Does God call Baptist girls into the ministry?

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.

Jesus is our standard, and since Jesus did not commit women to husbands, or to males, and because Jesus did not deny women anything based on their being women, then we cannot in good stewardship of the gospel, do so either.

I encourage you to read my book Women Equal – No Buts: Powered by the same Source. An excellent source of egalitarian books can be found on my other website Equality Junction. You are also encouraged to visit Christians for Biblical Equality of which I am a member.

You might be interested in my speech at El Buen Pastor Baptist Church where you can find the basis for women’s equality. Remember, Paul cannot contradict Jesus. Open your hearts to what Jesus said.

Thank you for reading my posts. – Shirley Taylor, street evangelist for women’s equality.

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About bwebaptistwomenforequality

Shirley Taylor writes with humor and common sense, challenging the church body to reclaim equality for Christian women.
This entry was posted in Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Equality for women in Southern Baptist churches, The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Biblical Womanhood and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Does God call Baptist girls into the ministry?

  1. Paula says:

    The critical point of failure in all this debate is that the NT confers NO authority on anyone. An argument can be made for authority on the part of the original apostles, having been taught directly by Jesus or commissioned by one who was, but there are no lines of passage or designations of authoritative teachers anywhere in the NT. So ANYONE who claims to teach or preach from a position of authority is usurping it from the apostles and God.

    That being the case, then there are no grounds for denying women the use of any spiritual gift in any situation. Since authority is the crux of the objection by male supremacists, then lack of authority should remove all objection. We all know this will never happen, however, because the authority issue is really just a smokescreen for pure and simple pride. No matter how thoroughly we debunk their claims of supremacy on whatever grounds they may choose, they will still fight to the death to keep it— in plain violation of “not so among you”.

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  2. Lydia says:

    When looked at analytically, we have to say that they are denying women have the “full inheritance” as is taught in Galatians for all believers. ALL. No matter if slave/free, male/female, etc.

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  3. Mabel says:

    MS hoodies find “authority” everywhere, e.g. Titus 2/15, and they use that “authority” to tear people down, not build them up. II Cor 13/10.

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  5. Rebekah says:

    I am not trying to be rude- simply discussing this topic with you- but one of your stronger points is that they “feel in their heart’s the strong calling of the Lord” and how we should be encouraging girls to listen to God’s call in their lives. However, as Jeremiah 17: 9 says ” The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”. Our feelings are often swayed by our sin nature. Many people are tricked into believing they should always listen to their heart- but is that always the right thing to do? I know this is perhaps a silly exaggeration of a point, but if you ask a polygamist if they feel God wanted them to be what they are, they might say yes. So, if they felt Called by ‘God’ to do so, does that mean that God approved? Again, a very silly exaggeration, but I think you understand my point. Feelings CAN/may be an indication of God’s leading in our lives, but only if we measure those feelings against the Bible can we determine if they are truly what the Lord is telling us. I am a girl, so please don’t call me a ‘male supremacist’.
    I don’t believe scripture teaches that women should be pastors. Not because we are not ‘able’ , but because he has a different plan for us-

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    • Mara says:

      Hey, I’m also not trying to be rude and really hope that I don’t come across that way.

      Some teachings go along the lines of this, “Women are more easily deceived,” therefore when a woman feels a call on her heart towards ministry it is very easy to dismiss it because of this teaching.

      I like the fact that you bring up polygamist because you kind of show that perhaps you AREN’T from the camp that thinks women are more easily deceived and I appreciate that.

      But here is the problem. Paul says that to desire to be a teacher is a good thing. He puts no gender specification on it. Whosoever desires to be a teacher desires a good thing.

      Yet, the teachings of men claim, if a man desires it, it is good. If a woman desires it, it is bad.

      The problem with the current teaching on gender and roles is that they make sins gender specific. What is good for a man is bad for a woman.

      Yet, when you actually look at the commands of God, they are not gender specific. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. In th places where God is making it clear that He is giving commandments, both in the Old and New Testament, in neither place, especially in the Gospels, does He EVER break it down to, “This is good and acceptable for men, but sin for women.”

      The “Good for men, sin for women” construct is a human structure build on the foundation of the traditions of men and supported by misunderstood, taken out of context verses.

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    • Thank you for joining us! I would have written when I first saw your comment on my blog, but I have been neck-deep working on the conference for Women’s Equality that we are hosting in April. If you live close by, you are welcome to join us and learn more about why we believe women can and should be able to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is His Gospel, isn’t it? Not ours and we know he gave the message to women to do exactly what all women do – speak!

