SBC Women Pastors fight: Rick Warren, Beth Moore vs. Al Mohler
Welcome back to Defenders Voice. I am Paul Kattupalli. Thank you for joining us today. Please visit our website www.doctorpaul.org. Subscribe to our Youtube channel. Download Defender’s Voice App to follow our episodes closely.
Let us see today’s question: Southern Baptists rejected Rick Warren’s plea to reinstate his church into the Southern Baptist Convention. How should we look at this issue?
Excellent question. Southern Baptists had a convention in New Orleans. They had a big fight over appointing women as pastors. Rick Warren appealed a decision to eject his church from SBC. He was rejected.
Rick Warren was the pastor at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. This church once belonged to the Southern Baptist Convention. Once upon a time, it had the second largest congregation in the SBC after the Second Baptist Church in Houston.
Then Saddleback Church appointed three women on their staff as pastors. SBC ejected it from their convention. Can we have female pastors? This question has been rocking almost every denomination in the world. Christian Missionary Alliance churches have appointed female pastors. The Lutheran Church has just appointed a transgender person as their pastor. The Lutheran Church settled the issue of female pastors a long time ago. Now, their deliberations are about appointing transgenders as pastors and they successfully appointed one as their bishop recently.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary responded to Rick Warren. He said, calling any woman a pastor is “at best, unwise and confusing”. SBC’s problems are not over when Beth Moore or Russell Moore left their congregation. A thousand more Beth Moores raise for every Beth Moore leaves because it is the spirit of our age.
We are living in a society marked by unprecedented societal changes. You can change anything you want. You can become anybody you want. You can choose any office you want. All in the name of equality. But We should remember God has established an order in his house.
In the Old Testament, the office of priesthood is reserved for men in the tribe of Levi. The women in the tribe of Levi should not seek the office of priesthood. That is forbidden. The men and women of other 11 tribes of Israel should not seek the office of the priesthood. It is not the question of your abilities or your faith in God or your equality. If you are not a male from the tribe of Levi, you don’t belong in the office of priesthood. Just ask King Uzziah if you doubt my words.
King Uzziah was a prosperous king of Judah. He entered the Temple of God to burn incense on the altar. Azariah was the High Priest. He was shocked to see the king trying to do a priestly job. That responsibility was reserved only for the priests of the tribe of Levi. So, he confronted King Uzziah. ‘Your Highness, King Uzziah, stop there. It is not for you to burn incense to the Lord. It is for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense.’ (2 Chronicles 26:18).
King Uzziah did not listen and God’s judgment fell upon him immediately. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote in his Antiquities IX 10:4, that a great earthquake shook the ground, bright rays of the sun shone through it, fell upon the king’s face and he was stricken with leprosy.
Never disobey God’s order. It brings serious judgment to your life. You may do a better job than a Levitical priest. Still you are not permitted to do it.
The three main offices in the Old Testament: King, Priest and Prophet, were limited to men. With some rare exceptions, all kings were men, all priests were men and all prophets were men. Exceptions should not be the norm. Deborah fought for Israel. But that is an exception, not the norm. Athaliah reigned as a queen. That’s an exception, not the norm. This is happening more in our time. Exceptions becoming the norm. In a family, the male husband should be the leader of the house while the female wife takes care of other responsibilities. But unfortunately, many men are absent from their homes and all responsibility falls on single women. First we destroyed Godly homes, now we are destroying Godly churches.
In the New Testament, God made it clear that the office of the pastor is limited to men. Read 1 Timothy chapter 2, 1 Corinthians chapter 14 and Titus chapter 1.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.
Here, the apostle connected church order to the family order. Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the church and husband is the head of the wife. Jesus loves the church that he died for the church. Husband should love his wife to the extent of sacrificing his life for her. It is easy to submit to someone who loves you.
Recently one of my patients delivered a baby. I told her, congratulations. She was not happy. I asked her, what’s the matter? She said, My boyfriend didn’t even come to see our baby. He left me after I became pregnant.
Sadly many men are only interested in having short-term romances without taking any God given responsibilities. In such scenarios, women have no choice except to take care of their children. But that is not God’s design for the family. Men are also failing in church leadership. So, women are taking their roles. But that is not God’s design for the church.
Women can do a lot of things for God while staying away from pastoral office. Great Christian mothers like Susan Wesley, the mother of John Wesley and Charles Wesley, did more for God through just being a godly mother. Susan Wesley taught Bible lessons to her children and they became great servants of God. Christian women can teach Bible lessons to their children, they can teach Sunday school lessons, they can help in the nursery, they can help in the kitchen. There are a lot of things they can do for God. Women are needed to build Christian homes and raise children. Sadly, many women are running away from these godly responsibilities to pursue things God did not ask them to do. Take a look at our demographics. Many schools, colleges and churches are closing their doors because of the demographic decline. There are not enough children to keep their doors open. So, women should focus on procreation and household responsibilities. There are godly single mothers who are working hard to take care of their families. We should commend them and encourage them. But single parent homes are not designed by God. God always wanted a male husband and a female wife in a marriage. Husband should be the leader of the home and the wife should focus on household activities. Similarly, in the church, pastoral leadership belongs to men, not women.
Let us not follow the culture. We should not say, ‘This is 21st century America.’ It does not matter whether we live in first century or 21st century or 31st century. The Word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Apostle Paul clearly wrote that women should not be allowed to become pastors. What is true for him is true for us today.
King Uzziah’s pride led him to the altar. Dont let your pride lead you to the pulpit. It is not about abilities. A woman can do a better job than a man in just about everything. She might be a better preacher, she might be a better expositor, she might be a better leader, she might be a better shepherd. But that is not the point. It is about God’s order.
So what Rick Warren or Beth Moore or Russell Moore did is not right in the eyes of God. What Albert Mohler did is right.
Ok, folks, that’s all for today.