Black Churches With Women Pastors At Risk Of Southern Baptist Convention Expulsion

Black Churches With Women Pastors At Risk Of Southern Baptist Convention Expulsion

With a rising number of churches featuring women pastors being expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention, others fear that they are next on the chopping block.

To address the issue, the president of the National African American Fellowship, Pastor Gregory Perkins of The View Church in Southern California, wrote to President Bart Barber of the SBC, asking to meet, as reported by Christianity Today.

In the letter, Perkins informed the denomination that this divide on titling women leaders of the congregation as pastor will “disproportionately impact” their affiliated churches. He also stated that the suggested change to the Constitution, stemming from a difference of opinion, violates the autonomy of local churches, which is a pillar of Baptist values.

The voting members of the SBC, called messengers, affirmed the amendment that would prohibit churches from being a part of the association if they upheld women with the pastoral title.

Perkins disagreed with the vote, and, on behalf of the NAAF,  published a letter stating that the ruling alienates thousands of churches and the women who they believe are deserving of these roles.

“This may signal to churches in the SBC that do not believe that women should be the Senior Pastor but allow women the usage of a pastoral title, or appoints a woman to a pastoral role, are no longer welcome in the SBC,” shared the Reverend.

In a gender-discriminatory issue, the religious components only complicate the matter further, but the leaders within the NAAF want more pastors to fervently discuss the reasons why with the SBC.

“You must be an active participant in this conversation and decision-making process as it has long-term implications for your church and other NAAF affiliated congregations.”

How this decision can negatively impact their individual congregations through membership and controversy was emphasized. The NAAF, in an effort to remain respectful of differing perspectives on the matter, ultimately wants to encourage all members to engage thoroughly and know of all potential backlash from the new rule.

However, Perkins is against the expulsion of the churches, claiming it “dishonors the spirit of cooperation” that is ingrained in the Southern Baptist Convention. This internal contention is not a one-off occurrence, as members have voluntarily left the domination over social issues before.

While the leaders of the SBC, including Pastor Barber, have received the letter, no further response has been issued by their executive committee.

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