June 2019


REBUTTAL TO INTERPRETATIONS RESTRICTING WOMEN FROM PREACHING
1 Timothy 2:12
“And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”
By Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

There is no single verse in the Bible that has generated more controversy than 1Timothy 2:12. Dr. Maurice Pugh is correct in his assessment as to why there is so much controversy surrounding this verse.

“The crux of the controversy: some would say take it as it is written, others would say what is going on behind what is written; then others compare it with the other verses that have been written.”

Paul taught that women in the Kingdom were to model the pattern of leadership God set forth in creation whereby leadership is exhibited by male and female God-given dominion. The male is given leadership responsibilities in the partnership and the woman is the follower. The temple of Artemis at Ephesus had a woman at the center and men were followers. This was a reversal of the creation model. Paul writes what he does in 1 Timothy 2:12 as a corrective to say women should not swap roles with the man. Women can preach on the Lord’s Day of worship if they follow leadership as did Huldah, Phoebe and the New Testament prophetess and not rebel against leadership as did Eve and Jezebel.

  1. Inconsistent Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-12: The same stringent interpretation we have for v. 12 is not used for vv. 9-10, which states: “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.” If the instructions in vv. 9-10 are relative to the church in Ephesus and their particular situation, then why do we try to take v. 12 to its logical extent, without focus on why Paul would give such instructions?  We would not dare instruct a woman that she should not wear braids, pearls or costly clothing based on vs. 9; thus, we should not take a different hermeneutical approach with vs. 12. To do so presents an impermissibly inconsistent interpretation of 1Timothy 2:9-12.
  2. 1 Timothy 2:11 – There is a misunderstanding and misapplication of the text related to “silence” and women applied to preaching/speaking opportunities in worship: Silence does not mean silence. As in 1 Corinthians 14:34, the instructions for silence must be taken in the context of the situation. Paul cannot mean that women must be completely silent; otherwise women cannot publicly declare their own salvation in church.  The context must suggest that women be allowed to learn in an environment with order.  The problem Paul is addressing in Ephesus is similar to Corinth where women are stepping out of their roles opposing the men.  Why else would Paul have to address their appearance as he did in 1 Corinthians 11:3-16? Again, the definition of the term “silence” has been misunderstood and misapplied.
  1. 1 Timothy 2:12 – There is a failure to understand the historical context of Paul’s instructions when he referenced “Teach” and “have authority.” This was not an outright prohibition but rather was instructional on “how” the teaching should occur. When Paul says that he does not allow a woman to teach or have full power over a man, he is saying this with focus on abuse of authority and teaching.  In classical Greek the substantive form of the verb used (to have authority) is referring to a person who acts with so much unrestraint that they are like a murderer or someone who takes one’s life by force.  Paul does not mean that women should not be able to teach, preach, or have any ability to speak in church.  If he meant that, then 1 Corinthians 11:3-16 would be contradictory.  So, either Paul meant for his instructions in Ephesus to be different from Corinth, or we are misinterpreting what he meant for Ephesus.  Paul is speaking of women dominating the man in worship.  Women should not have complete or full authority over the men.  Rather, women should be allowed to preach and teach under the counsel and authority of men.
  1. 1 Timothy 2:13-15 – Applying The Creation Story to Eve—but not to Adam is flawed: “There is a serious theological contradiction in telling a woman when she comes to faith in Christ, her personal sins are forgiven but she must continue to be punished for the sins of Eve” (Richard Clark Kroeger, Catherine Kroeger, I Suffer Not A Woman, Baker Book House, pp. 21-22).

The Creation Story is meant to protect women not oppress them. Paul mentions Adam’s creation prior to Eve not to argue that women are to be beneath the heel of a men but that women are to be covered and protected by men (1 Corinthians 11:3ff).  Especially in this setting, where the cultural climate lent itself to empowering women in mystical and religious matters, Paul was urging the church to buck the trend of the world and keep biblical order.  If there are women who are attempting to overrule the men in the congregation, or there was a temptation to allow Christian women who believe there was neither male nor female (Galatians 3:28) to dominate; there is a failure to understand the historical context of Paul’s instructions when he referenced “Teach” and “have authority.” This was not an outright prohibition but rather was instructional on “how” the teaching should occur. Just as we abuse Scripture today, it was easy to abuse Galatians 3:28 and argue that there were no longer any differences, and women should be the heads now.  Paul had to support his position with the Bible.  The Scripture taught that when God’s order got perverted, women were the ones who were deceived. That meant that men should help them learn in silence, in an orderly environment.

