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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!

FIVE QUESTIONS I RESPECTFULLY ASK, FIVE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION ENTITIES TO ANSWER

BY WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.

Five Entities: Southern Baptist Executive Committee (EC), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), International Mission Board (IMB), New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) and Lifeway.

There are five questions that I plan to forward to five SBC entities (listed above), who have hired, or will be hiring a President for each entity, in the months ahead. If I get actual, specific answers to these questions in writing before the Annual Session of the Southern Baptist Convention in Birmingham, in June, I will not find it necessary to ask these questions during each of these five entities’ report to the Convention. If I don’t get answers to these questions, I will feel compelled to ask these questions on the floor of the Convention.

  1. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants for the Presidency of the IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway, by the date of this letter?
  2. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants that made the list of the top three finalist for the presidency of each entity (IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway)?
  3. Will you please share with me the total number of minority applicants who were interviewed at each entity (IMB, SWBTS, EC, NOBTS and Lifeway)?
  4. Will each entity give your answer to the question that was reportedly expressed by a retiring entity head (that hopefully was simply an innocuous, objective and pragmatic question, as opposed to a racist question): Do you believe that a minority entity head would adversely affect the donor base of the SBC and her entities?
  5. Will you give your answer to the question regarding your comfortability and compatibility with numerous resolutions of the SBC expressing the aspirational goal of minority inclusion and empowerment at every level of SBC life: If there are no minorities hired as entity heads between now and the near future, is that philosophically and pragmatically, a picture and a reality that your entity would be comfortable with?

Thanks for your consideration and contribution of the answers to each of these five questions. The answers to the questions will be very helpful in understanding the diversity pool of SBC potential leadership, who has expressed an openness to serve our Convention. The answers will also provide valuable information needed to be proactive in recruiting minorities to apply for future vacancies. Finally, it will give trustee board members a scientific, statistical analysis of what progress is being made toward the SBC Great Commission Council, reflecting the diversity of the scope of the Great Commission. I am really grateful for your anticipated response/answers to these questions.

For His Kingdom,

William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

TO ATTEND, OR NOT ATTEND, THAT IS THE QUESTION

by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

I enjoy attending the Annual Session of the Southern Baptist Convention each year. Our annual Vacation Bible School and the second week of June SBC session have often conflicted on our church calendar. I have usually opted to attend the SBC, when that occurs, and left an Associate in charge. This year we scheduled the VBS for the last week of June, to make sure it didn’t conflict with the SBC and/or the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education meeting in Baltimore.

However, as of today, I’m seriously contemplating whether or not to attend the SBC Birmingham, 2019. Why? To be perfectly honest, I have conflicting emotions about the SBC’s commitment to giving Asians, Hispanics, and African Americans an opportunity to interview for, and be hired as one of the Presidents of the nine Southern Baptist entities.

My ambivalent feelings are not in any wise related to fellow Arkansan, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, being elected as President of the SBC Executive Board. I actually think Ronnie was a good choice, and I have every reason to believe that he will give the Kingdom and the SBC his absolute best. If God gives our Convention the favor under Ronnie’s leadership, that God gave to the Cross Church, Fayetteville, AR, where Dr. Floyd serves as pastor, we have a bright future ahead of us. My prayers and heart is for Kingdom advancement in the SBC over the next few years.

The election of Ronnie Floyd did bring to memory the controversy surrounding the letter forwarded to the EC nominating committee regarding whether or not a minority candidate was interviewed for the presidency of the EC. The EC Board of Trustees adamantly refused to answer the question, which indicated to me they had not interviewed a minority candidate. I know with certainty a highly qualified Black applicant, with a Ph.D. from a SBC seminary, experienced pastor, seminary professor, and an experienced State Executive Director, was not interviewed or seriously considered by the EC Search Committee. It is baffling to me, how do you deny such a qualified person an interview? I could accept the fact that the Committee may consider Dr. Floyd the better fit, or the more capable of the two…but to not even interview the minority candidate? BAFFLING!!!

I know for certain, a highly qualified Black candidate has submitted his name for the vacancy as President of Lifeway. At least two qualified Blacks submitted their resumes for the vacancy of the President of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Every applicant has an earned doctorate, two with Ph.D.’s, and extensive experience in SBC life. Yet, none of them currently are the leading candidates for the vacancies at any of these SBC entities. BAFFLING!!!

