CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

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CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby William Thornton » Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:18 pm

I don't make this stuff up: Dear CBF

While you as an organization are adamant about the affirmation of women in ministry, your churches show something different.


There is little else that identifies you. I’m not really sure what you think about biblical inerrancy. You don’t even approach the question of gay ministers. You are careful not to proclaim what you do actually believe.

But, CBF, I wish you would.


I love that my Baptist identity is all tied up in you, but this wishy-washiness is starting to get to me. I am just a few years older than you are, and I’m having a hard time pretending I care to focus anymore on that catastrophic event that pushed you into becoming your own movement.


So a stand, CBF, on something more than just women in ministry.


By Leslie-Ann Hix

___________

I'm always happy to help. Wm
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Dec 04, 2013 6:47 am

William Thornton wrote:I don't make this stuff up: Dear CBF

While you as an organization are adamant about the affirmation of women in ministry, your churches show something different.


There is little else that identifies you. I’m not really sure what you think about biblical inerrancy. You don’t even approach the question of gay ministers. You are careful not to proclaim what you do actually believe.

But, CBF, I wish you would.


I love that my Baptist identity is all tied up in you, but this wishy-washiness is starting to get to me. I am just a few years older than you are, and I’m having a hard time pretending I care to focus anymore on that catastrophic event that pushed you into becoming your own movement.


So a stand, CBF, on something more than just women in ministry.


By Leslie-Ann Hix

___________

I'm always happy to help. Wm


Ed: So William do you have a point? And why is it of concern to you?

Did you read the replies? I did and and judge this to be the best:

From 5th Pew
• 5 hours ago

Ms Hix – Your frustration with the slow progress of women in
ministry in CBF-affiliated churches is justified. As you noted, CBF has consistently
affirmed women in ministry and has encouraged local churches to give full
consideration to women in their clergy selection processes. That is all Baptist
polity allows CBF to do and, thus, all CBF can be held accountable to do. I
suggest that you direct your warranted frustrations to CBF-affiliated churches,
for in Baptist polity, they alone have the power and authority to determine who
their clergy will be and of what genders. All of us find it more convenient to call
upon a single, central authority to fix problems and correct injustices, but Baptists
have to go the messy route by appealing to all individual churches to correct the
problem you discuss in your article. Please excuse the terseness of this reply;
we are limited to “about 150 words.”


----------------------------------

I do not believe there is any one on these boards closer to this issue than myself. Starting in 1998 My wife has probably submitted as many resumes to CBF- Affiliated churches as have Ms. Hix or any of her cohorts, with no positive results. CBF is not responsible for that. In fact a number of folk in CBF leadership have shared our frustration, especially those who have given permission for her to use them as references.

On the other hand I volunteer on the ABC-NYS Regional Enhancement Team where a major part of my duties involve assisting churches with Pastoral search. And of the many resumes I have perused, I have not see one from a female Candidate south of New Jersey. Yet the churches in our association and most of ABC-USA are quite open to Women as pastors. In the (CBF) Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast which is quite small (number wise) we have two Female Pastors, both in ABC-USA churches, one in NY and one in Main. There are only 8 CBF affiliated churches in this vast Geographical area, bordered by Canada, the Atlantic, and the states of Ohio, W.Va., Virginia and Maryland. In this area there are 8 ABC-USA regions with varying degrees of openness to women in ministry. 3 wide open, 3 open, 2 reluctantly open. Here am speaking primarily of the churches, as for regional staffs based on correspondence and personal contact I see all as officially open in theory, and two seem to have a bit of discord.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby William Thornton » Wed Dec 04, 2013 7:42 am

Perhaps the ABC needs to have a recruitment plan for CBF related seminaries.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Sandy » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:45 pm

It seems to me that CBF is in about the same position as the SBC was in around 1979 or so, with leaders and organizations who are open to things that independent, autonomous churches aren't willing to do, and it puts them in a position of taking an authoritative, scolding tone toward the churches who aren't demonstrating the kind of openness that the leaders think they should. We've seen that attitude criticized, and those who take it vilified, when it comes to the SBC.

