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She being in the image of God as her husband and thus equal to him has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation." Another part of the document declares emphatically: "the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture." To some church members, SBC is living in the past. Thus, at least 10 faculty members of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and an unknown number of educators from five other SBC seminaries have reportedly left or were forced out of their jobs for refusing to sign the church document. Indeed, the women’s fight for equality has come a long way since the Suffragists won the right to vote such that the meaning of women’s "submission" to men may have changed significantly over time (Melick, 1998). Now, it is considered right and just for women to serve in the military, work in underground mines or fly an airplane (Hosken, 1981). Does the SBC edict against women pastors belong to the dark ages when the prevailing culture expected women to be subordinate to men and very few women were as well educated as men
The SBC in its Baptist Faith and Message acknowledges its commitment to gender equality, pointing out that men and women are of equal worth before God since both are created in God’s image. Thus, both men and women are qualified for service in the church. However, the church maintains that the position of pastor is limited to men and women can only serve as helpers, the same way 10 of the 16 helpers in Paul’s ministry were women as noted in the Apostle’s letter to the Romans. According to SBC, its position on women pastors complies with the explicit teachings of the Scripture, which does not support the practice of allowing women to serve as pastors (Melick, 1998). On this subject, the SBC cited three reasons: 1) there were no women pastors in the New Testament times. 2) none of the instructions regarding church order include instructions for women pastors. and 3) some texts on church order explicitly forbid women to occupy the position of pastor. In effect, the church acknowledges that women have the same rights and privileges as men but in the same breath say that a woman cannot occupy a man’s position, which at a glance seems to be contradictory.
The church maintains that there is no contradiction here, as there is no contradiction when Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 affirms the equality of men and women in salvation but equally and just as clearly affirms the priority of men in church leadership. In addition, the Bible says marriage is to be a companionship of equals (Genesis 2:24) and husband and wife have equal value as persons (Galatians 3:28). Nonetheless, the Scripture teaches a hierarchy of responsibilities, which is necessary for creation, time and our humaneness (SBC, 2000). In this organizational hierarchy, everyone needs to submit to someone else to maintain human order. The wife submits to her husband, while the husband submits to Jesus, who in turn submits to God. Each of them should then treat those who submit to them with respect. In this connection, Ephesian