women serving as 'Senior Pastors,' nor am I interested in amending the BFM 2000. I thought the prohibition should never have been included in the Confession, and I said so at the time and continue to say it. If a local church, either in the states or overseas, identifies a woman with spiritual gifts and the empowerment of the Spirit to serve and minister to their congregation, then the decision to call that women to 'oversee' their flock is the autonomous decision of that particular congregation.

To issue an edict about prohibiting a particular action of a local church in a doctrinal confession no less seems to me to establish both a hierarchical authority within the convention and negates the cherished and historic Baptist doctrine of the autonomy of the local church. That being said, my interest today lies in waking up Southern Baptists to the problem that is the undercurrent of why some felt the need to push that particular prohibition - a faulty view of 'authority' and from whence it rises.

Implications for Us Today

We are in danger as a Convention of having men hold the 'office' of a pastor, bestowed on them by congregations who lack any understanding of biblical authority. These pastors are then allowed by their congregations to exert absolute authority. They will often call for blind submission to their every decision - even though these pastors have not exhibited servanthood which is the very evidence of real, biblical authority.

Even worse, we are in danger of losing some of our most gifted, God-called, Christ-honoring Southern Baptist women from our seminaries, colleges, churches, agencies, mission fields, and other places of service because we are refusing to follow the clear teaching of Scripture and acknowledge that real authority flows from gifted service as empowered by Christ - and is not gender or office based.

You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.


Anonymous said...


Well done, and very biblical. Blessings in abundance to you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your clear insight. Don't stop.
Ken Colson

Anonymous said...


I'm glad that we have you to guide us through logic, reason, and fairness. Otherwise we may be forced to rely on the Holy Spirit and God's Word. Keep it up.


Anonymous said...

I am absolutely delighted to meet a fellow conservative, evangelical brother who holds to a high view of Scripture and puts in writing what I have believed for six decades. If readers will follow the logic and Scripture which you show clearly set forth, they will see that the issue is NOT 'should women serve as pastors in the local church,' but rather, 'who does the church recognize as the person suited for the high calling of shepherding God's people.'

I couldn't help but chuckle at the anecdotes you give about Josephine Skaggs. Contrary to some in your convention who seem to demand males alone be given authority - but don't know what to do when a woman empowered by the Spirit of God begins to minister her gifts - you have laid out a biblical rationale for why the church, and your convention, should recognize them for who they are.

Well done.

Anonymous said...


If you would like me to guide you in being able to read the Word, since it is obvious you can'tread the Scriptures given in this post, just let me know. My email address is

Tom Parker said...


Who are you? When you make such inflammatory statements please so brave to identify yourself.

Robert Hutchinson said...

that's it! i'm through with this blog! when a man blasphemously rewrites the only authorized bible he has gone too far! this, i cannot abide!

Anonymous said...

I take it that you do not believe Hebrews 13:17 is referring to the pastors of the church?

"Obey your leaders (or rulers) and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." Heb 13:17 (HCSB)

Greek Word: hgeomai

1) to lead
1a) to go before
1b) to be a leader
1b1) to rule, command
1b2) to have authority over
1b3) a prince, of regal power, governor, viceroy, chief, leading as respects influence, controlling in counsel, overseers or leaders of the churches
1b4) used of any kind of leader, chief, commander
1b5) the leader in speech, chief, spokesman

—Strong's Greek & Hebrew Dictionary

And, even if you drop the word "office" and use the word "ministry" (or something equivalent), isn't the Scripture clear that some ministries are for men only? (Bishop for example in 1 Timothy 3) said...


Surely you jest.

:) Grin

Robert Hutchinson said...

surely. :) said...

Pastor Hillard,

Good question. Of course we submit to our leaders - but the evidence that they are our leaders is their servant spirit, their servant ministry, their servant leadership. Nowhere are we called in the New Testament to blindly submit to any pastor who demands submission because of my office, but I promise you, I submit multiple times, every week, to godly men and women who in my church who have exhibited the kind of servant leadership of which I have written.

As to your last statement:

Isn't the Scripture clear that some ministries are for men only?

I challenge you, on the authority of God's sufficient word to name ONE (not two, not three, not four), just ONE that the Bible makes CLEAR is a ministry for MEN only. I look forward to the identification of that ministry or service that is prohibited for women. said...

And will obey the prohibition when revealed.

Anonymous said...


I have not even read the whole thing yet, but I wanted to say "THANK YOU" for writing on this topic.

You have given me something to chew on brother.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Alright, back to your post...



Bob Cleveland said...



When I study the matter of gifting in the Bible, I see that, in various places, God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus are ALL involved in the giving of Spiritual gifts, to believers. Giftings are so important that the entirety of the Trinity seems involved in the granting thereof.

How, then, could someone deny a gift simply because the recipient is a woman? Can someone REALLY base that on Paul's simple statement as to something HE didn't let a women do where he was? That seems ultimately dangerous, to me, with all its implications.

Chris Johnson said...

Brother Wade,

This post was well written IMHO,

A quick question:

In the 1 Timothy passage, are no doubt correct of the renderings that make it to the final translation. I notice that the ESV, does qualify this ministry with the “he” later in the string while the NASB and others double that by placing emphasis in the beginning of the string of translated Greek terms. Do you believe the ESV translation is implying male servant leadership in the church with regards to overseer (episkopē)
or is something else coming through in the translation.


