October 29 2009 by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press

    FORT WORTH, Texas — Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has adopted a policy statement that declares men and women equal before God but created for specific roles of headship and submission in the church and home. 

 

    Seminary trustees voted Oct. 21 to add the Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood to the seminary’s policy manual under “Guiding Documents and Statements.” 



    The statement, composed in 1987 in Danvers, Mass., by the then-new Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, responds to “widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity” and “increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism” in church and culture. 

 

    It affirms, among other things, that “Adam and Eve were created in God’s image, equal before God as persons and distinct in their manhood and womanhood,” that “distinctions in masculine and feminine roles are ordained by God as part of the created order” and that “Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin.” 

    BP file photo by Matt Miller

    Paige Patterson

    “Complementarianism,” a conservative theological view that men and women have different roles and responsibilities in marriage and religious leadership, has been gaining ground in the Southern Baptist Convention for 20 years. 

 

    Detractors say it is nothing more than Bible-sanctioned male chauvinism. But proponents say that choosing to live by what they interpret as God’s design is in reality a form of women’s liberation. 

 

    The opposing view, known as “egalitarianism,” takes a view that values giftedness over gender distinctions. Egalitarians say men and women should share equal authority and responsibility in marriage and have equal leadership opportunities in the church. 

 

    The Southern Baptist Convention chose sides in the debate in 1998. That year, the group inserted a family article into its Baptist Faith and Message confessional statement that says the husband “has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family,” while a wife “is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” 

 

    Two years later the convention again amended the confession of faith to add, “While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.” 

 

    Mimi Haddad, president of the Minneapolis-based Christians for Biblical Equality, said it is illogical to say on the one hand that men and women are equal but different in their access to authority. 

    “To claim that men and women have equal access to salvation and equal access to the spiritual gifts is to suggest that the Holy Spirit may provide individuals with gifts not according to human prejudice, but according to God’s pleasure, as we clearly note throughout Scripture especially in the New Testament,” she said. 

    Haddad, who has a Ph.D. in historical theology, said a good example of that principle is Lottie Moon, a famous Southern Baptist missionary to China in the 19th century whose unconventional ministry was so influential that an offering named in her honor is collected yearly in SBC churches to this day. 

    The Baptist Faith and Message remains Southwestern Seminary’s only confessional document, meaning professors are required to teach within its confines. 

    The additional statement, seminary President Paige Patterson said in a news release, will be used to establish “the general posture of the school” regarding gender roles. 

 

    Patterson, who had a hand in drafting the Danvers Statement, said it will serve as a guide in hiring and evaluation processes. In 2006 Patterson terminated Sheri Klouda, an Old Testament professor hired by his predecessor in 2002, saying he did not believe 1 Tim. 2:12-14 permitted a woman to teach the Bible to male students in a seminary classroom. 

 

    Klouda sued the seminary for gender discrimination in 2007, but a judge dismissed the case the following year. He said the dispute was over a religious matter protected by the First Amendment. 

 

    Klouda, now associate professor of Old Testament at Taylor University in Upland, Ind., said the Danvers Statement “makes a break with the realities of a fallen world” in its idealized view of family relationships. She said the statement assumes that all Christian husbands exemplify superior biblical leadership in a marriage, which may be desirable but is not always the case. She said it also reinforces the notion that spousal abuse by husbands is in some way the fault of the wife — and it fails to address a course of action for wives who must work outside the home to support their family for reasons of illness, disability or death of a husband. 

    “There are no allowances for the stuff of real life,” Klouda said. “I have experienced several of these situations, and the church failed me consistently.” 

 

    Also in 2007, Patterson announced the seminary would begin offering a new bachelor’s degree with a concentration in homemaking. Parodied by one popular Baptist blogger as the “Mrs. Degree,” Patterson said the program was a way of “moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God’s Word for the home and the family.” 

 

    In April Southwestern Seminary dedicated the Sarah Horner Homemaking House, an educational building equipped with a teaching kitchen, clothing and textiles lab, formal dining room and parlor in addition to library and classrooms. It is home to Southwestern students working toward a B.A. in humanities with a concentration in homemaking. 

 

    The concentration requires 22 hours of instruction in a wide range of homemaking skills like meal preparation and clothing construction out of a total 127 hours to earn a bachelor’s degree. 


    The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood has offices on the campus of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. The group’s president, Randy Stinson, declined to comment for this story.  

