Our statement of faith, the Baptist Faith & Message (2000), says of the Church’s order that “Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” (Article VI, Paragraph 1).
But beyond our statement of faith, the Bible says very clearly in 1 Timothy 2:12–14 (CSB), “12 I do not allow a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; instead, she is to remain quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed.” While some people claim that this command was only for the first-century Christians in Ephesus and is thus no longer relevant for us today, in verse 13 Paul supports his prohibition from God’s creation order. He is saying, in essence: ‘I am prohibiting women from teaching and having authority over men because God created role distinctions from creation that transcend every culture. These role distinctions prohibit women from teaching or having authority over men.’ This verse does not deny the equality in worth between men and women or the giftedness for ministry of men and women, but it does exclude women from the role of pastor and preacher. Soon after this passage, Paul gives the qualifications for pastors—those who are able to teach—as being a “husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2) which further supports that the pastoral office is for qualified men only.
As our culture seeks to erase the distinctions between men and women, many churches in our convention are openly rejecting this part of our statement of faith and the Bible. Sadly, this number has been increasing. This is why the amendment is so important. Amending the constitution–which carries a greater binding authority than the Baptist Faith & Message (2000)–would clearly define who is and is not part of the SBC. Such an amendment could add stability to our convention for decades, and guard us from the drift toward liberalism.