You will never convince me that out of five vacant entity head positions, it was God’s will in every instance for an Anglo to be selected. You will never convince me in a denomination that is comprised of a 20% minority population, and assigned to disciple the nations, that at every gathering of the Great Commission Council of the SBC, it should resemble the convening of The White Citizens Council.

If the SBC continues down this road of electing five White entity heads, in the most recent vacancies, the message being sent to minorities is: You can ride on the bus, but don’t ever expect to drive it.

Failing to interview, seriously consider and to hire minority candidates have left me with a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I may be a part of a denomination driven by systemic racism and a White Supremacy construct that simply cannot and will not empower and submit to minority leadership. Wrestling with this thought is very disconcerting for me.

Finally, I may not attend for a very practical reason. I’ve decided to re-enroll as a student at SWBTS to complete my Masters. I plan to take one class every semester, including the May Term, January Term, Summer semester, Fall and Spring, until I finish. Therefore, I may be in class this summer and simply need to be disciplined and focused. I had hoped to enroll in a class that would give me credit for attending the SBC Annual Convention, as some classes do.

I am really enjoying a Church History II class taught by Dr. Robert Caldwell. This semester we are required to read, “The Democratization of American Christianity” by Nathan O. Hatch. In Chapter six, “The Right to Think for Oneself,” Page 171, Hatch writes:

The anguish of injustice and poverty makes unacceptable the implication that God is ordaining, and taking pleasure in, whatever happens. African-Americans, for instance, found little place for pre-destination in their understanding of Christianity. In Wilkinson County, Mississippi, a slave gravedigger, with a younger helper, asked a white stranger a question:

“Massa, may I ask you something?”

“Ask what you please.”

“Can you ‘splain how it happened in the fust place, that the white folks got the start of the black folks, so as to make dem slaves and do all de work?”

The younger helper, fearing the white man’s wrath, broke in: “Uncle Pete, it’s no use talking. It’s fo’ordained. The Bible tells you that. The Lord fo’ordained the Nigger to work, and the white man to boss.”

Dat’s so. Dat’s so. But if dat’s so, then God’s no fair man!”

Hatch then concludes:

“The forms of Christianity that prospered among African-Americans were not accepting of the status quo. They supported a moral revulsion of slavery and promised eventual deliverance, putting God on the side of change and freedom.”

God is on the side of change and freedom. It is time for the SBC to change. If the SBC does not change in this cycle of entity hiring, when will she change? Will she ever change? I am not sure of the answers to these questions.

Like the older slave in the above story, I just have this question: Why is it that a minority can’t ever lead an SBC entity? Is it fore ordained? God forbid! But what I do know, I cannot get excited about attending a convention where I have to ask these questions, because repeatedly I see the white power structure leave my people only with questions, but no answers.

To attend, or not attend, that is the question. At the moment, I remain uncertain.

 

WARNING ALWAYS COMES BEFORE JUDGMENT

Reflections on Recent SBC Sexual Abuse Reports

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Christa Brown of StopBaptistPredators.org has been sounding the alarm for many years that there was a major problem, widespread, among Southern Baptists regarding sexual abuse. Unfortunately, she was largely marginalized, rebuffed, rejected, and her claims were met with denial, by high profile SBC personalities and official entity responses. History has vindicated her. The recent Houston Chronicle article documents and details a pattern of sexual abuse and cover-ups in SBC Life. Ms. Brown actually deserves an apology from the personalities and entities that questioned her motives and veracity.

In 2010, my heart bled for how the SBC was treating Ms. Brown (https://baptistnews.com/article/church-honors-advocate-for-abuse-victims/#.XGXDm1VKiM8). I wanted to encourage and affirm her, and let her know that, I, for one, thought her story was authentic, and her claims were valid that there was a larger problem in SBC Life regarding this issue.

God always sends warning before judgment. The SBC ignored the warning from the “prophetess”—Christa Brown. Now, the SBC is facing judgment.

Another warning: Sherri Klouda, Karen Bullock, and Wendy Norvelle are three SBC women who were all mistreated professionals in SBC institutional life. They were all denied tenure, positions, demoted or fired, simply because they were women. The same conservative, inerrantist, trustee board that hired Sherri Klouda to teach the Hebrew alphabet at SWBTS, fired her because she was a woman teaching the Hebrew alphabet. Sherri Klouda’s firing was inexcusable and indefensible. Yet, SWBTS did so, unapologetically. It is no secret that SWBTS is experiencing major enrollment decline and financial challenges. Judgment for the ill treatment of Sherri Klouda and denying Dr. Karen Bullock, tenure, may have already begun.

