TAYLORS, S.C., July 12, 2006–”The issue of women in ministry is contentious in some circles, but not of great impact in Southern Baptist life. Only about 35 of our 43,500 churches have a woman as pastor, amounting to less than one-tenth of one percent of SBC congregations.
“I believe that while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture, a position that affirms the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article VI. The Church.
“I believe also that God calls women to minister in a variety of capacities and roles in His service. Women make up about half of our foreign missionary force, work tirelessly in local churches and serve in key leadership roles as trustees and denominational servants with our SBC entities.
“Recently, I was alerted to the attention some have given to my dissertation, written in 1979-1980, which asserted women can serve as pastors. Long ago, I abandoned that position after the Holy Spirit instructed me otherwise in my study of Scripture.
“In my thirty years as a pastor, I have not ordained a woman to the Gospel ministry nor to service as a deacon. However, my wife and I have labored side-by-side with women and men to minister to others, disciple Believers and to share about Jesus with the lost.
“I remain enthusiastic about God’s plan for the Southern Baptist Convention, and am thankful for the opportunity He has given me to contribute to the strengthening of our cooperation in carrying the Gospel to the world.”