Thursday, January 25, 2007

The 612 SBC Rules about Women in Ministry

It's unbelievable how the Pharisees have gripped control of the SBC. The Pharisees of the first century had taken 10 God-given commandments and created 612 man-made ones. The Pharisees of the 21st century have taken culturally connected and difficult to interpret scriptural teachings about women to reduce women to roles only imagined by Muslim extremists.

The case: Paige Patterson, president of Southwestern Seminary, recently terminated a proven Hebrew scholar for being a woman. His justification: The only people qualified to teach future pastors are people who are qualified to be pastors. And pastors must, of course, be men.

Once again, the biblical material isn't taken seriously at all here by Paige Patterson. Paul prohibited women from teaching men ONLY because were not educationally qualified to teach men. Paul cares deeply that the teachings of Jesus be purely preserved and not corrupted by false teachings. And since women had not been allowed to participate in the educational system of the Jewish faith and had only recently been invited to participate with men in the Christian church, they were most likely to introduce error into the mix.

The issue for Paul is not gender. It's education.

That's why the women were interrupting the worship services in I Corinthians. They didn't undrestand what was going on and were questioning their husbands about everything that was happening. That's why women were divorcing their husbands and not having sexual relations with them. They thought that with their growing knowledge, they had become like angels, needing neither marriage nor sex. (I believe the second part of this belief is still rampant among many married women!) That's why Paul did elevate Phoebe to deacon and Junias to apostle (how inconvenient for Patterson). These were educated women who had proven that they could pass along the faith without error.

I'm amazed at how far off Patterson is in his application of Paul's teaching. First, Patterson interprets Paul's prohibition about women to mean simply that women cannot serve as senior pastors. According to Patterson, Paul's teacing is evidently clear enough to allow women to serve as youth pastors and music pastors and discipleship pastors (well, only if we call them "directors"). Interestingly, Patterson doesn't believe women can serve as deacons, but not enough to add that to the Baptist Faith and Message.

Basically, women can't preach. As simple as that sounds, though, there is a little technicality here, one that I'm sure is clearly evident in the scriptures... a woman can preach if she stands behind a lecturn (not a pulpit) and we call it "teaching" and not "preaching." But just in case that teaching starts sounding like preaching, it's prefered that these women "teach" only to women-only audiences. We have to make this biblical exception because... let's face it... women preachers sell. Just ask Patterson about Beth Moore. There's hardly a better preacher out there. But of course, I wouldn't know because Beth Moore's audience is clearly a women-only audience. But what happens when a man get's ahold of one of her DVD's? I suggest that Patterson put a disclaimer on Lifeway's Beth Moore products releasing him from responsibility should a man happen to get ahold of those resources.

I predict that within the year, Patterson will reach rule 612 on how to interpret this one commandment.

But here's my favorite irony in all of this. If it's true that Paul was concerned about education and not gender, then there's a big laugh to be had here. If my interpretation is right, then Patterson is a grieviously ignorant male passing along scriptural error while refusing to allow a proven female scholar to pass along the truths of the gospel. How sad.

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