Southern Baptist Women in the Theological Jungle of Death

Artistic interpretation of Genesis 3:6, Creation Museum, Petersburg, KY

Women of the SBC need to remove their lapel mics and step away from the platform stairs. The Word of God has closed the office of pastor/elder to women in the context of the assembled local church. As Southern Baptist women, we can “eat of every tree” in the garden of ministry opportunities but one in authority over men. This has been a longstanding doctrinal distinctive of the denomination.

Is it really so clear?

A chosen man who encountered the living Christ, and then went on to pen over a dozen miraculous books, gave us a firm boundary:

 “I do not allow (insert any woman’s name here) to teach or exercise authority over a man.” (I Timothy 2:12)

Paul settled it around 59 AD. and grounded it in the Created Order in I Tim 2:13-14. Our kind was created second and fell first. Time and culture cannot change those high-heel busting bedrock facts. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a respectable argument to the contrary.

All teaching super-powers imparted to us must be set aside in the local assembly when our mature brothers are present. The continual push to be front and center in a preaching role is, recognizably, the fulfillment of prophecy given at the dawn of time. The Holy Spirit had all Daughters of Eve in mind as He inspired these words in Genesis 3:16: “Your desire shall be for your husband, but he shall rule over you.” The push against male headship in the Southern Baptist denomination lately echoes the words of that sly slithering thing that deceived our first Mother. Has God really said you are not to have authority over men in the church?

I Corinthians 14 is repeatedly brought up with little regard for the context of the chapter. Deborah is hailed as proof, making a comparison like bloody sheep to white robes. These arguments don’t warrant serious academic response, though many have been given. The scriptures are convoluted using interpretive contortions the likes of which we rarely see outside the mainlines. Take note, women of God, that many of the arguments being made for egalitarianism are the same being made by every female “Reverend So and So” in rainbow vestments.

What about solid historical-grammatical hermeneutics? I find it absent from every single argument made to support this newfound understanding of what the Bible teaches concerning women’s roles in the NT church.

God loves us beyond words, but He does not need any of us. He doesn’t need our rhetorical gifts or powers of persuasion. He doesn’t need us to fill the vacuum of strong male leadership, which some of us helped create. He certainly doesn’t need us to bring a new perspective to the role of women in the Lord’s church in the 21st century.

Please change course and help the church persevere in faithfulness! Be a role model for young Christian women, instead of sounding like another discontent screeching about social justice and patriarchy.  Help the church create a positive environment for our male youth, where their headship role in future families and churches is welcome. My twelve year old son has mountains enough to climb without the equality brigade mowing down his father and elder Christian mentors. Even more importantly, stop poisoning our young people’s marriages before they begin.

And if you still feel called to preach, you’re free to withdraw membership from your local southern Baptist church, drive to nearest church with the colorful equality banner fluttering atop the marquis and turn in. You’re home.

Prayerfully and faithfully fighting to maintain one of the last bastions of biblical complementarianism remaining,

Scarlett Clay, MA

Student, M.Div., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


  1. Gary Ramirez

    Well done

  2. Paul also wrote, in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (RSV).” He had an egalitarian streak, and would go on to praise Phoebe and others, but the most amazing account was his praise for Junia and Andronicus, who he described as both being “outstanding among the apostles.” But, the SBC has clung to that one passage in I Timothy, and you have accepted it irrespective of time, place, intended audience, and conflicting sayings. You’re the model SBC woman, a sheep.

    • Thanks for your comment. No, Paul had no “egalitarian streak” and to suggest so is to malign the Apostle of contradiction. Phoebe was a deacon. This article is not about deacons, but about women preaching in the gathered assembly in the office of a teaching elder or pastor. That’s what the current debate is about. The phrase “oustanding among the apostles” read in proper context indicates she was known to the apostles and recognized for her faithfulness. To use that passage to argue that she, herself, was an apostle is an eisegetical error: “The scholar Dr. Daniel Wallace has extensively researched the Greek grammar of the phrase: “In sum, until further evidence is produced that counters the working hypothesis, we must conclude that Andronicus and Junia were not apostles, but were known to the apostles” (from
      The SBC clings to every passage concerning the male headship of the family and the church, beginning in Genesis and continuing on through Revelation. But here’s why egalitarianism truly fails to be convincing to anyone who studies the Bible: There’s not one single example of a woman preaching or teaching to the early NT church. Not one. So I’m happy to be a sheep, following the whole counsel of the only True Shepherd worth following, the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks again and have a great week. ~Scarlett

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