  1. Too many people are overlooking Hermeneutics 101: It demands all to interpret Scripture with Scripture. It is necessary to compare Scripture with Scripture to find the correct meaning. We must understand 1 Timothy 2:12 in light of every other relevant message concerning gender roles in ministry in the Bible. By doing so, we could not possibly conclude what Paul meant in 1 Timothy 2:12, is for a female to never, ever, be given the opportunity to preach in the Lord’s Day of Worship.

The Bible may contain paradoxes, perplexities, and problems but not outright contradictions.

Quoting the late L.E. Maxwell, he “declared that more than a hundred passages in the Bible affirm women in roles of leadership, and fewer than half a dozen appear to be in opposition” (Kroeger, p. 33). We must seek to understand the role of women by the more than hundred affirmative verses, not just the few that appear to be unduly restrictive.

Phoebe and Jezebel are examples of females who addressed the congregation on the Lord’s Day of worship (Romans 16:1-2; Revelations 2:18-23).

Phoebe addressed the congregation at the direction of Paul. Jezebel addressed the congregation at Thyatira by the permission of “the angel of the house”—male leadership. Phoebe followed instructions. Jezebel spoke contrary to the Word and Will of God. But the speaking hour was not off limits to her based on gender. Her disqualification was based on false teaching, which is the same thing that men are often rebuked for in Scripture.

I think we need to acknowledge that, however firmly we hold our convictions; there might be some things we don’t know. It seems those who hold firmly to “I don’t suffer a woman to teach” will often dismiss “let the women keep silent.”

DOES THE BIBLE PERMIT WOMEN TO PREACH IN OUR LORD’S DAY WORSHIP SERVICE?
Opening Statement by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Ascol/McKissic Debate/Dialogue
Westin Birmingham
June 10, 2019, 4:00 p.m.

In the Kingdom, God values women. Neither complementarianism, nor egalitarianism are biblical terms, and they fall short of biblical definitions and parameters when it comes to certain gender roles in Kingdom ministry. Jesus would not label Himself a complementarian or an egalitarian; therefore, neither will I. The word I have coined to label my position on gender roles in ministry is –“Kingdomarian.”1 This appellation—‘kingdomarian”—focuses on Jesus’ central teaching on all things as matters “pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).

A Kingdomarian is one who believes men and women are coequal under God.  Both are valued by God in their essence and function.  Both are called into the ministry of disciple-making and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom to the ends of the Earth.  And both do this with the recognition that in the local church, women and men function under God’s authority, under the leadership of a Kingdom-focused, male lead pastor because of God’s sovereign purpose(s) and Kingdom assignment(s) (Matthew 24:14).

My thesis proposes that the Bible reveals that in God’s Kingdom, God gifts and calls women to preach to whomever He wills, on any day He wills, at any gathering He wills, without limitation with respect to gender (Acts 2:17-18; I Corinthians 11:5).

The Son of God, The Spirit of God and The Saints of God, have sanctioned and commissioned women to preach the Gospel wherever and whenever “God would open…a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ” (Colossians 4:3).

I. The Son Of God Affirmed Women in Proclamation Ministries Without Regard to Gender under His Authority.

A. At Jesus’ birth Anna the prophetess “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). She “did not depart from the temple” (Luke 2:37). Whatever prophesying Anna engaged in occurred at the temple in Jerusalem, and we know she spoke to “all”—men and women (Luke 2:38).

B. During Jesus’ life “many women…followed Jesus” (Matthew 28:55), funded His ministry (Luke 8:2-3), were discipled by Him (Luke 10:38-42), stood by Him at the Cross (Matthew 27:55-56; Mark 15:40), and came to His tomb, “very early in the morning, on the first day of the week” (Mark 16:2), “that they might…anoint Him” (Mark 16:1). Male disciples (with the exception of John) were conspicuously absent at the cross and at the tomb (Mark 14:50). John, alone, eventually stood by Jesus at the cross (John 19:25-27).

C. Jesus rewarded women for their faith and faithfulness to Him, by commissioning two women (Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary,” Matthew 28:1) to deliver the first Lord’s Day Worship Sermon, in the history of the Christian Church (Matthew 28:6, 10).

