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Texas Southern Baptist Convention Resolution Affirms Role of Women in the Church

The Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of few Southern Baptist groups that historically has not specifically excluded women from church leadership roles, passed a resolution at its 2021 General Convention earlier this month to “affirm and celebrate” the contributions of women in “advancing God’s kingdom.”

“Be it resolved that the messengers of the 2021 Texas Baptists annual meeting affirm the ongoing efforts of Texas Baptists following Christ’s example of engaging, empowering, and entrusting women with the gospel,” the resolution said, acknowledging that women have served and continue to serve the denomination in “numerous and complex ways,” including being elected to church offices, serving on committees, doing local and foreign mission work, holding positions in higher education, and working within local churches.

The move distinguishes BGCT from the overall Southern Baptist Convention, which does not affirm women serving as pastors. Conservatives within the SBC—complementarians—believe God created men and women for different roles, designating men to have authority in churches and at home, Baptist News Global reported.

A brochure written by the staff of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention notes that just two of 5,000 Southern Baptist churches in Texas, and about 30 of the 40,000 SBC churches overall, currently have women leading their congregations.

Titled “Southern Baptists and Women Pastors,” the brochure, copyrighted in 2021, outlines the denomination’s position on women pastors, saying, “The question at hand is not whether women are of equal value to men, nor is it whether they can minister effectively,” but rather is that “the Scripture assigns the role of pastor to males.”

“Critics argue that Baptists are merely behind the times or have been unduly influenced by a ‘patriarchal’ society,” it says. “However, we think Baptist churches have male pastors because they believe they are so instructed by the New Testament.”

“Even a cursory reading” of pertinent texts in the New Testament leads to the conclusion that “women cannot have a pastoral position, or perform the pastoral function, for that puts them in authority over men in the life of the church,” the brochure says, quoting verses from Timothy and Titus.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.