Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Southern Baptists Pull Magazine from the Rack for Featuring Women Pastors

Lifeway Christian Bookstores, owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, pulled from its racks the latest issue of Gospel Today because it featured some prominent women pastors.
The Southern Baptist Convention opposes women pastors.
In case you’re wondering how so many prominent Southern Baptists can support Sarah Palin for vice president and oppose women pastors, here’s the explanation from Richard Land, a big Palin fan and Southern Baptist leader.

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Warren Cheswick

posted September 20, 2008 at 9:54 am

Oh, he’ll say, “The problem is spiritual – a woman shouldn’t have spiritual headship over man, and that includes women as senior pastors (they don’t mind women children’s ministers, apparently) and women as ‘head of family’.”
It sounds fishy to me, though. For one, don’t these same people like Land want political leaders to bring their faith into their decision making as elected officials? If so, then how can they lead on matters where they need advice on how to practically implement biblical principles or whatever? Won’t they have to consult their husbands or pastors for advice about what to do? We’ve already heard reports that Palin does this anyway, as there is building evidence that in her stint as Gov., she brought her husband into the decision making process in an unprecedented and (many feel) inappropriate way. She’s also been said to have consulted her pastor (yes, the witch-hunting one) about matters, and has received his blessing (laying-on-of-hands) for her political job as governor. So the lines are at the very least definitely blurred.
To me, it just illustrates how backwards the So. Baptists are (and many other conservative denominations, too). It’s the 21st century and we’re still holding fast to ancient prejudices about women, marginalizing them and keeping them down as much as we can. And how can we shake our fingers at Taliban leaders who make women wear burkas and keep them chained in their homes, etc. when our attitudes about women are pretty much the same at the heart of the matter?
Religion brings so much good into the world, but then at the same time both causes untold harm and prevents necessary change from happening. So I don’t blame people for throwing the baby out with the bathwater altogether.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 10:09 am

While you are at it, ask your friend Rod Dreher the same question.

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Unsympathetic reader

posted September 20, 2008 at 11:58 am

The problem wasn’t about women as pastors but the fact that the woman pastors were photographed with their ankles showing. Normally the Southern Baptists keep those sorts of mags with racy covers behind the counter.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Paul had no problem with Priscilla baptizing Apollos, did he? Or with Dorcas leading fellowships or with the mother and grandmother of Timothy instructing the young pastor.
This is what happens when you take passages of the Bible out of context and base your theology on misconstrued interpretations. The Irish formed monasteries headed up by women and in the early Church, women were even bishops in some areas of Europe.
Women have their place in leadership of churches, and if God has directed them to serve as the shepherds of the flock, it is His Call, not ours.

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Charles Cosimano

posted September 20, 2008 at 4:03 pm

This is why the word “hypocrite” was coined.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Steve Waldman: “Southern Baptists Pull Magazine from the Rack for Featuring Women Pastors”
If you don’t like it, then don’t become a Southern Baptist. No one is forcing you to adopt their ecclesiastical practices, so don’t bust their chops for practicing what they believe.
Last I checked, the Southern Baptists were growing a lot faster than the Episcopal Church of Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 5:42 pm

Last I checked, the Southern Baptists were growing a lot faster than the Episcopal Church of Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Actually, they aren’t. Southern Baptists have seen a decline in attendance.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 6:59 pm

It is 2008 and the Southern Baptist convention thinks that women can’t be leaders in a church. They want them to stay home to “obey their husbands, have kids, and clean house.” Sounds more like Saudi Arabia. I exaggerate, but the whole thing is ridiculous. Pretty sad when a person has to ask for a certain magazine from “behind the counter” because it has….gasp! WOMEN MINISTERS ON THE COVER…WITH THEIR CLOTHES ON! (might have been more interesting if they had no clothes on).
It was refreshing to read that the Southern Baptist churches are independent, so that at least some seem to live in the 21st century and have elected women to lead their churches.

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posted September 20, 2008 at 11:08 pm

I guess they will never tell the stories of Deborah or Esther in their church. O wait, that is the OLD Testament. I gues that has nothing to do with the New Testament. Too bad no one told Jesus that.
Some of the S.B congregations have pulled away and formed their own denomination – The Alliance of Baptists. They are more progressive and willing to allow change to happen (and to trust God is with them as it does).
The 21st century will be here for 91 more years. They may catch up by then.

