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Will Southern Baptists Set Down the “Law” in 2024?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
June 1, 2024 8:00 am

Will Southern Baptists Set Down the “Law” in 2024?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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June 1, 2024 8:00 am

Guest: Tom Ascol, Senior Pastor, Grace Baptist Church (Cape Coral, FL)

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the largest Protestant church denomination in North America, with six seminaries, 47,000 churches, 13 million church members, and entities like the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Lifeway Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board (NAMB), and more.

Some of the most influential churches and pastors in America are part of the SBC. SBC churches are expected to give to the Cooperative Program (CP), which uses the funds for all their various entities and endeavors. In 2023, the CP budget was nearly $200M.

Any organization this size with this much influence and funding is going to be a battlefield of agendas. The SBC was once moving to the left theologically but made a “conservative resurgence” in the 1980s. In recent years, the SBC has becoming wobbly on issues related to social justice, Critical Race Theory, female pastors, and more.

At stake at this year’s upcoming SBC Annual Meeting June 9-12 in Indianapolis is a proposed amendment to the SBC constitution, called the “Law Amendment” (named after Mike Law, the VA pastor who submitted it), that SBC cooperating churches do “not affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”

Many SBC churches currently do employ female pastors in clear violation of God’s Word that only men of high character be pastors and elders. We’ll read those passages during the program.

Tom Ascol, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL and president of Founders Ministries, joins us for the fifth year running to discuss issues within the Southern Baptist Convention that have impact across broader Christianity.

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Will Southern Baptists Set Down the Law in 2024? That is a topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Real View Radio Program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. I'm David Wheaton, the host. The Christian Real View is a non-profit, listener-supported radio ministry. Thank you for your notes of encouragement, your financial support, and for lifting us up in prayer.

Our website is thechristianrealview.org, and all our contact information and social media pages will be given throughout today's program. Before we get to the preview for today's topic, you've likely heard about the unprecedented news that came out of New York just a couple days ago with the guilty verdict against former President Trump in New York. This reading from a story from Fox News, former President Trump was found guilty on all counts in his historic and unprecedented criminal trial, making him the first former president of the United States to be convicted of a crime. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charged former President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of four years. In total, Trump faces a maximum sentence of 136 years. Sentencing for the former president will be July 11th, just four days before the start of the Republican National Convention, where he is expected to be formally nominated as the 2024 Republican presidential nominee. The conviction does not bar Trump from running for president. Prosecutors needed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump falsified those records to conceal a $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic performer, in the lead up to the 2016 election to silence her about an alleged affair with Trump in 2006. In other words, this caused election interference because the electorate wouldn't have known about this because it was a hush money payment. Last couple paragraphs, moments after the verdict was delivered by the jury, the former president spoke to reporters in the hallway. This was a disgrace, he said. This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt. The real verdict is going to be on November 5th by the people. He added, we didn't do anything wrong.

I'm a very innocent man. I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our Constitution. We don't have the same country anymore, Trump said. We have a divided mess.

We are a nation of decline, serious decline. Now, I'm not qualified to give expert analysis on legal matters, so I'll defer to legal minds who have a conservative worldview. I'll play audio of Judge Jeanine Pirro's analysis of this in just a second.

But that really is the big problem here. Our justice system is so partisan now that the New York prosecutor Alvin Bragg ran his campaign for district attorney promising to go after Trump and was financially supported by leftist George Soros. Bragg put together an anti-Trump judge and jury from an anti-Trump district to create a show trial when in fact, this is nothing more than trying to eliminate Joe Biden's political opponent this November. All the Democrats wanted here is a guilty verdict because now Trump is a, quote, convicted felon. And that's a powerful pejorative label during this campaign for most Americans who don't pay very close attention.

After the last election, when many Christian and conservative Americans added up all the inconsistencies in the voting, none more obviously suspect than Joe Biden getting the most votes in U.S. presidential history when he can't even draw a sizable campaign crowd. We are all but sure the elections in our constitutional republic are now suspect. But now we know that our justice system is suspect and fraudulent when the former president is tried and convicted in this way. Here's what Judge Jeanine Pirro had to say about this. I, as a former prosecutor and a judge who knows the state courts and who knows the state law, I know that there was no basis to charge this alleged crime and to resurrect dead misdemeanors based upon non-unanimous federal violations of the election law or of the tax law.

You've got that. But there's also a gut punch to the criminal justice system in the United States. We've got the former president of the United States who can be taken down by a George Soros funded prosecutor on a crime that doesn't exist.

