Sarah and Southern Baptists: Part 2

In an earlier blog I described the dilemma in which Southern Baptists find themselves over the selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican choice for vice president. I’ll not rehash the case that can be read below.

My observations have been verified by the continued silence from most well-known SBC leaders (except Richard Land who is forever positioning himself for political influence). Following Gov. Palin’s selection and rousing acceptance speech there was still that odd Southern Baptist silence.

Now, finally, we get one article from Baptist Press related to Gov. Palin. But it is not from Paige or Dorothy Patterson, or other outspoken SBCers. It is a little known church history professor at Southeastern Seminary named Nathan Finn.

Finn opines: “The Baptist Faith and Message does not address the question of women in secular leadership, only spiritual leadership. Looking to Scripture, there are reasons we should use caution when applying biblical principles about gender roles in the home and the church to secular government. The Bible nowhere offers an unambiguous rejection of female governmental leadership as it does female spiritual leadership in the home and church.”

Now I get it. Women can command a military offensive that could annihilate a large segment of the world but can’t offer spiritual insight and guidance from a pulpit or have an equal voice in choosing a family vacation spot.

What is really amazing is that some good Baptists in the pews and students in the classroom actually buy this nonsense. But here’s the upside: at least fundamentalists have finally discovered Judge Deborah in the Old Testament (whom I’m sure only offered “secular leadership” in her day).

10 Comments

  1. Finn is a graduate of Brewton-Parker College. I suspect this article is going to really tick off a lot of the old-timers, Patterson-followers, and those in the John Piper fanclub.

    This column is just an example that there is a cold war brewing in Southern Baptist ranks. On the one hand, you have up-and-coming scholars like Nathan Finn who are textualists when it comes to BFM2000. For them, the BFM means what it says – nothing more, nothing less. They are the Antonin Scalia’s of the Southern Baptist world.

    And then on the other hand, you have the Clarence Thomas-esque original intent guys. They are less concerned about what the BFM actually says and more concerned about what the “Founders” like Paige Patterson “intended” for it to say – knowing that the Pattersons did not explicitly inject into the BFM2000 what they believe to be the logical conclusions of complimentarianism. But these original intent folks intend for Southern Baptists to take the BFM2000 to (what they believe to be) its logical conclusion on all issues. Thus, the BFM is just the starting point for the original intent crowd while the BFM is the maximum creed, oohps, confession for the textualists.

    Southern Baptists have little to say publicly these days. I bet there is a good fight being fought privately though.

  2. big daddy weave wrote:

    ((Southern Baptists have little to say publicly these days. ))

    Isn’t that a good thing? Actually though there is little likelihood that any ticket completely aligns with any of us, we still have to choose. My choice will not be based on whatever the current SBC leadership thinks about anything. Yet we may choose similarly. Such is politics.

  3. I know there is a lot of history behind your recent blogs re: the issues surrounding Southern Baptists and Sarah Palin, but don't you think "Someone finally says something and it is foolish" comes close to violating Matthew 5:22?

    BTW, in a Q&A time in chapel the other day, Dr. Patterson was asked about Sarah Palin's nomination in light of 1 Tim. 2:12. He responded that Sarah Palin's nomination is not prohibted by that text, or any other. That text is applicable to churches only and not government leadership.

    Can you help me with something? I'd like to develop a skill that you apparently possess–the ability to figure out what people think about an issue when they haven't commented on it (see blog post Sept 4). Just how do you do that? As long as you do not have to violate Mt. 7:1, please do tell us how we can acquire this skill.

  4. David-
    I’m glad you were given permission by the seminary president in chapel to vote for a female vice president of the U.S.
    My comments today were about what someone (Nathan Finn) did say. My earlier observation was that silence from those who are usually so quick to speak also suggests something — a dilemma.
    It takes no special skills to comprehend this. Just good ol’ second-level independent thinking.

  5. I always figured it was a really good think when Southern Baptists didn’t speak out–they usually just say something so inane and ridiculous that it ends up making Jesus look like Moms Mabley….

  6. John,

    Again, how do you do it? I don’t believe you were in chapel that day, and yet you have surmised that I was given permission to vote for Palin? Southern Baptist leaders have said little about Palin’s nomination in public, but you have discerned the thoughts of thier hearts. Simply amazing. How do you do it? Without violating Mt. 7:1, do tell.

    Now that I have read your blog for a while, I think I am getting the hang at this. Allow me try my hand at it.

    Following your lead, here I go:

    Palin threatens moderate, mainstream, and CBF Christians. She is a social conservative, vocal on pro-life issues, opposed to gay marriage, and a conservative Christian. She doesn’t fit the feminist narrative (that real women and real Christians are feminists) and her possible ascendency to the VP position threatens the feminism and women’s liberation theology of the moderate Baptists.

    You are subtly sending a signal to all moderate Baptists that she must be opposed, and you do this by supposing that she presents a dilemma to Southern Baptist leaders. You are actually claiming the dilemma for yourself, and I have arrived at this through old fashioned second level independent thinking.

    You clever discerner of unspoken mysteries, you. What delicious skill and scrumptious humility. You are far too modest. You do have special skills. All this and you haven’t violated Mt. 7:1.

    Correct me if I am wrong, and since you are more skilled that I am at this, please correct me for the things in my head that I have yet to express.

  7. I’m still a bit confused about exactly what women can and cannot do as understood by Baptist fundamentalists.
    So one last question: “If Sarah Palin becomes president and decides to bomb Iran, would she have to have her husband’s permission?”

  8. David Mills,

    On your use of Matt. 7:1, read 1 Cor. 5:12 – 6:6. We are not to condemn, which is the tone of Matt. 7:1, but we must make judgments about issues and the heart that is behind the surface. Further down in Matt. 7, Jesus warns about wolves in sheeps clothing. That is a judgment call for Christians. I believe that is what Pierce is doing, and he has a scriptural base for doing so. (Not that he needs my defense).

    Tim Marsh

  9. David Mills wrote:

    ((Palin threatens moderate, mainstream, and CBF Christians. She is a social conservative, vocal on pro-life issues, opposed to gay marriage, and a conservative Christian. She doesn’t fit the feminist narrative (that real women and real Christians are feminists) and her possible ascendency to the VP position threatens the feminism and women’s liberation theology of the moderate Baptists.

    You are subtly sending a signal to all moderate Baptists that she must be opposed, and you do this by supposing that she presents a dilemma to Southern Baptist leaders. You are actually claiming the dilemma for yourself, and I have arrived at this through old fashioned second level independent thinking.))

    Though my name is not John Pierce :-), I’m a moderate, mainstream, CBF Christian. Rather than threatened by Palin, so far she has been a breath of fresh air in a stale air room. I only have to discern my own thoughts, spoken and unspoken, to experience that. Now I fully expect her to support something I’m not in favor of … to keep that from happening I would have to run myself 🙂 …. and that wouldn’t be a guarantee.

  10. John,

    You posted your Sarah and Southern Baptists blog entry on Sept. 4. I believe you missed Al Mohler’s comments on the issue Sept. 3 found here.

    http://www.crosswalk.com/11581270/

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