When being a pastor is ‘the most important calling,’ family values take a back seat

This article originally appeared at Baptist News Global on June 27, 2024.

Most of the noise at this month’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting was from men attempting to cement their pastoral power over women, Christian nationalists attacking religious liberty, messengers seeking to censure SBC leaders publicly, and the convention voting to oppose in vitro fertilization.These debates tend to grow from two fundamental priorities — the building up of the family and the spreading of the gospel.

In this year’s resolution “On the God-Given Rights and Responsibilities of Parents,” SBC messengers declared the family to be “the first and most foundational institution of society” and said God as the “sovereign authority over all … has entrusted to parents certain rights and responsibilities as the primary stewards of their children.”

In this year’s resolution “On Evangelism and the Great Commission,” the SBC committed to “evangelistic cooperation through all means possible, including joint mission trips, the sharing of church buildings, school release time programs, vacation Bible school, student conferences, community ministries, sports evangelism, special evangelistic services, and other efforts, building a lasting legacy to hand off the mission to the next generation.” They also added a commitment to “take the gospel to the ends of the earth and sacrifice all for the sake of the mission.”

Southern Baptists believe all society will collapse if their definitions of the family and the gospel collapse. They also believe anyone who doesn’t accept their gospel, which the family is a reflection of, will burn in hell for eternity, including their own children.

“Southern Baptists believe all society will collapse if their definitions of the family and the gospel collapse.”

Key to spreading their gospel are pastors, who offer church members the theological training to build their families and the missional opportunities to spread the gospel. But because Southern Baptists have chosen to interpret reality through the lens of hierarchy, inevitably a conflict of interest arises over which priority will take precedence — the family or missions.

What happens when pastors, who are the primary authorities in Southern Baptist churches, and husbands, who are the primary authorities in Southern Baptist homes, disagree with one another? And what happens when sacrificing all for the sake of the mission includes sacrificing the family?

Continue reading at Baptist News Global.

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