SBC Cooperation Group Named by SBC President Bart Barber: Who Shall Stay and Who Shall Go?

Supernova located in the large Magellanic Cloud, Supernova 1987A James Webb/Nasa

“A camel is a horse designed by committee.” Alec Issigonis

Well, the SBC has been swimming in hot water since the Convention in which a proposal (the Law Amendment) would throw out all SBC churches with a woman called “pastor.” on the staff. That includes a woman who is a pastor of little children. If the members vote to ratify this at the 2024 Convention, those churches that have woman “pastors of anything” will be thrown out unless the offending church changes the job title and, presumably, the job description to make sure it doesn’t “seem” like something a male pastor would do.

SBC and African-American churches

This action prompted an unintended consequence of an explosive sort. Many black SBC churches have long had women pastors. Some leaders of that group claimed they would leave the SBC, and Barber and friends have been holding meetings with the offended groups, hoping to come to a resolution. I predict that a settlement on this issue will not come quickly.

Pastor to minister title change

JD Greear claimed that the issue might be resolved by simply changing the title of pastors to ministers when it involves women.

Greear did not share his own views on women pastors and said the real issue was nomenclature, the meaning behind titles and names, and not complementarianism. One question he asked was, Is it really egalitarian to see a female “children’s pastor” as a pastor in terms of title?

Greear suggests a method to resolve the issue: employing women with the title of “ministers” rather than “pastors” because the latter has connotations of eldership.

However, does simply changing the word “pastor” to “minister” solve the problem? Doesn’t it go deeper? What job-related duties and actions are those for pastors, and, as such, a simple title change does not resolve the underlying issue?

SBC and abuse implementation tasks force.

It appears it has been backburnered, no matter what they say. It is evident that worrying about women with the title of “pastor” is far more critical. Many leaders in the SBC must be able to sleep better by overlooking predators in the SBC as they work to rid the denomination of the scourge of women pastors.

A committee to supposedly solve the question “With whom shall we cooperate?”

The Baptist Press posted Cooperation Group named by Barber. The goal of this group, according to Barber, is:

present a report next June that could reassert or redefine what constitutes a church to be in friendly cooperation with the SBC.

In other words, would some churches have a conniption doing a food drive with a black church with an associate pastor of children who is a woman? Of course, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” Here is the list of the chosen,  according to Baptist Press.

  • Victor Chayasirisobhon – executive and co-lead pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Anaheim, Calif.
  • Jerome Coleman – pastor of First Baptist Church Crestmont in Willow Grove, Pa.
  • Tara Dew – speaker and wife of Jamie Dew, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Donna Gaines – speaker, author and Bible teacher, wife of Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn.
  • Matt Henslee – associational missionary, Collins Baptist Association in McKinney, Texas
  • Travis Kerns – associational mission strategist, Three Rivers Baptist Association in Taylors, S.C.
  • Richard Land – president emeritus of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and executive editor of The Christian Post
  • Jonathan Leeman – editorial director at 9Marks, elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Bladensburg, Md.
  • Jason Paredes – lead pastor, Fielder Church in Arlington, Texas
  • Gregory Perkins – lead pastor, The View Church in Menifee, Calif.; current president of the National African American Fellowship
  • Jim Richards – executive director emeritus, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
  • Juan Sanchez – senior pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas
  • Andrew Walker – Ethics and Public Theology professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Trevin Wax – author and vice president of Research & Resource Development at the North American Mission Board
  • Tony Wolfe – executive director-treasurer, South Carolina Baptist Convention

Serving in ex officio roles are Barber, SBC Second Vice President Kason Branch, SBC Registration Secretary Don Currence and SBC Recording Secretary Nathan Finn.

Please take a look at the list and see who is on it. Here are a couple that stand out.

  • Jonathan Leeman and Juan Sanchez are hard-core 9Marks leaders. They will be adamantly against working with churches where women in any position of leadership which smells like something only a male pastor should do. (Whatever that is…)
  • Trevin Wax is a prolific writer at The Gospel Coalition, a paid NAMB member, and a sometimes professor at Cedarville University. He will likely be against female pastors even though he will say nice things about women. He wrote this article that hints at his standing on the spectrum.
  • Richard Land: I thought he was going gentle into that dark night after the mess with plagiarism and racial issues. You have to hand it to the SBC. They find a way to have anyone come back.
  • Donna Gaines, wife to Bellevue Baptist pastor Steve Gaines, comes from a church with a history of dealing poorly with sexual abuse. Is this a message to SBC abuse victims that all that happened will be forgiven? Bad optics! Here are two articles. Indeed, they could have come up with a better woman to serve on the committee.
    Bellevue: Clergy sex abuse and cover-up scandal hits Southern Baptist flagship (@2007)
    Former Bellevue youth pastor ‘credibly accused of abusing adolescents’ at Baptist church in Arkansas( 2022)
    Donna will be quiet and submissive and should not be a problem.
  • Why didn’t they have a strong woman whose husbands are not getting paychecks in the SBC? Again, bad optics.

On the other hand, It’s rigged toward the liberals, according to some.

