The Southern Baptist Convention said Thursday that apart from being a member of a church adhering to denominational standards, there is no barrier to a woman becoming the face of America's largest Protestant denomination.
"Other than being a member of a church that cooperates with the Convention, I am aware of no SBC constitution or bylaw statement that would prohibit the election of a woman as SBC president," Roger 'Sing' Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations, told The Christian Post in a statement Thursday.
The declaration from the SBC comes as leading conservative voice for civil rights and pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, Dwight McKissic, suggested on Saturday that electing a woman to the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention like prominent evangelical founder of Living Proof Ministries, Beth Moore, could go a long way in healing the wounds of sexism in the denomination where women constitute 51 percent of the population.
McKissic said promoting a woman like Moore would send a well-needed message to Southern Baptist women.
"To elect Beth Moore would do more to heal our Convention, seal women within our convention who have lost hope and right historic patterns of wrong toward women, without compromising qualifications, integrity, competency, or Scripture. The questions are, 'Are we there yet?' or do we have to wait 100 more years and experience more of God's judgment? SEBTS recently elected a woman as chairman of their Trustee Board. Progress is being made. Serving as an ex-officio officer of SBC entity trustee boards is one of the duties of an SBC president. By already permitting women trustees and a woman chairperson, the precedence is already set," McKissic in a recent blog post.
Explaining why he thinks it would not be a violation of biblical standards to allow a woman to serve in the post, McKissic noted that the position is "largely symbolic, not authoritative."
"The SBC is a parachurch organization — not a church. Therefore, there is absolutely not one Bible verse, or SBC constitutional bylaws prohibitions, nor any BF&M 2000 prohibitions against a woman serving as SBC president. Tradition, sexism, fear and other non-biblical factors would probably prevent any woman, including Deborah, Mary the Mother of Jesus, Lydia, Junia or Priscilla, or Lottie Moon from being elected president of the SBC; but, I repeat ... there is not one Bible verse or SBC constitutional prohibition," he explained.
He said that even though he has already committed to supporting North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear for the presidency this year: "If I thought Beth Moore would accept the nomination or be agreeable to being nominated, because of her qualifications and the current context the SBC finds herself in ... I would nominate her for SBC president."