All I want to do is be able to walk into my church and not feel that my church holds it against me that I am a woman. Women of some other denominations can walk in on Sunday morning and know that in those same scriptures women are found to be equal before God.
Most women are like me and don’t want to preach, and just like the men, we don’t want to be a deacon. However, many young women have contacted me and wanted my help as they feel the call to pastoral ministry.
According to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and most SBC churches, I am to tell these women that they have misheard the call. Even though they feel in their heart the strong urging of the Lord, they must discount it and deny their calling. The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood, (Affirmation #8), tells us that women cannot be called into the pastoral ministry.
We teach our youth to go to God for their answers. We implore them to seek God’s will for their lives. But when our young women seek God’s will for their lives, and they feel so strongly that the will of God is leading them into ministry, we put a stop to that. We deny that God is speaking to them. If we deny a young woman’s call to the ministry that is filling her heart, how can we convince her that she must seek God’s will in other areas of her life? How will she ever be able to trust any kind of direction that she feels is from God?
Who are we to tell a young woman that she is not hearing the call of God in her life? Who are we to tell a young woman that the only way she can be a minister is to go to the mission field in some foreign country? Who are we to tell her that her friend in some other denomination might be called to preach, but that God does not call Baptist girls to the ministry?
Does God call Baptist girls to the ministry? I talked with Dr. Bruce Prescott a few weeks ago about this. He confirmed that many Baptist women are hearing the call to ministry, and are leaving this denomination in order to answer that call. Listen to what Dr. George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas says about this. (particularly 9:17 to 10:20 minutes into speech).
I can hear some say “Well, good! Let them go. We don’t need them.” But if God has called a woman to preach, and she is in the Baptist church when He calls her, Baptists are losing a Godly woman, and all Baptists will feel the loss from it.
How sanctimonious to tell a woman that God can’t call her!
How hypocritical to tell a woman that she can go to the mission field and witness, but can’t stand in the pulpit of her own local church.
We think we are the keepers of the faith, but we are missing the boat. We are denying God Supremacy over his people. We are speaking for God, but not listening to a word He says. We have distorted His scriptures in order to set men above women. We have denied women the full love of God.
God, forgive us! We have sinned against You.