We have a judge who wasn't picked out of the wheel or out of the drum, as all of us judges are. This is an anti-Trump judge, an anti-Trump prosecutor. We want to see politicians fight. We don't want to see what they do in third world countries to have one side start indicting and jailing the other side. This is not American. This isn't what we do to our political enemies.

This is what they do in kangaroo courts and third world countries. God help America after what I've seen in the last few weeks. Now, if you turn the television over to CNN or MSNBC, they'd be talking about how just and how right this decision was.

That's how partisan our media is and how partisan our justice system has become. Taking this all together, the raid of Trump's home in Florida last year and all the various legal battles he's going through. After the last four years of the Biden administration and all the wreckage they have committed on this country, horrific withdrawal from Afghanistan, rampant inflation, gross immorality, lying about COVID and the vaccine, reckless illegal immigration, wars around the world, and the list goes on. Even with all that, I have strong doubt that Donald Trump will be able to win this election. The media, the deep state, the election system, and the justice system will make sure they get in the way to not allow him to win.

After all, he stands in the way of their Marxist objectives. Trump is no saint, but he pales in comparison to the evil that has captured power in our country. I'm just thankful the believer's home is in heaven and our hope is in the Lord because I have very little reason to be optimistic about the future of our country at this point, and it pains me to say that. The Lord puts rulers in power, he raises and lowers nations, and he will do what he pleases. But I believe we're under God's judgment, and he's put evil leaders like Biden over us to judge our nation.

So Christians, we need to stand firm in the Lord because with these wicked people in power, things will likely get much more difficult, especially for Christians in this country. Now to our topic of the day, will Southern Baptists set down the law amendment in 2024? The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in North America, with six seminaries, 47,000 churches, 13 million church members, and entities like the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the ERLC, Lifeway Christian Resources, the North American Mission Board, and more. Some of the most influential churches and pastors in America are part of the Southern Baptist Convention. SBC churches are expected to give to what's called the cooperative program, which uses the funds for all their various entities and endeavors.

In 2023, the cooperative program budget was nearly $200 million. Any organization this size with this much influence and funding is going to be a battlefield of agendas. The Southern Baptist Convention was once moving to the left theologically, but made a, quote, conservative resurgence in the 1980s. In recent years, certain elements of the SBC have become wobbly on issues related to social justice, critical race theory, female pastors, and more. At stake in this year's upcoming Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, June 9th to the 12th in Indianapolis, is a proposed amendment to their constitution called the Law Amendment, named after Mike Law, the Virginia pastor who submitted it, that SBC cooperating churches do not, quote, affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind. Many SBC churches currently do employ female pastors in clear violation of God's word, that only men of high character be pastors and elders. We'll read those passages in just a moment.

Tom Askel, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, and president of Founders Ministries, joins us for the fifth year running to discuss issues within the Southern Baptist Convention that have impact across broader Christianity. Before we get to the interview with him, those passages I was referring to with regard to male-only pastors, come from 1 Timothy 2 and 3 and Titus 1. 1 Timothy 2 verse 11, a woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. Paul writes to Timothy, but I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. Next chapter, 1 Timothy 3, Paul writes.

It is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to the office of overseer or pastor, elder, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer or pastor then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. These are all character qualities, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.

Now notice all the male pronouns. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God? For the sake of time, I won't read Titus chapter 1.

You can read it for yourself, but Paul says basically the same thing as he does in 1 Timothy 3. So with that as some context, let's get to the interview with Pastor Tom Askell of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida as we talk about the Southern Baptist Convention and will they pass the law amendment and have male-only pastors within their denomination. Tom, thank you for coming on the Christian Real View Radio program.

I look back in our past programs of when you've been on the program, and it turns out you've been on the program every year since 2020, talking about what is going on within the Southern Baptist Convention, lots of different issues that you've encountered there over the years. And so as we approach the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, which takes place in Indianapolis this year on June 9th through the 12th, why is this an important issue to discuss what takes place within the Southern Baptist Convention, even for those who are listening who are non-denominational evangelicals, maybe Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, anyone else? It does matter because it is what you said, the largest Protestant denomination in North America.

And a rising tide lifts all ships, and a lowering tide can draw down all ships too. And so what happens to the SBC has ramifications way beyond the SBC. I forget the exact stats now, they've shifted some in the last couple of years. But there was a time when Southern Baptist seminaries were training about a third of all evangelical candidates for pastoral ministry in the United States. We have the largest missionary sending force that's available in North America by far.

