Southern Baptists And Their View Of Women: An Interview With Joe Trull. -- By: Anonymous
PP 14:3 (Summer 2000) p. 8
Southern Baptists And Their View Of Women: An Interview With Joe Trull.
Joe E. Trull, author of the preceding article, served on the faculty of New Orleans Baptist Seminary for fourteen years. In 1998, as he was about to begin a sabbatical, it was suggested he might instead take early retirement. Article XVIII of the “Baptist Faith and Message” doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) on “The Family” was about to be adopted at the SBC’s annual convention, calling for a wife to “submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband . . .” (see complete statement opposite). Knowing Dr. Trull’s writings—especially his textbook Walking in the Way: An Introduction to Christian Ethics—ran counter to the statements in this amendment, the seminary thought Dr. Trull shouldn’t return.
Last June 14, the SBC adopted a further revision to their doctrinal statement at their convention, this time disallowing women as pastors. Dr. Trull discussed with Priscilla Papers the history and effect of these revisions. That interview follows in condensed form.
Describe The Historical Factors Behind The Recent Revisions To The “Baptist Faith And Message” Document.
Historically, Baptists have pretty well reflected culture on this issue as they did on the race issue. Baptist women, as in most denominations, are vital to the church. Nevertheless, they have been pretty much relegated to a secondary role, To some degree, the movements of the late 1800s and 1900s gave more freedom to Baptist women, though—being mainly in the South—the Abolishionist movement affected Baptists less than the rest of the culture.
A few years ago, the group now in control tried to force our largest women’s organization, the Woman’s Missionary Union, which has always been independent of the Southern Baptist Convention, to become a part of the SBC so they could control them, and the WMU just flat refused.
The WMU began around the turn of the century when only men could vote in the SBC and, of course, before women had a right to vote in the U.S. The wives would come with the men but couldn’t attend the convention. When they didn’t have anything to do, some of the women suggested they get together to study missions and form a missions organization. And the men said, “No, that’s not your job” and wouldn’t let them have a place to organize. So the wives met secretly in Richmond, Virginia—in the First Methodist Church. And that’s how the Woman’s Missionary Union got started.
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