CBF is twenty years old, now. Rather than still making excuses for why it isn't happening, I think there are a couple of conclusions that can be drawn. One, God just isn't opening the doors of opportunity to very many women to serve in churches that are part of CBF. So either the churches aren't listening to God by not calling more women into the pastorate, or they are listening and he's just not calling them. The other conclusion, and the one I would lean toward, would be that most CBF churches and their members are more linked to the SBC, in terms of both affiliation and interpretation of scripture, and are simply putting into practice their belief that one of the qualifications for serving as pastor is that he be a husband, and therefore, male. It is either not important enough of an issue for them to risk their relationships with associations or the convention, or they are holding to their beliefs and convictions, and don't accept the broader interpretation of the fellowship's leaders.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Dec 04, 2013 1:36 pm

William Thornton wrote:Perhaps the ABC needs to have a recruitment plan for CBF related seminaries.


Ed: That would be a good idea, IF we had a shortage of Candidates.

And Sandy, when you talk about CBF position of taking an authoritative, scolding tone toward the churches who aren't demonstrating the kind of openness that the leaders think they should. Tell me where, when and from whom you have head such a tone. Generally that come from SBC folk like Paige Patterson, Russ Moore & Al Mohler and former SBCer's/CBFer's like yourself.

Ms Hix seems to share a misunderstanding with William and Apparently you. While the bulk of the early CBF Leadership gave common ideological assent to EQUALITY of Women in Ministry few if any had any experience with it and while they supported and gave advice and assistance to women asking for such, it was not a priority. On the other hand because CBF did have churches that almost immediately get on board. The SBC launched a campaign of misinformation which you have apparently bought into. CBF sets few priorities but seeks earnestly to assist individuals and churches in finding God's priority for them and moving forward. CBF priorities are in Missions and Education not in controlling Local Churches or in building yet another denomination. BWIM is the organization whose major interest in developing opportunities for Baptist women. Some of CBF's partners in fact also work with churches and Individuals of other than Baptist toward other goals. Passport being a Prime example.

By design CBF is and has always been flexible and for some this is terribly uncomfortable, even a bit uncomfortable for myself at times, but it is also exciting, fun and invigorating for this old man who is beginning to learn something about patience.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:21 pm

Sandy wrote:
CBF is twenty years old, now. Rather than still making excuses for why it isn't happening, I think there are a couple of conclusions that can be drawn. One, God just isn't opening the doors of opportunity to very many women to serve in churches that are part of CBF. So either the churches aren't listening to God by not calling more women into the pastorate, or they are listening and he's just not calling them.


It isn't that God isn't calling them. It is that God has called them and they aren't being provided opportunities to live out that call.

I know a lot of women clergy who started out in Baptist churches that are now happily and successfully serving in UMC and PCUSA churches and others. One of them was an Associate Pastor at FBC Des Moines before I was there who moved to the east coast and couldn't find a Baptist church to call her, she ended up in the PCUSA and though she'd have preferred to stay ABC she never got the chance. Another is a fine author for Alban Institute who also ended up in the PCUSA when she got to see women in the pulpit in a Presbyterian church as a young adult. Another classmate of mine from MBTS whose orders were recognized here in Iowa by the UMC two years before mine were. If I knew more Lutherans and Episcopalians the stories would probably be similar.

I know many other women who started out in the SBC and saw the very male hand writing on the wall and went elsewhere.

I'm glad Trudy was able to find a church home in her faith family. But many women are told by their faith family that they are welcome in church as long as they are second class Christians.

I don't think this has as much to do with God not opening doors as with search committees slamming them in women's faces.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:03 pm

Ed: Tim I agree with much of what you said above.

Tim: "I'm glad Trudy was able to find a church home in her faith family. But many women are told by their faith family that they are welcome in church as long as they are second class Christians."

