There is a large Baptist church near Houston that plays games with its congregation. The average person sitting in the pew has no idea that he or she is part of this deception game.
In reading their deacon organizational chart, you won’t find out that the deacons have to be men. The ordinary person may not be aware that this church is a Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) church which is an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The SBC Baptist Faith and Message of 2000 doesn’t say that women can’t be deacons, but it is standard practice not to have women deacons. This church does not have women deacons.
They won’t tell you that they don’t allow women deacons, but you can find out with this little game they play. This is in their by-laws.
The game goes like this:
If ever the Senior Pastor decides to leave and the church has to choose a Pastor Search Committee, that committee would be chosen in the following way. The Search Committee will be made up of 7 people.
So far it sounds simple. Just choose 7 people from those nominated. But that is not how their game is played.
- The deacons will nominate 4 deacons and 3 women (right there we find out that women cannot be deacons)
- Then the church (excluding the deacons) will nominate 6 people. These people can be deacons, and both men and women can be nominated.
- Then the 3 women and 3 men who get the highest number of votes will be the church body’s nominations.
- They will add those 6 people to their original 7, to make the total 13.
- Then they choose the 5 men who got the most votes, and then 2 women who got the most votes and this will be the new Pastoral Search Committee.
You see that out of the 13 people, 6 women were deemed worthy, and 7 men. Not a bad ratio because there has to be a tie-breaker.
But when the dust has settled, only 2 women are chosen, and 5 men.
Reminds me of a game we used to play to guess our school teacher’s age:
- Pick a number, any number
- Multiply this number by 2
- Add 5
- Multiply it by 50
- If you have already had your birthday this year add 1753. If you haven’t, add 1752. (each year these numbers increase by 1. In 2004, you’d add 1754 if you already had your birthday and 1753 if you haven’t)
- Subtract the 4 digit year that you were born.
You should now have a number, the first digit(s) being your original number and the last two your age!
This church just played a game. They got the exact result they wanted. The reason they didn’t have the congregation choose the committee was that they had to make sure that there were no more than 2 women chosen. So they found a round-about way to get exactly what they wanted.
The women didn’t even know that they never had a chance. It was in the by-laws. They had all voted on doing it that way, and most never saw that the deck was stacked against the women in the congregation.