This is an opinion column
Over several years of writing about issues related to faith and culture, I’ve begun to follow–and be followed by–a considerable number of pastors and Christian leaders on Twitter and other platforms. Like me, many of these are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the country’s largest protestant denomination.
Sadly, the men and women of the SBC are no strangers to conflict and disagreement. You would think that Matthew 18 would have us talking to one another – rather than about one another – when concerns arise and that the very last place we would turn to air grievances would be a public forum on the internet.
But no. It turns out that we are just like the world, and we do conflict just like the world.
The SBC is in a moment of heightened debate over key issues in the run-up to our annual meeting in June. Some are churchified versions of the complex socio-political debates of our time, like what, if any, place a secular theory like critical race theory has in our discussions about racial reconciliation.
Others are more distinctly evangelical, like what roles are permissible for women in the church. (No one in the wider world is wrestling, in 2021, with whether it’s sinful for women to speak to groups of mixed gender.) Currently, SBC doctrine limits the role of pastor to qualified men. Even among some who think this rule is biblically correct, there is a desire to discuss how women can use the gifts and talents they…