Ed: Of course that involved a 715 Mile move from our home in Cincinnati to the Capital area of Ny for an interim position when getting started. We ended up selling the tri-plex in Cinci when she accepted a settled pastorate in a 2 church parish in the Adirondacks, at about half the pay of her last secular job before finishing her B.A., three years of Seminary for an M.Div and 2 years for a second Masters at Hebrew Union. We did have a solid old 2 story farmhouse with a tin roof as the parsonage. That house had been moved from across the highway in the 1920's, to face west and provided a great view of the Gore Mountain Ski area. http://www.goremountain.com/mountain/ab ... on/history We could count the lift cars from our front porch. And we where newbies to the ABC faith family at just three years out of the SBC. Of course the last 11 years in the SBC had been in CBF affiliated churches in Florida and Kentucky. Only one those 4 churches is still affiliated with the SBC. In 2010 we moved back to Civilization in an upwardly mobile suburb of Albany, to yet another American Baptist church founded in the late 18th Century, the present building was built in 1838.

She plans to have her student loans paid off about three years before she retires in 2019.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Sandy » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:22 pm

Ed, you're a good apologist for CBF, but it seems like their leadership is speaking for itself, and it seems there are a couple of issues on which they are determined to push the envelope. Getting the fellowship to drop its position on hiring gays and lesbians is one, and pushing churches to call women as pastors is another. And they're using the standard methods that Baptists have always used to make a change.

Timothy, if churches aren't sensing the movement of the Holy Spirit in calling a woman as a pastor, they aren't closing the door on opportunity. I trust the collective discernment of a congregation a whole lot more than the ambitions of an individual. I know a lot of ministers who are serving, not because they were called by God, but because they were called by their own ambition, or by the influence of someone else. God speaks through people, whether it is a congregation that collectively and honestly says, "we can't fall a female pastor," or through the movement of large segments of local churches when people leave because they don't feel comfortable with their church's stance on pastoral qualifications.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:24 pm

That's quite a lot of miles Ed!

I know NY has a lot of ABC churches. But the way the ABC is spread out here in the upper midwest a church move can take in quite a bit of geography for anyone.

I don't see this as a specifically CBF problem. Even denominations like the UMC that have appointments we are still far from half the clergy being women even though more than half our laity are women.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:32 pm

Sandy wrote:
Timothy, if churches aren't sensing the movement of the Holy Spirit in calling a woman as a pastor, they aren't closing the door on opportunity.


If churches are basing their decisions on the usual prejudices Sandy then the Holy Spirit wasn't heard.

I have no doubt that many churches calling pastors felt led to people they call. But I've also interviewed with enough search committees to know that for quote a few they aren't looking for the leading of the Holy Spirit. They are looking for what they want or what they think their church wants. The best search committees treat it as a faith movement. The worst treat it as a business or a power decision.

Just because you formed a committee at a church doesn't mean the Holy Spirit got invited. (True for all churches btw, not a ding on Baptists.)
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Dec 05, 2013 2:41 am

Tim Bonmey wrote "Just because you formed a committee at a church doesn't mean the Holy Spirit got invited. (True for all churches btw, not a ding on Baptists.)"

Ed: That Deserves a Golden Spur. :thumb:

And Tim, please note I revised my mileage from Cincinnati to Albany it is 715 rather than 751. But then you add 85 miles to North Creek and you see why I gave up being an absentee landlord. :)

And Sandy, the younger folk in CBF who lean to promotion of a homosexual agenda have no idea the resistance they will meet if they continue to push for a change the present hiring policy toward being Gay friendly. They won't miss myself and others my age and our tithe (really they don't get mine, ABC does and CBF only gets part of our offerings, But there are a couple generations behind who today pay a significant portion of the bills. And also there is the group who are waiting for the Male chauvinism in my age group to die off, before they insist on real opportunity for women pastors. Their are also female Seminary class mates of mine (a good bit younger) who are beginning to retire from chaplaincy positions who will be able take smaller churches just to be actively serving their pastoral call and supplement an already good retirement pay. Others who have been forced to take other employment Teaching Nursing ect, will be in the same favorable position. I have seen some ABC churches wake up to the fact that they can't afford to house, feed and educate one of the young quiver full males and their brood. And they have suddenly become more open to a "Lady Preacher".