Baptist Theologue (Mike Morris) said...

An interesting quote about Lottie Moon:

“Miss Moon, true to the traditions of her Virginia upbringing, taught the women and girls only. . . . She had been brought up under the most rigid interpretation of the limitations of women in the work of the gospel. ‘I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over a man’ had been the authority for that interpretation in her thinking. Yet here were men with eternal souls asking her, who knew the way of life, to tell them of it. She had often had men to stand in her classes of women, but never before had she come face to face with the question of teaching a class of men. There was no man missionary nearer than Mr. Pruitt in Tengchow, and he could not come. With characteristic energy she cut the Gordian Knot of her problem. She told the men to come to the threshing floor to which she had moved her class of women in order to have room for all who wished to come. There was ample room for the men to sit back of her and with books in hand to study the scripture with the women who sat in front of her. She taught the women—if the men studied along with them, she was sure even Paul would not have objected!”

Una Roberts Lawrence, Lottie Moon (Nashville: Sunday School Board of the SBC, 1927), 141-142.

Anonymous said...

I shall look into that. I do confess that I stumble over "the husband of one wife". What do we do with that?

Anonymous said...

For clarification, it isn't necessarily that a Bishop must be married that I'm focusing on but I'm pointing out Paul's deliberate focus on men.

Anonymous said...


In the light of Exodus 28:41, I have wondered if the New Covenant church has erroneously allowed an Old Covenant priesthood to exist and have simply "renamed" that priesthood pastors/elders/bishops?

Sure not all of the "called out ones" [Ekklesia] are to function as pastors, but if there is a fundamental divide going on between pastors and nonpastors that is akin to the fundamental divide between priests and nonpriests in the Old Covenant, then surely that is unbiblical.

In fact, I think the affirmed language of "clergy/laity" promotes that kind of division.

What you are hitting on here could be revolutionary in my opinion.



Anonymous said...

I share the following for discussion:

Quote from J. Ligon Duncan III

"Finally, in I Timothy 3:1,2,4 and 12, there is the interesting description of the qualifications for the officers in the church, elders and deacons. Here we are told, "It is a trustworthy statement, that if any man aspires to the office of overseer," so already there is role discrimination, "it's a fine work that he desires to do. An overseer must be the husband of one wife." And notice again that what is said about the overseer? He manages his own household well. Well, if he's not the head of the household, how can he be singularly held responsible for managing the household well? Paul then makes the passing comment, that if a man does not know how to manage his own household well, how will he take care of the church? In verse 12, the same thing is said of deacons: "Deacons must be husbands of only one wife, and good managers of their children and their own household." So, in all of these passages, Paul and Peter explicitly say that there are role relationship distinctions between men and women in the church and in the home. Notice, these are all New Testament passages, in the post-Pentecost period, and these role distinctions are all over the pages of the New Testament." said...

Chris Johnson,

I believe that, unfortunately, in the world of academia, this issue of 'male' authority has become to some - definitely not all - a dividing point. I am grateful for solid complementarians like Sam Storms and John Piper, as well as solid egalitarians like Dr. Gordon Fee, Pastors Dave Johnson and John Zens that make it possible to debate the issue peacably, in Christian charity.

I remind people all the time that the Ryrie Study notes (and in this case, the ESV foot notes), are not inspired texts.

By the way, we are anticipating a conference sponsored by our church and Enjoying God Ministries in the fall of this year that will debate these issues. Some of the presenters will be those who were on the Translation Committee of the ESV. said...

Pastor Hillard,

I like your spirit. You ask good questions and are kind. You may have assumed that I have arrived at the position that 'overseers' may be female in my church. That is necessarily the case. I am arguing that the ministries conducted by overseers should not be prohibited to exclude females.

I am ambivolent on what other local churches do regarding the official calling of their elders to any 'church office' that the church has established by constitution. One would assume in a culture which Paul found himself, he would assume that the church would call a male. My church, because of confessional (BFM), personal, and cultural reasons will call males to be the elders or pastors, but we will not hesitate to have women teach the Bible to men, preach the gospel of Christ, evangelize the lost, baptize converts, etc . . .

All my post does is lay out a biblical case for women functioning as pastors. Whether a local church calls a female to be the 'office' of pastor as defined by their consitution - not the Bible - seems to me to be a local church matter and none of my business. said...

I'm off to ministry. One of our hometown boys is being buried today after giving his life in Iraq. Then, off to OKC to hear my friend Sam Storms speak.



Chris Johnson said...

Brother Wade,

Sounds like an interesting conference.


Lin said...

The beauty of biblical truth, as we see in this article, is that ONLY God gets the glory when we do it His way. Not the 'ordained office' holder.

Scotte Hodel said...

This comment fits better with yesterday's post, but here goes:

I find it ironic that both of the major missions offerings in the SBC are named after women.

I presume that, at some point, expositing and teaching were involved in their work.

Christopher B. Harbin said...


I appreciate the direction of these last blogs. Unfortunately, it is too little too late for me. The CR/Takeover was guised as being about the Bible, but was about power and control. We have delayed too long in standing up for the truth.

Ends do not justify the means, and I have seen more than a few devious ploys used to harm people who were in the way. It has not all been about women, but neither has it been about "liberals". It has been about "who will toe the line I draw."