I would hope that SWBTS/SBC does not wait for a secular newspaper to document and detail all the women who have been professionally violated and mistreated in SBC Life before they repent, lament, and declare a change of heart, leading to a change of actions.

Wendy Norvelle was appointed Interim VP at IMB. But trustees would not support a woman being permanently named to such a position, although there is nothing scripturally that forbids a woman functioning in such a capacity. Junia, Phoebe, Huldah, Deborah, Priscilla and Lydia are excellent biblical role models that would have not been allowed to function in today’s SBC, because of views toward women, out of sync with Scripture. The three SBC women were serving in roles analogous with their biblical role models; yet, the SBC denied these women.

I, for one, want to go on record, again, acknowledging the SBC’s complicity and guilt in the maltreatment of Sherri Klouda, Karen Bullock, and Wendy Norvelle. I pray that the powers that be in the SBC would offer an apology to these women before judgment fully comes.

In 2007, I resigned as a trustee after serving for only one year for several reasons. Included were health concerns, church leadership and my wife’s feeling as if I had been rejected by the trustees and SWBTS leadership; therefore, I could not be effective as a trustee; and Cornerstone needed, respected and appreciated my time and input, more so than SWBTS. In many respects, when SWBTS leadership recommended to the SBC that I be removed as a trustee, they were attempting to silence and marginalize me, just as they had done Sherri Klouda and Karen Bullock. Later, they recanted their recommendation and asked me to remain a trustee. By then, I was exasperated. Those factors did weigh heavily upon my thinking. But an underlying factor, that I have never expressed publicly before was, I did not feel comfortable serving on a board that could treat Sherri Klouda as she was treated without any repentance or remorse. My presence on the board made me complicit; in my conscience, I could not live with that thought. Therefore, I resigned.

The same mentality that says Sherri Klouda cannot teach Hebrew, Wendy Norvelle cannot be a VP at IMB and Karen Bullock cannot teach church history or speak in Chapel—all on the basis of gender—is the same mentality that devalues women, solely on the basis of gender and contributes to a mentality of abusing women, because they are viewed as less valuable. God, forgive us and grant us mercy as you give us space to repent (Revelation 2:20-23).

Just as sexual abuse is systemic in SBC Life, denying women professional opportunities outside of the role of senior pastor is also systemic in SBC Life; and…God is displeased with both practices in the SBC.

In January, my wife and I have re-enrolled as students at SWBTS. We are enjoying every second of it. But, I pray that the day will come that apologies are extended to Dr. Klouda and Dr. Bullock before judgment comes.

 Church honors advocate for abuse victims

NEWSABPNEWS  |  DECEMBER 7, 2010

ARLINGTON, Texas (ABP) — A sometimes-controversial black Southern Baptist preacher recently honored an also-outspoken advocate for victims of sex abuse by Baptist clergy.

Dwight McKissic and Christa Brown

Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, presented Christa Brown of StopBaptistPredators.org with an award Nov. 21 for sacrificial service by a Christian woman.

The Phoebe Award is named for a woman mentioned in the Book of Romans as “a servant of the church” and “helper of many.” McKissic’s church gives it to a woman “who has made a difference in our world” or “someone who stands up for truth and right,” said Veronica Griffin, Cornerstone’s minister of communications and special events. She said the award is presented every three to five years.

Brown is former Baptist outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support-and-advocacy group formed in 1989 in response to Catholic pedophilia scandals but with a focus that has expanded in recent years to clergy sexual abuse in other denominations. Brown tells her personal story of sexual abuse at the hands of a Baptist youth minister when she was a teenager — and of decades later tracking the perpetrator down and finally getting him removed from the ministry — in a book titled This Little Light.

After hearing from others with similar experiences, Brown set out to pressure the Southern Baptist Convention to set up safeguards like an independent panel where individuals could report abuse and a database of ministers guilty or credibly accused of sexual abuse.

For her efforts Brown and other leaders of SNAP have been publicly branded by prominent SBC leaders as “evil doers,” “just as reprehensible as sex criminals” and “nothing more than opportunistic persons who are seeking to raise opportunities for personal gain.”