And Sandy I would still liek to know where and when you have seen any one in CBF leadership pushing for "women" in the pastorate. What form does this "pushing" take. I have head some say I will support women in Ministry 100%, but I will not interfere with local church autonomy. And unlike some of my friends, I have no problem with that.

From what you have written in the last day or two I take it you would say that to ask (note, I said ask) an association to dedicate a Sunday when women would be invited by each church to fill the pulpits, would be pushing. If so we have a strong disagreement. We have a friend who is quite supportive of women in ministry in fact has had Trudy preach during revivals in his church but he will not surrender the pulpit to any living soul Female or Male on a Sunday morning even to the detriment of his ow health. I say he is radical, but to the best of my knowledge he has baptized as many or more than any other pastor in the association this year.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Sandy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:53 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:
Timothy, if churches aren't sensing the movement of the Holy Spirit in calling a woman as a pastor, they aren't closing the door on opportunity.


If churches are basing their decisions on the usual prejudices Sandy then the Holy Spirit wasn't heard.

I have no doubt that many churches calling pastors felt led to people they call. But I've also interviewed with enough search committees to know that for quote a few they aren't looking for the leading of the Holy Spirit. They are looking for what they want or what they think their church wants. The best search committees treat it as a faith movement. The worst treat it as a business or a power decision.

Just because you formed a committee at a church doesn't mean the Holy Spirit got invited. (True for all churches btw, not a ding on Baptists.)


I agree with most of what you say here in principle. But what I am hearing is that if a church determines that being obedient to the word of God and listening to the Holy Spirit means that they aren't going to consider a woman as pastor, then they aren't listening to the Holy Spirit. I do not agree with that at all. The interpretation that many Christians and churches place on the qualifications and instructions related to pastors and church leaders in the New Testament, that the Episkopos/Bishop/Pastor is to be a male, among other qualifications, is legitimate. While you may disagree, it is not up to you to determine that they are wrong because they don't agree with you, and to decide that they aren't following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Most denominations that are open to women serving in the pastorate are connectional, and there is no congregational input into the decision. And you can't tell me that the clergy involved in placement decisions always listen to the Holy Spirit, and there are no influences or church politics involved. I've known enough ministers serving in those kinds of churches to know better than that. I think what is happening in CBF is that these are still congregational churches, and in spite of a disagreement and spat because their friends and favorites didn't get to continue their leadership of the SBC, they still hold a conservative interpretation of scripture, and they still feel that the requirements for serving as a pastor are gender specific for a reason that goes to the very nature of personal identity.

When Baptists want to make changes in denominational policy or practice, and get churches to move in a particular direction, there are emphases and conferences organized to do it by people who are in a position to do so. And yes, dedicating a Sunday to encourage churches to fill their pulpits with women is a "push." There is an obvious disconnect between what the churches are doing in practice, and what is happening in the seminaries and divinity schools who admit women and try to place them in pulpits. I can predict what will happen if the schools keep pushing.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby William Thornton » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:58 am

Leslie-Ann Hix writes,

I have classmates about to graduate who are interested in pastoring (or doing some ministry besides children’s ministry) who continue to hear, “Our congregation is just not ready for a female pastor.”

I want to yell, “Get over it!”

Right, CBF? If these congregations really are not ready to accept women as part of their ministerial leadership, then what are they doing as part of this Baptist group? This issue is one of which you are unapologetically certain. So my instinct is to challenge them to agree and accept or disagree and get out.


Sure, no one gets to tell churches to get out of the CBF but we've heard the same complaint/lament for a generation now about how the CBF affirms women ministers but CBF churches aren't too interested in having any as pastor.

The 2012 BWIM state of women has 150 women pastors and co-pastors (and a co-pastor seems to me to be a much easier sell to a church so the 150 should be reduced to about 100 women pastors. The number is growing slightly.

