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Editorial on women falls short

 

As a Baptist pastor concerned about the state of the local church in our society, I was disheartened when I read Gerald Harris editorial regarding “Breaking Family Ties.” I understand that the 2000 BF&M has particular boundaries concerning women in ministry, but Mr. Harris’ article falls short on elaborating on how churches are wrestling with this complex issue in a local context.

Instead, Mr. Harris focuses on the role of Rev. Mimi Walker’s ministry at Druid Hills. He asserts in so many words that Graham and Mimi Walker’s position are a result of “popular opinion” and a “humanly devised system of theology.”

Mr. Harris fails to even consider that the sum of Druid Hills Baptist is made up of all its parishioners, not just its co-pastors. Does he not consider how his article might affect the hundred or so members of the church, many of whom pray for the GBC and missions daily?

Despite how the Southern Baptist Convention feels about women in ministry, there needs to be greater sensitivity to congregations that are actively engaging the Spirit of God in their local community. There is a place for debate and disagreement, but no place for flippant rhetoric. Harris’ condescending remarks and shallow criticism is not fitting for a leader of the Georgia Baptist Convention. His last paragraph, referencing Rev. Walker’s ability to take advantage of an “entitlement” for a “penny,” is in poor taste entirely.

Harris rightly focuses on 1 Timothy 2:11-14 to address his interpretation for women in ministry. What about Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-22, in which Jesus implies that the testimony of the Church is advanced through the unity of the Body, not division within the Body? Where does that fit in Mr. Harris’ theology?

And we have the nerve to wonder why baptisms, giving, and church attendance within the SBC are down?