Next week, the Southern Baptist Convention meets under a cloud over their top leader, Paige Patterson. Patterson has done his own bad deeds, but he and the SBC and FBC Houston are being sued by a man over a claim of homosexual assault committed by Paul Pressler, who helped Patterson in the conservative takeover of the SBC in 1967.
How did we get here? When a major denomination such as the Southern Baptist Convention speaks, others listen. It is important to know how that transpired because an unimaginable number of Christians have already been affected by this denomination, and their influence continues to grow. The leadership that began the complementarian movement is still in place. They are the presidents and professors in Baptist Seminaries, and pastors of mega churches. What they sowed in 1967 is what we are reaping today. Pay close attention to that date, 1967. This is important because it was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that gave women freedoms that men always had. These Christian leaders reacted vehemently against women. It was a determined, thought-out plan.
Then in 1987-88, The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood was written which bedded Southern Baptists with conservative Presbyterians, among others, and also fundamentalist Christian groups Promise Keepers, and Campus Crusade for Christ. Because of their mutual desire to promote oppression of women, these groups that would not normally join together, put aside their theological differences and linked arms. This is in contrast to what Southern Baptists did in 2004 when they withdrew their presence and partnership from the Baptist World Alliance6 (a world-wide organization of Baptists) over their support for women in the clergy. This linking of arms keeps the denominations polarized in whatever efforts some may show in favor of reversing the oppression of women.
That is how women got to this point, and since fundamental Christians are the most influential groups, they are keeping us here. That is worth reading about. Below is a paragraph from the book, The Fundamentalist Takeover in the Southern Baptist Convention. A Brief History, by Rob James and Gary Leaser with James Shoopman, produced by Mainstream Missouri Baptists in 1999. They did not know the rest of the story. What fundamentalists have sown, we have reaped.
“The Café Du Monde in New Orleans was the site of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their plan was written on a paper napkin. Paige Patterson, now president of the largest SBC affiliated seminary, and Paul Pressler were the architects of the plan, and they used their unique knowledge of the inner workings of the SBC to systematically put their people in key positions. This stacked the dominoes in a certain way, and when they started to fall, they continued in the orderly fashion set forth on a table in a café. What began in 1967 was finalized in 1990. “This eleventh election (of a fundamentalist president of the SBC) seals the fundamentalist victory, and they celebrate at Café Du Monde in the French Quarter, where Judge Pressler and Paige Patterson had first conceived the whole plan for the takeover, many years prior.”
Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler earnestly believed that reigning in knowledge and cultural changes, and binding the scriptures to inerrancy would bring about a stronger Southern Baptist Convention and growth. They were successful, but they were wrong.
SBC Membership Declines for the 5th straight year was reported in Baptists Briefs7 on June 25, 2012. The record year for baptisms was in 1972.
So what? What does this mean? Why should you be concerned if you are not a Baptist? Perhaps you do not even like Baptists, and you think this has no meaning for you. It affects you because Southern Baptists are the second largest Christian religion group (behind Roman Catholics) in the United States.
Perhaps your pastor graduated from an SBC affiliated seminary that gives power to, and holds in esteem, such non-Baptists as Wayne Grudem, Mark Driscoll, and a multitude of others. They teach that the pastor (who must be male) is in control of his church, and that women are to be eternally submissive to all males, forever. Wayne Grudem co-edited Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with John Piper. This is a bible of sorts and is still a bestselling book. Grudem’s Systematic Theology is the teaching book at these same Baptist seminaries, and he, along with others, has centered his theology around women’s lower status to man’s higher status before God, and before all other males.
What happened in New Orleans affects you and me, because complementarian patriarchal churches do not remain static. Churches are constantly changing, and these changes are brought on by influences of larger churches. Just as hell-fire and brimstone is not the hot topic today as it was 50 years ago, the new hot topic is the bedroom and the husband’s authority throughout the home and in the church, and the insinuation that husbands represent Christ, in bed and in church. This theology came from somewhere and it is my belief that it was conceived on the paper napkin at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans in 1967.
Throughout this book, we have seen how a decision made almost 50 years ago has affected other Christian denominations. What decision will you make that will rectify their bad judgment?
excerpt from my book Women Equal – No Buts: Powered by the same Source