Jesus fully entrusted women to deliver the first Lord’s Day message to men. The angel told the women, after inviting them to inspect the empty grave, “go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead” (Matthew 28:7). Jesus instructed these women, “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Matthew 28:10).

I agree with Southern Baptist pastor, Steve Bezner2:

“In the days after the Resurrection, as the church was formed, the New Testament is clear — women were integral. Women were the ones to discover the empty tomb, and, therefore, the first to preach the gospel. We read that Philip’s daughters prophesied. We read that the Spirit falling at Pentecost was a fulfillment of Joel’s prediction that sons and daughters would prophesy. We read that, in Christ, there is neither male nor female — there are no categories of salvation in Jesus. We read that Phoebe is a diakonos of the church — a word usually translated as “deacon.” We read that Junia is “highly esteemed among the apostles,” which means that either a) Junia was a woman highly respected by the apostles or, b) that Junia was a woman who was a highly respected apostle (but not one of the Twelve). We read that Lydia hosted a church in her home. We read that Priscilla helped disciple Apollos — a popular early Christian teacher.”

Basically, Pastor Steve Bezner’s point emphasizes that: “Women were…the first to preach the gospel”; they preached the gospel to men, including on the Lord’s Day of worship (Matthew 28:1-10); and women were gifted and allowed to use those gifts in the early church.

II. The Spirit Of God Anointed And Appointed Women To Preach The Gospel, Under God’s Authority, Without Regard To The Day Of The Week, Under God-Appointed Male Authority.

A. Women were in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, when God poured out His Spirit upon the church (Acts 1:14).

B. God poured out His Spirit upon women at Pentecost to proclaim “the wonderful works of God” just as He did the men (Acts 2:11).

C. Peter quoted Joel on The Day of Pentecost, as a promise being fulfilled at Pentecost:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,
That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,” (Acts 2:17. Joel 2:28-29)

Obviously the text of Joel is appropriated to establish an authoritative basis which underscores the significance of Pentecost for both men and women.

D. The Holy Spirit distributes to “each one for the profit of all” (I Corinthians 12:7). The Holy Spirit distributed to “each one” individually as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). One of the gifts The Spirit gave without regard to gender was “prophecy” (I Corinthians 12:10).

E. What is prophecy? The common reformation answer appealed to 1 Corinthians 14:3 (Prophecy & Hermeneutic in Early Christianity, E. Earle Ellis, Baker Books, 1993) 3:

“But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.”

Prophecy also includes learning (I Corinthians 14:31), and evangelism (I Corinthians 14:24-25).

The gift of “preaching” is not listed among the list of spiritual gifts. No one would argue that men and women are gifted by God’s Spirit to preach. So where is the gift of preaching among the list of spiritual gifts?

I agree with the Late Dr. Jack Gray, 4 who believes that the gift of prophecy equates to the gift of preaching. The gift of prophecy is mentioned in all three lists of spiritual gifts (Romans 12:6-8; I Corinthians 12:7-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11). Prophecy is the Spirit’s gift to preach the message of God with clarity and power, to be God’s spokesman to His people, both forth telling and foretelling. It is the gift to receive and deliver God’s message to people.” Prophecy is primarily communicating the gospel, with a view towards persuasion.

In I Corinthians 11:5, Paul affirms women praying and prophesying with their heads covered, which was customarily indicative of male presence and a sign of modesty in that culture. Women prophesied without any restrictions on the day or location where they would prophesy.

III. The Saints of God in Baptist History Have Sanctioned Women Preaching under God’s Authority and Kingdom Male Leadership.

A. The Second London Confession of Particular Baptists (1689) states: 5

“[T]he work of preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to the [elders]; but that others, also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.”

Note that these other preachers, who did not hold the pastoral office preached because they were “gifted” to do so. In other words, the local church recognized the gifting by the Holy Spirit and approved of their preaching. An autonomous local church can approve of anyone they desire to occupy the preaching hour as they deem “fitted by the Holy Spirit”—male or female.

B. Dr. Curtis Freemen, a Research Professor of Theology and Director of the Baptist House of Studies of Duke Divinity School, wrote an 842 page tome entitled: “A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England; A Reader,” 6 in which he documents, details and delineates the messages of seven Baptists Women who preached in Baptist churches in Britain from 1641-1679. Their names were Katherine Chidly, Sarah Wright, Elizabeth Poole, June Turner, Anna Trapnel, Katherine Sutton, and Anne Wentworth.