There are about 2000 students at 14 CBF related schools and about 40% are female. If just one quarter of these feel called to the pastorate that is 200 PER YEAR to be absorbed by the pool of churches. If there are only 150 TOTAL , what's happening to all these educated and trained women seeking pastorates?

Some no doubt quit. Some go ABC or UMC, and some go associate or chaplaincy or other.

LAH has some critics for writing what she did, particularly for saying churches should get on board or get out but one can see her point. She has virtually no chance of landing a pastorate. I understand some of the reasons why: the CBF is small, churches are mostly not suitable for entry level pastorates. But if we are now dealing with a second generation of these women seeking pastorates, how many more before there is some reasonable chance of encouraging women to be pastors and undersanding that they actually have a chance of being one...in a Baptist church?

But what do the schools say to these women when they talk about their calling? Do they encourage them, take their tuition money, and then say "tsk, tsk" when, degree in hand, they are powerless to help them find a position that fulfills their calling?
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:33 am

William Thornton wrote:Leslie-Ann Hix writes,

I have classmates about to graduate who are interested in pastoring (or doing some ministry besides children’s ministry) who continue to hear, “Our congregation is just not ready for a female pastor.”

I want to yell, “Get over it!”

Right, CBF? If these congregations really are not ready to accept women as part of their ministerial leadership, then what are they doing as part of this Baptist group? This issue is one of which you are unapologetically certain. So my instinct is to challenge them to agree and accept or disagree and get out.


Sure, no one gets to tell churches to get out of the CBF but we've heard the same complaint/lament for a generation now about how the CBF affirms women ministers but CBF churches aren't too interested in having any as pastor.

The 2012 BWIM state of women has 150 women pastors and co-pastors (and a co-pastor seems to me to be a much easier sell to a church so the 150 should be reduced to about 100 women pastors. The number is growing slightly.

There are about 2000 students at 14 CBF related schools and about 40% are female. If just one quarter of these feel called to the pastorate that is 200 PER YEAR to be absorbed by the pool of churches. If there are only 150 TOTAL , what's happening to all these educated and trained women seeking pastorates?

Some no doubt quit. Some go ABC or UMC, and some go associate or chaplaincy or other.

LAH has some critics for writing what she did, particularly for saying churches should get on board or get out but one can see her point. She has virtually no chance of landing a pastorate. I understand some of the reasons why: the CBF is small, churches are mostly not suitable for entry level pastorates. But if we are now dealing with a second generation of these women seeking pastorates, how many more before there is some reasonable chance of encouraging women to be pastors and undersanding that they actually have a chance of being one...in a Baptist church?

But what do the schools say to these women when they talk about their calling? Do they encourage them, take their tuition money, and then say "tsk, tsk" when, degree in hand, they are powerless to help them find a position that fulfills their calling?


Ed: Yep William, we (CBF) seem to have a disconnect on this question. What is your solution? BTW There is nothing wrong with accepting an associate position in a church that can afford and needs an associate. I fact I would like to see a day when having served as an associate is close to a requirement for both males and females. I don't expect it to happen in my life time. And I don't know that the Lord will tarry long enough for it to ever happen.

Now I will wave what some will see as a red flag. Having been in a few churches going through the process of calling a pastor and having watched many friends, acquaintances and yes my wife move into their first pastorate, I am not sure that God calls any one specifically to a lifetime pastoral vocation. I do believe he calls every Christian to ministry. And I do not believe that one can do ministry and never be called on to sacrifice their own wants needs and desires. Each Christian needs to do a periodic spiritual inventory and an honest assessment before God as to how we are following his call to us. Not just how we have followed. End of sermon.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:57 am

Any time you deal with autonomous local churches, decisions have to rise from the local congregation. There are gradually becoming more women in CBF churches, but it only happens one church at a time. I understand Ms. Hix's frustration with the fact that it isn't happening faster, but it is happening, at least in the area where I live. The largest Baptist church in VA served by a woman is Hampton Baptist (over 1,100 total members). There are a number of smaller churches, and a number of associate positions that are open to ordained women. No, it isn't happening fast, and it won't, but it is happening.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:57 am

William Thornton wrote:But what do the schools say to these women when they talk about their calling? Do they encourage them, take their tuition money, and then say "tsk, tsk" when, degree in hand, they are powerless to help them find a position that fulfills their calling?