Time magazine ranked the Southern Baptist Convention’s refusal to create a database of child molesters one of the 10 most under-reported stories of 2008. More recently a review of Brown’s book appeared overseas in The Times Literary Supplement. A translation just out in the Paris publication Booksmagazine carries the headline, “L’Église baptiste, paradis des pedophiles,” French for, “The Baptist church, paradise for pedophiles.”

A Cornerstone Baptist Church press release said Brown “works tirelessly to protect the next generation of innocent girls from abuse by Baptist pastors and clergy.”

“Although Ms. Brown has been disrespected, shunned and treated harshly by some in the Baptist family, she has chosen to take her abuse, hurt and shame and turn it into an opportunity to protect other women and girls from the same abuse, hurt and shame,” the release continued. “Realizing that not all Baptist preachers are predators, Ms. Brown desires to make parents aware of predators while educating the parent to become more aware and savvy in protecting their children.”

“She deserves to receive dignity, honor and acknowledgment for her life’s mission to protect others from clergy sexual abuse and change the Baptist infrastructure so that children and families are safe,” the release concluded.

Brown, an appellate lawyer now pursuing a Ph.D. at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, said that traveling to Texas to accept the award was the first time — except for funerals — she had set foot in a Baptist church in more than 30 years.

“I am grateful to the people of Cornerstone Baptist Church and to Rev. Dwight McKissic for the message of hope they have sent in the making of this award,” Brown said. “Like many other clergy sex-abuse survivors, I yearn for a day when kids in Baptist churches will be a great deal safer, and when abuse survivors will be heard with compassion and care.”

“As Dr. McKissic so wisely recognizes, the work of protecting against clergy predators is not work that attacks the church but work that seeks to serve the church,” she said.

“Though the stories of clergy sex abuse survivors may be deeply troubling, in truth, we bring a gift to the faith community. Our stories may serve to illuminate the care that is needed for the faith community itself, so that Baptists may bear a more faithful witness in the world and may become more true to their own vision of who they are.”

McKissic is no stranger to controversy. He was forced to resign as a trustee at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after saying in a chapel sermon that he uses a “private prayer language,” a practice common among Pentecostal and charismatic groups but controversial for many Southern Baptists.

More recently McKissic proposed amending the Southern Baptist Convention’s constitution to exclude churches that support “racial discrimination and bigotry in any form” and called for a resolutionapologizing for the convention’s mistreatment of women.

-30-

Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.

DEMOCRATS ARE CALLED “GODLESS” AND ARE BEING QUESTIONED ABOUT THE INTEGRITY OF THEIR FAITH

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

It’s interesting that Democrats are being questioned about the integrity of their faith, from Republican loyalists who elected a man who own casinos, strip joints, thrice married, engaged in multiple affairs while married, who will not answer the question whether or not he paid for an abortion, defends taking children from their mothers at the border, and announced at the outset of his candidacy that he would not try and overturn the sanctioning of same-sex marriage.

The truth of the matter is that the Democrats demonstrate a greater reflection of Christ’s Kingdom on issues of providing a safety net for the poor, immigration reform, social and economic justice and equality, fairness and policy brutality issues.

The Republicans provide a greater reflection of Christ’s Kingdom on issues regarding the sanctity of life and their platform position against gay marriage.

I’m neither Republican nor a Democrat. The Kingdom of God does not ride on the back of a donkey or an elephant. Jesus did not come to take sides; He came to take over. I’m solely on the side of the Lamb who is worthy. The Donkey and the Elephant both fall short of the Kingdom of God, by a long shot. To tout one party spiritually and morally superior to the other, is divisive and alienating to the vast majority of believers who tend to vote along party lines racially. The implications racially of labeling Democrats “godless” are staggering.

Such false, misleading, and ill-thought labeling places the vast majority of Black and Hispanic evangelicals in the category of “godless.” It is very painful and offensive to be labeled “godless” by a people who elected a person who prefers immigrants from Norway over African immigrants and refers to the alt-right as “very fine people.”

My Comment Concerning the Decision to Post My 2006 Sermon in the Online Archives of SWBTS
by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
The spirit on Southwestern’s campus this week has been one of repentance, reconciliation, and renewal. I do not know all the factors that went into the seminary’s decision to make my 2006 sermon available online after more than twelve years of censure. I am grateful for that decision, and it could not have come at a more perfect time. My family and my church have always been supportive of Southwestern Seminary. We will continue to be as the Lord gives us health and strength.

