Among Bible-believing Southern Baptists, there are differing interpretations of the Scripture regarding women in leadership roles at local Southern Baptist Churches.
Some Southern Baptists believe that the Biblical qualifications for church leadership are a person’s giftedness and personal character and with no restrictions because of that person’s gender or professional credentials (or lack thereof).
Others - Ordination - Credentials - Leadership - Positions
Others believe that only males with ordination credentials can be in leadership positions in Southern Baptist churches and that any church who has women in leadership roles – or that ordains women and gives to them professional credentials - is violating the Scriptures.
This paper is offered as a biblical defense for any Southern Baptist church that chooses to allow a gifted woman of Christian character to serve, lead, and minister in areas of service where a similarly gifted man of Christian character can also serve, lead, and minister.
1. Won’t allowing a gifted woman of character to lead others in a Southern Baptist church be a violation of The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message? Answer: No.
Baptist - Faith - Message - States
The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message states:
The New Testament sacred text never uses the word “office” to describe the gift of shepherding or pastoring. As long as a Southern Baptist church refuses to recognize "the office of pastor" - meaning an office of authority - then there is no violation of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message because it doesn't apply to that church. The New Testament ministry of shepherding and discipling followers of Jesus Christ is a verb of service, not a noun of status. People who “hold offices” in society rule over others with authority, something that is directly forbidden by Jesus Christ for any of His disciples (Matt. 20:25-28). According to the teaching and examples given to us by the Word of God, both gifted men and women...
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