Southern Religion

Release your women, Southern Baptists

Christian Church president Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins will in a week be the first woman to give the sermon at the National Day of Prayer service capping the inauguration of the first black president in U.S. history.

Thus Pastor Wade Burleson’s timing was exactly right when in his blog this week he hinted at the value of a change in the Southern Baptist Convention’s view of women in the pulpit.

Officially, they despise the idea, and the SBC’s drive to subjugate women is costing the huge but shrinking denomination in lost churches and member anger.

With introductory hints, Burleson merely reprinted a blog post by Mimi Haddad which appeared at Sojourners.

Haddad recounts how a South Korean megachurch grew to 830,000 members by giving “gifted women teachers” places of leadership. The church’s pastor is quoted as responding to the “small size” of churches in another country he visited:

I told them to release their women, but they insist that’s not the problem. They ask me, “What’s the key to your church?” I tell them again, “release your women … . “

The reform-minded Oklahoma pastor does not directly challenge SBC policy but is certainly aware of addressing himself to a church which is foundering on growth problems when he writes:

I have two questions: What fault, if any, do you find in Mimi’s biblical reasoning? Has Beth Moore been released within the Southern Baptist Convention?

Might Southern Baptists reasonably ask, without being cursed as apostate, if their fundamentalist leaders were misguided when they generated the self-crippling theologies which bar women from their pulpits?

January 14, 2009 - Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , , , ,


  1. Southern Baptists are a faith group whose leadership has become “self-crippling” in so many ways. It’s an apt term and a very sad reality.

    Comment by Christa Brown | January 14, 2009

  2. […] from rather than toward accepting women into its pulpits. But she is not alone. Enid, Okla., pastor Wade Burleson recently reprinted on his blog a persuasive account by Mimi Haddad explaining the role of women in […]

    Pingback by More about bWe: Baptist Women for Equality « BaptistPlanet | January 25, 2009

  3. […] aid to churches that do choose to, for example, call women as senior pastors, should end. He has demonstrated in previous blog entries that the process is at best only denying the church ministerial talent it […]

    Pingback by A call to church autonomy for Southern Baptists « BaptistPlanet | January 29, 2009

  4. […] church. And the truth of these arguments is finally beginning to gain acceptance in the mainstream, even among the Southern Baptists. Men and women are created with a variety of gifts, and the body of Christ is stronger when all […]

    Pingback by release your women | the view from her | February 2, 2009

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