A PLEA TO THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TO TREAT DR. CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD WITH FAIRNESS, DECENCY AND RESPECT

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

How Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is treated by the Senate as a woman who confesses that she was victimized by Brett Kavanaugh during their high school years is not a matter of politics, from my perspective. It is a moral, justice, ethical, due process, and gender-fair treatment matter. I am equally as concerned that Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, receives the same equal and fair treatment by the Senate and the process, related to Dr. Ford’s accusations against him.

Because elections have consequences, and I am passionately pro-life, I am not among those who hope that Dr. Ford’s accusations would derail the Kavanaugh nomination. My heart would rejoice if Judge Kavanaugh casts the decisive vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. My purpose in addressing this issue is simply to add another voice to those who are concerned that Dr. Ford receives the utmost respect, fairness, and justice from the Senate regarding how her case is handled, by the powers that be.

I am deeply concerned by the Senate’s unwillingness to require a FBI investigation, and depositions be taken on all related parties involved in Dr. ford’s attempted-rape allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Two of the senators currently serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee also served on the Committee during the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill saga. Those senators requested FBI investigation/depositions then, but are not in favor of FBI investigations/depositions on the Kavanaugh /Ford accusations. This speaks hypocrisy and duplicity.

References to Dr. Ford being confused, a pawn, and unreliable because she did not report this matter to the law at the time of the alleged occurrence, by President Trump and Republican Senators have been disheartening, because it demonstrates a certain insensitivity and indifference to Dr. Ford—and by extension—women victims. These kinds of dubious and ill-informed expressions by political figures in high places are beneath the dignity of their offices. Those comments do not bode well that she will be judged fairly and impartially.

Therefore, my plea is for the Senate Judiciary Committee and President Trump to demonstrate to the world, America’s value, respect, and due process rights, to all of her citizens including women who bring accusations against, powerful men.

Judge Kavanaugh’s due process rights and fair and respectable treatment are not in question. But, if from Democrats or anyone else tempted to demonstrate a lack of fairness, due process, disrespect or male bashing toward Judge Kavanaugh, my plea is the same: Let’s demonstrate to the world the greatness of America by conducting the Ford/Kavanaugh hearings, with decency, dignity, and cross-gender fairness, respect, and equality. America, our daughters and the women of the world are watching. Let all things be done decently and in order.

A Book Review by William Dwight Mckissic, Sr.

GOD’S AMAZING GRACE:  RECONCILING FOUR CENTURIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES

Author – PASTOR TERRY TURNER

A response to a question Blacks have been asked for years, is finally answered in this great book of epic insights by Terry Turner entitled, God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families. “Why don’t you just get over it,” is a question many non-Blacks often ask of African Americans, in regards to any civil rights matter. For most Blacks, the answer is not a simple reply because it is so complex. In this book, Turner does an excellent job of breaking down the issues in the Black community that have stifled growth and positive outcomes in their marriages and families. He even begins the book as an African American male addressing the question to his race, asking, “What is wrong with my people?” As I read the book, my mind began to categorize into four different sections that may be helpful to the reader. For me, the book can be broken down, to help answer these questions, into the foundation of the problems, fatherlessness being at the forefront of the issues, faith being a saving grace for what is to remain of the family structure, and remedies to build the future.

Looking at a newly constructed building, one may notice wooden planks holding a temporary structure in place that workers stand on while building the permanent edifice. These beams however, will not remain once the building is completed. They simply are put in place to help build the foundation until the building can stand on its own. This practice is called scaffolding. In African American families, scaffolding came in the form of people who did not have their best interest in mind. The Black family foundation is built on lies and deceit, and therefore is an imbalanced entity, comparably speaking. Turner addresses The Trickle Down Effect, Post-Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, mistreatment of prisoners and slaves and even sexual abuse as defects in the foundation of Black homes. His research is eye opening to its readers and will shed much light on the many many cracks in the foundation of the Black family structure.

