"As for women writing books that expound the scriptures, my view is that this is also not teaching in the way that preaching in church would be. The dynamic of speaking before a community of believers, in which everyone listening is seeing one’s authoritative demeanor and hearing one’s authoritative voice, is a different dynamic than a book. Books can be picked up and put down, read, interacted with, discussed, debated, written and written against. Sermons don’t fit into that same kind of genre entirely. But I admit this is a difficult call, and some good scholars would say that there is no difference between the two."
Daniel B. Wallace
(Professor at Dallas Theological Seminary)
Church in Europe (taken by Deb)
I grew up watching The Andy Griffith Show, a nostalgic TV program set in Mayberry USA. For those who may not know, Andy Griffith grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina and based the show on his hometown. (link)
In case you haven’t heard, there’s trouble in paradise, err Mayberry . . .
Last summer Mount Airy’s Flat Rock Baptist Church did something so offensive that it was quickly dismissed from the local Southern Baptist Association. What did the congregation do that was so repulsive? Why, it called a woman as pastor. Gasp! What were they thinking?!!! Just two weeks after the female pastor arrived to begin her ministry in Mount Airy, the local Southern Baptist Association dismissed the church.
What has been the response from the churches belonging to the Surry Baptist Association? Well, two of them recently voted to disassociate from the local association.
According to the Religious Herald,
“Piney Grove Baptist Church voted unanimously Nov. 30 to leave the 66-church association, centered in Surry County northwest of Winston-Salem, N.C. Four days later, on Dec. 4, First Baptist Church also voted, 145-34, to end its ties.
Both churches cited the association’s July 26 action to dismiss Flat Rock Baptist Church in Mount Airy two weeks after its new female pastor, Bailey Edwards Nelson, began her ministry there. But they added Surry’s move was only the latest indication of growing disagreement with the association’s direction.”
Roger Gilbert, pastor at First Baptist (one of the area’s largest churches), stated to the Religious Herald reporter:
“The dismissal was the thing that brought it to a head, but I think the bigger issue was the way it was done.”
The article continues . . .
In a statement, Gilbert said, “In our congregation, and in several other congregations, there was strong disagreement with the action, the biblical interpretation given for the action, and the way the issue was handled.”
The New Testament accounts “lead some of us to believe … God just might call a woman to be pastor,” he said. And while the association is autonomous and can set its membership guidelines, “some of us find it offensive … that they are unwilling to accept churches who exercise their local church autonomy by being a bit different than the majority of churches. “ In addition, he added, Surry association’s action was taken without prior notice to member churches…
First Baptist, which has about 700 members and some 250 who regularly attend worship, has contributed about $9,000 annually to the association. That amount had been reduced in recent years from $18,000 due to ‘some issues which bothered us,’ said Gilbert.”
In order to get a closer look at the situation, I consulted the Mount Airy News, which featured an article entitled "First Baptist Church pulls out of association." (link) I hope you will take the time to read this comprehensive article.
The local reporter uncovered some very interesting information, which he shares as follows:
"(Gene) Garland and others indicated that more was involved in the decision than the Surry Baptist Association’s action on July 25 to expel Flat Rock Baptist Church from its ranks."
In citing the reasons for its disfellowship of Flat Rock Baptist, an association official has said that the appointment of a female pastor was a violation of scripture in the view of many members of the group.
The disfellowship apparently proved to be a catalyst for Sunday’s decision by First Baptist, which also had been rankled by other actions of the Surry Baptist Association in recent years.
“This probably goes way back,” said one longtime church member, who believes it stems from those in higher echelons of the Baptist organization beyond the county shifting to a more “fundamental” position on various issues about 10 to 12 years ago.
Rebecca Keesler, another person who attends the Mount Airy church, said that from her perspective, the Surry Baptist Association “has been making some major decisions without fully informing the members.” Keesler said she was speaking as an individual and not as someone expressing the official position of First Baptist . . . "
Can you imagine how disruptive the Surry Baptist's Association has been to this close knit community? I am especially disturbed by this statement: The Surry Baptist Association “has been making some major decisions without fully informing the members.”
What follows is the REAL problem First Baptist Church has with the local SBC association. The piece states:
"Another person long involved with First Baptist Church said one questionable move by the association was a change in personnel of a counseling program to aid those with troubled marriages and other issues. This occurred without the blessing of First Baptist Church, he indicated.
“For some time, it has been the general feeling of a majority of First Baptist Church members that we were not being given adequate representation by the Surry Baptist Association,” Garland, the diaconate chairman, said in a prepared statement released Monday.
Sunday’s vote on First Baptist’s relationship with the association had been announced in the church’s Dec. 1 newsletter. The removal of Flat Rock Baptist Church from the group’s membership over its woman pastor was mentioned in the first paragraph of a notice about the vote.
“The action disturbed many people in churches across the county because of (1) disagreement with the decision, and (2) the lack of due process in making the decision,” the notice stated.
One First Baptist representative said Monday that Flat Rock’s removal was a result of a called meeting at the behest of Westfield Baptist Church. “It was very quickly done.”
LACK OF DUE PROCESS? Now why doesn't that surprise me? It's time for Southern Baptists to awaken from their slumber and discern what's really going on.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Mount Airy News article includes the following clarification:
"Questions to the Surry Baptist Association Monday were referred to its director, Billy Blakley, who did not respond to a telephone message seeking his comment on First Baptist’s vote and other aspects of the situation. The organization’s membership includes 66 churches, according to its website. Counseling, missions and education are listed among its functions."
Why do SBC leaders go into hiding when the press comes a knocking? It these were real manly men, they would conduct their business out in the open and answer questions when challenged. Such a reaction to the local news media speaks volumes to me. Furthermore, it is incredible that the decision to oust Flat Rock Baptist Church was done without discussion among the 66 member churches. So much for cooperation in the SBC…
I am grateful that the trouble in Mayberry's churches is being exposed, and I absolutely LOVE how the Mount Airy News article ends.
With First Baptist’s vote comes a withdrawal of both its membership and funding to the Surry Baptist Association, which one member put at about $9,000 annually.
Based on the wording of the proposal considered Sunday, this money from the church’s 2011-2012 budget will be divided equally between a number of organizations, including The Salvation Army, Surry Medical Ministries, Yokefellow Co-Op Ministry, the Shepherd’s House and others.
'The First Baptist congregation felt that the church’s resources could be better utilized by moving in a different direction,' said the statement from Garland.
However, church members opened the door for a future mending of the broken relationship with the association “if they change their direction,” said one. 'We still want to be friends.' As Garland put it Monday afternoon, 'we still want to cooperate with them as much as possible.'”
As demonstrated in Mayberry USA, AUTONOMY no longer exists in the Southern Baptist Convention. SBC leaders give lip service to the autonomy of the local church. It certainly appears that pedophiles in the pulpit aren't a problem, but women in the pulpit are!
What will be fascinating to watch is how other Southern Baptist congregations react to this kind of bullying. Will they follow the lead of Mount Airy's First Baptist and Piney Grove Baptist Church?
We have to wonder when women will be forbidden by SBC leaders to write ANYTHING for public consumption having to do with spiritual matters, particularly blogs… Perhaps the saving grace is that the younger generation is more techno-savvy, and they are becoming activists as indicated in yesterday's post. Let's pray that they will put an end to this nonsense when the reins are finally handed over to them.
Lydia's Corner: Job 16:1-19:29 1 Corinthians 16:1-24 Psalm 40:1-10 Proverbs 22:1