I remember well my first year at the University of Kentucky walking through the free speech area and hearing a woman with a high shrill voice waxing eloquent in open air. I remember her name was “Sister Cindy,” and she was quite skilled in enumerating the sexual sins of college co-eds. Her voice took me back to a childhood memory of a neighborhood mom who would yell at her son early in the morning to get the trash to curb before the garbage truck passed.
Sister Cindy in the free speech area was a first for me, and certainly she was an aberration. Indeed, there are many gifted women in the Body of Christ who teach with great skill and because of that, coupled with cultural pressures, the last thirty years has seen a steamroller movement in the evangelical community to usher women into the role of pastor. This month Saddleback Church, one of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention with 53,000 members, ordained three women into pastoral ministry. In many streams of the evangelical community, women are encouraged to pursue such roles, and a number of women hold prominent, global preaching ministries.
As a convention, Southern Baptists have taken a stand on this issue in our statement of faith (Baptist Faith & Message 2000) which reads that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” This conviction flows from the biblical text which we believe to be foundational for our faith and practice.(more…)