      You quote directly from the Danvers Statement of why women should not even consider that they have a calling from God for a preaching ministry. Yet pastors tell us to seek God’s will in our lives. Then you quote Jeremiah which tells us that the heart cannot be a true guide into what God’s will is. You gave some excellent examples. But you overlooked the one in which you fall. What if you ask a complementarian if a woman can preach and she says “the Bible says she can’t.”

      Perhaps that heart has been guided by a misunderstanding of what Scripture is and actually what the Gospel is, and how Jesus would want His Gospel to be spread in this nation and all others. Is it possible that you are so convinced that a woman cannot preach, that you have closed your mind and heart to the fact that many other God-fearing, devout Christian men and women, Baptists included, have looked at those same scriptures in light of the WHOLE Gospel, and have determined in their male and female hearts that women are equal?

      We welcome your thoughts and discussion.

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  6. Kristen says:

    I’d like to point out that Jeremiah 17:9 is a passage that occurred before the coming of Christ and the rebirth that He made available to us. I do not believe that my redeemed, regenerated heart is deceitful or desperately wicked. Of course I still must battle the flesh and the desires of the flesh, but I do not see how desiring to teach God’s word to anyone who wants to listen, male or female, can possibly be a desire of the flesh. Just as Mara says, how can be it a fleshly desire if a woman has it but a godly desire if a man has it? This implies that it’s somehow evil just to be a woman; that you cannot sincerely desire to do a good thing.

    The other problem with the way Jeremiah 17:9 is used in Christian circles is that it is often turned into a tool for control. “Don’t trust your heart or what you feel the Spirit is telling you. Trust us, and trust the way we tell you to read the Scriptures so that it backs up what we say.” And I say, your heart is not wicked or deceitful; that was in Jeremiah’s day. Your heart is regenerated by the Holy Spirit. It is still possible to be deceived by your flesh, but don’t give control of your life to someone else based on a misapplication of a passage from the Old Covenant.

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    • Rebekah says:

      I would like to thank all of you for being so welcoming of our discussion! I have thoughtfully read through each of the replies you have taken the time to write for me.
      Kristen, again, thank you for responding to my comments. Your point on our hearts being redeemed was interesting and thought provoking. You said that you did not see how desiring to teach God’s Word to anyone could be a desire of the flesh, and then asked the question “how can it be a fleshly desire if a woman has it but a Godly desire if a man has it? This implies it is somehow evil just to be a woman…”, however, I disagree with this on several counts. First (and I will not rate these in order of importance), there are other examples of desires that are wrong for a woman and acceptable for a man (or the other way around). I do not wish to offend anyone with an example, so please do not take this too far. For instance, it is acceptable for a woman to desire to marry a man and be innocently attracted to him, however, if a man were to feel that same desire (towards another man) that would be wrong, would it not? Second, yes you can, sincerely desire to do a good thing. In this case, teaching, there are many ways a woman could be used by the Lord for His glory without being a pastor/deacon. Titus 2: 3-4 indicates teaching women is encouraged, and teaching children is another option. There are many ways to spread the Word of God.
      As I was perusing over your reply, I was reminded of the Priests in the old testament. Among all the Jews, the Lord chose that only Levites could be priests. Was that because they were intrinsically better than the other tribes? I don’t believe so, especially because of all the examples of sinful Levites we have, like Aarons two sons or Samuel’s. Was God not loving them equally? No! I believe each and every Jewish life was valued by Him. But He Chose to set the Levites aside into this position. Don’t you think it was possible that among the thousands of Jews who weren’t Levites, there were some very Godly people, who had an earnest desire to serve God? They were not allowed, however, to be priests, and instead served the Lord in other ways. Is it possible that although the Lord loves men and women equally, and that although both are equal to each other in abilities etc., that God chose to set men as the leaders in our church?
      Mara, I’m not from the camp that thinks women are more easily deceived(at least, I don’t think so 🙂 ).I would like to think over some of your points a little more. Would you tell me the verse you referred to in which Paul says that to be a teacher is a good thing? I would like to read through it. Bwebaptistwomenforequality, thank you for the invitation to your conference-and for your openness. You finished by saying that “… (many) have determined in their male and female hearts that women are equal..” , however, I am not contesting that all human life, regardless of gender or anything else, is of equal value in God’s sight. I simply believe that God set us each on the earth with different (though equally God-glorifying) purposes. Please forgive me for writing SO much in one
      comment… Your fellow sister in Christ, Rebekah

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  7. Marg says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    I’m pressed for time, so just a few comments:

    God chose the Levites to be a priestly tribe because they were the only tribe faithful to him during the Golden Calf incident. I have written more about the Levitical priesthood and how it relates to New Covenant ministry here: http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/old-testament-priests-new-testament-ministers/

    You wrote, “I don’t believe scripture teaches that women should be pastors.” I’m wondering which Scripture, or Scriptures, you have in mind when you write this.

