Proof The SBC Intentionally Subjugates Women

Proof The SBC Intentionally Subjugates Women June 17, 2024

SBC Women

The recent annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held in Indiana let the cat out of the bag regarding the subversiveness they have gone to subjugate their sisters in Christ. One of the big topics on the agenda was a referendum on women serving as pastors. The referendum was the result of initiatives brought up last year which saw the SBC disfellowship several churches for employing women as pastors. This included Rick Warren’s former megachurch.

Despite an impassioned plea by Rick himself, the disfellowship galvanized Southern Baptists and reinvigorated the debate on the role of women in ministry. In order to understand the significance of the referendum and what the results revealed we need a little bit of context.


The SBC’s Referendum

If you are unfamiliar with the SBC’s governance you may not know how referendums work. A referendum is a way for the SBC to adjust its constitution on various issues. However, it has little to no effect on the local church level as each church is Autonomous. Although these churches are autonomous they agree to the constitution set forth by the denomination. Not adhering to the constitution means a church is not in good standing with the denomination which can lead to a disfellowship.

The referendum on the table regarding women was for the SBC to declare that they are opposed to women serving in any pastoral role (office).

The vote came back with only 61% support, which is below the 2/3 majority that was necessary for the amendment. This decision made many organizations that support women in ministry excited about the positive step that the SBC is taking by not restricting women in associate roles.

However, those organizations should hold their praise for the SBC because although a 2/3 majority was not reached 61% still think this is acceptable. Make no mistake it’s not that the other 39% are for women serving as pastors they are just against the stricter version put forth at the conference.

This referendum was an attempt to clarify the current statement which broadly states that the office can only be held by men. But the lack of nuance means that some have interpreted it to mean that the statement only applies to the lead pastor. It also means that it should not apply to women pastors who work specifically with women and children.


Protecting Men and Subjugating Women

As reported throughout, in 2019 the Houston Chronicle exposed the SBC’s role in covering up sexual abuse over the previous 20 years. The expose uncovered hundreds of victims and pastors involved in the assaults and coverups. The SBC was found to have not only known about the abuse but in some cases reassigned pastors to new churches to prey on more women and girls.

In response to the allegations the SBC stated: “We cannot tell our churches who they can or cannot hire.” However, for some reason, this does not apply to women. For women, they can very much tell churches who to hire and who not to hire.

Perhaps the most damning evidence of the SBC’s agenda to keep men in power over women is related to the recent disfellowship of a Virginia Baptist church that employed a female pastor of women and children.

There is no justification for this as the reason given that only men can be pastors is because it is believed based on 1 Timothy 2:12 that women cannot have authority over men (or, teach men). And yet, this church was disfellowshipped even though their pastor was not teaching men and was a part of the lower-level leadership.

It is for this reason that the referendum was important for many. These men want to be clear that women can have NO leadership within the church. However, It’s not remotely “biblical” even with the most conservative interpretation of Scripture. This seems to be a clear demonstration of the SBC’s effort to intentionally subjugate women.


Why Does The SBC Want To Subjugate Women?

It’s not entirely clear why it is so important for SBC men to stay in power. Perhaps they believe that allowing women to be pastors is one step closer to feminism. The Bible is simply the justification for their sexism. No doubt women in leadership within the SBC would temper the sexual abuse that undoubtedly continues. Women would not tolerate coverups and would give lay women a greater voice within their congregations.

Additionally, the audacity it took to silence women like Beth Moore and disfellowship some very large churches that contribute millions to the denomination like Saddleback Church in California shows how committed they are to silencing women. No doubt, it is this posture that has also contributed to multiple sex scandals throughout the years. If we were to survey the issue throughout the nation we would find that sexual abuse occurs in complementarian churches at a far greater rate than others.

Making this situation even more difficult is the fact that this issue is very underreported. Part of the reason for this is the inability of women to identify what sexual abuse looks like. The lines have become so blurry due to complementarianism that there is not always a clear distinction between harassing behavior and men exercising their authority. This is particularly acute when it involves children. This means that even though the data that currently exists is staggering in and of itself, it comes nowhere close to capturing what is really occurring out there.


Some Final Thoughts

It is important to understand that the SBC’s conviction on this issue is not biblical in that they only use that language as a way to subliminally justify their actions. Despite all of the arguments to the contrary (here and here to name just a couple), there is little doubt that at least some actually believe the Bible restricts women in ministry.

As I have argued elsewhere, the SBC and denominations like them will never change their minds on this issue because they stand to lose way too much. The most significant issue being that if they change their stance, they are essentially admitting they have been wrong for the last 150 years. The unintended consequences would be enormous putting all other beliefs in jeopardy. There is a clear double standard at play within the SBC which seems to demonstrate a general antipathy towards women’s role in the church based on their complementarian perspectives.


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About Eric English
Eric is a rogue philosopher, theologian, author, podcaster and ninja. He is a father of three, husband of one, and a poet unto himself. Eric’s main areas of thinking are in philosophy (specifically, Soren Kierkegaard), theology (Narrative Perspectivism), and culture. Eric also hosts the podcast UNenlightenment.  You can read more about the author here.
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