We have a presence in Washington DC, lobbying arm. We have a massive church planting network. We have a disaster relief ministry that the Red Cross has acknowledged is as good, if not better, than anything else that exists. You know, I'm down here in hurricane territory, and I can tell you that the Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief is here before the Red Cross gets here, and they stay after the Red Cross has left.

And it's just brilliant. Those things are all good, and they benefit society way beyond the SBC. They benefit other ministries and churches as well. So a healthy SBC is good for the testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and all evangelical ministries in the United States. And an unhealthy SBC drags down that testimony, that witness.

So it does matter, and it's worth fighting for, to try to make it as healthy as possible for all of those reasons. Tom Haskell with us today here on the Christian World View, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. We're going to focus mainly on the issue of female pastors today in light of the amendment that Mike Law, a pastor from Virginia, has proposed about further clarifying the Southern Baptist Convention constitution regarding male-only pastors. But before we get to that, just give us a quick update, Tom, on some of the issues we've discussed in the past about the Southern Baptist Convention with regard to the push for social justice as a gospel issue, and the use of critical race theory, the resolution that was put forward, I think it was in 2019, about using CRT as an analytical tool, and also the ongoing investigations over sexual abuse and cover-up within the Southern Baptist Convention.

What is the status of these things that we've discussed in past years? What happened is, finally, Southern Baptist pastors got educated. It was the 2019 convention that you're referring to, that there's a resolution passed. Now, the resolution didn't have any binding authority, fortunately, but the chairman of that committee was a professor at Southern Seminary at that time, and he made the statement that this is a gospel issue and these are helpful analytical tools. Well, that professor doesn't teach at Southern anymore the next year, depending on who you talk to.

He was either released or resigned. But there are still people, even at Southern and at Southeastern Seminary especially, who have been proponents of various aspects of critical race theory and intersectionality, so they've kind of gone quiet. You couldn't pass that resolution today. I've had a couple of different Southern Baptist leaders tell me that if that resolution were submitted today, that there's enough awareness to be able to stand against it. I believe that's very true. I think that's an accurate assessment. But that doesn't mean the problems have gone away.

It just means they're not as bold. One of the men who was on that committee that proposed that resolution said to an associate of mine that before founders started talking about critical race theory and produced the by what standard documentary, that everybody at Southern Seminary was a pro-CRT, but that afterwards nobody was, and they kind of just threw him under the bus. Again, I don't know how true that is, but that was his assessment as being someone who was in the very thick of it, promoting it.

So praise God, you know, that those lights have come on more brightly. The Church 2, Me Too movement, it's just been revealed. The SPC spent like $14-15 million since 2021, I guess, and nothing's been done.

It's just a sad commentary. I don't know of one victim of any kind of sexual abuse issue that has been helped by that $14-15 million. Now, the awareness has been heightened about churches needing to be on guard and to train their people to watch out for folks that would come in to groom and other things like that. But it's just sad to me because the people who've been banging the drum saying, oh, we've got an epidemic or a pandemic, or this is a Holocaust. It's just not true.

It has never been true. And whenever you compare statistically, if you do an honest statistical analysis of all Southern Baptist churches and church members and volunteers and leaders and compare it to the national average, it's way below the national average. The incidences that have been made known, even the accusations, compared to the national average just in general. And if you compare it to the public school system, it is multiple times better than that sad scenario.

So there's just been a lot of bad actors that have driven these things. And it's unfortunate. And I don't know if Southern Baptist will wake up and finally say enough is enough and stop all that or not. But there's been some proposals made that are just a bridge too far because we're independent churches, we're autonomous churches, and we're not a top-down Roman Catholic or United Methodist denominational structure. There are people who would love to make it that way so that all churches have to pay for what anything, what might happen in any church. And that's just ludicrous.

That's Baptists are never going to lay down for that. Thank you for giving an update on some of these issues we've discussed over the years. And it's good to know that they haven't taken further root. But as you mentioned, there are still people who are proponents of these things. Any big organization, there's going to be a lot of different dynamics and their rope being pulled different directions.

But it's good to hear that it hasn't gotten more traction, at least from a standpoint of being set down into the law of the land within the SBC. Tom Askell is our guest today, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. We'll pause briefly to tell you about a few things going on within the Christian Real View, including the upcoming Overcomer Course for Young Adults, which is only three weeks away. I'm David Wheaton, and you are listening to the Christian Real View radio program. The Overcomer Course for Young Adults is fast approaching on Friday, Saturday, June 21st and 22nd at Stonehouse Farm in Jordan, Minnesota, just outside the Minneapolis metro area.