This is a problem William but I don't know if there is a solution that Baptist polity allows.

In the UMC when you enter seminary you do so because you've already experienced a call and have met with a District Committee on Ordained Ministry and been certified as a candidate. You are then followed by this committee through out your entire seminary career and then when you graduation you can then get a church because the denomination has been following you through all the way.

For Baptist students you hope they've been in regular contact with their church and pastor but there isn't some group within the denomination to follow seminary students through to graduation, ordination, and first call. Maybe there needs to be but I don't know how it fits into the polity.

It isn't the CBFs fault that many of its churches won't call women. But I do think that mentors, seminaries, etc. need to be honest to tell young women that they may not be able to find work in the CBF and may want to consider the options.

Also any person who was considering ministry today I'd encourage to have a second degree in another field. I believe bi-vocational ministry is on the rise and other skills for another job are valuable.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:00 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:Tim Bonmey wrote "Just because you formed a committee at a church doesn't mean the Holy Spirit got invited. (True for all churches btw, not a ding on Baptists.)"

Ed: That Deserves a Golden Spur. :thumb:

And Tim, please note I revised my mileage from Cincinnati to Albany it is 715 rather than 751. But then you add 85 miles to North Creek and you see why I gave up being an absentee landlord. :)


Thanks for the spur nomination Ed. :) That's a lot of mileage Ed. And I'm sure that the culture of the north east has to be different than the Cincinnati area. I've spent my whole ministry in the midwest. Though I do have to say that upper midwest and Indiana have a different cultural feel. There are a lot more Swedes, Norwegians, etc. up this way.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Sandy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:09 pm

Leslie Ann Hix wrote:Right, CBF? If these congregations really are not ready to accept women as part of their ministerial leadership, then what are they doing as part of this Baptist group? This issue is one of which you are unapologetically certain. So my instinct is to challenge them to agree and accept or disagree and get out.


That represents a bit of a push, don't you think? Here's a student at McAfee, which I believe is one of CBF's "partners," who is expressing a clear belief that part of CBF's identity as a Baptist group is its acceptance of women in ministerial leadership of churches, and suggesting that those churches which are not "unapologetically certain" of that position themselves should get out. Gee, that sounds an awful lot like fundamentalism. It sounds like she is advocating a top-down relationship between denominational structure and church. Don't they teach congregational polity and historic Baptist principles at McAfee?

For over a decade, I was a member of what would be considered one of CBF's "core" congregations, and certainly, in terms of its financial support, the number of its members in CBF leadership and influence, and its "denominational political position" for lack of a better term, completely representative of the essence of CBF. I was there when a long-term pastor retired, and the search was made for his replacement. I knew several members of the search committee well, and had two of them in the Sunday School class I was teaching at the time. This is the most progressive Baptist church in Houston, in terms of its association with the state convention and one of the first of the small handful of churches that have actually severed ties with the SBC. It began ordaining women deacons in the 60's, and ordaining women to the ministry in the 80's, including a controversial ordination of a Baptist campus minister in Galveston. In this most recent search, I do not believe that the committee gave serious consideration to a female candidate, and I only heard one who was mentioned. In fact, in the church's history, few women have served on its ministerial staff, even in those positions common to women, and at one point, for about four years after calling a new pastor, there were no females on the ministerial staff. This is a church which holds a high view of scripture, though they would avoid terms which would associate them with the SBC, it is practically the same view.

I think Ms. Hix is going to be waiting a long time for ministerial opportunities to open up among CBF churches. If her line in the sand were drawn, and "get out" was the option opposite "get with it," most of the remaining CBF churches would get out.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:10 pm

Sandy wrote:Timothy, if churches aren't sensing the movement of the Holy Spirit in calling a woman as a pastor, they aren't closing the door on opportunity. I trust the collective discernment of a congregation a whole lot more than the ambitions of an individual. I


And I trust the collective discernment of a Bishop and her/his cabinet more than I trust a interview/call process. To each his own Sandy.