Grace and peace as you seek the way of Truth.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hilliard:

1 Tim 3 has been discussed ad nauseum in some preceeding threads. There are very good points on both sides of the issue.

If you are a baptist, you may want to reconsider quoting a padeobaptismal preacher who wears robes to preach as a primary source for baptists on any secondary doctrine. :o)


Anonymous said...


Your comments regarding the Catholic Church reminds me of the saying, “ignorant people say stupid things”. I’m sorry I read your post today.

Don Poole

greg.w.h said...

Mining from the article about Criswell:

The most famous member of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Billy Graham, was quick to
distance himself from Criswell’s remarks, telling reporters: “My Pastor and I have never seen eye to
eye on the race question.” The Christian Century tempered its criticism, suggesting that Criswell was
not the Southern Baptist pope, but spoke only for himself. Others, however, implied that Criswell
was in fact a kind of populist version of a Baptist magisterium. T. C. Smith observed, “It seems to
me that Criswell now considers himself as the authority among Southern Baptists. A little power
has gone to his head. Perhaps he even considers himself as a sort of a Southern Baptist pope.”
Criswell appeared to be stunned by the reactions. He admitted to being especially struck by a
personal letter from Porter Routh, the executive secretary of the Southern Baptist Convention,
who confessed to having been painfully awakened in the middle of the night by the burden of
Criswell’s ugly racist diatribe. Routh apparently contacted Criswell about newspaper reports on his
South Carolina address, and in a letter dated March 23, 1956, Criswell replied to Routh and
enclosed a copy of his address to the South Carolina Joint Assembly. Implying that he had done
nothing for which he should be ashamed, Criswell wrote, “See if the address is what the newspaper
reported.” Still, the intensity of the reactions to his “fiery talk” caught Criswell by surprise and
continued to weigh on him over the years.

Sound familiar?

Greg Harvey

Cynthia Kunsman said...

Dr. Patterson better get busy on that new SBC catechism!

(God bless Wade!)

Anonymous said...


I have read your blog off and on for a while and have enjoyed hearing your thoughts on the state of things in the SBC.

Until very recently, I would have agreed with the argument you present regarding authority in the church, especially regarding your contrast of the equal authority of all believers with the monarchical, hierarchical system in the Catholic Church. However, recently I have begun to question some of the Baptist assumptions I have grown up with.

First, there is nothing unbiblical with the idea of God setting up a hierarchical organization to govern His children: as you point out, the Hebrew priesthood was a legitimate office established by God in the Old Testament, and so was one of the things that was not abolished, but fulfilled by Christ.

Second, I would disagree with the idea that there are no offices set up in the Church. It seems that the office of apostle was very important to the early church: Paul argues in several places for his status as an apostle and the authority that entails, and the apostles met in Jerusalem to issue authoritative decisions in Acts 15. Additionally, early in the second century we have Ignatius of Antioch writing things like, "the bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the presbyters are to function as to the council of the Apostles, and the deacons, who are most dear to me, are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ."

Finally, I completely agree that the model for leadership presented in the Bible is servant leadership, but this is not to the exclusion of more direct expressions of authority. As in all things, Christ is our model: He is unquestionably the Lord of the universe, but He also washes His disciples' feet. I would point out that one of the official titles of the Pope is "Servant of the Servants of God", so the Catholic Church recognizes that the best way to lead is to serve.

Again, I have often sympathized with your frustration over the issues facing the SBC today and urge you to continue your work in the service of Christ.

Steven R.

Anonymous said...

The basis of a shepherd's authority is to watch and take care of the flock. One is not to merely undermine their ability in such a task. Even Paul and Luther sought not to undermine a noted leader's office, rather they exposed them for what they were or by authority of God's word showed them that they were wrong. The office has an authority, they don't have absolute authority that is rendered to Christ. In restrospect to women like Lottie Moon and other women, most likely they were best suited to serve God in such a capacity. The Glory is the Lord's anyway. Burleson you will fail in your attempt in trying to find some hermenuetical pursuit for women leadership. It is more about the fruit that falls from that leadership wether it is female or male that often validates. I was told by a deacon that served under a minister that was part of the Conservative Resurgence group. After that pastor left, the deacon mentioned that the pastor was a good preacher but not really that great at being a pastor. Pastoring is more than just good preaching. That seems to be the argument that is missing. I know a very good woman seminary graduate that could have been a champlain but her church would not ordain her. The hospital could end up getting someone else with a very liberal view on Christ to replace her. This is what I mean about fruit.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe it!

This post has been up for awhile and it only has 33 comments thus far. I guess the concept of Romanism is less offensive than "A Contaminated Pulpit and Other Strange Things" in the last post.

Paul Burleson said...


I thought you and others might appreciate one of the comments made on the post I did to which you linked. [thanks for that..I'm honored.] I thought it was a good, simple but profound point he made. He asid....

"I can't tell you how eye-opening it was to study this relationship between Christian servanthood and spiritual authority. It's so much more authentic both for the leader and for one who accepts that leadership, to see the authority vested in the servant's TASK, rather than in the leader's POSITION. That frees us to obey the biblical admonition to "submit to one another (i.e., to actual people, rather than to positions/offices) out of reverence for Christ."

EXCELLENT point I thought.


Steve said...

I have to tell y'all, I've been listening to preachers straight out of the "1850's barefoot-&-pregnant school" all my life, but the egalitarian writings being presented here seem to carry so much of a true Spirit of what Christ would say. The traditionalist talk of fewer roles for the women gifted by God just sounds so wooden, worldly, and wasted.

g."bear"allen said...