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We hope to see you June 21st and 22nd. Limited space remaining, so learn more and register at thechristianrealview.org or by calling 1-888-646-2233. Christians with discernment know that the U.S. public education system is humanistic to the core. That is because subversives have successfully removed from government schools the most important subject to understand truth and reality, God. While Americans were once educated at home or privately in an explicitly Christian way, today government schools are radically anti-Christian, propagandizing children with evolution, graphic sexual content, gender confusion, and globalism. Alex Newman's book, Indoctrinating Our Children to Death, is our new featured resource.

It's softcover, 276 pages, and retails for $17.99. You can order the book for a donation of any amount to The Christian Worldview. Go to thechristianworldview.org, call toll-free 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Welcome back to The Christian Worldview.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianworldview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter. Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry. Our topic today is, will the Southern Baptist Convention pass the law amendment for male-only pastors at their upcoming convention? Tom Askel, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, is our guest. Now, just some background on Mike Law, who this amendment is named after. He's the pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Virginia. He wrote a letter to the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention last year, and I believe it takes two years to get something like this through.

And this is the second year now that's going to be voted upon. And he wrote, I write concerning my motion to amend the SBC Constitution to include an enumerated sixth item under Article 3, paragraph 1. The enumerated sixth item would read, it does not affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind. He goes on, it's a much longer letter, we have it linked at our website, thechristianworldview.org, but he had seen so many Southern Baptist churches in his area, just near where he pastors, have women as pastors, and he said, this is not biblical, this is not right.

And so, he wanted to put this amendment forward. Now, I looked up the Baptist faith and message under the church, and it said, its two scriptural offices for the church are that of pastor slash elder slash overseer. In other words, those are considered the same office, pastor, elder, overseer, and deacon. Not the same office, but the two scriptural offices they see are pastor, elder, overseer, number one, and deacon.

While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, it says, the office of pastor, elder, overseer, is limited to men as qualified by scripture. That's what the Baptist faith and message says right now. Why does that need further clarification or a further amendment to it, and does it actually disfellowship Southern Baptist Convention churches if they don't adhere to that, if they do have female pastors? I need to clarify a little bit here. The Baptist faith and message is the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, and so, churches have to be largely in substantive agreement with that. You don't have to adopt that confession, but you have to be able to say, yeah, that generally is what we believe. The constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention, which we've had since 1845, is what is being proposed to be amended. In order to amend the constitution, the amendment would have to be voted on in two successive years by a two-thirds majority.

Mike's proposal came up actually three years ago. It was referred to the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which is a standing committee. They didn't even want to bring it to the convention last year to vote on, but they were basically shamed in doing so because so many pastors, like myself, just called out to them and said, we've got to be given the opportunity to vote on this. Of course, we must vote on this.

Finally, they brought it out. To my mind, I'm subject to being corrected on this, but I cannot find one example in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention where the executive committee has brought forward a motion, in this case, a motion to amend, in this case, a motion to amend, while at the same time saying, we think you ought to vote this down. Anytime they've brought something, it's always been, yeah, we think you ought to approve this, but they brought this motion forward saying, we're not for it. We're against it. That's the leadership of the SBC, kind of the convention ad interim.

The executive committee makes decisions during the year when we're not meeting in our annual meeting. And the Southern Baptist Convention messengers last year in New Orleans overwhelmingly voted for this law amendment and did so by many estimates. At least 80% of the messengers voting for it. It needs two-thirds to approve it two years in a row. So it's been approved one year. And now we're coming to the second year, which again, I can't think of a situation where we've made a motion to amend that has not passed in two years.

In two successive years. But the leadership of the SBC, who I think was caught off guard last year by the overwhelming positive vote, they have come out in force against this law amendment. And we always hear this rhetoric from the President Barber this year and others in the SBC that we want to do the will of the messengers. We want to do the will of the messengers. Well, the will of the messengers was overwhelmingly clear last year. 80% of the messengers said, we want this amendment. And now then it's like a who's who of SBC leadership that has come out in opposition of the amendments.

I know we can't do this. One executive committee member said, let's just call this what it is. It's a war on women. Others have said that this will ruin our autonomy. This will make us a top-down denomination. Those aren't even credible statements.

Those are juvenile statements to make. And it's hard to believe that any thinking, understanding Baptist, much less Baptist leader, could try to convince people that those are credible statements. There are some arguments against the law amendment and concern about how this will be administrated. Do we have the mechanisms in place to actually do this? Well, we do have them in place.

They haven't been utilized too much. But all this is doing is adding to the Article Three of the SBC Constitution about what does it mean to be in friendly cooperation? What does a church have to do? And it says you've got to have a faith and practice that identifies with the statement of faith.

