SBC Law Amendment fails

The Southern Baptist Convention’s vote on the Law Amendment failed; it came short of a 2/3 affirmative vote (61%) to amend their Constitution. The amendment would have deemed a church to be in friendly cooperation if the church “affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”

Opponents of the amendment will see this as a win for local church autonomy and a more supportive view of women in ministry. However, keep in mind that the SBC disfellowshipped FBC Alexandria VA on Tuesday for having a woman as Pastor for Children and Women by an overwhelming 91% vote. So, I think almost 40% of messengers were satisfied with the current mechanism for voting churches out and didn’t see the amendment as necessary.

It’s unlikely but not improbable that this kind of an amendment will be brought before messengers at a future convention once again. Proponents who lament the failure of the amendment as a cue toward moving toward women pastors are absolutely mistaken (see the FBCA vote). I’m sure there will other occasions and opportunities for the SBC to kick out churches who are seen as not being in friendly cooperation.

I’m disappointed but not surprised at the Convention voting out FBC Alexandria. This church has been part of the SBC for 179 years–since its inception. The church had been a faithful financial and ministry partner with the denomination and this woman has been on staff for 20 years. The church opted to support this woman on staff rather than change her title or pastoral duties.

It’s unclear whether Pastor Law and others like him will continue surfing church websites for women serving in pastoral roles. I would hope they might find a better use of their time, but only time will tell. It’s also uncertain whether churches with ordained women on staff like ours could be targeted too. 

Our church has been supportive of men and women in pastoral roles and will continue to do so. I’m thankful for the women on our staff and those who have been ordained as ministers of the gospel. I affirm their calling to serve the Lord as they do under the leadership of the Holy Spirit while sharing the gospel by virtue of their spiritual gifts. Nothing the SBC (or any other parachurch body) does will impact this important reality in our fellowship–DC

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