I actually met a student working to get her doctorate under Klouda and Bullock, the student was working on her thesis on the women in the anabaptist movement. I was stunned to how much she knew on baptist heritage and how little I knew on the heritage in which Anabaptists weer drowned by some contributors to the Reformation. None of the ministers I had growing up ever talked about this aspect of Baptist history. I was very familiar with Martin Luther but that was it.

Lin said...

g bear,

Here are a couple of good resources if you are interested in the history of persecution of Ana Baptist by Reformers and Catholics: (free e-book)

Step Children of the Reformation by Leonard Verduin

Cynthia Kunsman said...


You wrote The traditionalist talk of fewer roles for the women gifted by God just sounds so wooden, worldly, and wasted.

This is a thing of beauty as is this post.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing. I confess I am a little surprised at your comment. You mean to tell me that if one is a
“padeobaptismal preacher who wears robes to preach" then that nullifies any thoughts they may have on other doctrines? Shallow. I really don't see the point of your comment. If you go back and read, you'll see that I clearly did not present the quote "as a primary source for baptists on any secondary doctrine". I presented it because I found it insightful and pretty good, imho. I was just interested in what others might have to say about it.

If we are left with only quoting people who are “baptist” (as if this blog hasn’t shown us the difficulty of agreeing on the true definition of that title), then woe is us. I’ll quote a catholic, mormon, Methodist, moderate, liberal, fundamentalist, the beatles, Mariah Carey, Jay Leno, Ben cole, Lucy, or even Obama, if I think it adds to the conversation.

Sorry, you left me perplexed on your comment. It is interesting that on a post and comment thread that is predominantly demanding more "openness" I find that you are bothered that I use someone who doesn't fit the "Baptist" label but yet had some insights of depth and meaning.

Oh, and for the record, yes I am a full blooded Baptist (SBC, BFM 2000 kind of Baptist).

No hard feelings though. :)

Anonymous said...

I've always had trouble with the reasoning that women couldn't serve as pastors because that put them in a position of authority over a man. Yet, in the church, there is no human authority, including the pastor. Even Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, and who holds all authority in heaven and on earth, became a servant to model leadership for us. The church in which I grew up had a pastor for a while who would incorporate foot washing with a Lord's supper service with the congregation gathered around tables. Maybe we need to practice that once or twice a year, as a reminder.

Interesting that you mention W.A. Criswell. I think it is worth pointing out that his wife Betty taught a Sunday School class, quite theological in nature, for years in Coleman Hall at FBC Dallas, and that the class numbered many men among its regular members.

Anonymous said...

More about fruit. Fort Worth has a problem with four new "gentlemens" clubs in the area this year and they are squabbling about getting women out of the seminary?

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hilliard,

I, too, am perplexed. You see, much ado has been made of ppl, baptism (as in who baptizes who and where) and women's roles in SBC circles. We have made it primary. Even to the point of signing documents!

So, I am confused as to why we are not careful about learning from and promoting someone who baptizes babies. Is that baptist? Isn't that strange? And hypocritical?

If a ppl is not 'baptist' and therefore not allowed for certain missionaries, trustees, etc, then surely baptizing babies isn't either. Perhaps you could convince our leaders to explain that this to me.


J. Guy Muse said...

I have read with much interest the past few days of posts. Each day I have wanted to comment something to the effect--right on!--but today's post is so important and is at the heart of what I see as a major obstacle for us completing the Great Commission in this generation. The whole "authority" issue and the way we choose to interpret/misinterpret the pertinent Biblical passages related to this subject to conform them to our traditions is a major issue that MUST be dealt with. I confess there are still things that I am not 100% sure about, but what I do know is that what you write today is at the heart of the matter.

Keep bringing these uncomfortable issues to the forefront. For the sake of the Kingdom, we cannot keep them in the background.

Anonymous said...


I just want to be sure I am understanding you on this subject. If a person, pastor, or church holds to a complementarian view point of the Holy Scriptures... then they are "Discriminators", "Racists", "Extra-Biblical" and "Catholic".

I for one, am glad Wade is above name calling. :)

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

Lucy said, "If you are a baptist, you may want to reconsider quoting a padeobaptismal preacher who wears robes to preach as a primary source for baptists on any secondary doctrine. :o)"

Ouch! I can't imagine the microscopic size of my oft-referenced "quote list" if I had to listen to Lucy and cross off all the great men she may disagree with on any particular issue.

And especially if she looks on the outward appearance of man (i.e. what he wears!)

Even the insincere smiley face thrown in at the end doesn't relieve this sting.

I would call Piper and tell him he's an idiot and his books are stupid if I hadn't lost his cell number.

Wise word Lucy.


Anonymous said...

I am confronting the chaplaincy issue for the first time. I just learned that the SBC will not ordain females to the chaplaincy (an official ruling of the trustees of NAMB). This is an interpretation of the BFM's statement: "While
both men and women are gifted
for service in the church, the
office of pastor is limited to
men as qualified by Scripture."

I don't think hospital chaplains excercise any kind of authority in their positions, and they are not serving in the office of pastor, so the only concern is that they might be in a position to lead a quasi church service in a hospital prayer room. (Military chaplains might be in a different category since they might serve in a pastorlike focus is on hospital chaplains). So, we really are saying that a female cannot be in any position where she might be talking about the Bible within ear shot of male ear drums.

