Is It Time for a Woman to Lead the Southern Baptist Convention?

In an editorial published in Christianity Today, Pastor Dwight McKissic argues that the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) should elect Beth Moore as the next Convention president.

Reminding readers of the SBC’s current #MeToo movement with Paige Patterson, McKissic thinks that the time is ripe for a woman to lead the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. He asks the readers to “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?” He adds, “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.”

McKissic, who is the senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas,  is correct when he calls this “a critical hour in the life of the SBC.” And while many, if not most, of those who are members of SBC-affiliated churches would agree with that sentiment, I suspect that electing a woman as president of the SBC will be a hard sell for many. Undaunted, McKissic takes up the challenge and makes a case for not only a woman president but specifically Beth Moore.

Attempting to assuage concerns of conservative Christians who believe that the Bible clearly teaches that women are not to have authority over men within the church, McKissic paints the role of the SBC president with a bland, boring, and almost pointless brush, claiming, “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.”

The thing is, McKissic is correct. The SBC president is mostly a figurehead (you can read the responsibilities of the SBC president and the executive committee in the SBC bylaws 18, 19, and 20). So, he makes a compelling argument for a woman president when he writes, “a woman would not be usurping authority over a man by serving as SBC president.”

Not to mention, as he points out in his editorial, the Southern Baptist Convention isn’t a church anyway.

In his editorial, McKissic goes on to praise the two current candidates for the role of SBC president to be voted on this week in Dallas. However, he writes that the two major sins of the convention are racism and sexism. Considering the current state of affairs, he believes that electing 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.”

He concludes with the statement, “There are too many cases of women prophesying to men, in Scripture, publicly to hide behind 1 Timothy 2:12 as an excuse to not elect a woman as president or vice president of our convention.”

It’s a pretty safe bet that a woman will not be the next SBC president. However, Pastor McKissic may have opened the door wide enough to where a woman will be elected president within the next few years.

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