Mr. Former President Carter, I Respectfully Disagree

Dear Mr. Former President Carter,

You say that denominations like the Southern Baptists have extracted and distorted Bible verses to justify the ascendance and dominance of men over women, to the point of abusing women.

Mr. President, you said, and I quote, “But in the Southern Baptist Convention, there’s a policy that women cannot be pastors and cannot be deacons and cannot be chaplains… In some of the Southern Baptist seminaries or universities, it is prohibited for a woman to teach a classroom that has boys as students” (more here).

Mr. President, I know you famously withdrew from the Southern Baptists largely because of their positions on women.  I get that, and I respect that.  But you’re not completely accurate in your representation of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).

While it is true that the SBC has restricted the office of pastor to males, this is not true for deacons and chaplains, except military chaplaincy.

Mr. President, while I admire greatly your valor for the equality of women, for Southern Baptists and others to teach, based on their understanding of the Bible, that certain positions of leadership are restricted to men–is not an abuse of women nor is such to devalue women.  Mr. President, you are engaging in logical fallacy here.

Mr. President, the problem is a failure in leadership on the part of those entrusted with such, and not the appropriation of certain prohibitions, as what is deemed the correct interpretation of the Bible.

Yours Respectfully,

T.C. Robinson

This entry was posted in Baptists, Southern Baptist, Women in Ministry and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mr. Former President Carter, I Respectfully Disagree

  1. Simon says:

    TC, is it true that some Southern Baptist seminaries ban women from teaching classes containing males? I know that at some conservative churches, women are even prohibited from publicly reading the Scriptures.

  2. David Beirne says:

    On one hand there are ordained women in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship which is still loosely affiliated with the SBC.

    On the other hand you have Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft Worth.
    They literally have a degree plan to keep you barefoot and pregnant.

    And if you read that article far enough you’ll find this from 2007:
    “In March, a former Southwestern professor filed a federal lawsuit against the school and Patterson, alleging she was fired from her tenure-track position because she was a woman.

    :”Professor Sheri Klouda was hired in 2002 and was the only woman to teach at the School of Theology. But last spring, school officials informed Klouda that her contract was terminated because she was “a mistake that the trustees needed to fix,” the lawsuit states.

    “Patterson’s wife, Dorothy Patterson, is the only woman faculty member now teaching in Southwestern’s theology school.”

    Disclaimer: I’m neither a grad or former student of Southwestern, and glad of it. I am complementarian, but not to Patterson’s extent.

  3. TC says:

    Simon, it’s not really the case the SB has banned women from teaching males. Some SB do not allow this, but this is not the case for all SB churches. And yes, women do pray publicly and read public in some SB churches. I wish that former president Carter would have added some disclaimers along the way.

    David, I too am a complementarian but neither to that extent. It’s unfortunate how biblical texts have been so used.

  4. Jon Hughes says:

    My wife is a hospital chaplain. Thank God for that!

  5. Simon says:

    TC, I think at Piper’s church, women aren’t allowed to pray nor publically read the Scriptures in Church.

    • TC says:

      I wouldn’t be surprised. But I know at Keller’s women read and pray publicly – we’re talking Manhattan, NY, here.

    • Jon Hughes says:


      Regardless of how one interprets the Scriptures, the situation you describe above (at John Piper’s church) seems ridiculous in the West in the 21st Century. If the Lord tarries, will this carry on into the 25th Century? Or the 30th Century?

      • Simon says:


        I don’t think Piper’s position can be defended in any era. All of the traditional churches, who do not support female clergy, allow women readers in Church. They allow women to make announcements, to lead in the responsorial Psalms etc. The fact is that Piper is reacting to, or rather against, his culture. In doing so, they have simply gone too far. This is why evangelicals, by engaging in, and really encouraging, the cultural wars in the U.S. have really made some big mistakes. Rather than being “counter-cultural”, they are simply perpetuating the culture they say they are fighting against. Christians who don’t support female clergy should have no fear of women participating and even leading out in worship, through prayer, Scripture reading or song.

      • TC says:

        Piper is no longer the pastor at that church. Things might look different moving forward.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s