We Need Women to Serve As Pastors and Leaders

By Tyler Tankersley
Southeastern Missourian
July 6, 2019

The Houston Chronicle recently featured a heartbreaking series of articles that catalogued decades of abuse and cover-up by Southern Baptist pastors across the country. In the past two decades there have been over 700 instances of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches. And we have heard stories that have plagued the Roman Catholic church of abusive priests who have been protected by their superiors rather than prosecuted for their crimes.

While no denominational body is immune to instances of abuse, the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention seem to be the organizations that had the most high-profile instances of abuse. Interestingly, the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention also happen to be the largest denominational organizations in the world that have something in common: Both of them prohibit women from serving as pastoral leaders. This is almost certainly a cause of correlation, but I also wonder if there is some causation at work, as well.

While it is encouraging to see both the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention beginning to take some steps toward preventing further abuse, I wonder if these actions will go far enough. These actions took place in the context of a highly male-dominated theological construct and unless that construct itself is being called into question, I fear that very little will actually change.








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