It has been a long time since I’ve revolved in SBC circles, but it shouldn’t surprise me at the latest episode with its publishing and bookselling arm. LifeWay Christian Resources decided to pull an issue of an evangelical magazine that it ordinarily would sell because of the picture on its cover. The latest issue of Gospel Today featured five prominent women pastors on its cover, and for this reason LifeWay pulled the issue from its shelves.
The SBC’s 2000 Baptist Faith & Message is clear that the office of pastor is reserved for men. This is their right to hold this position as an organization, but it is an unfortunate one. Even so, I think it is amazing that an evangelical magazine would find itself rebuked by their largest vendor (see here ). I did not realize the 2000 BF&M position on women pastors in churches extended to women pastors on the cover of an evangelical magazine. To be consistant , the SBC must now sever ties with Gospel Today and no longer offer it in their stores. Interestingly, this latest action by the SBC coincides with the most recent edition of Fellowship! CBF magazine that emphasizes women pastors. There are about 100 women serving as pastors in CBF congregations, and this reality was discussed while highlighting prominent women who fill the pulpit in their churches.
The wider evangelical community acknowledges the giftedness of women to serve in any capacity the Lord should lead them along with the support of their congregation. This latest action by the SBC demonstrates a paranoia about other Christians who might have a different opinion about women in ministry than they do. Perhaps LifeWay should stop taking money from customers who believe women can serve as pastors if they can’t even allow a magazine with five women pastors to remain on their shelves.