    Paul seemed to think that the ministry of prophecy was one of the more important ministries in the church. He put it first in his list of ministries in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and in Ephesians 4:11, ahead of teaching and pastoring. The NT clearly says that women may prophecy (Acts 2:18; 21:9). If women can prophecy, why do you think they can’t pastor?

    Speaking about desires: 1 Timothy 3:1 begins with “If anyone desires to be an overseer . . .” The Greek word translated as “anyone” (or “a certain one”) is gender non-specific.

    Here are some other links you may be interested in:
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/bible-women-with-spiritual-authority/
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/new-testament-women-church-leaders/
    http://newlife.id.au/equality-and-gender-issues/pauls-qualifications-for-church-leaders/

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    • Rebekah says:

      Hi Marg- I hope to have time to respond more later, but I thought I would just write a little for now-
      What Bible version do you use? Mine is KJV and 1 Tim 3-1 says “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.”
      I read through the links you left me- would you read one I think is good?the last couple of paragraphs address many of the issues in yours, such as the Greek words that may have been used for husband and wife. http://www.gotquestions.org/women-pastors.html
      If the link doesn’t work let me know. Thanks everyone, Rebekah

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      • Marg says:

        Hi Rebekah, I read the New Testament in Greek. I rarely use English translations in day to day use. There is no word for “man” in any Greek manuscript of 1 Tim 3:1, even though several older translations use the word. As I mentioned, the Greek word used here is “tis” which means “anyone” or a “certain one”. It is a common word that is both grammatically masculine and feminine.

        I read the article and found it contained many unsubstantiated claims. The one that really stuck out for me was in the paragraph about Phoebe. To translate the Greek word “prostates” as “helper” is appalling. Prostates literally means “one who stands before” and is used about someone who is a leader or patron.

        Many NT verses about women are dumbed down by translators who simply cannot get their head around the fact that many women were house church leaders in the early church. (I am personally mystified why it is so hard for some Christians to acknowledge that women were house church leaders when there is so much biblical and extra-biblical info on this.) This is one of the reasons why I stick with the Greek. Junia, Nympha, Phoebe, Euodia, Syntyche and the Chosen Lady have all had their ministries down-graded or obscured in many English translations. (If you would like more on this, I am happy to provide further info. Or just search my site.)

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  8. Kristen says:

    Rebekkah, since 2 Cor. 5:16-17 say that in the New Creation kingdom of God, we are to no longer regarding one another in terms of distinctions according to the flesh (such as whether one is born a Levite, or even a Jew– and such as whether one is male or female– all these are distinctions according to the flesh), I don’t find any of your examples persuasive. They are all based on our fleshly bodies as we are born here on this earth. In Christ we are a new creation, and Gal. 3:28-4:5 says these earthly distinctions no longer apply, for we all have the same status as “adopted sons” in Christ. Therefore, all callings and giftings of God are no longer according to the flesh, such as being based on whether one was born a Levite or a male.
    The New Covenant really is not like the Old Covenant. We can’t use the Old Covenant as a precedent for what God is doing in the New. So the Levites really are not a good example as to why God would still be granting His giftings according to the flesh when He expressly said He would no longer do so in the New Covenant.
    If the interpretation of a particular text contradicts the Bible’s teachings as a whole (such as its teachings about the nature of the New Creation kingdom), then the interpretation of the single text is incorrect. God simply does not restrict His callings according to distinctions of the flesh any more. If a passage appears to say otherwise, it needs to be looked at more closely.

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  9. Kristen says:

    Sorry; I should have proofread more closely. That should be “2 Cor. 5:16-17 says that in the New Creation kingdom of God, we are to no longer regard one another in terms of distinctions according to the flesh. . .”

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  10. Mabel says:

    For instance, it is acceptable for a woman to desire to marry a man and be innocently attracted to him, however, if a man were to feel that same desire (towards another man) that would be wrong, would it not?
    The above is not a valid example, as the parallel to a woman desiring a man is a man desiring a woman (opposite sex).

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