Why do we even accept females into SBC seminaries? I pastor a church in Fort Worth, and we have several wonderful female SWBTS students in our church. But they have no chance in finding employment in the SBC world (unless they can marry into it). Of course, they can fight over the few full-time children's ministers positions. We won't even allow them to visit the sick in the hospital with the love of Christ because they might be asked to share the goods news with a male.

I used to think that SBC accepted females in ministry except in the role of pastor, but when you look behind the curtain, what they are really saying is that women cannot be in any ministry role that might put them in a position where they would be teaching any male over the age of 12. God help us all.

Todd Pylant

Anonymous said...


You have made a classic “commenter” mistake. You have lumped me in with all the others. Often when there is a difference on one issue, we assume that it is the same in all the others.

Concerning ppl and the baptism issue, I too am not in agreement with the recent trend in the SBC. My view on women’s roles are still developing but up to this point have been in agreement with the SBC. I do not see ppl and the baptism issue as primary but I do see certain issues pertaining to women in leadership as primary. So, you see, you have assumed much about me simply by lumping me in with the others who I may have agreed on one issue but not necessarily all.

As for your following statement:

“So, I am confused as to why we are not careful about learning from and promoting someone who baptizes babies. Is that baptist? Isn't that strange? And hypocritical? If a ppl is not 'baptist' and therefore not allowed for certain missionaries, trustees, etc, then surely baptizing babies isn't either. Perhaps you could convince our leaders to explain that this to me.”

This has nothing to do with the current debate. In giving the quote I in no way advocate support for all his positions. Again, I ask you, does his baptizing babies nullify his views on other doctrines? Surely, your answer is no. Please read more carefully what I have written. I did not “promote” him. I quoted him. Quite different. As for learning from him, I believe we can learn from everyone. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Scriptures quote the devil doesn’t it? The Scriptures do not agree with, promote, or support the devil. The Scriptures quote him. Seems even the devil’s own quotes can teach me a thing or two.

With that, I’m off to more “meaty” conversations.

Anonymous said...

"Again, I ask you, does his baptizing babies nullify his views on other doctrines? Surely, your answer is no."

It most certainly is a red flag that all his views should be questioned very carefully. I mean, baptizing babies in the NC is ridiculous. Perhaps you can tell me where he gets that out of the NT?

I heard somewhere he is out speaking for CBMW now. Another red flag.

by the way, Dusty Rhoades did an excellent teaching on Hebrews 13:17 for the Examiner a while back.

Here is an except:

"But, someone says, "What about Hebrews 13:17?" This is usually the first scripture cited to "prove" that elders have authority. It says, "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account...."

Now, go through the verse and pick out the word "elder." If you cannot find it in the verse, look for it in the context. You are right! It is nowhere to be found. Is it not strange that the main text to which those who advocate "Elders Rule," does not even mention "elders"? It is assumed beyond a shadow of a doubt that verse 17 is talking about elders. Then, it is welded into a law of God that this verse gives elders the authority to rule over the congregation.

Two other verses in Hebrews 13, verses 7 and 24, are very similar to verse 17. It is unclear who the Hebrew writer had in mind. Verse 7 reads: "Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith." Notice the past tense treatment of "had the rule." Verse 24 states: "Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints...." It is very possible that those "that spake unto you the word of God" were the first to preach the gospel to them, including the apostles themselves.

Robert Milligan, a great scholar of the nineteenth century, published a commentary on Hebrews in 1875. Commenting on verse 7 Milligan wrote:

"Remember them which have the rule over you: Or more literally, Remember your leaders (hegoumenon) who spoke (elalesan) to you the word of God; carefully considering the issue of their manner of life; imitate their faith. The reference is to such men as Stephen, James the brother of John, and other faithful preachers of the Gospel who had formerly proclaimed to the Hebrews the good word of God...". (Commentary on Hebrews, p. 375}.

Milligan did not understand these verses as granting authority to groups of elders in congregations as is conceived in the twentieth century. He did see that among groups of Christians there were those who would be respect-fully followed as spiritual leaders, among which would be preachers and teachers of the word of God.

Certainly, elders may be included in Hebrews 13:17, but this verse does not give authority to them in the same sense that is assumed and taught by so many today. Admittedly, if we accept the English words which have been supplied to us, first by the King James translators, and then by the translators of the past one hundred years, we might conclude the authoritarian position is correct. But we should do a word study to determine if we have been given the right English words that convey the proper meanings of the Greek words used in the text. I am convinced that the King James translators, laboring under an "institutional church" mentality, selected the strongest words possible which conveyed the idea that the people must submit to the authority of the Clergy. In this way King James could control the people through the Church, of which he was Supreme Ruler. (For more on this theme consult this author's article, "Church": From God or From Man?" The Examiner, January, Vol. 2, No. 1). Our word study will reveal that the most logical words which could have been chosen to give the true meaning of the originals were overlooked because they would "soften" tremendously the assumed sense of the verse and do away completely with the authoritarian emphasis."

Lucy said...

Todd Plyant,

Bingo, my friend. Tomorrow's post will unveil the curtain on chaplains and the SBC - something that should cause all of us who are Southern Baptists shame.

Robert Hutchinson said...

more shame?

1 a: a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.

more of that! ugh!

when will it end?

Tom Parker said...


