Concerns Over Recent Events and Current Affiliations - 2024 SBC Annual Meeting

 

Subject: Concerns Over Recent Events and Current Affiliations

 

Dear EFBC, SBC

 

I trust this message finds you well.

 

Let me begin with the highlight of the SBC annual meeting. The IMB appointed 83 missionaries it was truly inspiring to see such a strong group of dedicated individuals answering the call to serve and spread the gospel across various countries. My heartfelt congratulations and prayers to all the new appointees. May they find gospel effectiveness, fulfillment, and continued support in their journey ahead.

 

However, as I reflect on the past week's events, I find myself deeply conflicted. While there are reasons to celebrate, I have serious concerns that weigh heavily on my heart.

 

Now to my concerns. One such concern is the recent failure to pass the Law Amendment related to the pastoral office being limited to men. It is concerning that support for this amendment has seen a decrease—from an overwhelming 80% approval last year to just 61% this year. Falling short of the necessary 66% two-thirds majority, the amendment did not pass. This reduction in support signals a shift away from the traditional stance of reserving the role of pastor exclusively for qualified men, although it is important to note that the convention remains united in affirming that only men can serve as senior pastors. However, the allowance for women to hold positions such as children's pastor, youth pastor, and worship pastor continues, encouraging unbiblical practices within our convention.

 

To be balanced, over the past two years, the SBC messengers have consistently voted to disfellowship churches that ordain women as pastors. This decision underscores the convention's position on the matter. However, there appears to be some confusion due to varying interpretations within the SBC community. Specifically, while some agreement exists on allowing women to serve in pastoral roles, it comes with the understanding that women should neither hold the position of senior pastor nor be formally ordained. So right now, in the SBC a woman can hold the title of pastor, but cannot be ordained, nor serve as a senior pastor. Little confusing? I know.

 

 

Adding to my concerns is our association with Bradley and Associates. This law firm openly affirms LGBTQ+ values, a stance they have publicized across various social media platforms. As the pastor of EFBC, I find it troubling to support a firm with views that conflict with our convictions. It is inconceivable that the generous tithes and offerings from our members would be directed towards such an organization. Therefore, unless there is a change, EFBC will continue to greatly limit our giving through the CP, choosing instead to direct our contributions towards entities aligning with our beliefs and practices.

 

I earnestly pray for collective action amongst other pastors and churches to voice a unified objection. Surely, we can identify a law firm better suited to the convictions and values held dear by our SBC churches. The current affiliation with Bradley and Associates is, quite frankly, a point of embarrassment for the SBC.

 

It is my hope that through thoughtful dialogue and principled standpoints, we can navigate these challenging times and emerge stronger in our shared faith.

 

Thank you for your understanding and attention to these matters.

 

In His service,

Blake Gideon

Senior Pastor

First Baptist Edmond, OK

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