But part of the reason I think the way I do is experiences I've had with search committees. I've had committees out and out lie to me. I've had committees tell the Area Ministry (read similar to DOM) one thing and tell me something else. I've had committees get in fights right in front of me over what they want in a pastor. And I've also had committees that appeared to be very discerning and qualified and do a great job.

In the ABC there is training available for search committees in the search/call process. Churches that avail themselves of training and have qualified people on the committee who love God and know their church well do a good job. Committees that want no help, want a male pastor under 35 with a wife who plays the piano and 25 years experience do a lousy job. Local churches that are playing power games do a lousy job.

Again, just getting a committee together doesn't make the committee qualified. It is a real mixed bag. There is no special sanctity or holiness to a search committee. It is a group of people who are just as fallible as anyone else in the church and can make mistakes. The Holy Spirit doesn't protect people from screwing up just because they formed a committee to search for a pastor.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Haruo » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:32 pm

Sandy wrote:
Leslie Ann Hix wrote:Right, CBF? If these congregations really are not ready to accept women as part of their ministerial leadership, then what are they doing as part of this Baptist group? This issue is one of which you are unapologetically certain. So my instinct is to challenge them to agree and accept or disagree and get out.


That represents a bit of a push, don't you think? Here's a student at McAfee, which I believe is one of CBF's "partners," who is expressing a clear belief that part of CBF's identity as a Baptist group is its acceptance of women in ministerial leadership of churches, and suggesting that those churches which are not "unapologetically certain" of that position themselves should get out. Gee, that sounds an awful lot like fundamentalism. It sounds like she is advocating a top-down relationship between denominational structure and church.
Sandy wrote:For over a decade, I was a member of what would be considered one of CBF's "core" congregations, ... the most progressive Baptist church in Houston, in terms of its association with the state convention and one of the first of the small handful of churches that have actually severed ties with the SBC. It began ordaining women deacons in the 60's, and ordaining women to the ministry in the 80's, including a controversial ordination of a Baptist campus minister in Galveston. ... This is a church which holds a high view of scripture, though they would avoid terms which would associate them with the SBC, it is practically the same view.
If this church holds "practically the same view" as the SBC on the portions of scripture adduced to argue about pastoral gender, then what was it doing ordaining all those controversial women to ministries?
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Sandy » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:22 pm

Haruo, they were not pastors. The church used the practice of "ordination" as a setting aside, but they've never ordained a female who has actually expressed an interest in serving as the pastor of a church. Many SBC churches wouldn't extend formal ordination to females, regardless of where they served, but most churches recognize that ordination is not really a formally prescribed process or ceremony from a scriptural perspective, but it is a recognition of a call to ministry. The formal ceremony and the piece of paper, in this country, largely has to do with tax status, not church credentials.

Timothy, I think district bishops and their cabinets can make decisions about pastoral placement and ministry calling based on preferences stated either by churches, or by the relationships they have formed, or to make a statement, as much as a search committee in a church can do. They, too, are human and fallible. I've observed several search committees, and served on two. I've seen them move from "Let's get out the resumes and find what we want," to understanding that unity of purpose, guidance of the Holy Spirit and sensing the gifts and the calling that God has placed on a person's life is more important than what the church thinks it wants or needs.

In CBF, even without the issue of calling women to the pastorate, the competition for the available pulpits is intense. The fellowship is loaded with individuals who are already trained, ordained and experienced. And a lot of those available potential pastors are from the time in the SBC when you lined up your influential friends and acquaintances to help you lobby for the pulpit you wanted. I saw at least one effort in which an individual pulled out all the stops to get a pulpit in a particular CBF church, including several university professors and a provost, and a fairly high ranking CBF coordinating council member. And I think that sort of thing is also contributing to keeping women out of CBF pulpits. Then, too, I've heard several stories of churches where women came to pastor, and the church disbanded under their ministry. Maybe they contributed to that, maybe not, but it happened.