C. Leon McBeth, “The Baptist Heritage, Four Centuries of Baptist Witness” (pp. 690-695), 7 states that, “Women served as deacons and deaconesses, and sometimes preached, among the English Baptists from the 1600’s. In the American South, the Separate Baptists recognized both deaconesses and eldresses, and some women, like Martha Stearns Marshall, were notable for their fervent preaching and praying in public.”(pp. 690-691) (The Sandy Creek tradition).

D. In more recent history, we know that Missionary Bertha Smith delivered the “Lord’s Day” morning message at Bellevue, Memphis, FBC, Dallas and Atlanta and many other SBC churches during her career. Retired Oklahoma SBC Pastor, Paul Burleson, writes about the privilege of hearing “Miss Bertha” many times in conferences where they shared being keynote speakers. Burleson summarizes a Denver speaking engagement within a SBC context where, “Miss Bertha did not give a testimony, she did not bring a devotional, she ‘preached the Word in power.’” Burleson goes on to write:

“The SBC historically has been blessed by women, anointed by the Spirit, sharing the Word of God. It may not have been mainstream, but it was God, from my perspective.” (Paul Burleson, Friday, May 31, 5:49 p.m., Istoria Ministries Blog, comment section).8

Charles Stanley stated in Baptist Press, October 24, 2003:

“There are a number of women who are preachers who are preaching the gospel today, and they are being very successful at it and they are meeting people’s needs…You can’t tell a woman who is called by God to teach that she cannot teach the Word of God…so I think that there’s a difference between the authority of a pastor and a Bible teacher.”9

R C Sproul stated in a “Lecture from the Teaching Series The Role of Women in the Church:

”I see nothing in Scripture that precludes a woman from being a preacher…I believe you [a woman] can be a preacher in the church on a Sunday Morning Service.” 10

I give God praise for Sproul’s affirmation of the proclamation gifts given to women biblically allowed in worship.

Dr. W.A. Criswell stated, “The apostle [Paul] says that the woman is to pray and to prophesy (speak out for Christ) in the church. She has a worthy place of honor in the household of God’s redeemed.” 11 Dr. Criswell’ wife, Betty Criswell, taught men and women in church on Sunday’s in a group three times larger than the average SBC church.

E. God has raised up Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer and hundreds of Baptist/Evangelical women who are filling pulpits on Sunday morning at a male pastor’s request.

F. If God’s Word is true (and it is), we will see more of this in Southern Baptist churches in the future. Let the Church Say Amen!

“The Lord gives the Word, Great is the host of women who proclaim it” (Psalm 68:11).

Dr. Sheri Klouda Sharp, a Hebrew scholar, comments on this verse:

“The Hebrew actually says:  The Lord gives forth His word, the ones who are proclaiming it a great host (company, etc.). The piel participle is feminine plural and you could even translate the participle as “the women proclaiming it a great host (number, company, etc.). The participle has a definite article on the front, typically translated as “the ones who are ‘doing an action.’”12

G. Bill Victor raises a great question on this topic: “If Phoebe came to your church with a letter from Paul, would you let her read it in the church?” 13 And I will add—will you let her read it on Sunday morning in worship? My answer would be, “yes”!!! Hard complementarians would answer, “No”!!!

There is something profoundly wrong with the idea that a woman cannot speak or preach from the pulpit, because that is exactly what Paul instructed Phoebe to do, and instructed the men  to, “assist her in whatever business she has need of you” (Romans 16:1-2). It is time for the church to let Phoebe, be Phoebe, Priscilla be Priscilla, and Phillip’s four daughters conduct the ministries under God’s authority, and God ordained male leadership, as He has instructed them to do, even preaching in a Lord’s Day Worship service.

ENDNOTES

1 “Kingdomarian – arian is a suffix that forms the ending for nouns corresponding to Latin adjectives that ended in -arius. The suffix is for personal nouns.” (Statement Providing Etymological Support for the term “Kingdomarian” by Marcus Jerkins, New Testament, PH.D. Candidate, Baylor University, Waco, TX, June 2019).