People really need to wake up as to what those that lead the SBC are trying very diligently to do with the role of women. It blows my mind in 2008 that men can fear women so much. This attitude towards women is destroying the SBC. The SBC IMO is being ignored by most people.

CB Scott said...


What has happened to the chaplains is sad. I do hope you give it a fair assessment in your post.

We could have had female chaplains without ordination. For that matter, we could have had male chaplains without ordination. Both genders could have served without it.

The chaplaincy is not the role of the local church pastor.

It is within the role of the local church pastor wherein gender is a question. The argument that the role of pastor of the local church is for men only is a very strong one.

These other prohibitions are at best questionable and in all reality extra-biblical.

Therefore, I ask you to be careful to lay aside any political motivation when you post in regard to the chaplaincy situation. Far too many good people have been hurt in that arena, both male and female due to theo-political nonesense.

cb said...


I can assure you, without hesitation, that there is not one ounce of political motivation in these posts. There is a deep and keen conviction that the gifted women of the SBC are being abused, placed on the shelf, and treated as if they are in sin for operating in the power of the Spirit's giftings and fulfilling the ministries to which God has called them.

To correct that problem is my sole goal.



Anonymous said...

What we are now seeing is exactly what those who resigned rather than sign the BFM 2000 feared. Do you now have more sympathy with their arguments? It really did not take one being much of a prophet to see that these outcomes might follow the first time ever an official document of the SBC prounced an official interpretation of Scripture (How else are we to take "as qualified by Scripture"?) and a blatant disregard for the autonomy of the local congregtation. To rule out of order an action which might recognize gifts and calling from among 50% of a church's membership is neither wise nor Scriptural. I agree wholeheartedly with the authority coming from the service vs the office.

Unknown said...

By keeping women out of any ministry where we might minister to men, the SBC is going down a dangerous road. While the ones who say women shouldn't be senior pastors or elders have good arguements; even if a person doesn't quite agree (which I don't), I have to admit the arguements are good ones. However, to restrict women from other roles is going directly against several portions of God's word. And it's also worse than disqualifying 50% of the body for service. If little boys see that their daddies do not take women's teaching seriously, will they? If women are not allowed to minister, will their faith be taken seriously? It's been my personal experience that if a pastor doesn't allow women to minister he doesn't take them seriously at all. This can be a very crushing experience to a young woman who is just trying to know Christ.

Anonymous said...


Dusty Rhoades? Didn't you mean Dusty Owens?

Anonymous said...

Aren't you quoting from a website that, "Primarily, it examines doctrines peculiar to the Church Of Christ, the Christian Church, and the Disciples of Christ (churches of "The Restoration Movement")"?

Someone is a little inconsistent.

Anonymous said...


You said, ..."by the way, Dusty Rhoades did an excellent teaching on Hebrews 13:17 for the Examiner a while back."


Dusty Rhoades is either:

Dusty Rhoades...the Simple Country Lawyer... the Writer... the Living Legend!

Author of "THE DEVILS RIGHT HAND" Written by Dusty Rhoades


...or perhaps you meant to spell his last name Rhodes? In which case he would be:

Virgil Riley Runnels, Jr. (born on October 12, 1945), better known as "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, is a semi-retired American professional wrestler currently working for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). He makes occasional on-air appearances on the RAW brand and works as a backstage booker and producer on the ECW brand.

Rhodes is a 3-time NWA World Champion and former NWA Georgia Heavyweight Championship. He has also won many other championships during his wrestling career. He is a member of the WCW, WWE, and Wrestling Observer Newsletter Halls of Fame. (From Wiki.)

Either way, it seems you dislike quotes from pado's but relish quotes from wrestlers and / or simple country lawyers who write books about the devil.

I also noticed that you passed along a quote from King James. You might want to rethink that by your standard once you review the full life and history of King James.

:) (sincerely)

Anonymous said...


Dusty Owens also said, "The spiritual gifts that we read about in the N.T. belong to that age. They served a purpose. But, that age is over, and we are left with the product of the Holy Spirit, the complete revelation of His will, written to help us "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." It makes no more sense to try to imitate the use of these gifts today, than it is to feel responsible to build an ark or to construct a tabernacle. These things, like the gifts, belong to an age when God used them for a specific purpose. Once the purpose was fulfilled, and having no more use for them, He set them aside. We would do well to study and come to understand all about them, but to leave them where they belong - to a previous age."

I believe his study on Heb. 3:17 is interesting and isightful. But should I now disregard it because I find that he doesn't believe the spiritual gifts are still valid today?

I don't know why I'm indulging in this subject matter. I guess I simply find your reasoning outlandish.

Anonymous said...

I guess I simply find your reasoning outlandish.

Thu Apr 03, 12:57:00 PM 2008

Why? I am using the EXACT same reasoning our SBC leaders are using when it comes to ppl, baptism and women.

It is showing absurdity by being absurd. It IS absurd, isn't it.