Even in connectional denominations where the decisions are made by regional clergy, there are situations that come up where a fit doesn't happen, but they keep pushing it anyway. The Sunday School class of seniors that I taught in the last church I served in Houston had a nice, somewhat unexpected growth spurt for a period of about a year, as members from a nearby UMC that had called a female pastor began to drift in. I got ten new class members, and the church saw about 40 people altogether who left. They felt that no one was listening to their concerns. The older folks were more traditional and conservative, but we also picked up a couple of younger families.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Haruo » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:34 pm

Sort of off-topic, but Mother Melissa, the rector ("Senior Pastor") of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which has been my main place of formal (and oh, how formal! they're Anglo-Catholics) worship the past year, has just been selected as the new bishop of the diocese of New Westminster, which includes Vancouver, BC, so I will have an opportunity to see what sort of search process the TEC uses, and whether I approve of the result. She will be New Westminster's first female bishop; not sure how progressive or regressive the Canadian Anglicans are, but I'm guessing they're not too far from the American Episcopalians (as distinct from American Anglicans, who tend to be pretty reactionary and look to Uganda for their direction).
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:10 pm

Actually Sandy described a lot of situations. I am certified as an intentional interim minister, and one of the things I do in the process of the church is train (or work with denominational personnel) to train a committee. To do the job a committee needs to do, whether the next pastor is male of female, the committee needs two documents in hand. The first in a church profile that identifies who the church is and how the church operates. This needs to be done openly and shared with the congregation for their feedback. Then a profile of the desired candidate needs to be done to describe the things most needed by the church in their next pastor. (I teach doing this in a gender neutral fashion, but that is only an aside.) The pastoral profile needs to be discussed in a town meeting format with the membership. Only then is a church ready to gather and consider resumes. Until then, they have not done their preparation. Calling a pastor, sadly, is often based on one of two assumptions, both of which are false. If the last pastorate was a good one, the church often is looking for someone just like the last pastor. If it was not a good experience, then the church sets out to find someone who is the opposite of the last pastor. Many churches have never done any of this carefully demanded work.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby William Thornton » Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:25 pm

If I were a church leader I would want Dave Roberts to shepherd the congregation, helping them to plan and prepare for our next pastor.
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Re: CBF seminary student, female, speaks plainly

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:03 pm

Sandy: Leslie Ann Hix wrote:Right, CBF? If these congregations really are not ready to accept women as part of their ministerial leadership, then what are they doing as part of this Baptist group? This issue is one of which you are unapologetically certain. So my instinct is to challenge them to agree and accept or disagree and get out.

That represents a bit of a push, don't you think? Here's a student at McAfee, which I believe is one of CBF's "partners," who is expressing a clear belief that part of CBF's identity as a Baptist group is its acceptance of women in ministerial leadership of churches, and suggesting that those churches which are not "unapologetically certain" of that position themselves should get out. Gee, that sounds an awful lot like fundamentalism. It sounds like she is advocating a top-down relationship between denominational structure and church. Don't they teach congregational polity and historic Baptist principles at McAfee?

Ed: Yes Sandy, Ms. Hix's Paper represents quite a push by Ms. Hix. and yes she expressed a "clear belief that part of CBF's identity as a Baptist group is its acceptance of women in ministerial leadership of churches, and suggesting that those churches which are not "unapologetically certain" of that position themselves should get out."

Ed yes she is a Student at McAfee which is indeed a CBF Partner.

But she has yet to become a CBF leader to my knowledge.

And yes Sandy McAfee teaches Baptist polity, I don' know I Ms Hix has taken that course or if she is saving for the spring. But they also teach priesthood of the believer and she was using it.

Edited to change some spelling.

I really doubt that she influenced many folk in a mind changing way. But she did prove CBF people are willing to hear the pain of others.

ABP is another CBF partner.
Last edited by Ed Pettibone on Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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