One Woman’s View -- By: Rosalie Beck

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 14:3 (Summer 2000)
Article: One Woman’s View
Author: Rosalie Beck


One Woman’s View

A Church Historian Discusses Her Perception Of Recent SBC Actions.

Rosalie Beck

Interview with Rosalie Beck

Rosalie Beck, a church historian, has been a member of the faculty at Baylor University since 1984. Originally a scientist, she entered Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth following two years of ministry in South Vietnam before its capture by the Communists, She earned a master of divinity degree at SWBTS, majoring church history and receiving the first Robert A. Baker Church History Award as the outstanding student in that field. She then earned her Ph.D. in religion at Baylor, and was asked to join the Baylor faculty following completion of her doctorate.

Priscilla Papers thought it would be helpful in this discussion of the Southern Baptist Convention and women to ask for her perspective on issues that are related to the recent changes to sbc faith statements.

What Practical Effect Has The Southern Baptist Convention’s Call For A Wife To “Submit Graciously To The Servant Leadership Of Her Husband” Had?

Too little time has passed to quantify the effect of the 1998 amendment on Southern Baptists. From a study of church history, though, I reckon the effect will be gradual, but real. The emphasis in structuring homes will be on submission rather than on servant leadership. Whenever the “headship” scriptures get trotted out to support a hierarchical family structure, lip service is given to the role of the man, but the focus is on the submission of the woman.

While recognizing that real differences exist between men and women, using Scripture this way affirms the traditional view that women are inferior; therefore, they must be submissive. High-sounding rhetoric covers pages and pages of justification for a strong stance in favor of a strict hierarchical model, but the words boil down to God made men better than women. As youth grow up in a church with this teaching, they will accept it and create a hierarchical family structure.

Now The SBC Says, “While Both Women And Men Are Gifted For Service In The Church, The Office Of Pastor Is Limited To Men As Qualified By Scripture,” Based On 1 Timothy 2:9-14.

Using this passage to justify restricting the pulpit to males highlights a major issue in the debate over what the differences between men and women mean before the Lord. A basic hermeneutic I learned at seminary was that you don’t base a major doctrine on a disputed passage, and this is certainly a disputed passage. I find it interesting that the committee chose not to include verse

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