Every child’s first hero usually lives in their house and sleeps with them each night. This idol protects them from harm, provides a place of stability and makes sure they never go to bed hungry. He can even be responsible for ensuring they are educated and a well-rounded member of society. They go by the endearing name, Daddy. A dad is born into a family as a son and is groomed to one day assume the position of the patriarch. In the Black family, this position is often left void. Whether the father has been killed at an early age, died of natural causes, or just chose not to be in the child’s life, absenteeism is a true problem that plagues the foundation of many Black homes. Turner even expresses his personal situation where his father lived in his home but was still absent emotionally and eventually physically due to medical issues. Some fathers live in the home but due to drug abuse, extra marital relationships, and other setbacks, they still do not engage with their children and wife in a positive manner. All of these hardships have made it difficult for Black families to thrive. Without being taught how to be a superhero, how exactly does one learn? Even Robin had Batman to show him the way. Often times, young boys grow up to be men raising families of their own, with not a single instruction from their Batman. The early example of masculine leadership in the Black families was slave masters beating, raping and deceiving families to follow instructions that were necessary for their survival. With this treacherous way of living as the introduction to fatherhood in the African American family, it comes as no surprise to people of color why their homes are unstable in comparison to their white counterparts.

As with any damage structure, hope remains that it can be restored. The African American family is no different. For centuries, it has been faith in Christ that has held the Black family together. This faith is well documented in how it helped slaves maintain their livelihood and even escape. This faith was an outlet to the troubles that continued into the civil rights movement. Many African American pastors have been at the forefront of social injustices, as Blacks use their faith as a pathway to freedom and rely on their spiritual advisors to lead them.

Moving through history and into the current century, marriages in the African American families have evolved and albeit a struggle, the integrity of marriage must be maintained to ensure strong families in the future. Imagine being stripped from a husband and kids and being forced into adultery, fornication and even incestuous relationships against your will. This was the plight of most African American women in slavery. While not even classified as a human, these women were defenseless and unable to protect themselves. Turner points out that contrary to the scriptures they were taught on sexual immorality, they were not given the chance to abstain. For these reasons, families were completely mutilated and scattered. Presently, some of these ill effects still haunt Black families. Sexual sins are not always viewed as such, because for years, under the law, incontinence, fornication, adultery, bigamy and other sexual crimes, were not considered as such for slaves and Blacks. Fast forward to 2018, many of these acts still exist and are rampant in Black homes. Now that marriages are legal and laws are in place to protect the sanctity of marriage, Blacks must take advantage of the opportunity and stop destroying their families due to sexual misconduct.

By God’s Amazing Grace, there is hope for the Black family in America. With excuses that can run four centuries long, it is imperative that African Americans rid their families of these cracks in their foundation. “Just get over it! What is wrong with my people? What is wrong with me?” The answer: Nothing. Our past has been reconciled and by His Grace, our families will be healed.

Terry Turner has done an excellent with this awesome work, “God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families.” The content of his message is relatable to the needs of the African American Community concerning the issues we face today. This book about God’s Amazing Grace engages and equips all people concerning African American families and history. Terry Turner is a compelling and persuasive teacher/preacher. I endorse and highly recommend “God’s Amazing Grace:  Reconciling Four Centuries of African American Marriages and Families.” It is a really great read! I believe you will be blessed, encouraged and greatly benefited by reading Turner’s book.

 

William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Arlington, TX

VOTING GREEAR, COULD AS EASILY VOTE HEMPHILL, TEMPTED TO NOMINATE BETH MOORE, FOR SBC PRESIDENCY

By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

When Trayvon Martin was shot and killed because he simply looked “suspicious,” initiated by the fact that Zimmerman viewed him as “suspicious” and chose to pursue him against the order of the police department, it was a personal, powerful, picturesque and emotional moment for me to hear Dr. Fred Luter address this matter as President of the SBC. I never thought I would live long enough to hear a SBC President redemptively, righteously and prophetically address a matter when a young Black man was needlessly shot because the idea was stimulated by unfounded suspicion and his killer not following a police order.

If a Hispanic person was addressing immigration issues while serving as President of the SBC, it would likely have a radically different tone and project the SBC as compassionate on the immigration question.

Imagine for a moment with me, what if the person serving as SBC President at this hour was a competent, accomplished, biblically sound, orthodox female who could address the multitude of questions and issues the SBC is facing regarding women issues? The criticism and skepticism would be less dramatic if the SBC historically had demonstrated confidence and belief in the gifts and value of SBC women serving at all levels of leadership in SBC institutional life within the boundaries of the Bible.

