Watching SBC men posture for position is exhausting

This article originally appeared at Baptist News Global on June 10, 2024.

It’s exhausting to the soul. That’s what I’m feeling as I consider all the possible stories I could write regarding what white conservative men have planned for this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Indianapolis.

Capturing most headlines is the Law Amendment, which states: “The SBC only cooperates with churches that do not affirm, appoint or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”

The proposed amendment has a Frequently Asked Questions page filled with 28 questions related to why women shouldn’t be pastors. Their answers are packed with inflammatory lies about those who disagree, false assumptions about the Bible, and bigoted language against women and LGBTQ people.

Going line by line to respond to all 28 questions would require writing an entire series of books.

Rick Pidcock

Despite the power they’ve accumulated over the decades through their conservative resurgence and the rise of Calvinism, conservative men from a variety of denominations seem really paranoid the amendment may not pass.

Earlier this year, Doug Wilson peddled a conspiracy theory that Baptist News Global was teaming up with Salon and the Dallas Morning News to criticize Southern Baptist pastor Josh Howerton’s sexually coercive jokes in order to defeat the Law Amendment. Wilson prophesied, “Clearly, if the Law Amendment passes, we are going to be dealing with a lot more jokes … (because) women pastors wouldn’t tell those.”

So do we invest the energy to demonstrate how their 28 answers don’t add up? Do we sit quietly while they continue to tell sexually coercive jokes? Do we really need to explain to pastors why telling sexually coercive jokes from the pulpit is inappropriate? Perhaps to that latter question, we need to, given the way they handle sexual abuse.

Whatever response we consider, I’m left shaking my head before the convention even starts, weary of the total nonsense.

As if that weren’t enough, Baptist News Global’s Mark Wingfield wrote last week that the Law Amendment may not even be the most important decision of the week. The SBC also is choosing among six men to be their new president. They continue to ignore making significant decisions to protect children from sexual abuse. And in a strange departure from Baptist tradition, they may be adopting an amendment to include the Nicene Creed in the Baptist Faith and Message.

Pastors speaking with inerrant authority

Adding any creed would be significant because Baptists traditionally claim to have “no creed but the Bible.”

On the surface, that saying may appear to level the playing field of biblical interpretation by valuing the perspectives of the congregation in the pews without privileging the theological pontifications of powerful church councils who wield the sword of excommunication. But in the world of conservative Baptists, having no creed but the Bible has become a smokescreen for fallible, unimpressive, often abusive pastors to use the Bible’s authority as a way of exerting their own.

Fundamental to all the proposed resolutions and motions are the assumptions that the Bible is inerrant and that conservative Southern Baptist men are correctly upholding its inerrant authority.

Continue reading at Baptist News Global.

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