I thought Duncan was the perfect example since he is involved with

On second thought, perhaps wearing robes to preach is not so absurd. I am almost positive Peter must have worn one, too. :o)

Blessings! Lucy

Robert Hutchinson said...

to quote rev. j.w.m. williams from the the 1884 sbc,

"I am afraid the women will work without us if we don't permit them to work with us."

and they would probably do a better job. now, that would be shameful.

in richmond during the 1888 sbc the women met "in the broad street methodist church in their fifth annual meeting" and voted into existence "a Southwide organization composed of the state central committees."

when the vote was taken,

"The Southern Baptist Convention was in session at the First Baptist Church a short distance away. While the women were forming the organization in the Methodist Church, there was an uneasiness in the Convention. The attitude of many there might be expressed in the words of one pastor who, suffering that same uneasiness, said he always felt it safer to attend the women's meetings, as "You never could tell what the women might take to praying for, if left alone." The discussion on the Convention floor as to the organization grew heated. Some predicted the women would follow other women's organizations and control their own money, send out their own missionaries,desire to serve on boards, and, in the end, seek to run the Convention."

"However, on the second day of the Convention, the following report was adopted without a word of discussion: "That this Convention and all its officers and employees encourage the formation of women's missionary cirles and children's bands in all our churches and Sunday Schools for the double purpose of exciting interest in mission work, and raising funds for the spread of the Gospel." Which provoked the comment by the Christian Index reporter, "This reminds us of the forcible reply of our Saviour to those who would hinder the woman in her effort to serve her Lord and Master, 'Let her alone.'"

barnes, w.w. "the southern baptist convention 1845-1953." pg. 154.

Anonymous said...


Chaplains in the Military come from mixed denominations. Fist of all there are two types Protestant and Catholic. I would Very much prefer a Baptist/Woman as a Chaplain than a Presbyterian/USA(Liberal) Woman as a Cchaplain. This is not the same as a Presbyterian/PCA(Conservaitive).
So why would we Baptist not want to send forth are Best Women to witness to the Millitary Women? Why because we are STUPID !!!.

In His Name

Anonymous said...

Sorry guys, I was just reading something earlier that referred to some 'dusty roads' and I translated it into this man's person's name when writing. I am sure only women ever do this. Mea culpa.

It is 'Owen' and I suspect, with his denominational ties, he may believe in baptismal regeneration. Just like the Campbellite Christian pastor who speaks at SBTS quite a bit. But, I do need to check on this detail.

Still, I am trying to figure out why all the dogma on secondary doctrines in the SBC when our leaders show such inconsistencies....

Blessings, Lucy

Unknown said...

I guess it's good to define a 'senior pastor' since it is talked about so much. Anyone?

my thoughts are that is only valid to differentiate between senior pastor and junior pastor when there are more than one in a church (that is local church, not parachurch organisations or seminarys).
The 'senior pastor' could be the one called the executive pastor or something similar--the one who carries the most authority in the pastoral duties. Any one who preaches a sermon is not necessarily a pastor so women can preach in churches.
of course, I believe this whole definition is moot because the office of pastor (or shall I say bishop) who preaches and runs the church is unbiblical.(I mean it was never to be an act with spectators no matter how heartfelt)

However other people don't so a definition is useful.

PS I am not the anonny Michael said...

Robert Hutchinson,

Well done, my friend. Thanks for the quotes.

Tom Parker said...


Maybe the solution is not to ordain the males and the females for the chaplin positions so as to be consistent. said...

Yes, Tommy, I do.

CB Scott said...

Tom Parker,

You have made the point as it always should have been.

They simply could have been commissioned as chaplains, male and female.

Wayne Smith made a good observation about our rationale.


Anonymous said...

Just a question:

Didn't the SBC go broke at one time (maybe twice)a the women raised money to bail them out?


Anonymous said...

Didn't the SBC go broke at one time (maybe twice)a the women raised money to bail them out?



Ah, but that would have been a pink ministry and permitted... As long as they weren't preaching or ministering while they were fundraising

Anonymous said...

CB, what do you think of what Guy Muse said?

Guy, I thought you had one of the key comments in this thread.

truth, not religion said...

OK, now I am able to sign in.

I asked a question earlier about the women bailing out the men and someone responded with something about pink ministries.

If memory serves me correctly, the women came to the rescue of the bad mismanagement of the men and I believe the women raised about $1,000,000.00 to save what men had almost destroyed.

Someone correct me if I am wrong. I think I am close to accurate.

Kinda reminds me of the verse where God Himself looked down after He created Adam, rubbed His forehead and said (in frustration) "I CAN'T LEAVE HIM DOWN THERE ALONE, I MUST GET HIM SOME HELP." Then He created Eve.

I know that verse is in the Word (all but God rubbing His forehead in frustration) but I am not sure of the nature of the women bailing out the men. Although I know it happened.

By the way, if some can add things like “drinking is wrong” even though the Word never says so and Jesus drank, then I can say “rubbing His forehead in frustration”. It’s only fair…..right?

As always Lord, I am praying for the Pharisee's and Knuckleheads.


shadrach said...

Wade, Thank you for this post. I really am glad to see folks standing up for the servanthood of church leaders and the ability of women to serve as Spirit-filled proclaimers of the Gospel.

Also thanks for keeping the emphasis on this as a periphery issue, but an important one. I really do pray for Dr. Patterson and our trustees.

CB Scott said...


I think Guy is very close in saying what I wish I could convey.

I think we need to let the Bible speak. We then need to obey.

Also, there is no private interpretation. The Bible does not say one thing to me and another to you. It speaks the same to both of us. The problems arise in our understanding.


Anonymous said...

