By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
A conservative pastor known for championing dissident views in the Southern Baptist Convention has posted an interesting, well-argued and chilling sequel to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminarys controversial decision to deny tenure to a female Hebrew professor, apparently because of seminary President Dr. Paige Pattersons view that women should not be teaching men. This restrictive interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:12 is prevalent in some highly conservative, non-Pentecostal evangelical circles.
Wade Burleson a pastor for 25 years in Enid, Oklahoma, reports Dr. Cindy Kunsman was invited to lecture on extreme patriarchal behaviors among evangelical groups during a conference last month hosted by Southern Baptist-affiliated Midwestern Theological Seminary in Kansas City. During her lecture, Kunsman noted that the SBC and its leaders such as Paige Patterson have influenced a movement among evangelicals that calls for a return to extreme patriarchy. Kunsman revealed some of the teachings of Pastor Doug Phillips, a leader of this movement through his organization Vision Forum Ministries. Among Phillips teachings are the following mandates, according to Kunsman: Women are never, for any reason, to use birth control, and Women are to respond to abuse in a quite, gentle and submissive spirit.
Though Kunsman is conservative herself, believing that the ministry positions of senior pastor and elder should be reserved for men, Burleson says that all references to Kunsmans lecture were expunged from the conference Web site, and the conference issued a press release complaining that Kunsman had made unwarranted and misinformed accusations against Christian teachers and ministries including agencies within the Southern Baptist Convention.
Heres how Burleson begins his lengthy post:
"For the last couple of years I have observed what I perceived to be professional mistreatment of women within the Southern Baptist Convention, all in the name of biblical patriarchy. Though I have no personal disagreement with the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement that declares the office of pastor to be reserved for men, I have been puzzled by the removal of female chaplains and other women supervisors on the mission field, the lack of promotion of women to administrative positions in our SBC agencies, and the termination of SBC trained female Hebrew and history professors at our Southern Baptist seminaries. I have truly wondered about the root cause for such actions. What is the philosophical or theological premise that would lead some to exclude women from Southern Baptist positions for which they are either gifted, trained, or eminently qualified to hold?
Burleson goes on to explain the theological foundation for Phillips patriarchy movement, which he deems a new Christian cult.