The Southern Baptist Convention’s former president J.D. Greear has supported the challenge of the National African American Fellowship (NAAF) to SBC’s messengers’ recent vote to ban women from serving as a “pastor of any kind”
Following the July 3 letter from NAAF’s president Gregory Perkins to the Southern Baptist Convention leader Bart Barber, challenging its vote to ban women pastors as an “unnecessary infringement upon the autonomy of the local church,” Greear backed the over 4000 predominantly African American congregations affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention in a piece published on his website.
“This amendment forces conformity down to tertiary levels in ways that will both violate local church autonomy and are inconsistent with our past practice,” wrote Greear in the Wednesday publication.
“If we continue down this road, we might become a Convention that spends its time focused on who is in and who is out, instead of on the best ways to reach our communities and glorify Jesus. If you want a harbinger of that, just take a look at Southern Baptist’s social media feeds right now.”
“Is this what we want our Convention to be about? I’m tired of micromanaging churches; I want to be about the Great Commission. There are too many people on their way to Hell for us to get quagmired in policing each other.”
The NAAF’s letter came after the proposed amendment of the SBC constitution stating that women cannot serve as pastors passed with major votes from messengers at the June 14 SBC’s Annual Meeting in New Orlean. The amendment vote came shortly after a majority of the messengers voted to uphold the removal of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church for allowing a woman to serve in the office of a teaching pastor.
In Perkins’ Letter, he contends that “Many of our churches assign the title ‘pastor’ to women who oversee ministries of the church under the authority of a male Senior Pastor, i.e., Children’s Pastor, Worship Pastor, Discipleship Pastor, etc.
“To disfellowship like-minded churches who share our faith in Jesus Christ, our belief in the authority of Scripture, our mandate to carry out the Great Commission, and our agreement to give cooperatively based upon a local-church governance decision, dishonor the spirit of cooperation and the guiding tenets of our denomination.”
He however urged that SBC “considers entering a time of prayer and dialogue” as a means to resolve the issue. Bart Barber also welcomed Perkins’ idea of adopting prayers and dialogue in a Tweet.