The Baptist faith and message closely identifies with it. You have to agree to cooperate with the SBC. You don't act in a manner that's inconsistent with beliefs of the SBC regarding sex abuse. That's one.

And you don't endorse any kind of discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity. That is another. And then what's being proposed is an additional qualification that Mike came up with. And Mike's original is quite better than the substitute amendment that we now are acting on. And you read the original does not affirm women in any capacity as pastors. The substitute motion that was received as a friendly substitute last year, and so now this is what we adopted, is that church affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by scripture. It's straightforward.

It's simple. It agrees with what you read from the Baptist faith and message. We shouldn't even need this. If we had people with integrity leading churches, they would just acknowledge, yeah, okay, we believe in women pastors, so we don't participate in the SBC or we can't be in friendly cooperation. But what's happened is over the last 20, 30 years, however long, these churches have started appointing women in pastoral roles and then started calling them pastors. Some, like Rick Warren did two years ago, very loudly ordained women as pastors.

And the convention voted his church out last year. And they're saying, but we're Southern Baptists. We're autonomous and we cooperate in the mission. We want to be a part. Well, you can't be a part if you're not in friendly cooperation with what our confession of faith says. So this amendment is necessary because it's estimated that we have as many as 2,000 churches or well over a thousand churches that have women pastors in some capacity serving on their pastoral staff.

It shouldn't be that way. And because it is that way, we need a mechanism that is unequivocal that enables us to say, you know what, if you're going to keep women pastors, you cannot keep your membership in the SBC. And that's what this amendment will do. And yet we've got all kinds of SBC leaders that are just lining up, telling horror stories of what will happen if this amendment is ratified this year.

And it's just grievous to me to see it happen like that. Tom Askel is our guest today here on the Christian worldview. We are discussing this new law amendment being considered this year at the Southern Baptist Convention. It's really on a big issue of female pastors. You know, I often go to the website gotquestions.org just to get a little background on any given subject. And you see the number one question of all the hundreds of thousands of questions that website receives about things related to the Bible and so forth is, can women be pastors in churches? The number one issue.

And you just wonder, what is behind that particular issue that it is so compelling? Because the Bible is so clear, as I read earlier in the program, about the fact that it's men should be pastors in churches and not women. Now, speaking of leaders within the SBC, a really well-known leader is JD Greer. He's the pastor of Summit Church in North Carolina. And he did an interview recently. I think it was the Baptist Press was the interview. And I'd like to just play the audio of what he said about this law amendment, that he is not in favor of this being put into the constitution of the Southern Baptists.

So let me play this and then let you comment on what he has to say. Here's JD Greer. JD Greer I have no theological disagreement, even with the proposers of this amendment or, you know, those that are supporting it. I believe, like I think the majority of Baptists believe, that there are two offices that are given in the current New Testament church. One is that of pastor slash elder slash overseer, bishop, whatever word you want to use there. And that's all one office. And then the only second office is the office of deacon. And I do believe that the role of pastor, elder, overseer is reserved for men, as explained by 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Timothy 3. I think that is very clear. I think the case for pastor, elder and overseer all being the same office, I think that is very clear, you know, in 1 Peter 5 and other places. And so I don't have any theological disagreement with it.

What I have is a constitutional concern. I think generally when it comes to how Southern Baptists have approached doctrine, we all recognize that we need to be united on those core doctrines. And we at the same time, we try to allow latitude in some of the, you know, the applications of those doctrines. And, you know, one of the approaches, the way one of my seminary professors said it, is Southern Baptists historically have affirmed the center rather than really tightly police the borders when it came to some of the secondary things. So I actually believe it's very much, I would be very much in support of affirming that our Baptist faith and message, what it means is it means that pastors and elder overseer, that's one office and deacon is the other office, and that we believe only men should be in that form. I'm all for affirming that.

That is affirming the center. And I believe what you would find is you would find that trend among Southern Baptists, which is already overwhelmingly in the direction of seeing it as one office. I think you could find that strengthened rather than constitutionally policing the borders in a way that creates a stricture for fellowship that I'm just not sure is consistent with how we've operated as Southern Baptists in the past.

Okay, that was JD Greer, Tom. And he's not in favor of this amendment. But I think what he just said there was that he affirms what scripture says about male-only pastors.

And that should be a core belief of the Southern Baptist Convention. But he's not in favor of sort of enforcing that with cooperating churches. So I think he was intimating that this is not a primary issue.