2 Pastor Steve Bezner Blog, “Room for Moore”: https://medium.com/@Bezner/room-for-moore-468d26bc8ef

3 Prophecy & Hermeneutic in Early Christianity, E. Earle Ellis, Baker Books, 1993.

4 Dr. L. Jack Gray, Studies of the Holy Spirit, Self-published Class Notes, Paper, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX.

5 William L. Lumpkin, The Second London Confession of Particular Baptists (1689), Baptist Confessions of Faith, Judson Press, 1969, p. 288.

6 Dr. Curtis Freemen, “A Company of Women Preachers: Baptist Prophetesses in Seventeenth-Century England; A Reader”

7 H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage, Four Centuries of Baptist Witness.

8 Paul Burleson, Friday, May 31, 5:49 p.m., Istoria Ministries Blog, Comment Section.

9 Charles Stanley, Baptist Press, October 24, 2003

10 R C Sproul, “Lecture from the Teaching Series The Role of Women in the Church,https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/role_of_women_in_the_church/role-of-women-in-the-church/.

11 W.A. Criswell, Chriswell’s Guidebook for Pastors, Broadman Press, Nashville, TN, 1980, p. 94.

12Dr. Sheri Klouda Sharp, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Former Chair and Director, MARS Program, Taylor University, Upland, IN. (Statement).

13 Bill Victor, Tweet by Bill Victor on Twitter, Bill Victor (@billyv_33), 6/1/19, 9:29 PM.

BIRMINGHAM BOUND SBC ‘19
By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

I. I seriously internally and externally debated about attending SBC ’19 Birmingham because SBC entities repeatedly refuse to hire minorities as president of one of the entities, even when they are highly qualified. There have been five entity head vacancies in the SBC over the past 18 months. Four of the five have been filled. No minorities have been hired to date. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement.

II. The ten entity heads of the SBC assemble at least biannually, in a meeting known as the Great Commission Council. In a Convention comprised of 20% minorities—Asians, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, it is disheartening that SBC entity trustee boards, always find a way to deem minorities less than the right fit or not the best qualified candidate to be offered an entity head president’s job—consequently, disqualifying any minority service or the Great Commission Council. For the Great Commission Council to look like the White Citizens Council in the SBC is painful and shameful.

III. It is my intention to ask the chairman of the five entities who have hired, or will be soon, to answer these questions: (1) Were there any minorities interviewed as finalist for the job of president of the entity that you represent? (2) If not, why not?

IV.   I have received three responses from the five entities that I wrote letters to asking pointed questions regarding minority hiring/interviews as entity head presidents.

The SBC Executive Committee and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary did not offer a response to my letter of inquiry regarding minority interviews or finalist; again, I am very disappointed with their non-response. I did get an email from Ronnie Floyd, recently elected President of the EC, stating that the Chairman of the Search Committee and/or the Chairman of the EC Trustees would have to respond to my letter because he was new on the job and literally did not have the information to answer my questions. In a brief text message exchange with Dr. Adam Greenway, recently elected President of SWBTS, he responded similarly to Dr. Floyd; new to the job, did not know the answers to my questions; answers would have to come from the search committee for President, from SWBTS or Trustees.

Dr. Chuck Kelly, the recently retired President of NOBTS, responded with a thoughtful and thorough four-page letter. Honestly, I was encouraged by Dr. Kelly’s letter.

Regarding the report that he had stated that a minority hiring at NOBTS would not be good for fundraising reasons—Dr. Kelly said he has “been misrepresented, but have no intention of responding in kind with criticisms…or making elaborate defenses.” Dr. Kelly further stated:

“To get to the point of your question, I believe any person of any race can raise money effectively when they are doing what God wants them to do. Based on my experience as a candidate for a seminary presidency, I will say that any candidate, Anglo or minority, should expect Trustee perceptions about their ability to raise the millions of dollars required by academic institutions in today’s world, to be an important factor in candidate evaluations. It is not a racial issue. It is an experience issue. What evidence will Trustees see that you can do this?”

Dr. Kelly laid out four recommendations at my request, to increase the odds of a minority being hired as an entity head at NOBTS:

1. “Doctorate required, PhD strongly preferred; extensive, effective ministry experience in SBC churches expected; have a healthy marriage with no divorce in your past; clearly know and have a long-standing commitment to CP, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and the NOBTS Articles of Religious Beliefs (required of all faculty members and Trustees); and get clear experience in as many elements of a President’s role and/or the school’s mission and story as possible.”

