The following quote from Ergon Caner spoken recently to an audience that gave strong verbal affirmation to his sexist sentiments documents why we need to apologize and affirm women in SBC life for a history of sexist attitudes and actions.
“Dr. Caner, do you believe in women behind the pulpit? My answer is well, yeah, of course, how are they going to vacuum back there unless they get behind it….[laughter, and hoots and hollers]…..and that’s going to be in half of your pulpits next Sunday. FEEL FREE!!! I LOVE THAT LINE!! But you know one line like that shuts it all up, ’cause they’re not going to talk about it, and they’re not going to talk to you for a while, which is good, which is good.”
A number of other examples could be cited. However, SBC history also documents and demonstrates sexist sentiments much more egregious that the Caner comment. For those who say I should not repent for the sins of others, my response to you is, SBC Corporate sins require SBC Corporate Repentance (Nehemiah 1:6). Consequently, I will offer the following resolution in Orlando concerning women in the SBC.
A RESOLUTION AFFIRMING THE MINISTRY ROLES OF WOMEN AND APOLOGIZING FOR DELAYS IN RECOGNITION OF THEIR MINISTRY CONTRIBUTION
Submitted by Wm Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Cornerstone Baptist Church – Arlington, Texas
WHEREAS, the Scripture teaches that God made male and female together in his own image as the crowning work of his creation, both possessing the sacredness of human personality and equally deserving of dignity and respect as God’s special creation; and
WHEREAS, God also created male and female with specific and complementary characteristics (Gen 1:27), declaring them good (Gen. 1:31) so that male and female in relationship constitute a complete expression of the divine order for humanity, yet without blurring or denying the significance of gender distinctions that God designed for them; and
WHEREAS, the equality of male and female as to dignity and worth follow from their creation in the image of God, including but not limited to their special and respective roles; and
WHEREAS, these roles are generally defined as leader, provider and self-sacrificial protector for males (Ephesians 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7) and as helper, nurturer and life-giver for females (Genesis 2:18 and 3:20); and
WHEREAS, these distinct roles do not justify neglect on the part of men when it comes to nurturing and caring for their families; nor do they prohibit women from serving in roles traditionally understood as exclusive to males, including service in combat (Judges 4:4-23), prophesying (Exodus 15:20; 2 Kings 22:14; Acts 21:8), evangelistic proclamation (Philippians 4:2; Romans 16:7), deacon ministry (Romans 16:3), public prayer (1 Corinthians 11:2-5) and teaching ministry (Acts 18:26); and
WHEREAS, the Holy Spirit of God has been given in full measure to both men and women since the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17); and
WHEREAS, women were excluded from full participation in Southern Baptist Convention life from its inception in 1845, and were refused seats as messengers in 1885 when the convention voted to seat only “the brethren;” and
WHEREAS, due to their exclusion from voting participation in the Southern Baptist Convention, women were prohibited from serving in most roles in convention life, including service as trustees of convention entities; and
WHEREAS, women were not officially recognized and seated as convention messengers until 1918, though it was many years later that they began serving in elected office as entity trustees; and
WHEREAS, in recent years, Southern Baptists have recognized the equal worth and dignity of women both as homemakers and in their professional lives; and
WHEREAS, in 1983, Southern Baptists affirmed all women who work outside the home by urging their “employers, including those Southern Baptist churches, institutions, and agencies which employ women, to seek fairness for women in compensation, benefits, and opportunities for advancement;” and
WHEREAS, in 2000, Southern Baptists adopted the revised Baptist Faith and Message, which affirms the legitimate place of women who serve in every area of church, home, and work life, excluding only the office of pastor; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist churches, institutions and agencies often employ women who serve in vital ministry equipping roles, including senior leadership positions; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptist seminaries currently employ many godly women in teaching, administrative, and supportive roles that serve to advance the Kingdom purpose of theological education; and
WHEREAS, the ministry of godly women in Southern Baptist life has been an incredible spiritual asset to the Kingdom work we conduct together; and
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT, the messengers of annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, gathered in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, affirm without qualification the women who serve in our churches, agencies and institutions for their godly character, faithful service, and vital ministry roles; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, we recognize that some religious organizations both within and without Southern Baptist life continue to struggle to recognize, equip, and commission the women whom God has gifted and called to Kingdom service; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, we repudiate any theology, policy, or administrative practice among Southern Baptist churches, agencies and institutions that fails to safeguard fairness for women in compensation, benefits, and opportunities for advancement, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, we apologize to all women for the delay in recognizing their full value and ministry contribution to Southern Baptist life; and we genuinely repent of the sexism of which we have been guilty, whether consciously or unconsciously; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, we express our deep sorrow and remorse for any offense that has been caused to our sisters in Christ on account of unbiblical gender bias and employment restrictions that do not reflect the positive spirit and precise language of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT, we earnestly pray for the hand of God to raise up more women in our midst, to give them every available spiritual gift, and through their public ministry and service to nurture godliness, faithfulness, and obedience in the lives of all people.