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posted September 21, 2008 at 5:32 am

Charles, I was not going to be quite so polite, I was going to say:
Lying, because they are twisting the scriptures to suit whatever their personal agendas are in the moment. The scriptures are written clearly, “no woman in authority”, not “ok for women to lead countries, but not ok to lead a church”. So, by supporting Palin, the SBC Ministry is testifying to true depth of their personal hypocrisy and the depths of hypocrisy they are fostering within the SBC. The SBC is testifying that they cannot be trusted to faithfully lead those entrusted into their care.

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Kid Rhythm

posted September 22, 2008 at 11:20 pm

Man wrote the Bible and it is MAN that decided women should be kept in their place so to speak!!!! However, this does not in any way shape or form give credit to an IDIOT such as Palin just because she claims to be a woman of GOD!!!! She is only fooling herself if she thinks for one minute that GOD wants the oil and gas indutry to prosper and put pipe lines under this magnificent Earth! It is really time to WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!

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posted September 23, 2008 at 10:32 am

Palin’s god.
Before I start let me make this perfectly clear…. I know that there are cases where the women have no choice they to work in order to feed and clothe their children.
But correct me if am wrong … I thought that Southern Baptists teach that… when it is possible…the first priority of all mothers is to be in the home nurturing, teaching and watching over their children.
Note that NOWHERE in the Bible do we read that Mary the mother Jesus or Elisabeth the mother of John… WILLINGLY CHOOSE to be away from their children for frequent and extended periods of time in order to attend political events.
Thus …. IF it is financially POSSIBLE for Mrs. Palin… then Sarah should have been and should be a mother nurturing, teaching and watching over her children instead of being gone away from her children for frequent and extended periods of time in order to attend political events.
So either….
Mrs. Palin’s husband DOES NOT get paid sufficiently at his employment to provided BASIC necessities for the Palin children?
Like it or not … Sarah Palin’s god … is merely money, power, and prestige.

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Warren Cheswick

posted September 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

While I agree with Chet’s final assessment of Gov. Palin, I think your use of scripture in reaching that final assessment is problematic. Why are you equating the life of Mary with the lives of American women in the 21st century? It’s just ludicrous. I mean, the bible doesn’t portray women driving around in cars or wearing pants or being contestants on TV reality shows either, right?
This method of trying to answer all of modern life’s problems by going back to the bible is crazy, and this is yet another reason why so many would rather go to the dentist each week for a root canal than participate in organized religion of this vein.

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posted September 24, 2008 at 11:27 am

And just what does Sarah P. have to do with the women ministers on the front of the “forbidden” magazine? That would be…nothing!

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God's woman

posted September 27, 2008 at 10:46 pm

It is interesting that some time back, Paula White a female pastor, was also on the cover of this same magazine. Oddly enough, Lifeway did not choose to pull the magazine on that occasion. Could both gender AND race have something to do with this decision and not just “their theology”?

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posted September 28, 2008 at 8:05 pm

The ABC evening news tonight had a report on the removing of the magazine from the racks during a report on Southern Baptists saying it’s OK for a woman to be president or VP, but NOT a pastor. Reason? Poor one…the Bible says men should lead. Fortunately they also talked to a Southern Baptist pastor who wasn’t worried about the Southern Baptist’s convention saying that they disagree with women being the head of a church. She said she answered to a “higher authority”.

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wild bill

posted October 1, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I doubt I can change any minds about the rightness of women in pastoral leadership, so I won’t get into that debate (though for the record I think women make great pastors).
What I find interesting is the position of the SBC and Lifeway. Hiding a magazine you don’t agree with seems the tactic of an organization that is afraid of ideas and on the defensive. Haven’t the SBC heard of the internet? I have never heard of this magazine before, but this attempt at commercial censorship has made me aware of it, and, more importantly, the SBC’s reaction. Think I will check it out online just to see what the SBC is afraid of…
May God continue to bless all the Southern Baptists.

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gondola display

posted July 8, 2010 at 5:03 am

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