2. “[G]et connected to the NOBTS family in as many ways as possible, such as participation in alumni activities, MissionLab ministry involvement, interaction with professors, etc. In other words, know the school and be known by people in the NOBTS family.”

3. “Get recommended…The number of recommendations can make a difference and the significance of the people making a recommendation can matter. I would advise against recommending yourself. For many Baptist search committees, self-nomination to be a President will send you to the bottom of the stack.”

4. “Understand and be able to articulate how and why you believe you fit into the larger NOBTS story…”

5. “We have forty Trustees. At present those forty Trustees include one African American, one Korean and three women.”

I know from independent sources that NOBTS actually interviewed two African American candidates who were finalists. In my judgment, the single most important factor related to why neither of the African American finalists was selected: because there is only one African American Trustee. That is where the crime is! Minorities in the SBC are experiencing taxation without representation.

Dr. Kelly would disagree with me: “You think the system is broken when it comes to hiring minorities to serve as entity heads. I disagree. I think it is undeveloped…The problem is a lack of focused attention on minority leadership development.”
I do not totally disagree with Dr. Kelly’s assessment. The truth probably lies somewhere between his position, and my position, that minorities are not being hired, because minorities are woefully not being appointed to trustee boards.

Dr. Kelly responded as a sage. My respect for him increased exponentially after reading his letter. In response to allegations of racism being hurled at him, because of a reputed remark that he recommended to the NOBTS Trustees, not to hire a minority President because of their inability to raise funds, Dr. Kelly’s response: “Flaws I have in abundance, but I am not a racist.” I accept Dr. Kelly’s explanation of the reputed racist remark. To the extent, I accepted and publicly articulated my view of his remark is racist, without the benefit of his broader and genetic application of the fundraising requirements of a NOBTS President—I apologize to Dr. Kelly for believing and further spreading the remark.

LifeWay has not hired a President as of this date. Brad Waggoner, Interim President, responded to my inquiry. He revealed that there are four minority trustees at LifeWay. Of these four, I have no idea if one is African American or not. I have been encouraged by Jim Richardson and Steve Gaines tweeting their support for a woman entity president at LifeWay, if the search committee made such a recommendation.

President J.D. Greear is advancing the SBC forward with the increased appointments of minority trustees. For that, I am grateful.

V.  I am looking forward to a debate/dialogue with Tom Ascol regarding “Does the Bible Permit Women to Preach in The Lord’s Day Worship Service?” on Monday, June 10, 4:00 p.m. at the Westin Birmingham. God has been gracious to me in my preparation. I am grateful to Rev. Ascol for accepting my challenge to debate this issue. Tom and I are often on opposite sides of many SBC hot-button issues. We both are “scrappy fellows.” My appreciation for him is sincere though, and I tell you why. In the early years of my attending the SBC, Tom reached out to me a hand of welcome and friendship. He invited me to a breakfast at a Founders Gathering and paid for my meal. Hardly two people in the SBC at the time even knew my name. Somehow, Tom knew of me, and extended a hand of welcome and brotherhood. That meant a lot to me; when you are a minority, at a SBC meeting, it helps when a member of the majority, goes out of their way to offer fellowship and friendship.

VI. The “For Such a Time as This Rally” is a significant gathering, that I am grateful to be asked to serve as one of their speakers on Tuesday, June 11, 6:15 p.m.

VII. “The Dangers of Social Justice Panel” is perhaps the only place where the potential for sparks to fly at an unofficial convention-related gathering, will take place, Monday, June 10, 7:00 p.m., at the Westin Birmingham. Tom Buck and Tom Ascol are both on this panel. I consider both “frenemies”; no, we are friends who simply often disagree. I love those brothers. I have never met Josh Buice. Whoever approved of the panel subject matter with the Black Power symbol in the background, simply do not appreciate or understand racial insensitivity. Thankfully, the Black Power sign from the promo materials has recently been removed. I pray that this event will be less explosive than I anticipate. At Tom Buck’s request, I submitted four questions, that I hope are asked and answered:

1. Will you please specify any “dangers” that you would associate with the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the 50’s and 60’s?
2. Do you view the battle to end legal abortion as a social justice movement? If so, why? If not, why not?
3. Why is it that White SBC pastors do not address clear cases of police brutality, as they do the abortion issue?

And, with these seven concerns, and objectives, off to Birmingham I go!