Regarding women in ministry, the Catholic Church has a great tradition in this regard. We can look to women Saints, Doctors of the Church, countless nuns and lay servants who have in the past centuries, and up this day, ministered in wonderful and effective ways. It seems strange that your denomination is still trying to get this matter settled.
Your concern is with the current SBC leadership and the issue at SWBS, yet this conflict over women in ministry is quite old, is it not? If you have Biblical support for your overall position as a denomination, why are you suffering through this conflict? Your source of authority doesn’t work so very well, does it? Possibly we Catholics have it better, and, are more in line with the intentions of the New Testament in matters of how the Church is to function. Just expressing my own thoughts on the matter, and am not trying to offend.

I have been close Southern Baptist people for many years, and truly admire you.

Many Blessings,


Christopher B. Harbin said...

I am glad there are so many praying for Dr. Patterson. Perhaps it is time for a few more of them to wake up and let him know where he has stepped out of bounds. I am afraid that too many will still feel too threatened to speak truth to those who control the SBC leadership.

Alan Stoddard said...

I served in the Army Infantry for 11 years. I was a Christian for 8 of those years. While in the Army, I had contact with a lot of chaplains. Most of those chaplains, even the SBC chaplains, were not very aggressive and seemed theologically disconnected. In other words, chaplains won't take a conservative stand in a culture of liberalism. Chaplains are live in a conservative culture, but military conservatism is different than SBC conservatism. Most chaplains of non-SBC denominations are liberal.

I'm not sure if a female chaplain is the same as the pastor of a local church. I think you have dropped a serious example for us to work through.

Female chaplains are up against a few things: first, they are women in a culture dominated by men. I knew of one woman who could out walk a man, but not with an 80lb rucksack on her back for 12 miles. A female chaplain would be challenged also by any real ability to be among the men in the field. She would struggle to have real camaraderie or community. In the military she would face genderism that would make SWBTS look wimpy. But the difference is in the military I can understand male domination. We read of very few women who fought in OT battles. men are meant to be the ones who fight. But in the church, and especially at a seminary, there's no reason for the same kind of male domination.

I know there are examples of great women in the military who are doing it. Not every situation will be in an Infantry environment. So, I can see the right woman as a chaplain and being effective.

You've got us thinking Wade. You definitely know how to barrage a topic. I'm looking forward to your next post.

Anonymous said...


Great post. This should be shared in all SBC pastoral ministry classes! I am afraid that some of our leaders have a "Ruler" fixation (OT, "The Lord's Annointed") and they teach it to our seminary students under the guise of "Pastoral Authority." I could not find the term "Pastoral Authority" in the BFM 2000....

It appears to be easier and more attractive to teach our aspiring pastors that everyone should submit to them as they would Christ instead of teaching and modeling Christlike, servant leadership. This may be the most important issue is the SBC....

Gary said...

wtreat said:

"As always Lord, I am praying for the Pharisee's and Knuckleheads."

If this is not how it was written in the original Greek, it should have been.

You crack me up!

Gary Skaggs

Rex Ray said...

I’ve written some of this before, but…

Ignatius wrote to John: “We ought to receive every one whom the Master of the house sends to be over His household, as we would do Him that sent him. It is manifest, therefore, that we should look upon the bishop even as we would upon the Lord Himself.”

Ignatius was the second bishop of Antioch and lived in Paul’s day. He was probably appointed by the Jerusalem Church to get those Gentiles “IN LINE WITH OURTHINKING”. He is one of those that Paul probably referred to: “Oh, foolish Galatians! What magician has hypnotized you…? Have you gone completely crazy?”(Galatians 3:1,3)

Wayne Smith expressed it quite well: “…because we are STUPID!”

Peter and Paul did not argue against the party of the Conservatives or the Moderates, but the party of the Pharisees (Acts 15:5 Holman) who demanded the Law of Moses be put on the Gentiles to be saved.

The Pharisee Party would not be complaining but would be bragging when Paul was told, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Law.” “But they have been told [by leaders?] you are against the laws of Moses…forbid the circumcision of their children. Now what can be done? For they will hear you have come.” (Acts 21:20-22)

Paul was a ‘hot potato’ but he wasn’t the only one in hot water. If Christian Jews killed Paul, the Jerusalem church would lose the Gentile churches. Let’s see…hmmm…the high priest wants to kill Paul.

Paul was advised to take vows in the area of the high priest: “Then everyone will know that you…obey the Jewish laws and are IN LINE WITH OUR THINKING.” (Acts 21:24 Living)

In my opinion, Paul himself was hypnotized into obeying their plan, and he never had another day of freedom. The most influential man of all Jews was in the group that did not defend Paul at his trial. “At my first answer no man stood with me...I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16) This was the prayer Paul heard from Stephen; had the same crime been done?

I’m saying all this to show how legalism paved the way for early Christians to become Catholic, but also as a warning to Wade as his search for ‘truth and grace’ has made him a ‘hot potato’ to the C/R group that is still in control of the SBC. I’ll bet there are some who think his pulpit is more ‘contaminated’ than the one gathering dust in a closet.

Maybe someday, that dusty pulpit will be honored in memory of a great teacher and shame to the one that put it there.

Anonymous said...

The Conservative Resurgenet movement needs to take all their focus in running women out the seminaries, IMB, and such ...and instead run Hooters and the like businesses out of the cities in America. Daughters need adovocates toward going the right direction. I don't see too many men out of the yonger generation I would want them to marry (under the age of 25--over 50% think nothing is wrong with pornography). They need full time ministry as an option if they don't have a good selections to choose from.