The North American Mission Committee of the North American Convention of the Southern Baptist Convention has issued a statement making it clear that it will limit approval and funding exclusively to church plants with male pastors.
“Only qualified people” will “serve as communicators for teaching and preaching” in the main worship services of church services that receive financial support from the NAMB, according to a statement from October 14.
The NAMB cites “loyalty” to the Baptist faith and the 2000 message as its rationale for limiting approval and funding for “church planters who have faith and practice in accordance with the adopted declaration of faith of our convention and who seek to honor our southern Baptist partners”.
“Our mission is to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the convention in the autonomous churches of the SBC,” the NAMB said in a statement. “We are aware that there are different views on how best to interpret and apply Article VI. Baptist faiths and messages, which affirms the truth that “both men and women are gifted for ministry in the church” and that the function of pastor is limited to people as Scripture qualifies them. “
‘Reflects the practice of most southern Baptists’
The statement continues: “We will continue to cooperate and help all cooperating churches. We believe, however, that it is best to retain approval and funding for planters who are willing to reflect the practice of most Southern Baptists in this issue. ”
The NAMB “sometimes required church founders to adopt certain guidelines as a way of nurturing strong relationships with most South Baptist churches in belief and practice,” the statement said.
The agency compared its position on limiting support only to churches with male pastors to the requirement that church planters who support the NAMB abstain from alcohol.
Consequently, the NAMB requires its church founders to align with the practice of “most South Baptist churches” who believe that only “qualified people” can hold the title of “pastor / bishop / elder / overseer,” the statement said.
“Since the culture, practice and methodology in the first years of the church’s operation laid the foundations for future ministry, all approved planters of the sending network agree to adhere to these guidelines for the duration of the approval,” the statement concluded.
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Ezell: “Complementary by belief”
NAMB President Keith Ezell told the Baptist Press: “We always walk with the planters through the challenges of their missionary work and clarify our leadership as they strive to serve God as he called them. The NAMB reaffirmed this week that we have always had and will always support biblically qualified men as shepherds, fulfilling those responsibilities unique to the shepherd alone.
“We are committed to Baptist Faith & Message 2000 and are complementary in belief. There is no need to doubt our expectations. ”
Tom Buck, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, was vocal in urging NAMB to abide by the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message statement which limits the pastor’s duty to men.
Buck tweeted: “I am grateful that @kevinezell took a stand on this issue. For the record, whether approved or not, women preached in several NAMB plants, and some with the title of pastor. This policy of banning pastors / preaching in the corporate worship of church plants NAMB is new and necessary. ”
U later tweet, he added: “I would like NAMB to say:” Although we have always kept this commitment, we had to be clear in our policy because some church plants have decided to deviate from our commitment. And we want SBC to know that we are doing everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen in the future. ”
The Baptist Press reported that the NAMB issued a statement in February stating that of the 1,200 approved church founders at the time, six churches listed a woman with the title of stepdaughter or in the role of staff.
“They are resolved,” NAMB said. “We deal with these situations individually and appropriately when they get our attention.”