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The Southern Baptist Convention’s Disfellowship of Five Churches Highlights Gender Roles and Power Dynamics

The Southern Baptist Convention recently disfellowshiped five churches, including Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, the largest member church of the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. The decision was based on the churches’ allowance of women to serve as pastors. This move has sparked controversy and has been critiqued by many.

Linda Barnes Popham, pastor of Fern Creek Baptist in Louisville, Kentucky, one of the expelled churches, expressed her shock at being ousted and her suspicion that power and male supremacy are the underlying causes. She speculates that the decision may be an attempt to divert attention away from the sexual abuse scandals that have plagued the convention.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s choice to sever ties with Saddleback Church raises questions about which issues are considered serious enough to warrant censure, and which can be overlooked or accepted as livable differences. Despite his moderate views and criticism of President Donald Trump, Saddleback Church and its founder, Rick Warren, have been criticized for their political associations.[0]

The Southern Baptist Convention’s decision to disfellowship five churches, including Saddleback Church, for having female pastors highlights the importance of power dynamics and gender roles in the denomination. It also raises questions about which issues the Convention considers important enough to act upon.

0. “Saddleback's Ordination of Women Was Final Straw for Southern Baptist Convention — Not Scandal, Sexual Abuse, or …” Religion Dispatches, 27 Feb. 2023, https://religiondispatches.org/saddlebacks-ordination-of-women-was-final-straw-for-southern-baptist-convention-not-scandal-sexual-abuse-or-dalliance-with-dictators/

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