This is a secondary or tertiary issue. But what is he saying there? And what is your response to that? Well, he is saying that, yeah, this is what the Bible says.

This is what I believe. I think we ought to affirm this. This is what our confession of faith says. But we shouldn't make this a constitutional issue, which I think is equivocation, quite honestly. Because if it's what the Bible says, if it's what our confession teaches, what in the world does it mean, then, that for a church to be in friendly cooperation, you must closely identify with the Convention's adopted statement of faith, which is exactly what Article Three of the Constitution says. I think this is equivocation. I think it's a play, quite honestly, to try to allow egalitarianism to take further root in the SBC.

Because JD would never say that about these other things that have been added over the last 10 years. Does he believe that approving or endorsing discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity is a secondary tertiary issue? Well, I think he could probably say, yeah, a guy could be a bigot and be a Christian and go to heaven. Okay, well, then why don't we allow bigots? Why don't we let those who are racists stay in the Convention? And yet, we have kicked churches out of the Convention. We disfellowshipped them because they wouldn't allow certain ethnicities to be members of their churches.

And that's the right thing. I'm happy to be a part of a Convention that does that. But to say, oh yeah, we believe the Bible teaches only men, qualified men, can be pastors, and yet if you have women pastors, you can also be a part, that's nonsensical. It's frustrating to me, because that's the kind of pandering that we see coming from many of our leaders, talking out of both sides of their mouths, confusing the issue. They didn't make these kinds of objections. They didn't raise these concerns whenever we were voting to do the exact same thing to the Constitution, to insert that a church cannot endorse discriminatory behavior on ethnicity. A church cannot engage in covering up sexual abuse.

If you do that, you can't be in friendly cooperation. Where were those arguments? Where were the arguments back in the end?

Well, we know what the answer is. Oh no, those are very socially acceptable matters to take a firm stand on. Women in ministry? We've got one of our Executive Committee members saying, well, this is just a war on women. And the feminist movement has been so effective for so long, it has permeated every area of our society, that it is all throughout many of our churches as well, and organizations.

And I think you're just seeing guys who are afraid of it and kowtowing to it. I don't know any other way to read it. Tom Askel is our guest today here on The Christian Wheelview, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida. We have links to his ministry at our website, thechristianwheelview.org. Our topic is, will Southern Baptists set down the quote unquote law in 2024 at their convention, referring to that Mike Law Amendment to the Constitution about male-only pastors? We'll get to that, including another soundbite by Pastor J.D. Greer that Tom Askel will respond to after this short break to tell you about some ministry resources.

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Reasonably priced lodging is nearby. We hope to see you June 21st and 22nd. Limited space remaining, so learn more and register at thechristianrealview.org or by calling 1-888-646-2233. Welcome back to the Christian Real View.

I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is, will the Southern Baptist Convention pass the law amendment for male-only pastors at their upcoming convention?

Tom Askel, the senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida, is our guest. I want to play one more audio clip from that interview with J.D. Greer, because you think he takes it a bit of a step further here, almost using the argument you did, so why don't we apply this to issues like predestination? If everyone isn't the same on election, let's say, Calvinism, should we be allowing to be fellowshiped with them? I'll play the soundbite.

It's about two minutes long, and you can answer again. The Twitter handle, the website, spcamendment.org, they put out a tweet recently that just said something like, we dare not compromise a single word. In fact, that was the response that they gave to some of us that were raising the question of, is the Constitution putting it in there that mandates disfellowship?

Is that the place that we ought to do this? And the response was, we must. We dare not compromise a single word of God's word. Here's why I have a major problem with putting that kind of language around the aspects of this discussion, and I would say it's the fundamental problem that I see behind the amendment. The logic of that tweet, that if we don't pass this amendment, that we're compromising the word of God, supposes that allowing any divergence in how churches interpret and apply scripture is compromising the word of God. And see, the problem with that is Southern Baptists have a long history of agreeing on primary and secondary things, even as they allow freedom in tertiary things or how we apply things, even when we believe that those tertiary things or applications, we believe that they have biblical warrant. For example, some Southern Baptists passionately believe that the Bible teaches predestination, limited atonement, and irresistible grace. They believe that for biblical reasons. Other Southern Baptists passionately believe the Bible does not teach those things. Well, the logic of this tweet insists that each side, by allowing the other to coexist in our convention, is compromising the word of God. We believe what we believe for biblical reasons, but that doesn't mean that coming together with a basis for unity that allows some divergence of how things are applied means that you're compromising the word of God. Is absolute conformity, the question is, is absolute conformity in all biblical convictions, both great and small, is that what's required for fellowship lest we compromise the word of God?

