The messengers of the SBC 2023 annual meeting voted to amend Article 3 of the Constitution of the SBC. This section outlines what it means or looks like for a church to be considered in friendly cooperation with the SBC. In other words, this is the section a church uses to see if it fits in the SBC, where the SBC looks to see if a church should stay.
The amendment adds the following to the items used to determine fellowship and partnership.
Mike Law, a messenger from Virginia, with an amendment to the motion by Juan Sanchez from Texas, made the following motion: “I move that the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention be amended to include an enumerated 6th item under Article 3, Paragraph 1, concerning composition. The enumerated 6th item would read:
6. Affirms, appoint, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.’”
The amendment passed, but amendments to the constitution require a 2/3 vote from the floor in two consecutive annual meetings. This means that even though it passed this year, it has to pass again next year for the amendment to take effect.
The amendment makes complementarianism a requirement for cooperation and partnership in the SBC. We will not know for a year if this will stand. Many have argued that based on our statement of faith, we are already a complementarian convention. I think that’s true.
I’m not against the amendment to the constitution, and if it doesn’t pass next year, I think we will still be on solid ground as a convention of churches.
If this stands and passes next year, it will have an immediate impact on some of our churches. Those who have women serving in any role with the title pastor will have decisions to make regarding their fellowship or their titles. In addition, I would assume that if it passes in 2024, several churches will be reported to the credentials committee in the following weeks and months.
Regarding disfellowshipping churches, I hope we will give them time to consider their cooperation and remain focused on our mission. It would be easy for many to get focused on what other churches are doing rather than focusing on accomplishing the great commission and the spiritual life of their congregation.