Pastor and Former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, has expressed his support for the National African American Fellowship's challenge to a recent vote at the SBC's Annual Meeting to ban women pastors "of any kind."
Greear, the pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, issued his remarks in a blog post published on his website on Wednesday.
"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.
"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," he warned. "If you want a harbinger of that, just take a look at Southern Baptist 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."
During the 2023 Annual Meeting in June, SBC messengers voted by a two-thirds majority in approval of a constitutional amendment sponsored by Mike Law, senior pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, declaring that SBC-affiliated churches "affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture."
In a separate vote, 88 percent of messengers voted to maintain the removal of Saddleback Church, founded by Rick Warren, for allowing a woman to serve as a teaching pastor. Ninety-two percent also voted to support the removal of Fern Creek Baptist Church for having a woman pastor.
The NAAF, a network of over 4,000 predominantly African American churches affiliated with the SBC, has challenged the recent vote. In a July 3 letter to SBC President Bart Barber, NAAF president Gregory Perkins explained that while he agrees with the denomination's theological stance, he noted that many SBC black churches permit women to serve as pastors as long as they do so under male leadership.
"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.," Perkins, who pastors The View Church in Menifee, California, wrote.
"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, dishonors the spirit of cooperation and the guiding tenets of our denomination."
According to The Christian Post, Perkins warned that not allowing women to use the title "pastor" would affect black Southern Baptist congregations despite the SBC's Baptist Faith & Message 2000 stating that "the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."
He also noted that the ban's consequences were not appropriately considered and urged the SBC to call for a meeting from various voices on the issue at hand.
Despite the two-thirds majority vote, the amendment would permanently go into effect if it gains majority support at next year's annual meeting.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.