To say this is a critical hour in the life of the SBC is an understatement. The presidency of the SBC is by design weighted more toward symbolism than governing. There is no budget, personnel, office space, and extremely limited authority that are presumptive or inherent in occupying the office of President of the SBC. Yes, the SBC President appoints the committee on committees that appoints all of the SBC committees. Yes, the SBC President presides over the Annual SBC gathering. Yes, the SBC President serves as an ex-officio trustee of all SBC entities. Yes, the SBC President serves on the committee on order of business. Yes, the SBC President serves as an official representative of the SBC to the public at large and as a representative to other parachurch or denominational gatherings. Beyond those aforementioned responsibilities, the SBC presidency has no decision-making authority. Again, the SBC presidency is largely symbolic, not authoritative. Therefore, a woman would not be usurping authority over a man by serving as SBC President.

The SBC is an entity head and trustee-driven governmental system. The SBC President is not an entity head or voting trustee of any of the entities. The President of the Executive Committee of the SBC, which is a job currently vacant and most recently held by Frank Page, has oversight of a colossal budget and staff and is appointed by the EC Trustee Board. That position, totally distinct from The Office of the President of the SBC, inherently has much more authority than the elective office of the President of the SBC. Clearly, the SBC President has a large “bully pulpit,” if they choose to use it; and a great deal of influence, but very limited constitutional authority. In NBC life the role of the EC and President of the NBC are synonymous. In the SBC, this is not so. My reason for explaining the above is because I have observed that there is widespread ignorance in SBC life regarding the role and authority of the President of the SBC, succinctly stated; The President of the SBC is not a position of inherent authority, but usually widespread name recognition and influence, based on ministry history and convention support.

I’ve never met or communicated with J.C. Greear in any context, to the best of my recollection. His ministry reputation is impeccable. His record on race is impressive. Greear’s noble act, in standing down, so that unity and the election of Steve Gaines would stand up, was so impressive to me that made up my mind then that I was going to vote for him in ’20, regardless to who his opposition might be. I tweeted my support for Greear before Dr. Ken Hemphill announced his candidacy for the presidency. I remain true to my commitment to vote for Greear.

However, Ken Hemphill is a man that I know personally. Hemphill is a man that I deeply love and respect. If he had announced first, I would have been not only supportive of his candidacy, I would have voted for him, based on my personal history with him. As many have noted, we will be in good hands as a convention with either Greear or Hemphill.

My appreciation for Hemphill lies in the fact that he was an incredible President at SWBTS. He was and is deeply loved, respected and appreciated by Black seminarians, because he was kind and fair toward us. SWBTS National Black Alumni held a once in a lifetime reunion during Hemphill’s tenure at SWBTS and honored him. A portion of that two-day reunion was held at Cornerstone Church, Arlington, where I serve as pastor. Hemphill’s record concerning women is also impeccable. Black female seminarians loved Hemphill. They were allowed to take preaching classes with males, without any professor speaking despairingly toward them. Dr. Hemphill was pressured to resign at SWBTS, because of his favorable disposition toward women in ministry. Dr. Karen Bullock taught church history during Dr. Hemphill’s tenure and preached in chapel at SWBTS. Allowing her to preach infuriated certain SWBTS trustees; and that led to his untimely departure. Sheri Klouda was hired by Dr. Hemphill to teach Hebrew, approved by the trustees. She was later fired by the same inerrantist, conservative trustees for being a woman teaching men. Her gender had to be observable when they hired her. Later, her hiring was labeled “a momentary lapse in parameters.”

Dr. Hemphill was exemplary and biblical in how he affirmed, valued and elevated women in SBC life within biblical parameters. Hemphill is a continuationist and has documented that in his book on spiritual gifts. When many were criticizing a chapel sermon, that affirmed continuationist that I preached in 2006, Hemphill released a statement to the Baptist Press affirming continuationism. He could have chosen silence. There was nothing for him to gain by affirming continuationism in the context of my chapel sermon, but he did. Much respect for Ken Hemphill. Honestly, I feel disloyal to our history, by not voting for him. Furthermore, during his tenure and Dilday’s tenure, I probably preached chapel ten times at SWBTS. Chapel preaching invitations from SWBTS ceased after my 2006 sermon affirming continuationism. I have continued to support SWBTS with generous annual contributions and funding SWBTS with tuition assistance for students who attend Cornerstone, Arlington.