That is not, in my opinion, and I think historically, that is not biblical faithfulness. That is fundamentalism run amok, and I believe that will undo the Southern Baptist genius of cooperation that has led to our mission and vitality. I mean, we're not just talking about this issue.

We're talking about what's the next issue, about what you're going to say. Okay, here's my tertiary application of that. I have it for biblical reasons, and I'm going to declare everybody that's not in agreement with me outside of God's word and say that for me to even not have this as a test for fellowship is compromising the word of God. That is not how Southern Baptists have operated, and that's not what has led to our mission mission vitality over the years.

Again, that was J.D. Greer, Tom Maskell, with us today on the Christian Real View. What is your response to his line of reasoning there, that you take this issue on female pastors and you give the application that you believe is the right one from Scripture. Well, shouldn't you apply that to the other doctrinal issues where Christians of good standing, so to speak, can have different interpretations and different applications of it? First of all, I think it's disingenuous, his argument, because as you read from the Baptist faith and message statement that we all acknowledge, which he himself says he believes, it doesn't say whether you have to believe in predestination or limited atonement. It does unequivocally say that the only two offices in a New Testament church are those of pastor and deacon, and the elder pastor-bishop office is to be filled only by qualified men. So it's a confusion of issues here, and I hate the fact that this kind of duplicity is being used in arguments on this issue. It's like these folks who say, I'm a complementarian, but it's like, I'm in an anaritist, I want you to call me an anaritist, but I believe the Bible has some errors in it. I'm a complementarian, but I think it's okay for women to be pastors. That's what they're asking us to believe.

I'm a cessationist, but I believe in tongues, and that there are prophetic visions being given to people every day. You can't have it both ways. That's equivocation.

Let your yes be yes, your no be no. JD has told us that he believes, and I'll take him at his word, that only qualified men can be pastors. Okay, he's told us that's what the Baptist Faith in Message says. Okay, well then why in the world would we hesitate to say that churches that disagree with that shouldn't be recognized as in friendly cooperation with this association of churches known as the SBC? We're not talking about Calvinism.

We're not talking about particular redemption. We're talking about what we have agreed to surround ourselves around in terms of doctoral commitments. It's not an exhaustive doctrinal statement, obviously, but it is one that has borders. This is where I would disagree with his earlier statement. Confessions of faith have always been about protecting the borders.

They're borders. You can't believe anything and be a Baptist. You can't believe anything and practice anything and be a Southern Baptist. We have mailed our colors to the mass and said, this is who we are. This is what we believe.

If you want to join with us on these terms, you're welcome. But don't come join with us and say, yeah, well, but we want to have women pastors, or we want to practice racial discrimination, or we want to cover up sex abuse. That's not who we are, and you can go do what you believe God would have you to do, though I think all those things are reprehensible. But you can't do that in any state Southern Baptist. We're not infringing on the autonomy of anybody's church. Your church, before Jesus, can believe and do what you think Jesus would have you do.

But this is what we have all collectively agreed Jesus would have us believe and do, and we've said it without equivocation. So now then, the people that are trying to unravel it are simply being disingenuous. There's a lot of confusion.

So much is being written in the podcast and the videos. It's really just even preparing for this program, this interview today. There's so much content out there just to sift through it all, and in some ways that makes it even harder to understand really simply what's at stake is that there are many within the Southern Baptist Convention that do not want to hold to the biblical view of male-only pastors.

Tom Askell with us today. What happens if the law amendment doesn't pass? What does this do to the Southern Baptist Convention? We have had an exodus, a significant exodus, of churches over the last three years because of frustration with these agendas that are pulling us leftwards. I've got friends, a lot of friends, who contact me and say, sorry, we can't take it anymore. We're gone.

And I get it. I don't try to talk them out of it. After this convention, one way or the other, the SBC is going to be smaller, because if the law amendment passes, then you're going to have all the egalitarians and all those who really believe the kind of scare tactics that have been sounded forth the last few months. Many of those will leave. Some of them have announced that they're going to leave, and if they need to do that to honor Jesus, then God bless and let them go. Or, if it fails, you're going to have people who are frustrated, who say, well, there we go again. These leaders who we pay their salaries, they have steered the convention in a further leftward direction. The effort we made last year has been thwarted because of all kinds of tactics that they've employed here at the last hour. I think many of them will leave.

