Friday, July 21, 2006

FRANK PAGE ON WOMEN IN MINISTRY

Frank Page, newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, issued a statement about women in ministry. There has been some controversy since someone discovered that Page advocated ordaining women as pastors in his dissertation he wrote. He has disavowed that position.

Page is now towing a much more conservative line, pretty much in keeping with the majority of SBC leaders, if you exclude those who think women should not do anything but have babies and cook supper. It is also pretty much in line with the Baptist Faith and Message, 2000 version.

I like the fact that Page acknowledges women may have a ministry in the church. He said “I believe also that God calls women to minister in a variety of capacities and roles in His service. Women make up about half of our foreign missionary force, work tirelessly in local churches and serve in key leadership roles as trustees and denominational servants with our SBC entities."

This is an issue we grapple with at our house, since two of my daughters feel called into ministry. There is an interesting phenomenon in SBC life. They gather all the kids, especially teenagers, into a room and preach at them about following God into ministry. The kids are boys and girls. So, of course, some boys and some girls answer the call. After the girls answer the call, men feel obligated to come up to them and tell them they cannot be ministers.

I have their names. And there will be punishment.

My favorite attack recently came from a youth minister. He went straight to the favorite men's hang up, that Paul said he would not let women be in authority over men. I took the liberty of telling him that, if the Baby became a youth minister, she would be under the authority of her pastor, but also, that she would have delegated authority over boys, not men. They really are not the same thing.

The second thing I pointed out was that a youth minister is not one of the Biblically authorized officers of the church, being neither an elder or a deacon. I think that caused a bit of a set back. You have to be careful about this literal interpretation thing.

It can come back to bite you.

But, back to Page, I think I can live with his statement and appreciate his not overstating the Biblical standards.
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