Many Black female seminarians confided in me that there was an atmospheric change on campus and mainly in classrooms, after the departure of Dr. Hemphill, which in part may also explain the drop in enrollment after he left.

The two greatest institutional systemic sins that the SBC has practiced throughout her history are racism and sexism. Those twofold demons seem to inevitably and periodically raise their ugly heads in SBC life. The SBC system produced and covered the racism and sexism. This cannot be laid at the feet of any one person. None of what’s being questioned and voted as unacceptable today, would not have even been questioned in the ‘70’s, ‘80’s, ‘90’s and even 2000. The initial info that caused the recent uproar was widely publicly known in 2000, and it was met with a yawn. What have changed are the SBC people, who are no longer willing to tolerate certain behaviors as they once did. The SBC sin of sexism was passed down generationally and is only now being seriously challenged. To deny a woman from serving as a SBC president or vice president is purely sexist from my vantage point. But if this is the SBC’s position, it needs to be stipulated in the bylaws/constitution. It is fundamentally dishonest and a colossal integrity issue, to know for certain that the SBC would not elect a woman president or allow a woman to serve as a vice president of an entity, but yet not put this practice/belief in writing. We owe it to women to be honest with them regarding their mobility and potential in SBC institutional life.

If I thought Beth Moore would accept the nomination or be agreeable to being nominated, because of her qualifications and the current context the SBC finds herself in…I would nominate her for SBC President.

The SBC is a parachurch organization—not a church. Therefore, there is absolutely not one Bible verse, or SBC constitutional bylaws prohibitions, nor any BF&M 2000 prohibitions against a woman serving as SBC President. Tradition, sexism, fear and other non-biblical factors would probably prevent any woman, including Deborah, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia, Junia or Priscilla, or Lottie Moon from being elected President of the SBC; but, I repeat…there is not one Bible verse or SBC constitutional prohibition.

Therefore, I could vote for a qualified woman with a clear conscience for President of the SBC. The I Timothy 2:12 passage is reference to local church leadership, not parachurch leadership. The statement on gender roles in the BF&M 2000 does not prohibit female leadership in the SBC Convention or entity life. To impose I Timothy 2:12 as a prohibition on a female SBC President would be tantamount to imposing Genesis 9:25-27, as a prohibition for a Black, Asian, or Hispanic SBC President. Neither Scripture is addressing prohibitions in parachurch offices. Historically, though, they have been used or misused to draw such erroneous conclusions.

I Timothy 2:12 is the verse that erroneously cost Karen Bullock and Sheri Klouda, their jobs at SWBTS. In 2010, I submitted a resolution that was denied that appealed to the SBC to repent for their attitude, actions and disposition toward women. Women have been denied VP roles in SBC entities because of I Timothy 2:12; that’s sinful and shameful, God’s judgment has come upon us, “shall we continue in sin?” Had the SBC repented of her proclivity toward sexism in 2010, we may not be facing our current crisis.

To elect Beth Moore would do more to heal our Convention, seal women within our convention who have lost hope and right historic patterns of wrong toward women, without compromising qualifications, integrity, competency, or Scripture. The questions are, “Are we there yet?” or do we have to wait 100 more years and experience more of God’s judgment? SEBTS recently elected a woman as chairman of their Trustee Board. Progress is being made. Serving as an ex-officio officer of SBC entity trustee boards is one of the duties of an SBC president. By already permitting women trustees and a woman chairperson, the precedence is already set.

I believe The Sovereign God of the Universe is responsible for the current happenings in the SBC. God wants the SBC to set her house in order—racially and gender wise. He is cleaning the SBC house, so that He can bless the SBC house with a mighty manifestation of His presence to equip, empower, and enlighten His people to be His salt and light on earth. We are experiencing a purging, that is a necessary prerequisite for the empowerment of His people.

The purpose of this article is simply to stimulate our thinking, so that we will begin to ponder how to empower and value the gifts of SBC women within the boundaries of Scripture, rather than majoring in how we can restrict them. Could it be that what was intended toward women as evil in the SBC, God will now turn it around and use it for good (Genesis 50:20)? There are too many cases of women prophesying to men, in Scripture, publicly to hide behind I Timothy 2:12 as an excuse to not elect a woman as president or vice president of our Convention.

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