There will be others, however, that recognize, okay, this is a long game. The Southern Mass Convention has 27,000 plus churches, 13 million plus members. If we get 12 to 15,000 messengers show up at a convention, it's considered to be a good turnout. What we need to do is get 20% of our churches to send two or three messengers each. There's no way I will believe right now that the majority of our churches want to have women pastors.

I just simply refuse to believe that, knowing Southern Mass the way I do. But we've got to get them awakened and showing up and voting, because until we show up and get in the room and vote, this isn't going to change. I'm hoping this year will be that, because we will elect a new president, which is a good opportunity for us to get a conservative man in. Two of the six candidates or seven candidates I know are solid, rock-ribbed conservatives. If one of those gets elected, that'll be a good thing. But regardless, after Indianapolis, this year's annual meeting, the SBC will be smaller, because good churches will leave if the amendment passes, and some churches that want to be more egalitarian will leave if the amendment passes. If it doesn't pass, good churches will leave.

If it does pass, these other churches will leave. Who are the two contenders that you really like for me, that they're strongly biblical candidates for the SBC president this year? The two rock-ribbed conservatives candidates are David Allen and Jared Moore. David is a theology professor. He teaches preaching at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He taught at Southwestern Seminary for years. He's been a pastor, and that's a good thing. Jared Moore is a pastor, and Jared's more of a typical Southern Baptist pastor. He pastors a regular-sized church in Tennessee.

He's just been plodding away faithfully, like most Southern Baptist pastors do. Both of those men understand the issues. Both of them will make good appointments.

Both of them will not stand for the nonsense that has been taking place in some of the upper echelons of the SBC the last many years. So either one of those men I would be happy to follow, and would be delighted if God were to put one of them in the office of president of the SBC. Dr. Tom Askel from Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, Florida with us today. Final question for you, Tom, for people, again, listening today who aren't Southern Baptists or just listening to this issue on, you know, it sounds like inside baseball within a denomination. In some ways it is, but the bigger issue here is a biblical issue of what has God said in His Word about who should be pastors. Female pastors, from what I understand the Bible to teach and what you understand the Bible to teach, is a clear rejection of what God has clearly stated in His Word, as we read earlier. But experience says that if you go down that route, you look at other denominations and churches who have, it's a slippery slope to more compromise.

Some people will say, well, that's not really truly the case, not with everyone. Some charismatic churches, for instance, you know, they still get the gospel right and they don't get into homosexuality and homosexual ministers and so forth. How would you answer that question that if you cross this line, this Rubicon, to female pastors, it's a slippery slope to all kinds of other compromise? It's a hermeneutical issue. So whatever hermeneutical principles that you come up with to justify going against the clear teaching of scripture about only qualified men can be pastors, those same principles will serve you to justify having homosexual pastors and transgendered pastors. It's the same hermeneutical principle. If you're not going to take God's Word literally seriously, then you're opening up a can of worms to basically justify any kind of view that you want to.

It's not that you're doing it legitimately, it's just that you figured out a way to approach the interpretation of scripture that violates its simple, concise, clear meaning. And again, we got lots of evidence historically. Look at the PCUSA and where it was in the early 20th century versus where it is today. Look at what most recently happened with United Methodist Church. And my goodness, if you want a cautionary tale, just study them for the last 30 years and you'll see that this is the trajectory. Denominations, institutions never drift right.

They always drift left. And if they're going to be recovered, they're going to have to be jerked back to the right. And that's what the SBCC needs right now. Tom, we just so appreciate your faithfulness to the church, faithfulness to scripture, and thank you so much for coming on the Christian Real View radio program. I know we and our listeners will be praying that the right decision, the right vote is made in favor of God's Word for the Southern Baptist Convention, because it does have impact even beyond the Southern Baptist world. Thank you so much for coming on the Christian Real View today. David, thank you so much for having me on. Please appreciate Tom Askel and the faithful man and pastor that he is.

Again, we have links to him and Founders Ministries at our website, thechristianrealview.org. While you're there, be sure to check out the Overcomer Course for Young Adults. This is fast approaching in just three weeks on June 21st and 22nd at Stonehouse Farm in Jordan, Minnesota. Eight sessions over two days addressing life's most important issues such as God and the gospel, Christian Real View, growing and sharing the faith, relationships and marriage, vocation, the local church, and more.

Go to our website or give us a call. Our information is given immediately following today's program. Thank you for joining us today on the Christian Real View and for your support of this nonprofit radio ministry. The Bible says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The mission of the Christian Real View is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out what must I do to be saved, go to thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Real View is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Real View partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianrealview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Thanks for listening to the Christian Real View.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-01 10:26:43 / 2024-06-01 10:47:14 / 21

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