    (EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)

    10/29/2009 3:22:00 AM by Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press | with 7 comments




Comments
Palm Beach County Background Check
I actually enjoyed your article. It looks that you have placed a good bit of effort into your web post and this world require a lot more of these on the Internet these days. I do not have a great deal to say in response, I only wanted to add this comment to reply well done.
11/23/2009 10:14:35 PM

seo company
I bookmarked your post will read this latter


Regards

Arvin
11/2/2009 7:16:00 AM

Travis
Yes, the SBC has become a "laughing stock". . .to the lost world. Anyone who takes a stand for the word of God will be laughed at by the world and should not be ashamed of it; had the SBC continued down the road they were on, the world would adore us because we would be so much like them. If you ever take time to know Dr. Patterson you would understand how humble and gentle of a man God has created in him. The daggers of criticism are the least of the persecution the Patterson family has received over the years and most of that has come from "Christians." What a sad testimony. And then to imply there is no love for missions or education? Wow, sounds like a CBF battle cry. Denominations, I believe, will begin to crumble (that is only an opinion) as the day of the rapture approaches and I think we can agree that that day is not in the not-so-distant future.
10/29/2009 9:05:00 PM

Perry Comer
Since the "conservative resurgence" the SBC has steadily become a laughing stock. Those who manipulated their way into power and control have reduced the SBC to a moneymaking entity to support a bureaucracy that functions only in self-interest. Long gone are the stables of SBC life namely a love of missions and education. Gone is compassion and hospitality. Now we have bullies for leaders not servants. What kind of man pushes women around? These self-righteous leaders seem quite good at it. Pharisees in long robes and sitting in seats of honor!
10/29/2009 7:33:43 PM

Dr. James Willingham
Dr. Patterson likes to overlook some things in Baptist History like, for example, the fact that Sandy Creek Church had eldresses and that its original theology was Sovereign Grace and that the theology of the Founder of Southwestern, regardless of his views on the Atonement, was also Sovereign Grace. B.H. Carroll who was divorced and remarried (due to adultery on the part of his first spouse), served many years as a faithful pastor, making FBC of Waco the flagship Church of Texas Baptists in the 1800s. Then he founded SWBTS which became the largest seminary in the world for years, and the Soverign Grace resurgence came from the class of the noted theologian in the 20th century, Dr. W.T. Conner. While Dr. Patterson has many admirable qualities, he is like all of us: Suffering from feet of clay. Our theology is the key to a Third Great Awakening, for it is the truth that produced the First and Second Great Awakenings and the origin of the Great Century of Missions; it is also the theology that produced the American Nation, what George Bancroft called, "th calvinistic republic." !!!! The ladies arenot confined to roles, contrary to some understandings of the Bible. At one point God told a man to do what his wife said. Exceptions make a difference in the rules. And why did we have prophetesses in the Old and New Testament. I know this will not make me popular with either group, conservative or modeerate, but being right with the Lord is all that counts in the long run. And our theology from the Bible allows us to think, even demands that we do. Mr. Scarborough is doing some suffering like the lady who had a job and insurance for a husband with cancer and lost both in being fired, and that just ain't according to I Cors. 13. God did not give us the right to inflict suffering on people, if we can by any mean help it.
10/29/2009 5:55:24 PM

Travis
Mr Scarborough - Dr Patterson is a highly educated theologian and deserves more respect than folks like yourself are willing to give, simply because you disagree with him. You put Dr Patterson's well-earned title in quotes, right after you "apologized" for being cynical; then you make a sarcastic remark concerning his wisdom when you seem to be addicted to offering your own "wisdom" on a large majority of articles posted on the Recorder's site. I do not know you so I am not judging you as a person, but those remarks sure give you the appearance of being hypocritical and arrogant.

The issue of the man being the head is a no-brainer in my opinion, but I have commented with you before and given your seemingly low view of scripture, I am not surprised at your response. By the way, Dr Patterson would never claim to be "omnicient," as you said, but I bet with his earned doctorate, he certainly knows how to spell the word.
10/29/2009 3:04:12 PM

Gene Scarborough
Well, now, has God (via Patterson et al.) spoken or what!!!!

Sorry to be a bit cynical, but "Dr." Patterson and his brothers are so omnicient, I bow to their ultimate wisdom--especially on women. Just don't let the WMU how they are to behave!

Were it not for godly women, we would never have sent the first missionary. Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong would still be mending the socks at home.
10/29/2009 1:56:53 PM

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