This is the first article in a series on this topic. To read Part 2, click hereTo read Part 3, click here.

The Call to Empower Women

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is facing a critical turning point that revolves around the role of women in the church and denominational life. Recent comments have been made about “empowering” women in the SBC. Russell Moore (President of ERLC) tweeted on May 23, 2018 the following:

Russell Moore believes there needs to be a resurgence that involves a shift regarding how we both view the role of women in the convention along with a changing of the guards where women are appointed to positions of power. He appears to be in sync with J.D. Greear who is expected to be the next SBC President. Greear tweeted on May 5, 2018:

The comments cause me to wonder what type of roles would “tear down the hierarchy” and constitute “empowerment.” Earlier, Phillip Bethancourt (Executive VP of ERLC) tweeted about “encouraging signs in the SBC since #MLK50Conference.” In his list was the appointment of the “first trustee chairwoman” at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Therefore, could choosing a woman for a position of authority that has been historically held only by men be an example of “empowering” women in roles that “tear down the hierarchy?” Amazingly, it took a short time for the discussion to move from the seminary trustee boardroom all the way to the top of the SBC leadership structure.

On June 2, 2018, Dwight McKissic, a Sr. Pastor and prominent voice in the SBC, posted on his Facebook page the following:

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… from being elected President of the SBC.

Not only was I shocked by his readiness to elect a woman as president, I was further stunned by the charge that any opposition would be rooted in “sexism” and other unbiblical reasons. However, I continued to see others who shared McKissic’s sentiment. Therefore, I tweeted out the following statement on June 4, 2018:

I was amazed at the level of opposition to this statement. It is typical for SBC Presidents to both preach at the convention and at churches throughout their tenure. Surely, the SBC has not come to accepting women preaching to men. This position that had been normal in the SBC for 150 years was being publicly mocked and called “unhealthy.” What had transpired that would bring about this swift and radical change in the SBC in such a short time?

The Impetus Behind this Call

If one wants to understand the reason for the speed at which this discussion is moving, simply consider the fact that Beth Moore’s name was inserted into the conversation of “empowering” women. The aforementioned tweet of J.D. Greear was addressed specifically to Beth Moore in response to her article surrounding the accusations of abusive treatment of women in the SBC. There Moore gave her own story of the mistreatment she had experienced throughout the years.

(Let me be clear that any abusive treatment of women is abhorrent and has no place among Christians. What is important is our response to such abuse.)

Russell Moore’s tweet above was also responding to this situation. Both he and Greear believe a good response to this tragic revelation of abusive treatment of women should be the empowerment of women to high positions of leadership. In like fashion, Dwight McKissic suggested Beth Moore be nominated to the top of the leadership structure. In other words, the answer to the wickedness of oppressing women is to give them the highest positions of power and authority in denominational leadership.

Such an answer is completely out of step with the history of the Church since its founding in Acts 2. The historic view of the Church regarding the roles of women were not established to oppress women. In fact, women are greatly valued in Scripture and viewed as holding critical roles in the discipleship of the church to train younger women and children (Titus 2:1-10). The Church has always believed in what is today called “complementarianism,” which is the biblical idea that males and females are equal as they both bear the image of God, but they have differing complementary roles and responsibilities in marriage, family, and religious leadership. Therefore, the reason women are forbidden to teach or hold positions of authority over men is not that men are superior to women, but because God has not designed for women to function in such roles. Although this has been the historical position of the SBC, there is a redefinition taking place in order to broaden the umbrella.

The reality is that complementarianism is in the process of being redefined. J.D. Greear teaches that women can preach even in the church. He will likely be elected the next President of the SBC and has already called for “a new era” of complementarianism. I believe under the leadership of Russell Moore and J.D. Greear, this is the resurgence likely coming to the SBC.

What is ultimately important is what the Bible teaches on these matters. Does the Bible forbid a woman to teach and exercise authority over men in the home and local church? Would she be allowed to function in such a role in the denomination? Lord willing, I will answer that question tomorrow.

via Delivered By Grace

Tom Buck

Tom Buck is Senior Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas. He holds a BA in Pastoral Ministries and New Testament Greek from the Moody Bible Institute, a ThM in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is presently completing his doctoral work at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Tom previously served for 12 years as the Senior Pastor of Riverside Baptist Fellowship in Florida. He has been at First Baptist Church since 2006.

2 Comments to: Will The Next SBC Resurgence Include A Redefining of Complementarianism?

  1. Avatar


    June 7th, 2018

    Hopefully the majority of men in the SBC will agree with you and speak up against such nonsense. And good gracious, even if it WERE an option to vote a woman into leadership positions, surely they could find one dedicate to truth rather than Beth Moore? 😨😨😨 We are indeed in terrifying times. Thank-you for being a biblical voice of reason.

  2. Avatar


    June 7th, 2018

    What happens in the home , happens in the Church.

    ever watched these men’s sermons on marriage…

    They attack men for refusing to marry the women in the church who have spent their lives on their career instead of qualities a Godly wif eneeds….

    They attack men for not having a servant heart- i.e men who don’t do enough domestic house care tasks to free the wife to pursue her gifts….

    for 2000 years a husband was seen as loving and Christ like if he worked hard for his wife ( not self), provided, protected and spiritually lead….

    with the rise of the feminist movement these complementarians changed it to- men have to support women’s ambitions ( opposite of 1 Corinthians 11:9) and be more domestic ( in fact it used to be taught that a wife who expected the husband to help her continuously was and support her career was selfish and lazy)
    The woman is the man’s number one priority ( not true, a husband is the wife’s number one priority but its not an exact equivalent priority in reverse, man was not made for woman…..)

    How a man performs in this metric is not judged by the word of God but by the woman..
    this has made woman the defacto heads in most relationships ( What women would not submit to this servant leading domestic husband….)
    and men in church are perceived as feminine ( of course they submit to their wives and think washing dishes is a harder more servantlike task than dealing with the sinful world and slogging to provide….)

    it should not be a surprise when this is extended to the church…
    There is no real differences in the genders any more and no logical reason to oppose women’s leadership.

    If you can twist scripture to reverse roles in the home, doing the same in church is not too hard.
    Plus the younger generation have not seen different roles for mom and dad… the only difference is who leads prayer before bed…
    all other roles are interchangeable ( this is the first time in any culture in human history male and female were this interchangeable and this is pushed by your complementarian pastors under “servant leadership”
    most houses who are complementarian have a dad perennially apologizing for having a supportive wife of feeling guilty about it to show his servant heart….

    if they are interchangeable in the home and that is what servant leadership is….

    men in the church should also servant lead and allow women to FLOURISH and influence the world with their leadership skills by heading the church….


Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)