HomeLearning CenterSouthern Baptists Reject Ban on Women Pastors in Historic Vote

Southern Baptists Reject Ban on Women Pastors in Historic Vote

Originally published by Liam Adams for USA Today

 The Southern Baptist Convention rejected Wednesday a constitutional ban on women pastors, a major victory for those within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination seeking to maintain local church autonomy and soften what many considered a growing antagonism toward women in ministry.

The narrow outcome resolved a two-year political dispute about church policy, though it might not subdue the ensuing debate about women’s roles in the church. The proposed amendment was by far the most animating issue headed into this year’s SBC annual meeting, one that even colored other decision-making — including the election for SBC president.

If the measure passed, more churches were expected to voluntarily leave the Nashville-based denomination. For some, it would be due to a message downplaying women’s contributions to the church, while others saw the SBC becoming overbearing about certain doctrinal beliefs.

“Is this amendment necessary for the convention to respond when churches in our convention act in a way contrary to our complementarian doctrine?” North Carolina pastor Spence Shelton said in the only speech against the measure during a brief floor debate.

“We showed last year we have an effective mechanism,” Shelton said. “It allows us to act with conviction and unity when it comes to this issue.”

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