Baptist News Global writes further on this group in The SBC’s far-far right believes all members of a Cooperation Group should agree with their views. In regards to Jason Paredes’ presence in the group. It appears that some of the Calvinists in the group are unhappy with Parades.

Specifically, some of the most conservative pastors in the SBC — typically but not exclusively Calvinists — are troubled by Barber’s appointment of Arlington, Texas, pastor Jason Parades to the Cooperation Group. Parades is a conservative Southern Baptist who serves as pastor at Fielder Road Baptist Church, also a notably conservative church.

Apparently, some others believe he is firmly in support of the Law Amendment. (Get rid of women pastors in the SBC.)

He voted to keep Rick Warren and Saddleback in the SBC. He openly states that his church has women pastors. Our SBC leaders thought it would be a good idea to put a man who is proudly in defiance of the BFM2k on the committee to decide what to do about churches that defy the BFM2k. It’s rigged, and we don’t need a committee to decide whether or not we should follow our doctrine. We just need to follow our doctrine. Pass the Law Amendment in Indy.”

They’re wrong!

College Station, Texas, pastor Alan Pittman replied to Schlomann: “Looks like you’re overlooking the fact that Juan Sanchez (an Austin, Texas, pastor) is also on that team. He contributed to the Law Amendment at the convention. Maybe it’s not ‘rigged’ like you claim it is.”

Bart Barber says he has appointed the right people to this committee.

“The breadth of the Southern Baptist Convention includes people and churches who do not affirm the entirety of the Baptist Faith and Message. In fact, it includes quite a lot of them, depending upon which article of the BF&M is in view (open communion?). At present, Article III of our Constitution requires that churches have a faith and practice that ‘closely identifies with’ the Baptist Faith and Message. The phrase ‘closely identifies with’ expressly does not require total agreement with our confession of faith.”

Barber concluded: “By including a slim minority of the Cooperation Group who have disagreements with the BF&M on matters of present controversy within our convention, I have followed the clearly expressed will of the messenger body and the unmistakable wording of the motion. My duty is to implement those instructions, not to follow opinions expressed on social media or even my own druthers about the matter. The messengers adopted this motion by a strong majority. They expect me to do what they said. This I have sought to do.

Final thoughts:

  • Despite some differences of opinion, the strong presence of Calvinists, particularly the 9Marx folks, means that only one resolution is permitted: no women pastors.
  • They will not allow any church with a female pastor to send messengers to the SBC Convention.
  • How will they handle the black church problem? I cannot imagine they will say, “No women pastors except for black churches.” This issue alone will not be quickly resolved. The SBC cannot move forward until this gets fixed.
  • I cannot imagine the food fights that will take place, and I am glad not to be present for them.
  • There is some maneuvering behind the scenes to reword the Law Amendment. I cannot see a compromise coming out of this group.
  • Couldn’t First Baptist Church of Somewhereville cooperate with First Baptist Church of the First Woman Pastorville? I don’t understand why. Neither would have to give up what they believe, but both could run food kitchens and medical missions together. I think the answer will be “No.”
  • Why not have a black female pastor from an SBC church on the committee?
  • The abuse implementation task force will be sidelined for the foreseeable future. I also believe this group’s outcome will be far less than hoped for.
  • I bet some of you know more about the folks on this committee. I would love to hear your thoughts.


SBC Cooperation Group Named by SBC President Bart Barber: Who Shall Stay and Who Shall Go? — 28 Comments

  1. “How will they handle the black church problem? I cannot imagine they will say, “No women pastors except for black churches.””

    Well, they certainly don’t want to have a white version of the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and a different black version. That would bring back too many bad memories … it took SBC 150 years to repent of its racial sins going back to the Founders who were slaveholders.

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  2. So Barber has named a “Cooperation Group.” The SBC is sooooooo good at dealing with deep denominational problems by committee. Let me remind you about the 1985 “SBC Peace Committee” and what a great success it was! (You can read the final report here:

    Let’s appear to have a public “discussion” before the final decision (that has already been reached) is announced.

    Just like the Peace Committee . . .

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  3. Will “white women pastors” cheer on their black sisters as firstfruits for being “black while pastoring” or pull them back into line?

    Perhaps according to them “black while pastoring” isn’t pastoring and “woman while pastoring” isn’t pastoring? Did they think that being “men while pastoring” sometimes isn’t either?

    Jesus didn’t say if you get jew and gentile right you’re off the hook regarding slave vs. free.

    Are the alleged non Calvinists pretending to be alleged Calvinists now?

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  4. “would some churches have a conniption doing a food drive with a black church with an associate pastor of children who is a woman? Of course, the answer is a resounding “Yes.””

    i marvel at the supreme stupidity of Mike Law et al.

    i watched portions of the convention when people came to the mic… one righteous hero-wannabe after another, drawing attention to himself.

    it was a sight to behold.

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  5. GuyBehindtheCurtain:
    Jeffrey Chalmers,

    Vigilantism. The rules/laws will not give me what I want so I will break the rules/laws and force what I want on others.

    I still want to know why he accused me of doxxing. I am fairly certain it was a male,btw. I have never doxxed anyone. I also have not knowingly slandered another. I think he used the “Baptist preacher” definition of slander. “You hurt my feelings.”

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