I cannot say that I am surprised at this. It is what you ultimately get when you disavow the truth.
Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC parted ways with the Southern Baptist Convention a few years ago. While I can think of plenty of good reasons why a church might to that, theirs were not among them.
The SBC has, to its credit, maintained strong positions on Biblical authority, as well as the hard social issues of the day: particularly abortion, sexual ethics, and–even though they don’t get a lot of credit for this due to their heritage—race relations. I have my issues with the NeoCal cabal and their sometimes warped view of church polity, not to mention their disjointed theological grid that dismisses healthy tension in Scripture, but–with respect to fundamentals–the SBC is generally on the money.
In the early 1990s, many SBC churches, some disheartened by the shenanigans–and others by the theology–of the conservatives leading the SBC, formed the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Most of the CBF churches were really quite liberal: they rejected the high view of Scripture, they were pro-abortion, they were pro-homosexuality. Some were conservative but simply had issues with Paige Patterson, Al Mohler, Charles Stanley, Paul Pressler, and others who used strongarm tactics to retake the leadership of the SBC.
Sadly, the “good” CBF churches were drowned out by the leftists.
We have a few CBF churches in my back yard; I’ve even tossed some hand grenades at one of them from this blog. To say they are liberal doesn’t even do the matter justice.
That also brings us to the issue of women pastors, which is one of the hot-button issues over which many churches bolted the SBC for the CBF.
I’m familiar with the argument on both ends. And when I look at the totality of Scripture, at best I see a very limited case for women holding particular church offices. In the OT, we had Deborah and Huldah, and to a lesser extent Miriam (who was stricken with leprosy when she challenged Moses’ authority). Each served in prophetic capacities, but they were clearly the exception to the general rule: men were overwhelmingly in that office.
In the NT, you have Anna (a prophetess) and Phoebe (a deacon). While women were among the disciples–Mary and Mary Magdalene, for example–they were not among the Twelve, either. There is zero precedent in the NT for women in senior leadership positions, and in fact the pastoral epistles specifically lean against that.
Some folks take that to be a universal prohibition, whereas–looking at the totality of Scripture–others (I count myself in this camp) look at this is a general rule (no women in particular leadership offices) to which there are very specific exceptions (Deborah, Huldah, Anna, Phoebe, and to a lesser extent Priscilla).
That begs the question: are there specific exceptions today? My answer: perhaps, but there is a plumb line against which I evaluate any such possibilities: what are they preaching?
In my (almost 50) years on this rock called earth, I’ve seen a grand total of ONE woman who has ever served in such a capacity who espoused sound doctrine, and even today she does not serve in the office: she is a SAHM homeschooling mom in rural Tennessee. (Her husband, however, is the pastor of the church.)
But every other instance in which I’ve seen a woman pastor, it has been a theological train wreck.
The available statistics on this tend to reflect my experience: well over half of the women in clergy self-identify as feminists. This is important, as many left-leaning women HATE the feminist tag, as it carries a very negative connotation. So if over half of them self-identify as feminists, you can bet good money that the percentage of actual feminists is even higher.
We can talk all day about the failures of men in the Church. While those tend to make headlines–and we must denounce them for what they are, even as we self-examine our own churches, as no church is immune from such wolves in sheeps’ clothing–it is also instructive to note that those are the minority. In point of fact, you are safer in church than you are in the public school system.
But so-called “progressive” congregations are tragically off the reservation. Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, DC, is a rest area on the highway to Hell.