Stanley remarks draw response

FORT WORTH?Former Southern Baptist Convention President Charles Stanley’s remarks in an Oct. 18 newspaper article that Southern Baptists are wrong for not ordaining female pastors and for including a phrase in the Southern Baptist Convention’s confessional statement that wives should submit to their husbands drew rebuffs from SBC leaders.

Stanley‘s comments to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram were that the SBC’s inclusion in the Baptist Faith and Message that a “wife should submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband” was inappropriate and “just ridiculous.” Stanley said the phrasing reflected a misreading of Scripture, which he said “leans more toward” mutual submission.

Stanley, longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church in Atlanta, also said he was saved at age 12 by the preaching of a woman, “and I’m still saved.” Stanley offered that he disagrees with the Baptist Faith and Message statement on pastoral leadership as limited to men only, the Star-Telegram reported.

SBC President Jack Graham, pastor of Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, said Southern Baptists’ intentions on addressing the family and husband-wife roles have been clear.

“The issue of the husband-wife relationship is critical to the culture in which we live, where there is so much disintegration of the family and questions regarding what constitutes a family, Graham said.

“I’m disappointed that Dr. Stanley would not see this as an important issue. I certainly respect Dr. Stanley and his viewpoint, but our beliefs are not based on the culture or on experiences but upon the clear testimony of Scripture.” Graham said most Southern Baptists would disagree with Stanley.

“That the Bible teaches mutual submission in the body of Christ does not dilute the fact that the roles of the marriage relationship are different,” Graham noted, adding that the “role of husband and wife is always uniquely in the context of a mutual loving relationship.”

Susie Hawkins, a Prestonwood member who served on the committee that revised the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000, remarked: “I’m just very disappointed in Dr. Stanley’s statement. Anyone who has a problem with the Baptist Faith and Message regarding those two portions really has a problem with the Bible because that’s all the Baptist Faith and Message is. We sought to uphold the scriptural boundaries and that seems to be where his issue lies.”

The other female who served on that committee, Heather King, Women’s Program director at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said Stanley “is free to profess that which he believes; however, as Christians we must look again an

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